Adoptive Parent posts that should have been better thought out…

Woke up this morning intending to finish the post I started yesterday, about my sweet little dog, only to find that a post I read last month, sighed, let go as just not worth trying to delve into all the tired old tropes it contained in a single post, has now been read by other adoptees.

To my way of thinking, everyone in the adoption community should have “gotten over” adoptees speaking up about their lived experiences a long time ago, I mean, adoption is so different today, right?  You are educated now so you understand the depths of the adoptee experience.  Only, I still see so many adoptive parents of today, asking about what could be going on with their child, then explain what she said and how she’s acting, for me reading it, is like looking into a mirror of myself at that age.  The child’s words, actions, tell me she is going through what I experienced – and all the other adoptive parents point to everything under the sun, except for feelings about being adopted.  You might know what it is from the adoption classes, but whatever it is, something stops you from recognising and admitting that your child could be struggling with adoption feelings.

None the less, getting back on topic.  The post titled “The War on National Adoption Month”, filled with old tropes combined with a misconception of why the #flipthescript was started and angry that adoptees are speaking up. (an amazing storify compilation of #flipthescript tweets here)

Coming into the conversation on top of the post from adoptiondotcom that was brought up in the last couple of days.  That post was titled “5 Things You Can Do to Show Your Adopted Parents That You Love Them” that was arrogant, dismissive, and downright demeaning that the author felt that adoptees needed to be told how to act like everyone (non-adopted) would just know to do.  Things like thanking them for adopting them, calling weekly, writing notes in cards, calling them their real parents, not needing to know where you came from.  Argh, if you want to read that post, you can find it here and don’t need to go back to the 1950’s to find it (adoptiondotcom has removed it after being contacted by many).

To save you the trouble and me having to link to “The War on National Adoption Month”.  Tropes I spotted: These are angry adoptees and not like the vast majority of happy adoptees who are satisfied with their adoption (what I call the paper-doll trope because we are only capable of either/or, not both like real human beings are).  They are blaming adoption instead of the system (apparently hasn’t read many posts).  All the adoptees I know are happy and grateful they were adopted (because they’d obviously tell you what you have indicated is taboo).  They are angry at what lead to the adoption, not the adoption itself, and I can separate those into neat categories (being as I’m not an adoptee, nor is it my lived experience, I have that privilege).  They aren’t the adoptees who accept their adoptive family as their own, and have met their birth family, or have decided they don’t need to (apparently can’t listen with the intent to just listen to the words of adoptees).

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15 comments

    • TAO

      I do strongly believe that many more adoptive parents can see both the good and the hard, and are willing to listen and talk and even challenge an idea, etc., without the need to resort to what basically comes down to name calling…there is a difference that I can see anyway. Thanks for commenting.

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  1. Jess

    One thing that seems to stump people is the complexity of a message that says “I love my aps but I want to know and be a part of my first family . . . as for adoption, don’t ask. I wish it hadn’t happened.” That’s a lot harder to digest than “I love my aps and have no interest in getting to know the bios” or “I had a great life because of adoption”. Each one of those messages might contain truth but the second two messages have a simple binary construction that makes people comfy and puts adoption at the centre of things. It took me several years to get that my child could love me and still be deeply ambivalent about being adopted. OR that her feelings would never be static. She might feel one way in her pre-teens and another way on the cusp of adulthood, where she is now.

    Tao, you might enjoy the story of the Romanian adoptee featured in First Mother Forum. There is a link to her blog there, which is really interesting. She exemplifies many of the ambiguities you have been referring to.

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    • TAO

      I’ll check it out Jess – right now, I deep into the 1600’s of my biological paternal family tree. It’s amazing – also finding many similarities to dad’s family tree in the 1600’s including geography, religion, etc…just bizarre and I can’t put it down…

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      • beth62

        I’m lost in the 1600’s with you! Where in the world are you? I’m lost in the family stories that are in so many ancient History books too, I can’ t imagine I could ever possibly read all of what I have found.
        It is bizarre. I too see the similarities in my and my dad’s tree, mom’s too. Once I got back far enough I have been able to link us all to common distant ancestors. Amazing. And not just my afam, but many of my friends too

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        • TAO

          MA, ME, NH…all those good Puritans who arrived… 🙂

          I get lost in some of the historical books out there where you can plug in a surname and find multiple entries about that individual. It’s amazing how detailed some cities / states were versus how lax others were. It’s terribly frustrating with some surnames that are common.

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          • beth62

            I get lost in the books big time. I bought several for my Dad to read for me and report back LOL
            I got to read about Johhny Appleseed in the Miami Valley, one of my g+grandparents’ buddies, I can’t quit thinking about the apple guy, great story.

            I’m hanging out with the Quaker’s! in VA, PA, MA and what is now WV, OH. I was shocked to find so much written history in Ohio and Illinois in the early 1700’s and before. VA was pretty pitiful.
            The Quakers sure are scary to me, as nice as they are. Yikes, I wouldn’t have made it far there. No wonder many of mine ran to the mountain wilderness to be with the wolves, mountain cats, bears and natives that wanted to kill them! Better than peaceful civilized Quaker town? Yikes 🙂 I agree, run granny run!.

            I can say that I absolutely love families that name their kids with mothers maiden name as middle and fathers surname. Naming them after both of their grandfathers helps!
            How many William Henry’s, Henry Clay’s, William or James something or other, do we really need on the planet? 🙂 I mean really?

            I made a list of all first and middle names on our tree for my kids and the others – so they can pick a family name if they want to. I really hope someone picks Greenberry, or Lemon, or Hortence, Theodosia… I can’t wait. I’ll never tell, but James or Mary would be just fine in my book LOL I don’t care what they call em, just let me call them my grandbabies <3. Now I know how that happens!:)

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            • TAO

              I have a few that include the maternal surname in the name. It’s very helpful! Sometimes I drives me batty when you have the son named after the father and my brain gets confused on who is who. I end up with half a dozen pages open so I can refresh my memory before making changes.

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              • beth62

                I get lost frequently, and to get unlost I get pencil and big sheet of paper and draw out the puzzle myself.
                It’s funny, I get just as excited about finding both of my fathers, or mothers, ancestors and stories. I’m hooked on a friends tree now. Is that silly or what LOL I am always looking for connections between people, must be habit. Or maybe it’s because I have learned that we are all connected in some way or another. And dammit, I am gonna find out how 🙂

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    • TAO

      Blame dad, he was the one who told all the stories of his ancestors back to the beginning of the 1800’s so I got the bug. Then being adopted means I have four different family trees to work on and try to keep straight in my head.

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  2. beth62

    All these fearful women are boring me lately.
    The only reason I can see to say much of this stuff is fear, and denial that the yucky is over in a year or two, done and over that separated part. Denial that much of it isn’t lifelong.
    Terror that It’s not over, insistence that it is.
    What a scary world to live in.
    Wouldn’t it be more wise to prepare for battle with all of the monsters if/when they show up?

    I think many of us know what it is like when the monsters show up for us in that kind of scary world for our parents…
    It did not go well for me at all. Those monsters walked right past my in-denial-of-future monsters-parents, and ate me alive while my parents were looking at their beauty in the mirror. And my parents watched it in the mirror and blamed it on anything other than the monsters. They don’t believe in monsters, I had something to do with it, I am wrong to say it was monsters, monsters are NOT beautiful, we are supposed to be beautiful, at all costs. They’d ask if I believe in aliens from outer space too, and if I mentioned some actually existed on the planet today, not 50 years ago, but today, on my street, in my house, they would assume I had everything to do with their landing.

    Trust issues anyone?

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    • TAO

      Beth – I’ve come to believe that it is the insistence that PAL puts on “was” adopted, not “is” adopted that’s made it okay for some to choose head in the sand approach, instead of the fact that just like biological children weren’t “was” biological but “are” biological – so too are adoptees.

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      • beth62

        I have to admit I did have one family that had a son named the same name for 5 generations. When I got back to the last grandfather I could find, a slave named Joe, I found out that his slave owner had the same name and Joe’s son took or was given that name. So looking hard for more on that story!

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  3. beth62

    I’m with you on the “was” crap. I don’t really understand the purpose of that approach tho? Is it to hide the fear? What is the reason for it to be “was”? I really don’t get the point of it. Why do so many insist on “was”?
    Does it create a hole in the sand making it easier to stick your head in? Makes it OK to stick your head in, like that is what oyu are supposed to do? What is the purpose of hiding your head in the sand? This is a good positive thing? Is it supposed to help the family? In the best interests of who? I honestly don’t see how it is in anyone’s best interest. If/when any monsters come around… there will be nothing left but your head in the sand after they eat the rest of you.
    So it’s better to have monsters eat your kid, and you, than to say and believe that your child IS adopted?
    Yeah, I must be missing something here.

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