In my time in adoptionland I’ve seen many shocking and disturbing things, read many things that need challenging and been witness too many deeds that should and have been exposed for what they are – exploitation, propaganda, brainwashing and the shameless expansion of the adoption industry. In modern adoption, particularly in America but increasingly in my own country, we are witness to such dubious acts in the name of adoption that it beggars belief. How agencies, individuals and Governments get away with it and are allowed to get away with it, continues to amaze, disgust and be accepted by many non-adoptees who continue to believe adoption is beautiful, necessary and a right. While anyone with the rights and needs of children at heart can see that adoption is sometimes necessary where there is dysfunction or abuse within a biological family, it is never a right and never should be. Those adoptees who tell us it is a beautiful thing to them are lucky to have that experience but should be prepared for other experiences in future decades. Our adoption stories never end and adoption is for life. Like everyone else, we have choices as adults and can choose to remain in whatever stage of the adopted life we wish to be in. Moving from one to the next may require hard work, painful realisations, acceptance and the ability to deal with the ambiguous, the complex, grief, loss, anger, betrayal, stigma, rejection and to have patience, forbearance, courage, cojones and humour, along with the skill of self-care and self-forgiveness, knowing when to say ‘No” and when to pull the plug. When we set boundaries for ourselves we often do what no-one has done for us before and we are sometimes dubious about our ability, our right and our wisdom to set our own boundaries and tell others what is acceptable and not acceptable. How very often we are told how to behave, to think, to speak, to write and to live. We are bent, moulded, cajoled, forced, bullied, mocked and shamed into behaviour others think correct, right, acceptable, appropriate and so on. Those things suit their needs to control and exert power and are nothing to do with what we need or require.
We continue to be referred to as ‘adopted children’ whatever our ages and experience. A way perhaps for those non-adoptees who are simply unable to cope with knowledge of the complexity and depth of our experiences to diminish and encapsulate, to reduce and minimise into a tiny nugget that they can approach with less fear and doubt. Pity is often near the surface and along with stigma is guaranteed to disempower. It does get slightly better as time goes on and there are those who try hard to understand, to grasp the nettle and face the truths. Most of us honour those people, often adoptive parents, very occasionally mothers-of-loss. It has still not been satisfactorily explained why a number of Australian mothers-of-loss who are vocal in the adoption world seem to continue to emphasise our deficiencies and defects, our disabilities, to pathologise our normal reactions to adoption and to exaggerate what happens in our lives. For instance we were informed this week that ‘thousands’ of Australian adoptees had committed suicide back in the 1970’s after taking to a life on the streets. Without having any figures in front of me, common sense and a little mathematical literacy tells me this cannot be true. Those who presented this view are from a group of Roman Catholic workers who kept very dubious company indeed and in the time of the Royal Commission into child abuse we cannot be too careful about the validity and integrity of word-of-mouth information.
The following is one of the saddest and misguided articles I’ve ever read. Everyone is of course entitled to their views, but the influences here are so very clear, so disturbing and so blatantly misguided that they ring very loud alarm bells and concern for the future of the author and anyone who takes her advice. Unsurprisingly it is on the Bethany website and it’s not possible to create a live link. Go to the Facebook Group ‘Adoption Information’ if you want to view it and see the comments.