The Art of dismissing the adoptee’s voice…

22 May
The Art of Dismissal must be part of adoption 101 – How to negate any valid information you do not want to hear, especially from ‘adoptees’.  It does not matter what we do or try, the defense mechanism raises that shield and they refuse to read and listen to what is actually written.  I can almost see them composing their reply while skimming the words. 
I am sorry you had a bad experience. 
Not all adoptees feel the way you do.
How do you know it is because you were adopted – biological children have issues too. 
Studies show adopted children do just as well as biological children. 
The reason more adoptees access mental health services is because we worked so hard to be parents that we are more aware and seek help, unlike parents of biological children.
How can you feel loss for what you never had?
Why can’t you just be grateful for what you have now?
My children will not feel like you do.
We try gentle words of wisdom gleamed through experience.  We try harsh words of anger born from being told to shut up and just be grateful.  We try reason, analogies and ongoing conversation as ways to get our point across, carefully measuring each and every word so as to not dismiss, negate or hurt them.  We try to focus on both the good and the bad in adoption as in everything in life there is both positive and negatives.
And yet to them we are simply children and the adoptive parents know better.  It does not matter that they are 20-30 years younger than we are.  They know better than those who have lived it, felt it, and both loved it and hated it.  We were little ones smiling, playing, enjoying the moments in life – being happy, we still enjoy being happy.  But we did not share the painful side with our parents because we could not, would not hurt them with the dark feelings that go along with being an adoptee, somebody older and wiser who had been there and done that needed to do that for us.  That is why we do it. 
We know the haunting questions that were never spoken aloud.  The unanswered questions of why was I not good enough.  The feelings of not being good enough, the silent tears slipping down our face when we were alone.  The feelings of belonging but not belonging, seeing the biological relatedness in others and never seeing ourselves in another.  The knowing we had another whole family we would never know.  The heritage and stories of ancestors that we could never have, celebrating the holidays following family traditions passed down each generation steeped in the traditions of the countries of origin.  The knowledge ‘they’ were out their somewhere, that we could pass ‘them’ on the street and never know it.  The subtle and not so subtle remarks we overheard about ‘our circumstances’ or being a bastard or illegitimate.  The snide remarks about single mothers, young mothers, uneducated, lower class, fathers not marrying the mothers and there must be a reason for that.  That we were part of someone else and that we had been given away for some reason.  That despite all the words spouted by others about love – we were not kept…how do you begin to know who you are if you do not know where you came from and why you are like you are? 
But the Adoptive Parents know all…
They have taken the classes to teach them what they need to know.
They have read the required 10 or so books.
They have read selected studies carefully reviewed by their agency as ‘acceptable’.
They know someone who was adopted and they are happy.
They ARE the experts – they are the parents.  They know that their love will conquer all…and that we just had a bad experience.
But at the same time many many adoptive parents have broken ranks and listened, actually listened to the words and pushed down the insidious defensive feelings because they recognised the truth in the message.  The penny dropped for them so why not others?  I am glad the children of  those parents will have the right and encouragement to talk when they feel sad.  To know their parents will listen and will still love them even if they talk about their other family.  That their parents will not make them feel like they have done something wrong by talking.
I still wish adoption did not have to happen…that I did not read articles bemoaning the demise of adoptable children…that there were no more hunting grounds to gather more children from. 

Posted by on May 22, 2010 in Uncategorized


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7 responses to “The Art of dismissing the adoptee’s voice…

  1. shadowtheadoptee

    May 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you for saying this. I have to wonder about the Aps, who, no matter how clearly it is spelled out, or obvious it is, just refuse to accept the facts of life that bring about, and the issues that occur, in an adoption. These Aps, who so easily dismiss the feelings of others, talk about their own feelings of isolation, anger, and the like? Well, hello, maybe if they took a good look at their own feelings of pain and loss, in whatever their situation is, instead of denying them, they could more easily empathize with the feelings their child may someday have. Instead, I fear they will teach their children that whatever the child might feel does not matter, and they should only feel what they are told to feel.

    I hope the type of AP thought process of, “my child will not feel that way, because I am to fabulous a parent for that to happen”, works out for them, and the child they adopt doesn’t someday learn to think and feel for themselves. Oh, my the disappointment these Aps will feel if their good, little, adoptee becomes more in tune with reality, becomes aware of inner feelings, and gets labeled an “angry” adoptee, who must have just had a bad experience, and possibly had Aps who weren’t good enough parents?


    • lea

      August 2, 2013 at 2:13 am

      love this article


    • lea

      August 2, 2013 at 2:23 am

      I have heard that saying so much it just want to make me cry it hurts so much when people say that not all adoptees feel the way you do people set the adoptee to feel like your the only one experiencing that bad ex[perience its so mean to say that to an adoptee people ARE SO MEAN AND SELFISH


  2. The adopted ones

    May 24, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I have been following a PAP Blog who is literally desparate to be a mother – her entire world evolves around that goal. She talks about the pain of what she has gone through and is going through on her journey to motherhood. She talks about the different adoptions classes as she progresses and what each class agenda was. But her focus is so clearly only about her needs and expectations. Her actual awareness of what her future child through adoption will feel is limited solely to the bonding period – after that magically its a done deal and no more worries…her ‘cute’ t-shirts she and hubby wear etc are so incredibly insensitive and sad. Her vision of ministering to birthmoms in the future and that by looking at how much love she has in her eyes when she talks about her child will convince them they are making the right choice to give their child to someone who can be a better mother…

    Honestly I do not know why I read her posts except to reinforce in my mind that there is and always will be the need to share the other side of adoption to the world – despite how tired I am of being dismissed.

    That it is not all sunshine and roses and that dna does matter and that we adoptees have a family that does not cease to exist the day our birth certificates are changed – that it is only that legally they cease to exisit but they will always still be our family too.

    That families should not be torn apart unless there is absolutely no other way. That the demand side fuels the need to find more supply and that in their quest to become parents – ethics, morals and many lives hang in the balance…and they must ensure it is the only solution – not just the easy solution or a means to an end for their benefit.


  3. shadowtheadoptee

    May 24, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Ah, the miracle of adoption! Two saintly, and well-deserving parents, through adoption, save a poor, unwanted, and unloved, child from two unfit and undeserving parents, giving that child everything it would otherwise not have had. Miraculously the child is so entirely grateful for being rescued from the pain and misery, which would have been inflicted on him/her by such poor, and pitiful, parents, that he/she just completely forgets his/her biology and existence before being adopted by such marvelous parents, who have given so much of themselves unselfishly, for this child they love so much. Love can do that you know. Yes, it’s a miracle, and we all live happily ever after.


    • The adopted ones

      May 24, 2010 at 7:31 pm

      Yep – that’s about it for sure…happily ever after…no worries, no thoughts about what ifs, no wondering why, no pull to know where you come from, no missing piece, wondering who you were…happy ever after. Everyone should be adopted…have a tattoo that says ‘dna doesn’t matter’…


  4. lea

    August 2, 2013 at 2:19 am

    I am adopted and I just love this article so much this speaks for adoptees thank you I know when I talk about my pain of adoption I get totally dsimissed like people don’t even want to hear what I say and I get so tired of people saying they want to know how adoptees feel and then when you tell them they say shut up your bothering me with your talk people are so mean to adoptees we need more encouragment like this instead of so much of the meaness that an adoptee experinces from people so many people talk like they care about adoptees but they don’t care



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