Have you ever considered that? That thought runs through my mind each and every time I see an adult adoptee called names and treated badly on any forum, facebook page, or blog. Even those adult adoptees who are using all the required disclaimers and couching all statements with a “I feel” or “some” or “may or may not feel” or “it could make them”…
I started this post after reading a very disappointing exchange on a forum. I first wrote here “Deep breath required because I am angry right now…counting to ten and beyond”. For once, I followed my advice and waited a few days, and yet I still wish to offer some thoughts, or perhaps understanding, on how normal it is to want to make things better.
The topic that got me angry: “it isn’t because you are adopted”
Followed by that being adopted and adoption does not cause any issues or challenges. That people need to stop blaming their problems on adoption and hurting “adoption” and then followed with - that the adoptees speaking had “botched” adoptions.
For those who still believe their parenting and love will ensure a seamless fit into your family, and their child will not grieve the loss of their first family, or have any issues, challenges, or feelings at all on their adoption thoughout their life – have you ever considered how your child will feel when they find out you should have known and been aware to help them? That not only was research and knowledge available, that adult adoptees were willingly on those forums to help you understand? To find just the right words to make the penny drop?
Anyway, how can we ever hope to understand each other when any concerns that are raised by the adoptee who lived the experience, are summarily dismissed, mocked, and are told they are adults and can fix the issues in their life, and are hurting adoption by speaking about it. For shame – how dare you speak about any negative in adoption – adoption is always good and always a positive.
I was your typical adopted person that everyone points to as not having problems. Many most likely forgot I was adopted – even those who have known me my entire life. Heck – a childhood friend and a cousin adopted their children because I showed them that adoption wasn’t scary. The problem is that they never asked me if I had challenges or concerns about adoption because they saw me as a typical child and later a typical adult – just like they were. Just like everyone else - who may also at the same time, have challenges and issues brought on from something – be it infertility, divorce, victim of a crime, miscarriages, domestic abuse, infant death, abuse as a child, bullying - honestly the list is endless and some people will have multiple impacts - but I would state that the pain someone feels or the ongoing challenges and wishing to see change can be directly linked to the cause in each of those challenges.
Sometimes any of those challenges, issues, and pain can be lifelong, and you still wish to talk about it, push for better understanding - change it for the next generation. I see this in the counterpoint often discussed with adoption – infertility – the need for research and solutions and the ongoing pain felt, mom has even talked about it resurfacing now at her point in life. Do I tell her that her feelings have nothing to do with infertility? Pretty sure it does because she is sad because she would have liked to have had a child with their genes. Do I take offense? Not one bit - because it takes nothing away from me or my role in the family, rather it provides me with empathy for her, and those currently going through it. Would I tell mom as an adult she has the ability to fix this issue she has? Of course not! Do I tell her that people going through infertility today don’t face these struggles or pain, because they have new and improved infertility treatments so it isn’t like it was when she first went through it? Absolutely not – I am sure that pain is still very much there and like her, will always be there and come in waves, and perhaps the frustration level they have is more now because of all the treatments available and hope given by the treatments.
But yet there are still some that feel that when an adoptee speaks about adoption challenges, and what needs to change, and wants people to understand and do better for the next generation – those challenges cannot be because of being adopted…
Stop and ask yourself of all the different things people are challenged by, you are challenged by - should they (and you) just wipe the slate clean – never speak of it again – allow it to continue as is - without speaking about it to make it better for the future? This lack of willingness by some to accept adoption does impact the adoptee in some way, shape, form, or time, in the adoptees life – regardless of the type of adoption or when it took place, or whether they ever speak about it to you.
Striving to make it better for the next generation is really not something to bitch about, mock, and put the adoptee down.