Most adoptees will be more than familiar with the anger that rises up when we hear or read something which is unjust, disempowering or just plain wrong. We come across it all the time, even if we’re not on Facebook, Twitter, and we avoid the social media. It’s everywhere; insidious, pervasive, entrenched – those attitudes which sometimes pop up in the most unlikely places from people logic might indicate should be immune. Likewise the attitudes which are supportive of adoptees, show complete understanding and indicate the writer ‘gets it’. I found myself in tears yesterday over a blog post written by an adoptive parent, in which she showed that she understood the difficulties her adopted daughter was having, might have had and might have in the future. Far from being the criminally insane ‘vulture’, the ‘baby snatcher’ so reviled by mothers and others who support their views, she was empathetic, compassionate, unfussed and got on with providing the adoptee with what she seemed to be indicating she needed – if that was to be held all day because she was ‘sad’, that’s what she got. She continues to do what she believes is right despite the best intentions of others, the ‘good advice’ from those who know no better and the prevalent attitudes in some quarters that she is a wicked child stealing abomination in the insane world of adoption.
She adopted the adoptee from an orphanage in China where girls are not highly valued and at one time instead of being dumped on the orphanage doorstep she may have been left on the village dying hill. Of course in many cases there is no proof of identity, proof that the orphanage’s story is correct or proof that someone is not profiting from the adoption of this child. Most of us know by now the exploitative ways of the big profit adoption industry, an industry without scruples, morals or ethics. No need to preach to us on that one, most of us live the effects of it every day. Most of us have some very good examples in our own life which may have altered our course, betrayed us or kept us from our biological relatives for decades or indeed forever. The question, until attitudes are changed and the adoption industry dismantled is, would you rather have the child grow up in an orphanage or have a family? I guess most of us adoptees can find an answer without too much difficulty, providing of course the family is properly assessed, selected, prepared and trained. Any mother who thinks otherwise and would prefer her child raised in an orphanage, is in need of good, skilled professional help.
I have been accused and reviled in the past by mothers and said to be ‘pro-adoption’ and ‘an abusive adoptee’, because I refuse to believe that adoption is simple and has simple answers. I also refuse to accept what I know to be wrong, no matter who says it. My own mother was abused by an adoption from which she never recovered. She was a victim of forced adoption, just as I am. Were she alive today she would have witnessed an Apology from the State in which my adoption took place, the State in which she lived and from the Federal Government. Three Apologies! I have been informed by a father-of-loss that I needed psychiatric help because I accepted the Apology in my own State. My individual choice has been to do so for very personal reasons and I feel fairly certain my late mother would have done the same. She, like me, believed in moving forward, not harbouring old hurts and wrongs and doing the best you can with the hand you’ve been dealt. There are some things that can never be compensated for nor would I expect them to be and those who hold out for compensation are flogging a dead horse.
In wrestling with the things that anger I find, as I guess many adoptees do, the words that attempt to disempower are the ones that are the most unwelcome and these are the ones that patronise, ridicule and find ways to abuse while pretending to be otherwise. Adoptees have excellent and well developed BS detectors. Hopefully they will keep on working for as long as they need to and for as long as it takes to change the unwelcome, abusive behaviours of non-adoptees – the thoughtless, the careless and the deliberate.
One of the most offensive lines of questioning assumes a great deal – that adoptees know nothing, need help and saving, assumes knowledge of practices in places they don’t live, uses half-baked psychology and asks very intrusive personal questions. If non-adoptees were to be questioned in the following ways or read comments about themselves such as the following, they’d be aghast at the effrontery, the rudeness and the lack of empathy for real people who are real adoptees with real parents and families living real lives.
From a post of Facebook which suddenly got very personal –
Comment by a mother-of-loss “Who stepped up? Was she looking to adopt? Was she family? Was she barren? In the USA the Christian women helped the unwed mothers until the adoption machine came to be after the war. Those babies 1945 to 1973 were BSE. I must have not been clear. Anyway, adoption is never to save a baby. Adoption is always for the adoptors”
And another – “I do not believe that was the case. I am sorry but adoptors adopt to expand their family and to look good- maybe get tax credit. The child is not being given anything without a price to his self esteem and identity”
And another – “However, if being fed and treated kindly is the 0
Only carrot for adoption, why didn’t they foster
I think there are many including myself who have been around a long time and the more you read, the better informed you become. I was trying to offer you additional information and resources”
And this – And after a supportive comment on my patience in dealing with the commenter from a fellow adoptee – “Read about the History of adoption or check with others from my group of researchers , activist and authors. You are being lead to feel grateful. And that is not helpful to your own healing.”
And – “Now I know much more about you.(meaning another adoptee, M) Joe (Soll) would never say anything mean like you do and he is a phycologist (sic) who helps people all over the world. I was thinking the same thing that you don’t act like an adoptee but back in your childhood you were taught to belittle your own identity and feel lucky to be chosen. I hope you will realize that there is a vast amount of knowledge out here and not much of it comes from naked experience. I do think sharing helps but bullying these new first mothers into thinking their adoptors saved them is bad advice. You keep insisting it doesn’t matter as long as you are raised nicely. That is what people want to hear M. You are not doing these people any good by trying to make them into the people their adoptors hoped for.”
And finally after many assumptions, wrong conclusions and misinformation and a neat put-down to conclude, we have – “I can’t do this anymore. I wish you well and hope you can find peace. Calling people names is unacceptable to me. I never asked you about a son???? You are thinking of a woman who wrote to you at the same . She is talking to Joe now, so my work is done. I could continue to take your little philosophy apart but really it is just a matter of time, m.”
I will say in conclusion, people who react and act this way, always find a way out through being offended, back off, throw an insult into the void and are gone. Offering ‘additional information and resources’ never comes to anything, is expected and most of us would not want it to, as we have a good idea where it may have come from! We’ve been there, done that, a long time ago and won’t be revisiting. The assumption that we ‘keep insisting’, ‘bullying these new first mothers’ and so on are fabrication and certainly not what I or any adoptee I know is involved in, either now or once. As for hoping we will realise ‘that there is a vast amount of knowledge out there’, the cheek of the woman!! I’m not going near the ‘naked experience’ she mentions, it’s just far too risible!
People sometimes wonder why adoptees and mothers can’t or won’t work together for change. This is a prime example. I couldn’t possibly work with anyone who has, as they say, got it round their neck and is so wrong about so many aspects of how adoptees view adoption, adopters, mothers and themselves and is so offensive in expressing that. I am not responsible for other adoptees, for what other adoptees say or do and I will not see us lumped into together as if a statement by one is a statement by all! Not only does it anger me, but it is such a sad reflection on how we are viewed. We have voices! Individual voices! We cannot force others to listen, we cannot make anyone change their minds or stop believing the myths they hold to, but we can refuse to accept what is wrong, incorrect, misleading, offensive and adoptist.
I like the below quote. Kids need to learn how to grow up paying attention to their bodies, minds, and spirits. As it is now we are all gravely disconnected from each other and all of creation. If we can heal this fundamental issue it would impact all of life and the lives of all other beings and the planet. This is the key to everything. And we’re all in it together. We are the village and it takes the whole village.
We need to take a leap of the imagination and envision nations as the best kinds of families the democratic ones we are trying to create in our own lives. A hierarchical family must be changed anyway if we are to stop producing leaders whose unexamined early lives are then played out on a national and international stage… But changing the way we raise children is the only…
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