Deserving

993680_452577248195895_1665454739_nI feel so blessed to have our adopted son placed in our family. It bothers me when people comment how lucky he is. I feel so protective of him and would do anything to have him not have to struggle with abandonment issues and the questions of “who am I? Where do I come from?” I do not agree with closed sealed records. Everyone deserves to know their history.
I’ve been wrestling with this comment from an open FB Group since yesterday. It is no doubt well-meaning, full of good intention, caring and the need to protect an adoptee from his past and future. When adopters try to have all the answers, solve all the ‘problems’ and take away the struggles, they are on a looser. It can never happen, because it is not for them to do, not their story and not their learning. If you ‘do’ adoption, support adoption and believe in it, then these are part of the areas that will have to be confronted, wrestled with and made peace with in some way that works, sits easily and does not over-protect an adoptee, take away what is theirs to do or leave them unsupported. The shame is that for so many who find they cannot achieve that, it is too late and an adoptee has had life made much harder than it could be or should be. Yet again, it comes down to adequate assessment, preparation and training prior to placement. Some prospective adopters will never get there, others will and some will become outstanding.
I took issue with the word ‘deserves’ in the above comment and was informed that it felt as if I was yelling and being ‘defensive’. Heck! I didn’t even use capitals! My belief is that it is our right to know our history, identity etc – it is not something we deserve, that suggests earned entitlement, being worthy or earning the privilege. Semantics it may be for some, but for adoptees the right wording is critical in order to avoid stigmatising, insulting or putting us in our place as 2nd class. No doubt for that someone will tell me I’m ‘over sensitive’, just indicating yet again that it is those who have or think they have privilege who write the dialogue, tell the story, make the agenda and think they have the right to define adoption for adoptees. They anticipate what might not happen, control the information and do not see the part they play in supporting the adoption industry and the things they say they do not agree with. It is always for adoptees to define adoption, to tell our stories, discover our challenges and meet them as we will in our own time, at our own pace and with our own skills.

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6 thoughts on “Deserving

  1. I have also been struggling to form a response to that particular post Von……Im yet to come up with a comment that wont automatically be rejected by the defence systems of a woman who is trying so hard to convince herself that she is the perfect adoptive parent….because her adoptee will be understood and she will protect them from the hurt……yet again, an adoptee is denied the right to own their own truths and feelings whatever they may be because an adoptive parent believes that they know what an adoptee “deserves” you are far from the only one who takes offence at the use of that word to describe what is our basic human right. Hurt is part of the human condition, its not something that we should necessarily be protected from, that halts the learning process and our ability to accept our realities….instead we need to be allowed to own our own truths and rights.

    • I’m glad you struggleed Heather and came up with some truths and thoughts.And I don’t think we need to be ‘allowed’ either I think we just have them, speak them and use them how we wish! xx
      AP’s who try hard like this one get so hurt and defensive if challenged because they often feel they’ve done ‘the work’, gone the hard yards and are enlightned.Sadly there is still a long way to go.

  2. I don’t like the word “placed”. You don’t place a person, you place an object. Lately I’ve been thinking of myself, as an adopted baby , being a piece of meat, not a living human being. We were like bundles of flesh, each one pretty much the same, being traded for cash. I’ve never heard the word placed used in reference to a human being outside of whitewashed adoption language. She was blessed to have him placed? It seems like she did nothing to seek out the child, he just was placed into her waiting arms. And now she’s being PC. I don’t buy it.

    • Yes so often the PAP’s were sent a photo, saw a photo or went on a tour. My own adopted in the time of plenty when it was like a baby supermarket – they had choice and the story goes they picked me because I wasn’t twin boys and I didn’t have measles. That was supposed to make me feel…what exactly?? ‘Placed’, not a comfortable word for us real people.

  3. I wonder if the AP would have a different perspective if the focus were shifted:

    Does “your” son feel blessed to have been “adopted”, to have been “placed” in your family? (Or does he feel like a piece of property that you own and control? Is he really a part of Your family?) Does it bother Him when people comment on how lucky/unlucky he is/was/will be, or is this just something You are concerned about? (Are you projecting yourself onto him?) If you feel so protective of him, and “would to ANYthing to have him not have to struggle with abandonment issues”, etc., and truly believe that everyone deserves to know their history, (why) did you play along with the closed, sealed records game? (Are you acting/have you acted in accordance with your belief(s), or are you just bullschteining here to make yourself feel better?)

    • Thanks Brent, good questions. How infrequently non-adoptees are able to view those questions from the adoptee’s perspective and point of pain and lose, perhaps if they could adoption would change.

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