Tag Archives: heritage
Although this talk is on another subject, it provides very good food for thought for those who don’t speak up and demand accountability when you see something done wrong in adoption.
You don’t need to watch, just listen. Read the rest of this entry »
November 16th prompt…Knowledge About Your Adoption
Some adoptive parents share more than others for various reasons. How much of your adoptive parents’ story was shared with you? If they shared details about your adoption, how did that make you feel? If they did not, do you wish they had? Did your parents share with you why they choose to adopt? Did they share that story with others in your life? If so, did it affect you in any way?
Mom and dad shared exactly what the SW told them, and that part of my story was they were asked to adopt me, when they weren’t looking to adopt again. Everyone knew we were adopted – there wasn’t anyway they could have hidden it if they had wanted to, so I am sure my entire four sentence story was shared with at least those close – really how could they have abbreviated it anymore than that…
Every time talk about an adoptee’s story comes up - I am drawn to look back to the posts I have done about Chimanda Adichie – “The Danger of the Single Story”
This is a snippet of what I said in my post on November 20th 2011…about what Chimanda Adichie says in her talk - and how I related to it.
In the talk she shows time and time again with anecdotal personal stories how our impressions and views on an individual are shaped only by what we know about one part of who they are.
She states “It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power. There is a word an evil word that I think about “oncarli” (my phonetic spelling), it’s a noun roughly translated “to be greater than another”. Stories to are defined by the principal of “oncarli”, how they are told, who tells them, when they are told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power. Power is the ability to tell the story of another person but to make it the definitive story of that person.”
As an adoptee in a closed adoption with knowledge that I would never know my family, my ancestors, my nationality I had one Single Story of them. A Single Story passed to my mom and dad from the social worker. That story consisted of four sentences. Once the court opened my records and I met my family, I learned that story had no truth to it at all. But it had been MY Single Story of my family for over 40 years. The power was held by the social worker who crafted my story, each sentence had the smallest grain of truth and a liberal helping of borrowed or changed information designed to ensure that even if I searched, with those facts I would fail.
I think Chimanda Adichie provides the very best advice to adoptive parents in her talk. What I took away in part was - be aware that you are telling only one story of another person - tread very carefully with the terms you choose to use, and how you tell the story, and how limiting that story actually is. Recognise the power you hold over making that single story - the only story anyone hears and remembers – you don’t know all the stories – just the one story you were told.
This is what I said about this ted talk back in 2010…
Adoption is not part of this video but it speaks so loudly about it that every single person involved in the adoption world must hear the words in this video. Please take the time to listen to her words they are important. None of us comes with a single story, nor is one story the only story you must hear on anything.
Even if you have listened to the talk before – it is worth listening to it over again, I can’t stress that enough.
I was interested in reading about the film “Somewhere Between” and clicked on the link to a review and was deeply disappointed. I left the link open, and continued on reading the news of the day and favorite blogs. Having cleared my mind, I returned to re-read the review, hoping I had been wrong in the tone and content. Sadly, the review read the same, and yet, I wanted to give the writer the benefit of the doubt so I went and read other film reviews she had written. Listening to the tone and looking at her words in other reviews, I came away with the opinion that she could not leave her role in adoption out of this review.
The opening paragraph states statistics of adoptions from China to the US and the reasons. The second paragraph has nothing whatsoever to do with the documentary.
Waiting for them at this end was the pent-up parental longing of thousands of infertile couples, single women (and a few single men) and gay and lesbian couples. I was one of those parents-in-waiting, and trust me, by the time I traveled with 11 other families to Guangzhou to pick up our babies, you could have put pet rocks in our laps and we’d have loved them to bits.
The writer goes on to describe in detail the type of parents each of the four girls had who were in the documentary, and reunion of Fang and her parents in China. Then to me, her bias shows through even stronger.
That aside, all four girls are thoughtful, moving and imaginative on the subject of their split identities. Haley thinks of herself as a “banana,” yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Describing herself as “stuck between two countries,” Fang laments that she’s always trying to compensate for the fact that she was abandoned because she’s a girl.
Watching the tears roll down Fang’s otherwise cheerful face, I wondered whether she’d be this sad if she wasn’t facing a camera. On the plus side, Somewhere Between is refreshingly free of the cloying, one-size-fits-all dogma that sometimes bedevils the adoption community. (I parted company with my chosen adoption listserv when I got tired of hearing about “the holes in all our daughters’ hearts.”)
Finally, in my opinion, her bias is cinched by completing her review of this film by having the last four paragraphs of the review be about her and her daughter, and how her daughter has no issues.
I understand that she is a film critic and works for NPR and is the reason NPR had her do the review. I think she should have recused herself. Here are a few links to other film reviews she has written so you can see the difference I saw between them, (or not).
Edit: 8/25/2012 – Malinda at Adoption Talk also talks about this review that is worth reading. Another Adoptive Parent Tells Adoptees How They Should Feel
A day I have looked forward to since 2005 when I learned my father’s name and after I found out he did not want contact. A date when I could start exploring my family history by learning the names of my paternal grandparents in the 1940 census. The starting point I needed to start my final family tree.
The day I was counting down to in this post.
Well, that day has come and gone. That day I logged on and was disappointed. The next days and the following week were disappointing too. Seven weeks later I am still disappointed. The hype leading up to it and after as a paid subscriber of ancestry.com was intense. The lack of specifics that the census would be released but not searchable, must have been hidden deep in the advertising because I did not see it. The ongoing lack of any projections on when states would be searchable is not visible to me on the site. To date they have the following states - NV, DE, DC, ME searchable – seven weeks later this is all they have done. Any other state you need to at least know the district and then must scan through each page individually from that district. I don’t know the state, let alone the district. I have an idea of which state they may have lived in, but other than an idea I have zero information except my father’s name and age at the time of the census. My grandparents could have lived in any state for all I know. That’s a lot of districts in a lot of states to search each page from the 1940 census. What good is having that subscription if it does nothing for me?
It is excruciatingly painful to be so close and yet so far…after waiting so long.
It makes me angry that I still don’t know the other 50% of who I am…
I’m getting downright snarky…I just want to know and really don’t think it is too much to ask to know when they expect to have each state, by state, indexed and searchable. Is that really so much to ask?
The 1940 US Census will be released April 2, 2012 - just 70 more days to wait – kind of like waiting for Christmas when you were a kid, counting down the days.
Once it is released for the first time in over 5 decades, I will be able to find out the names of my paternal grandparents, whether they were alive when I was born, when they died, what they did and where they lived. Whether I had aunts and uncles and who they were too. Perhaps even a picture or two if I am lucky.
I can start researching and documenting the paths that side of my family travelled. Who my great grandparents and great-great grandparents were. What they all did, where they lived, what land they originally came from, and when. What life was like in each era and place. Anything that will paint me a picture of who and what they were like, and what life was like for them.
I will finally know the other 50% of my ancestry, heritage, nationality, story. I can’t wait…have already waited far too long.
Anyone else waiting for the 1940 US Census?