18 Jul

I understand the need for disclaimers in advertisements.  They are done to clarify so that the company is not accused of misleading the public in their ads.  The disclaimers are little asterisks or other symbols in a less that full disclosure statements in the main part of the ad and at the bottom of the page in small font the disclaimer symbol is first and a description follows. 

Ads from car dealerships, mobile or land line phone companies, health industry ads, special offer ads of all varieties use the disclaimers.  These disclaimers are required by law and help companies avoid lawsuits…

So why must adoptees use disclaimers?   I have come up with a couple of common mild statements made by adoptees that seem to require disclaimers and have included hypothetical reply statements to show the need for the dreaded disclaimer.   

First disclaimer:  This is not aimed at any person and I readily acknowledge that there are many adoptees and parents who regardless of their feelings think adoptees should have the right to know their family and would never make statements like this.

Many adoptees feel a loss of their family by birth

Reply by adoptee:  I don’t feel a loss but I had good parents, can you provide research that backs up your use of MANY ADOPTEES?  I know other adoptees who did not feel loss.

Reply by parent: My child is happy and well adjusted so she/he does not feel a loss, you must have had a bad experience.

Reminder to self – unless I want to use disclaimer detailing out how many MANY is by means of the dictionary definition of MANY, I should always use the term SOME.

I always wanted to search for my family  

(note I changed to singular to avoid the “MANY” comments – self censor works well)

Reply from adoptee:  I never felt the need to search because I had great parents and never felt the need to search because I was loved and made to feel special and chosen. ~ OR ~ I only searched to get medical history before I had children but I had no desire to search for other reasons.

Reply from parent: My child has said she/he has no interest because I am her mommy and we are her family.

Reminder to self – either note ‘for medical history only’ or include disclaimer detailing out how much I love my family and would not ever ever ever wish to replace them. 

And remember that if using the add on ‘for medical history only’ be ready for a parent to state they have two pages of medical history taken from a teenager that obviously is complete and includes knowledge of what has yet to happen to any family members…remember that there is NO NEED to SEARCH FOR MEDICAL REASONS.

I want to know who I look like and who I got my traits and mannerisms from

Reply by adoptee: I don’t need to know who I look like because my parents made sure I developed a strong sense of my own identity.

Reply by parent: Lots of families don’t look or act alike.  My sister looks nothing like me and neither of us resembles our parents.

Reminder to self – whatever…perhaps use the disclaimer I have always been curious if I look like anyone else, not a big deal, just curious.  Better still always include the disclaimer sentence regarding how in both mom and dads families you can tell they are related because they all look ALIKE…that may help…or not…nothing really seems to change some ones mind.

I want to know my roots and where my family comes from, the nationality of my ancestors

Reply by adoptee: My adoptive family is my family and besides I am American – what is the big deal.

Reply by parent: I don’t know anything about my family history – why can’t you be happy with your families history.

Reminder to self – apparently ancestry is not really necessary or important and there are no genealogists or family history websites and no one should create family trees or keep family stories alive – history is not important – what is important is family.  I must be just mal-adjusted and angry and lashing out.  Cannot come up with a disclaimer because it is so obvious that I am not in the minority here but being subjected to a closed minded person.

I want to know my family and who I was supposed to be

Reply by adoptee: I was meant to be with the family I am with now. ~ OR ~  God meant me for me to be placed with my family.

Reply by parent: I am sorry you had a bad experience and must have had bad parents.  What did they do wrong?

Reminder to self – always include the disclaimer that you love your family and cannot imagine a different life than what you had.  And if the parent asks the question of why you wish you were not adopted, regardless of the disclaimer you used – respond with yes and no, and that it is possible to love your family and realize the loss that would be to you, and still desire to have not been adopted and to have lived the life you were born into.

I want to meet my mother and father and know my story 

Reply by adoptee: I have no desire to meet my birthmother or birthfather and my parents told me my story.

Reply by parent: I am sorry you had a bad experience, what did your parents do wrong?


Really – why can’t we simply have the right to feelings of pain, loss of identity, loss of family, grief over what was meant to be but was not.  Why is it so necessary to make adoptees feel that they are mal-adjusted, ungrateful, mean and hateful for wanting a biological connection to them?  Biological connections make us who we are – how can that desire be a bad thing when we did not choose it?  We were born into one family and raised by another but we still are part of the first and by default part of the second so why not acknowledge both are who we are?  Why are we the ones stuck in the middle?  Why is it that our placements were ‘in the best interests of the child’ but once we become adults those ‘best interests’ are denied?  Why?

Why is it that the adoptees who claim no interest or loss or need to know are the most adamant and vocal?  Why is it necessary to repeat over and over that I am not like other adoptees who want to search, etc.  Sometimes I think of that old saying “he doth protest too much” and wonder if they ever feel the need if they will deny that need to save face…

Why is always and either/or – why can’t we have both?



Posted by on July 18, 2010 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,

6 responses to “Disclaimers…

  1. shadowtheadoptee

    July 19, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Well said. Why is it the nine months we spent in our mother’s womb negated? Why is it that people assume that a legal document, signed by a judge, and a new birth certificate, erases who we were before that document was finalized? Blank slates.

    How often do you hear mother’s talking about their pregnancies, and telling their children about when they were pregnant with them? If it’s alright for nonadopted people to want to know what their mother craved, and did while pregnant, why is it such a chock that an adoptee would want to know the same things? Why do people want to erase that part of us before we were placed and that paperwork signed?

    Why are non adopted children acknowledged from conception, but adoptees are only supposed to exist from placement and finalization of their adoption?


  2. shadowtheadoptee

    July 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Disclaimer…Expectations of loyalty placed on adoptees?


  3. The adopted ones

    July 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Totally missed the loyalty one…totally missed it. Lately I have been feeling the need to scream and vent…


  4. shadowtheadoptee

    July 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Vent away. I’m right there with you. I am tired of others putting their expectation of loyalty on me. I don’t owe my biological family, and I don’t owe my adoptive family. I’m tired of being made to feel like what I think, do, feel is wrong. I am who I am, and I am no longer going to ignore that so everyone else can feel better.

    When I first heard about Nancy V’s book “Coming Home To Self”, I didn’t really understand what that meant. I’m starting to understand it more and more. It has to do with loyalty. Everything you mentioned in the post boils down to loyalty. Whatever we say, whatever we do, we are made to feel disloyal to one or the other family. What do you think? What does loyalty have to do with anything in adoption? If we try to be loyal to ourselves, everyone gets mad. How many shows has Oprah, Dr. Phil, Ellen, and others aired talking about being true to yourself? How many books are written on the subject of finding your authentic self? If being true to your authentic self, and loyal to yourself is suppose to be the goal, is this only a goal afforded non adopted people? Are adoptees only supposed to be who others tell them they are, and can be? At times, it sure seems that way to me.

    Sorry if I’m rambling a bit. I spent so many years thinking it was me. Now I know it’s not me at all. Coming home to self is a good feeling, and there is only one way to get there. It’s not with disclaimers based on guilt for fear of disloyalty to birth family and/or adoptive family. I hope this makes some sort of sense. I’m just starting to really understand it all. Adoptees are expected to be loyal to everyone but themselves.


  5. The adopted ones

    July 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Your right, we must always think about the other people in our lives – which in itself is a good thing – but it becomes a bad thing when we have be always be like the chamelon (sp?) changing its colors for safety of other peoples feelings. When can we ever just be ourselves and accepted that we have thoughts and ideas that come from being who we are and not have to always talk the talk and walk the walk like the little loyal adoptee.

    Mom commented the other day that perhaps it might be better never to tell adopted children that they were adopted…it stunned me, silenced me, made me mad. Better for who? the child or the adults? The only thing I could come up with after picking up my jaw from the floor was – that would never work – as soon as you take science class you can figure it out – no way any of us could genetically related…I am still staggered by her statement and realize just how much dad was the driving force in our family. I hate it when I forget to point out the obvious fact that using mom and dads medical history would have definitely been bad…worse than having none which at least in this instance made me a blank slate with no preconceived hereditary illnesses to mislead the doctors with.


  6. shadowtheadoptee

    July 19, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Oh, wow. I’m picking my jaw up off the floor now too. What was she thinking?

    Secrets, lies, and denial, uhm, yeah, how’s that working out for all, uhm, most, uhm, some, uh, what the heck, any of us adoptees from the closed era, or closed and sealed adoptions now?

    It still makes me angry that had we not had these medical issues, we would have no way of ever knowing what we now know about ourselves. We would have no way of obtaining our records. It makes me even angrier when I think about my birth family and my adoptive family and how they have no idea of what had to occur before they could know me. Too much in adoption and reunion is taken for granted.



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