Jeff Brown writes – In a mad dash to react away from the perils of anger, we went too far and lost a key piece of the emotional integrity and expression cycle. This is particularly… true in the spiritual community, where peacefulness has been characterized as a symbol of awakening, even if it is inauthentic and a bypass of the unresolved anger still brewing below the surface (‘The calmness bypass’). It’s important to remember that anger is a legitimate emotion that signals that a person has been violated. It is also a necessary emotion if we are going to do the work of sacred activism and challenge existing paradigms that cause suffering. Calm alone will not make the world a better place at this stage. By discouraging and shaming anger, we actually disrupt natural emotional rhythms and encourage inauthentic ways of being. In addition, repressing the emotions simply keeps the anger alive. The negativity goes underground, manifesting in a myriad of destructive forms, including passive aggressiveness, self-destructive behavior and all manner of disease. It is one thing to discourage the inappropriate expression of anger, but let us not throw the whole process out with the bath water. There is a place for healthy anger in an evolving world.
In the world of adoption, which is where we adoptees live, whether we like it or not, we are so often ‘accused’ of being angry, labelled as ‘angry adoptees’ who are ‘negative’ about adoption, children who won’t see the ‘beauty of adoption’ and embrace the ‘positive’ view of adoption so beloved of adopters, potential adopters, some adoptees and other non- adoptees who know an adoptee or know someone who does – as if we are some alien form of life, a rare species, a deviant member of our society, an anomaly, or some very minor celeb who insists of coming to public attention because of their antics. It seems we are not permitted to have the emotions others do, even if, as in adoption, they are expressions of our reactions to what is offensive, degrading, stigmatizing or not ‘normal’. We are being naughty for not normalising, for not accepting what non-adoptees want us to accept and go along with, because it is convenient for them, handy for their narrative and makes adoption pretty as a picture. While adoptees are young and can be influenced, we are told they don’t experience what we adult adoptees do, that adoption is different now and that our adoptions were from a former era when values, ethics and practices were different. They preach to us in exactly the same way men do to women in mansplaining; gaslighting us, telling us we’ve remembered wrongly, haven’t grasped it, don’t remember our own stories rightly and are somehow ‘less than’, inferior in thought and intelligence and never ‘experts’ on our own adoptions, our own lives or our own era of adoption which we have probably researched thoroughly for clues about our mother, our father and how we came to be adopted.
If you haven’t read this article or have an aversion to Mother Jones, it’s worth making the effort to read it, if only for the great example given – this could be a non-adoptee adoptsplaining to an adult adoptee or two, trapped somewhere at a conference, a party, church, the supermarket, a get-together with relatives, school, almost anywhere – http://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/08/problem-men-explaining-things-rebecca-solnit To be fair of course, there are those non-adoptees who make enormous efforts to listen, to hear, to believe, to validate and to respect and are very successful in those efforts. We shouldn’t have to keep singling them out for praise, as some women do when men do housework or child-care, because these things are for dual responsibility and should by now be given proper consideration as part of what we all do and are involved in. Adopters and some prospective adopters are ‘experts’ on the process of adoption or at any rate on the small area of adoption they have investigated for their own purposes usually. Very few research thoroughly and intensively and discover the ethics, the anomalies, the improprieties, the frauds, the tricksters, the traffickers and the illegalities of adoption. It could be argued that no adoption is ethical and it has been. Many times. It’s a strange and shady world out there where children are commodities and adoption is sometimes one of the most profitable exports a country can have. What appears to be ‘by the book’ may not, or may contain within it altered facts, invented stories and dirty diamonds.
I’ve just read a most offensive comment by someone calling themselves Pam, on an article which provides some very hard-to-read facts about adoption, the truth unvarnished and it seems that our writing about such aspects of adoption can be taken very personally and then the commenter feels free to lash out in a most offensive way, in this instance suggesting the blogger has a ‘warped view’ of adoption and has RAD and gets therapy, making sure they attend each appointment. The anger behind the comment is palpable, it is very personal and directed at someone they don’t know and clearly have no compassion for.
Other types of comments suggest that adoptees are angry, using that as an accusation, as if there is something wrong with anger when it is a response to injustice, lack of rights, abuse, racism, adoptism and that there is something wrong with exposing those things, bringing them to the light and wanting change. These responses have to stop because they are abusive, they display considerable ignorance and misinformation and most disturbingly, for people who are so often involved in some aspect of adoption, they show a blinkered attitude, an unwillingness to hear and grasp the truth of what adoption is really about, of how it affects adoptees, mothers, families, communities and they so often display white privilege, with it’s accompanying judgements, entitlement and assurance of being right.