May you free yourself from all that holds you back. “Freedom” by Zenos Frudakis. Installed in Philadelphia.
This beautiful sculpture may have particular poignancy for adult adoptees, I know it does for me. It will I expect, resonate for all people who have felt oppression, discrimination, are in a minority or lacking in rights or fair and equal treatment. How can this be for adoptees some will ask, when adoption is beautiful, about giving a child a better life, being saved from the gutter and sometimes from oppression, discrimination, manufactured poverty and certain death?
How often we see a one-note song of adoption, attempts to make one-size fit all and an interpretation based on the narrow view through a tiny window, usually a very personal one in which an adopter tells the personal story of ‘their adoption’. In other words the interpreted story is told through the eyes of an involved, instigating adult who sees events through their own lens, makes assumptions and believes their story is ‘right’, correct and true! So much detail! So much personal information! As if this story is typical, in some way stands for all other adoptees’ stories, making them ‘true’, part of a set, able to be labelled, boxed and categorised and in some way ‘normal’. There have been so many unique examples on Abbie’s gem of a post at psychologytoday.com/blog/beyond-blood, like this one, in reply to another commenter, not in this instance your blogger –
You assuming that I feel that I am the ‘lone voice’ of the AP world is just as absurd as you feeling you are the ‘voice of righteousness’ from the other side of the aisle. I am well aware that SOME adoptees, especially those from the past, do have these terrible stories/situations/experiences. And I used that as part of our education on adoption to make sure that our child does not suffer those circumstances. You, however, refuse to see that anyone could experience something differently than you. And that is sad.
And I WILL speak for my child, until he is old enough to speak for himself. And then he can tell you where to take your hatred and shove it. And my child is no more ‘temporarily’ in my care than anyone else’s child. He is my child. As his parent it is my job to raise him to be the best person he can be. And I will certainly strive to help him become whatever it is he wants. And, if I do my job correctly, that won’t be a bitter curmudgeon.
And this – If adoptees that were part of the “old”, “closed” or “broken” system have so much anger and bitterness toward their adoption process, world, etc., then why don’t you do something USEFUL with that energy and work to help ensure that those terrible habits of the past are done away with? Educate yourselves on positive open adoption and push to educate others. Not gripe about a bad story from 30 years ago. Adoption is going to continue, and won’t go away just because you have a bad view of it. Continuing just to bitch on adoption blogs or tell PAP’s that they’re awful people for wanting to adopt is just a waste. Be more constructive with your life and serve a purpose. You’ll feel better when you accomplish something.
We know only to well this is not a lone voice, but it is one that speaks the same script as all the others, appears closed to challenges, ideas that adoption may be more complex than it seems at this moment in time and has gained security by predicting the future for an adoptee! It is also that voice that indicates expectation that adoptees who suffer from a broken system will be instrumental in fixing it!! One of the ways to do that surely is to speak out about how the system is broken, how it damages, wounds and injures. Such assumptions that adult adoptees who write blogs and speak out are just ‘bitching’ and not being constructive and serving a purpose is, one would have to guess, an admission after all, that everything is not quite beer and skittles in the land of adoption! It is a preposterous remark considering the efforts put in by so many adoptees to the many broken aspects of adoption; insulting, as no doubt it is intended to be and ridiculous to suggest adoptees should forget or ignore the past, their history and their story, the beginning of the adoption journey. It may be more comfortable for adopters and others, but it sure ain’t honouring the truth!!
Then this piece of unsolicited advice -work to help ensure that those terrible habits of the past are done away with – you have to wonder what terrible habits these might be! A misnomer perhaps for the abusive practices of forced adoption, the stealing and trafficking of babies, the notion of the blank slate, the efforts of Georgia Tann and her ilk, the Holts, the neglect of adopters to secure adoptee citizenship in America, the increasing commodification of babies, the import of ‘orphans’ to fill the market needs, securing of babies through the torture and murder of their parents in Argentina and elsewhere, the practices of eugenics in Nazi Germany which produced babies for adoption, the closing of records to protect the guilty and so on and on……..
Most who keep a close eye on adoption practices, the habits of the present, know only too well that adoption is still the same old corrupt, unethical minefield it’s always been. In some ways it’s more corrupt, more unethical and certainly more greedy, profitable and misleading. It is certainly more widespread, affecting far more countries and far more adoptees. Perhaps we can be thankful for one thing; that it is at last on the decline, with the numbers of adoptees falling and the numbers of adoptions steadily falling, even agencies closing through lack of business and presumably inability to continue to command such high fees and profits and the continuing degree of exposed fraud, corruption and illegality. Only yesterday we heard of a supposedly reputable agency being involved in collecting contributed money to pay bribes! Chuck Johnson himself has publicly stated that prospective adopters lie to get what they want. Home studies in America appear for the most part appear to be a farce, putting young adoptees at risk just as much as they have always been, except there are more of them, more deaths, more abuse, more inadequate parenting, lack of real support and a decreasing chance that some adoptees will ever know who they really are. It appears that those who believe adoption has improved, is ‘better’ now, are living on Planet Adoption, not just in the adoptionland of unicorns and rainbows.
It is perhaps ideas such as this – I WILL speak for my child, until he is old enough to speak for himself. And then he can tell you where to take your hatred and shove it – that are the most concerning, when we consider the issues adoptees have had and will always have regardless of when their adoption took place, how and why.
Adoption replaces one set of lack of freedoms with another or others, which are very bit as damaging, destructive, difficult to recover from and long-lasting in effect. In the above example it seems to be the right to freedom of speech, thought and action!! Woe betide this adoptee if he dares to contradict, develop beliefs about his own adoption or suffer from misgivings, doubts, disbelief or feelings about his identity and ideal and perfect upbringing! The adopter is at pains to point out the learning from the stories of adult adoptees as if that is all there is to it and adoption is now perfect, not based on loss and trauma, confusion and deceptions, as if it can be made in some way ideal, beautiful and without mishap. The learning appears to be very selective, the hopes and dreams unrealistic and the abyss beckoning.
We adoptees know how very foolish an idea this is, how impossible to achieve and how unrealistic an expectation. Life is never perfect for any human; it has its ups and downs , it’s tragedies and joys and for adoptees, complexity others never know. While adoptees do not have the freedoms and rights of others there is a very long way to go, a journey that won’t be ending any time soon. The freedom train is still out of sight, no light showing in the tunnel yet and clearly not even in the thoughts and minds of some!