Tag Archives: blank slate
I met new people at class yesterday, and we talked individually back and forth, and the response I received several times was some version of “wow, you look great” or “I would never have guessed that you had that happen to you”. I also had my hair cut by a new stylist taking over for my old one (thankfully she is good because I went for a completely different style) and we chatted, and I had to explain, and the same “I would never have known looking at you” type of response happened. Read the rest of this entry »
Well written post by Deanna Shrodes at “Adoptee Restoration” today. The author is an adoptee from the BSE, like myself, like millions of other adoptees. Her voice is different from my voice. Even though our voices are different, many of the underlying themes are the same. Understand history – not the white-washed history fed to you by the adoption industry – the real history of Adoption that Australia has now publicly recognised and apologised for. That underneath many of the stories of our adoptions is a world of hurt, pain, anguish – regardless of which country we are from because it happened on different levels in most developed countries – not just Australia. Read the rest of this entry »
November 3rd prompt…Blogging Adoption and Everyday Life.
How is blogging about adoption different from blogging about other topics? Do you maintain an non-adoption blog on top of adoption blogging? If so, how do they differ?
I seldom stray from adoption on this blog because I feel it is important that all of us (adoptees) to keep sharing our feelings, each one unique and different, yet a collective of adoptee voices and the underlying themes similar at the core. To have conversations and push for more conversations.
For far too long, the adoptive parent voice has been the dominant voice and the results are primarily - happily ever after - adoption is all wonderful. While that may be their story – there are always two sides to every story, and of course the story in the middle. When only the adoptive parent and/or adoption advocacy groups or agencies tell the story of adoption - that stereotype is reinforced and the flip side (the adoptee) is expected by those within the community, and the public at large, to not have any emotions, or feelings about their own story that are not super happy all the time, and proclaim adoption is always the best thing ever.
It appears to me lately – that any gains made in acceptance of the losses in adoption for the adoptee, are being reduced to mere lip service by those who don’t hold the adoptee role. I used to watch real hard discussions by parents about the feelings their children have and how best to walk along side them – change in recent years to a display of piling on by parents discounting that being adopted is, or may be, the cause of the any feelings or acting out of the child by the original poster. It bothers me to see what was a concerted effort by parents (not too many years ago) to understand and accept the full realities (good and bad) of what being adopted can mean to the child, teen, adult, - throughout their life – now spun into not everything is about being adopted (which it isn’t), but when every concern brought forward is said to be normal for a bio too - then the choice has been made to revert back to the original thought – the blank slate theory – being adopted makes no difference.
I see this (above) happening all the while the mindset is still that adoption today is different from the past and allows you (general you) to believe that what the adoptees say is irrelevant because you know better now, and your children won’t have those feelings. That belief makes you comfortable and is reinforced by your peers in post after post – adoption is all beautiful – always. You want to believe that (who doesn’t) - but yet feelings of abandonment, self-identity, self-esteem, self-worth will still be there in varying degrees for the adoptees of today – it just means the parents won’t be there for whatever feelings their children have.
Rebecca from Love Is Not a Pie said this on twitter yesterday - and it identified the difference:
This November please remember that “awareness” is not the same as “celebration.” #adoption
I originally posted this Ted Talk by Steven Pinker back in 2010 – I think it’s time to repost it. This is what I said back then.
My era of adoption the Blank Slate Theory was widely accepted. I think there is less acceptance of it today but I believe it still exists in Adoption. The video and link above are so worth the time. The video is over 20 minutes but I was fascinated. Steven Pinker does delve into the subject of adoption and of course the studies of identical twins separated at birth and raised separately as well as how different adopted siblings are after growing up in the same family. Well worth the time…
Steven Pinker – Human Nature And The Blank Slate
My brain is running on parallel tracks apparently so here goes…and perhaps I will regret it but whatever…
While reading the book I talk about here on eugenics, which is also part of adoption history, I am also following the discussions on various blogs and forums about the adoption. I have to say that crash and burn of the contest has also sparked some good and not so good conversations, but yay for the good hard discussions happening. Meanwhile the not so good conversations have resulted in words being flung around by some (not all) adoptive parents such as defining the difference between well-adjusted and mal-adjusted adoptees, the anti and the pro adoption adoptees, and the same stereotypical comments about the happy adoptees that are too busy living their lives to blog or post on forums, and the angry adoptees just want to hate. sigh…
No middle of the road adoptee apparently exists in adoption funland – you are either a “well-adjusted” or a “mal-adjusted” adoptee. Good Grief, we really are just paper dolls to them if that is how one-sided and shallow they see us as only Either/Or…
But getting back to the book on eugenics – the reality is that Sexual Sterilization Laws would still exist today in both Canada and the US, instead of finally being repealed in 60′s and 70′s without Critics voicing opposition of the laws and mindsets. Laws that allowed for you to be deemed “defective” and have sterilization forced on you without your consent, and at times even without your families consent. If not for the Critics those Laws – they would still exist. Those laws irreparably harmed children and adults alike.
So then I got to thinking about what if there hadn’t ever been critics regarding how adoption was practiced?
How would those laws look today with the infertility rates so high in the USA and Canada, and so many people and couples wanting so desperately to have a child or children? What if no one spoke up and challenged the status quo and got the discussions happening that required changes to happen? What would happen if no challenges had been made and we continued on (and likely down) from where we were in the 1950′s to today – 60 years later, just what would the adoption world look like?
Remember no one is challenging to make things better, fairer, more ethical or honest or different than the 1950′s…
For starters Georgia Tann would be the “Revered Mother Of Adoption” - instead of the “Reviled Baby Thief” that she was. Laws would be modeled on her actions and others of her ilk in that era and since then.
Targeted would be those deemed “less than” and that would include anyone that made less money that you did, that had a baby you wanted.
Laws probably would be changed in favor of mothers being encouraged aka coerced into signing away their rights to the child when the positive sign came up on the pee-stick at the crisis pregnancy center instead of waiting until after she gave birth. No need to provide options, or even the government paid for infant adoption awareness training program designed by the NCFA to guide the mother to understand she is “less than” those deserving waiting couples eager to adopt the perfect healthy white baby.
No counselling for mothers – just send them home and tell them to never speak of it again…
Foster care adoptions would most likely seldom happen with the never-ending supply of babies available…
Mothers would still be drugged, strapped down, a sheet preventing them from ever seeing, let alone holding their baby, or even knowing the sex of their baby.
Fathers would have no rights at all because in the 1950′s they had no rights. Their consent would not be needed, or required, and they would have no ability to contest an adoption.
There would be no open adoptions…because there would have been no need to find different ways to get mothers to surrender her child. If anything, adoption would be more closed now than ever - to protect the adoptive family due to the advent of the internet.
No best practices developed on telling the child, or even that the child would experience grief, loss, or have feelings of rejection and how to help them through that, but they certainly would still be expected to be grateful – over an above the natural gratitude felt by others who grew up in their family of birth.
Adoptees would still be deemed feeble-minded or defective solely because their mother was not married.
Adoptees who searched and wanted to know their family of birth would be categorized as the worst of the worst and obviously came from truly defective stock.
The Baby Scoop Era or Era of Mass Surrender or Era of Forced adoption (whatever you preferred term is), would never have ended, because the status quo was such a boon for the adopting parents - babies galore – just put in your detailed order today – thank you very much…
Advertisements in the paper about getting your wife a baby for Christmas would still be seen each and every year…much like the ads today about getting a bunny for Easter…
But ssssh – don’t tell anyone you adopted because that will cast stigma and shame on your family and your infertility status will be known to all…
Trafficking in babies between states and between countries would be unregulated, but of course celebrated and the term changed to something else, because the end result was the baby found the better home aka adoptive home. No concern paid to the families who lost their child – why, they should be grateful the child was provided such a great opportunity, and should just accept it as an honor.
Adoptee rights to a factual record of their birth would never be a discussion point or even considered, as we would still be considered “blank slates” besides being deemed as “mal-adjusted” and our parents maligned for being bad parents should their adoptee ever speak such evil.
That would be the reality if not for Critics in Adoption…
None of the rhetoric spouted by adoptive parents today about how different adoption is today compared to 10, 20, 50 years ago could be used to dismiss the adoptee voice, because no critics ever made a difference to how adoption was practiced, and you certainly cannot believe the industry would willingly reduce profits – can you? Nor would there be any changes happening from those pro-adoption evertime adoptive parents who despise the critics who speak up for ethical changes to how adoption is practiced today…
Critics in adoption will always be necessary to ensure best practices continue to evolve, and trust me they aren’t there yet. Human rights must always be a subject of discussion, fair play and ethics will always have to be questioned and part of the conversation…well as long as there are Critics in Adoption anyways…
Critics like Rueben Pannor, Annette Baran, Betty Jean Lifton, Doctors and Researchers, Social Workers and Child Welfare Advocates, First Mothers and Adult Adoptees, some forward thinking, empathetic Adoptive Parents, and every single other voice who ever said we must make it better and more ethical…
Well folks – we aren’t there yet obviously…and I am sure I missed some really obvious changes that have made adoption better in the last 60 years…
I read a recent motherlode blog post titled Why I didn’t search for my daughters birth parents. Nothing to say about the post itself, but as per usual I read a selection of the comments. Can’t tell you anything about the comments except for one that stuck in my mind and wouldn’t let go, so I am going to break my feelings down here.
The comment was made by a friend of the parents whose children are now adult adoptees. Telling not only the parents story, and what they did, but also the adult adoptees stories. With enough facts that if you were one of the family, or knew the family being talked about, you could probably guess who it was about.
Usually it doesn’t bother me too much when people bring out their stories of my friend, or a friend of my cousins brother in-law, but the first trigger is the extraneous details not needed that I am not including below. Use the story but at least keep it generic – I have friends who adopted children who are now adults…
“They encouraged all of them to keep in contact with relatives there, but one daughter refused. My friends did keep in touch with her family, however, and eventually persuaded her to at least meet them. She said, though, that she knew who her family was, and felt no need to have another. So there are adoptees who couldn’t care less. Her siblings were more receptive to their birth families.”
The second trigger is dragging out the “see some adoptees don’t think about their other families and the adoptive family is enough” stereotype pitting the good adoptee against the bad adoptee, that came through loud and clear with the “So there are adoptees who couldn’t care less” part of the statement.
Perhaps the adoptee didn’t care, she isn’t here to tell us and it was the commenter who provided that couldn’t care less judgement of what the adoptee felt. If the adoptee had said it then the commenter would have stated: She said, though, she couldn’t care less and that she knew who her family was, and felt no need to have another. But the commenter didn’t state that – she added her own narrative to the story saying So there are adoptees who couldn’t care less without knowing what the adoptee in question actually felt, or didn’t feel, because it was third hand information. That triggered me.
Whatever reason the adoptee chose not to have a relationship is her own. I doubt it was as cut and dried and callous as the commenter makes it out to be. Adoptees are human beings, not paper dolls after all, and as humans we are capable of making complex emotional and rational decisions, based on what is best for us at that time and place in our lives. And like many of the decisions we make in life, we don’t always lay out exactly what thoughts and considerations went into making that decision, especially to a parent to pass on to a friend of that parent.
When I hear stories related by others they always make it seem so cut and dried, easy, no thought or emotion invested – the answer given is the sum total of all her feelings. As an adoptee I can come up with multiple reasons that may have been part of her thought process to come up with her decision to not have a relationship. Any adoptee can run through the different thoughts and feelings they have had at one point or another. We all have complex stories to unravel with complex feelings that change at different times, throughout our lives. Shadow has talked about how she never thought much about adoption until she got her diagnosis, and then the emotions and the processing started. I thought about being adopted from the time I was a child, and processed different parts, at different stages, and have had a myriad of different feelings and thoughts on being adopted. We are all unique. We all go through the process different, and feel different, at different times. Why is that so hard for people to understand?
My story is different from every other adoptees story, except the fact that we were all adopted. The same can be said for every adoptee. Being adopted is different for everyone. Why do people think that there are only two models of adoptees – good adoptees or bad adoptees. And if there are only two models adoptees come in, then that also means they see us as merely shallow versions of human beings, and perhaps more like cute chains of paper dolls, which model should I pick my child from. That is the view I think some people have of adoptees and that sucks.