“You Owe Me”: Indebtedness vs. Gratitude

“The adopted child stands in a particularly well-suited place to recognize and launch this critique. And if the feminist critique exposed one massive flank of implicated in the fundamental injustices of patriarchy, then the juvenist critique my stand to expose the entire underbelly of patriarchy and all of the rest.”


As trafficked people, we may describes ourselves as having the strange status on the one hand as inferior—as something deemed by others a tradable commodity—and on the other hand as superior—as something so hyper-desired that it permits human beings (us) to get treated as a tradable commodity.

Having read a number of posts and responses here that attest to adopted persons’ experiences of this simultaneous hyperinflation and devaluation—my use of economic terminology is wholly deliberate—this links, it seems to me, to that insistence on our indebtedness to the people who bought us.

As a group especially positioned to notice this sort of (monetized) indebtedness, what were the effects of this monetization of relationship in your life? More broadly: how did this kind of openly or tacitly stated “you owe me” play out differently for you, especially as compared to nonadopted siblings or peers you knew? And how did it…

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