I am unable to attribute this unusual photograph to any particular photographer, so thank you whoever you are! It has struck a cord with me in light of recent events and with the usual rumblings which go on constantly in the world of adoption as new people come aboard, ask their questions, make their concerns known and tell their stories, are met with responses from others which are often predictable, non-inclusive and bound up in fantasy, untruths and unreality.
It is particularly noticeable in the Forced Adoption History project page on Facebook at present, as a Admin or set of Admins go about stuffing things up with great abandon, inexperience and expertise, causing upset, hurt, disappointment, disillusion and damage, in an area which requires respect not patronage, skill not blundering, experience not lack of knowledge, personal experience not the historian’s distance, sensitivity, empathy, compassion, diplomacy and humility in the face of the enormity of the task of collecting histories which are very personal, highly painful and may involve deeply emotional areas which have not been talked about before. The project has encouraged participants to be involved, exposed them to harm and abuse, left them with it and announced it will be stepping back to concentrate more on developing a website and exhibition for which the previous Government had put aside $2 million. It seems that the concept of responsibility towards others has no meaning for these ‘professionals’. I am angry because adoptees are getting hurt at the hands of others, mainly mothers-of-loss and the Admins of this group are aiding and abetting them, often deliberately allowing inflammatory material to be posted and go unchecked. What has happened there is worthy of serious complaint to the funding body and those responsible for this project and it’s progress. Currently it should be shut down and has caused much more damage than it has provided usefulness. There is a grave danger that the true history of adoption will not be told, that those who could contribute will not, because it is too damaging to do so and that will be tragic, misrepresent what should be known and told and cause those of us who have been invisible to remain so.
Our voices are too dangerous to be heard, our truths too hard to hear and our stories denied because they don’t assist the cause of the mothers who want compensation, those who have fixed beliefs about adoption, adopters and adoptees. Adoption has been and is so many things. It is complex, complicated, difficult, full of pain, joy, synchronicities, contradictions, deceits, good people doing bad things and bad people doing good things. Human loss is painful, trauma is ongoing, not easily recovered from and adoption is a life-long journey through the fog towards recognition of who we are, discovery of where we’ve come from and where we’re going and who with! It raises many questions – what is a family, does blood matter, how do we reunite with someone who abandoned us and did they abandon us or did they chose ‘the loving option’?
Adoption often raises more questions than it gives answers, as fast as we find an answer a dozen more questions arise. Those questions never stop in my experience and there is always something new to learn, either from our own lives or from that of others.
I have just finished reading Tapioca Fire by Suzanne Gilbert.I found it excellent and it raised some thought-provoking questions. A novelist often has many more freedoms than an autobiographer and it is a very useful format for a book on adoption which raises the issues many of us are now very familiar with. This book does it with style and it will be interesting to see reviews by those who have no connection to adoption and are not familiar with the themes.
Here are some quotes from Suzanne Gilbert – page 256 – “you’re on a quest whether you realise it or not. There are people who will help, or hinder. There are curses. There are blessings. You’re not promised a relationship or even a living family at the end of your search. You’re promised truth, that’s the broader meaning of reunion in the context of an adoptee’s quest.”
and this one, on support groups, page 257 –
“then we get hit with a different guilt in the larger triad group by sitting in a room with others who rightly or wrongly express self-pity. Right, it would offend or hurt them. It would definitely challenge their version of reality,” said Faith. Naomi added, “We’d be accused of being judgemental. Half the time their view erases ours, but we have to sit silent.” Sound familiar? Have a happy weekend!