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Language…

22 Jun
So I was reading several posts about Postitive Adoption Language and how people must correct those who use Negative Adoption Language and so on and so forth…be aware I am in an insomiac phase right now so let that be a warning that I am rather bitchy today (not that I am not most days but)…
PAL = Were adopted or Was Adopted;   NAL = Am adopted.
So if we want to do it right we adoptees must, according to the “PAL” police experts say we “were” adopted or I “was” adopted.  Now, being happy little people pleasing adoptees we should comply, right?  No more of the “I “am” adopted” as we don’t want to upset those “in the know“. 
But just to be completely clear by using the PAL “Adoption” is a ONE TIME EVENT, and that we “were” adopted, to me that means being adopted no longer applies so based on that concept, we should have access to our OBC’s just like all the other people.  If that is the case I would be happy to use that terminology as it ensures that seeing as I “was” adopted and not “am” adopted, I am no longer “less than“, rather I am “equal to“.  So perhaps the adoption lobbyists should get right on switching from opposing our rights to fighting for our rights and changing the legislation.  Let me know when that happens then I will consider changing my language – until then good luck with that. 
Oh and by the way – have you ever heard a biological child say they “were” the biological child or I “was” biological child?  Now I have heard them say they “are” a biological child or I “am” the biological child… 
PAL = Born to unwed Mother;   NAL = Illegitimate. 
This has me scratching my head wondering if they actually realize that the definition of illegitimate is “born to unwed mother”?  I personally don’t think it is anyones business and if questioned, just ignore it as one of those rude questions.  I know some adoptees hate the word illegitimate and that is their right to use what works for them. 
But honestly, do the people promoting PAL really think people are stupid enough not to get the fact that we are illegitimate if they use a four word description instead of one word?  Give me a break.  Your little adoptee is going to come home one day and ask what illegitimate or bastard means, so all your PC words really won’t help protect your child.  In reality being truthful and honest might make it not such a shock to be called a bastard or illegitimate on the playground. 
PAL = Made an adoption plan;   NAL = Surrendered for adoption
To me, telling your child that his mother loved him so much she made an adoption plan is the same as telling your child that anyone who loves him will leave him.  I’ll take she had no other choice but to surrender you for adoption over the adoption plan any day. 
I also wonder how the adoptees who were told their mother made an adoption plan and are happily blogging about how wonderful adoption is will feel…don’t you think it will be like a slap in the face?
And finally I have heard that “adult adoptee” is out and “adopted adult” or “adult who was adopted” is the proper terminology.
So I will assume the same applies to children…no more adoptees, rather, adopted child or child who was adopted, are now the terms?  Why not call them the “grafted child” or “grown in my heart child” – I’m kidding…
How about everyone just stop and instead let us determine what the right language is for ourselves?  You know the whole identity thing?  If we aren’t allowed to be who we are then what’s the point? 
Sorry, just really grumpy…
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50 Comments

Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Adoption

 

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50 responses to “Language…

  1. Von

    June 22, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    I’m a proud adult adoptee bastard who’s mother didn’t make an adoption plan or surrender me to adoption she was forced, as I was, into adoption.Time adult adoptee’s decided the preferred language for them, just as mothers and others do for themselves.I refuse to be dicated to on the ‘right’ language which makes others comfortable because it distorts the truth.Don’t apologise for being grumpy, we all have a right to be annoyed about being dictated to and our wishes ignored.

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    • The adopted ones

      June 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm

      I use surrender for pretty much the same reasons you used forced – she had no choice. Perhaps that is just a geographical/culture terminology difference?

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  2. cb

    June 23, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Remember those TV programmes “Grumpy Old Men” and “Grumpy Old Women” where well known middle aged men and women talked about what irritated them about life? We should have one called “Grumpy Old Adoptees” lol. I bet we could fill up quite a few episodes lol

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    • The adopted ones

      June 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      Perhaps I should make a tag to apply to posts where I am showing my age/grumpy…great idea.

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  3. cb

    June 23, 2011 at 2:36 am

    I came across a site called Parentingtree org which had 10 keys to using positive adoption language. I tried to link it but it won’t paste, however if you google “parentingtree” and adoption language, it will probably be first link.

    Some of it made me laugh (not necessarily in a good way):

    “1. The adoptive parents are the “real” parents. The real parents are the grown-ups who will take care of the child every day and for the rest of their lives. When referring to who gave birth to the child, simply say birth parent or birth woman. A biological father is not referred to as the real father, but the biological one.”
    Good to know mum and dad will be taking care of me everyday and for the rest of my life. I think as an adult, I am quite capable of taking care of myself lol. As for “birth woman”, really?!? In regards to “real”, that is for us to decide, no-one else.

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  4. veggiemom

    June 23, 2011 at 3:28 am

    As an AP, a lot of the language issues depend on who’s asking and how. If it’s some rude stranger asking about real parents in the store, I get angry. Tonight at the pool, Violet was swimming with two girls from her camp class…sisters who were both adopted into the same family (and yes, they immediately bonded over adoption). One of the sisters asked if Violet’s friends were real sisters. If that’s a term she’s comfortable with then I don’t care.

    Blueberry worries so much about being left. We’ve talked alot about adoption having nothing to do with love. I hate when APs use that concept and always wonder what their children will think.

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    • cb

      June 23, 2011 at 4:01 am

      When I was a child in the 60s/70s, it never bothered me when other children asked about meeting “real parents” because I was always aware it was just a terminology thing (after all, most children wouldn’t have known that the correct terminology is “biological”). It does irritate me more as an adult because adults should really know the correct terminology.

      The funny thing is that the very same adults who ask you about “finding your real parents” will then often turn around and say “you do realise your mum and dad are your real parents” LOL. That irritates me too because it is up to ME to decide who my real parents are. All 4 of my parents are “real” parents. There are 2 definitions of parents in the dictionary and one set of parents is one definition and the other set of parents is the other definition so to me they are all real (despite the fact that I will probably never know who my bfather is and will never get to meet my bmother (passed away before she was 40(and I can never type about her age without getting a lump in my throat ))).

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      • veggiemom

        June 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm

        That is so true about the people who ask about real family and then say who real family is. My older daughter lived her first 7 years of life with her family in Ethiopia. No one will ever convince her that they aren’t her real family.

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    • The adopted ones

      June 23, 2011 at 12:17 pm

      Rude strangers – I think it is best to ignore but at the same time…I never had an issue answering two-part/separating the she’s my sister from the no we aren’t biological – and it seemed to shut them up real quick. I don’t have an issue with it so why should you attitude.

      Love and leaving is really hard to disconnect from when you stop and think about it and what I heard was way less than what adoptees hear today. Teenage dating was horrible – they start to care I cut it off – but it finally worked out of my system but I did not recognise that was behind the instant shut down…perhaps if I had the phase would have not lasted as long.

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  5. Dannie

    June 23, 2011 at 4:21 am

    to “lighten the mood” a bit, I thought Illegitimate was the first PAL from the original term….I mean one of my colleagues (same age as my mother so 55) and my former pastor (I changed membership to another church) both have Bastard on their adoption paperwork…..you know the word that makes people go “gasp” ‘oh my such language’.

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    • cb

      June 23, 2011 at 5:06 am

      I’m a bastard and proud of it LOL.

      Obviously, the first generation PAL came in before 63/64 because I have “illegitimate” on my paperwork or perhaps NZers were “kinder” lol.

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    • The adopted ones

      June 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

      You are right – illegitimate was the replacement for Bastard…apparently I was born in the age of enlightenment as my papers have the X in the illegitimate box…it still makes me shake my head using the definition of illegitimate as a way to avoid the word.

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  6. marilynn

    June 23, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Getting pregnant and giving birth does not make a woman a real mother! It takes sweat-equity to earn the title of mother! The real mother is the one who is there for the child day in and day out year after backbreaking year, spending thousands on braces, and dance class and horseback riding lessons. Real mothers are the ones there to kiss the boo boos and scare away the monsters in the middle of the night. The title of mother has to be earned.

    What’s that? No they were younger than 18 when they started calling me Mom. When? Well, I was saying I was their mother as soon as the cord was cut before the ink was even dry on the adoption decree. What? Most of that stuff, I did most of it by the time they were 18. All but the horseback lessons, I made that up, my dad liked to play ponies and he said the little one had a nack for it.

    My name is Marilynn and I came over here from seeing your comment on Julie Shapiro’s blog. I’m just yanking your chain. I’m not an adoptive mom. I help separated families find and contact each other for free. I’m a pretend detective. The respectful adoption language thing is one of my favorite annoying things, ranks right up there with my alarm clock and dental drilling.

    I enjoyed your post.

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  7. shadowtheadoptee

    June 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Pal makes my head spin, such a contradiction. If people really believe adoption is such a wonderful thing, why do they need pretty language? If you called a rose a skunk, wouldn’t it still smell like a rose? If you called a skunk a rose, wouldn’t it still smell like a skunk? An illegitimate child is a bastard, and a bastard is an illegitimate child, and both are children born to unwed mothers. Am I misunderstanding something? I know, as an illegitimate bastard, born to an unwed mother, I’m not quite as, uhm, well, intelligent, as a child born to a married woman, unwanted because, well, everyone knows being a bastard is a disgrace, and well, in general just all around defective? Considering, well, I should just shut up and go back under my rock carrying my shame, and disgrace, with me. Oh, please. Give me a break, but for those of us, who remember the stigma, and I have no doubt, though maybe not to the extent some of us experienced, but that stigma still exist some today, PAL will not change the facts, nor will it erase the stigma that goes with adoption. It is what it is.

    Adoption plan? There was no plan when I was born, any more than there is a “plan” now. Unwanted pregnancies are not something you “plan” for. They are a problem that needs a solution, whether that be parenting or placing for adoption. My stomach turns every time I read” she loved you so much, she made an adoption plan”. AO, you are so right. When Aps tell their children this, it is the same as saying to them, “when someone loves you, they give you away; they leave.” As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. (Sigh) Most of our birth/original/natural/first/women/ladies, who carried us in their tummies, did not truthfully plan anything. They did what they felt they had to do, what they felt, at the time, was their only choice.

    In the 60s and 70s, no one had to tell me I was an illegitimate bastard. As a child, I heard the words, learned what they meant, and was smart enough to put two and two together to get four. I knew that’s what I was. I knew what that meant about me. I knew the fact that I, was/am adopted, could never change that, nor would it ever hide that fact, much less, change anyone’s mind as to their opinion of what that made me. I am what I am. I am who I am. All those pretty words trying to make me, and adoption, something it is not, well, seriously, it pisses me off. Do people really not see how they are only reinforcing the stereotypical little bastard? Do they really think we are that stupid, and will never figure it out for ourselves? Even as children, we don’t, and never did, need anyone to tell us. The truth is the truth, and it can’t bbe hidden, no matter how much our parents try to protect us, or what kind of pretty language they use to make us, and themselves feel better.

    As an adoptee, do you guys remember the first time you realized the truth, heard the words illegitimate and bastard, and then put the definition of those words together with your situation? I was just a kid in grade school. To my recollection, no one has ever called me either to my face in my 40 some odd years of life. No one ever needed to tell me that I was illegitimate or a bastard. I figured it out for myself. I never asked my parents about it. There was no need to. Knowing the stigma behind it, why would I? It would have been emotional suicide.

    My parents never used positive adoption language. They never knew there was such a thing. They just told us the truth, at least, as much as they knew. I can’t tell you how many adoptees I see today, who were told such positive things, and how difficult it is for them, when they figure it out for themselves, the truth about adoption. What a slap in the face it is to them as adults to have grown up, honestly, believing that adoption somehow made them so much more special than any other child, and then realize the reality after giving birth to a biological child of their own, or, in general, maturity, and life experience, reveals the reality, and truth, of adoption.

    I am an adoptee. Parts of that fact suck, and parts of that fact don’t. Pretty words cannot change any of the facts about adoption, or being an adoptee.

    Ha, “The Grumpy Old Adoptee Club”, I like it. LolHey, this should be a new reality show. What do you guys think?

    Mari Lynn, you scared me for a minute there. Lol I, when I can, occasionally help adoptees search, and reunite too. Welcome.

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  8. The adopted ones

    June 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Shadow – you always manage to make me laugh with your just get real folks attitude. Perhaps I should try to figure out how to put “The Grumpy Old Adoptee Club” on the header…probably take me a million years but something I could try.

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  9. shadowtheadoptee

    June 23, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Oh, excellent idea AO

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  10. shadowtheadoptee

    June 23, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    and then, T-shirts? Aftter all, adoption isn’t rocket science, and I’m not a rocket scientist. lolPAL=pacifying adoption lingo?, Pack of adoption lies??, Put a lid on it? (heavy sigh) Sheesh.

    So, if I am no longer an adoptee, and am an adopted adult instead, wy can’t I have my OBC, cause, that means I am no longer an adoptee, and it’s only adoptees who can’t have their OBC? Did I get that right? All this thinking about Pal hurts my little adopted, adoptee brain. Oh, it’s almost time for Judge Judy…Yeah!…educational T.V. at it’s best, and people think adoptees will buy into PAL…pppfffttt. Oh, the news is on too…guess which I’m watching?

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  11. Von

    June 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Grumpy Old Adoptees’ Club…please can I join?
    Marilynn I’m really not sure adult adoptees need their chain yanking, go yank your own chain!

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    • The adopted ones

      June 23, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      Hey Guys – I figured it out!!! And I used Von’s words with the apostrophe after the “e” as I am assuming she is right and I never can remember the rules. Top right corner.

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  12. Dannie

    June 24, 2011 at 4:35 am

    I can’t believe you guys are calling yourselves old…..my mother is 55 y/o so born in 1955….IF you are older than her, then I guess you’re “old”….but if not, whatev! 😀 I know for a fact that at least 2 of of you are younger so there! 😀 I did like your change of ‘grumpy old adoptees’ blog’ though, made me laugh.

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    • The adopted ones

      June 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      I was called ancient by a 20 something when I was 32…age is relative…old suits me as with age comes wisdom…at least we hope it does…and dannie…you were born with an ‘old’ soul – so there…

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  13. Raven

    June 24, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Okay, guys…is there any way I can become an honorary member of “The Grumpy Old Adoptee Club”? I know I’m just a Birth Woman and Barfmuggle…but I still want to join! Please???

    Dannie, I was born in 1954, which makes me one year older than your mother. I’m feeling rather ancient lately, lol. An adoptive mom wrote on her blog that the women from the Baby Scoop Era who follow Lorraine Dusky’s blog would make “good grandmothers”. Too bad my son is gay and isn’t interested in raising kids…

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    • cb

      June 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      Boss Adoptee (that’s you, AO, just in case you were wondering lol) – perhaps we can allow Raven to be our “Chief Birth Woman” or “Birth Woman in Chief” lol.

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    • Dannie

      June 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      well Raven, I dub thee my daughter’s honorary Grandmother. She can never have too many.

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  14. shadowtheadoptee

    June 24, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Judge Judy…lol Well, it was that, or nonstop, coverage of the “breaking” story of the police chasing a guy on a Harley davidson, who was wanted by the Feds. Actually, I just turned the television off. I will admit, Judge Judy, and Dr. Phil, though I rarely watch either, have motivated me to try and figure out how I, too, can get paid lots of money, and become a celebrity, just by telling stupid people, with no common sense, that they are stupid and have no common sense.

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    • The adopted ones

      June 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      Write more blog posts for this blog…start the road to fame or at least the title of grumpy old adoptee!

      I too got to see the stupid police chase of the guy on the Harley on the news this morning, must have been a slow news cycle (pun intended).

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  15. shadowtheadoptee

    June 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    lol I’ve been trying, but keep having brain freezes. Maybe I’m in good adoptee denial mode? More likely just lazy. lol Hmmmm, maybe I could become the “Earl Pitts” of adoption? lol In his fames words, with a little creative liberty, “Wake UpAdoption World!”

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  16. shadowtheadoptee

    June 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    If AO is Big Boss Grump, Raven could be Mamma Grump?

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  17. Dannie

    June 24, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Oh my WORD! I love all of you guys….you are making me laugh out loud this morning. Thanks for that! (and now back to your regularly scheduled “old grumps” conversation)

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  18. The adopted ones

    June 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Have any of you read Grumpy Old Fart blog on wordpress?

    Big Boss Gump agrees Raven can be Mamma Grump…

    Dannie can be Young Child Grump disguised as Always Happy Grump…

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  19. shadowtheadoptee

    June 24, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OumOayYHrGw My model for success as I embark on my new, get rich and famous endeavor?

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    • The adopted ones

      June 24, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      That made me laugh…

      How are you surviving the heat? Its about 60 here and another drizzly day that has me hiding inside.

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  20. Von

    June 24, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Hey All, I’m 66, is that ancient enough to count as old and grumpy? Remembering back to the days when the 3R’s were important I’d guess that ‘ is in the right place!

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    • The adopted ones

      June 24, 2011 at 11:35 pm

      If you are old enough to know about the 3R’s then of course you old enough to join the club Von…are you old enough to know what the MRS degree is?

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  21. declassifiedadoptee

    June 25, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Ahhh, Positive Adoption Language, or as I like to call it “Adoption First” Language or “Take your Feelings and Shove it” Language lol.

    And “Adopted Adult” grammatically speaking, means that someone’s adulthood is adopted, which isn’t true either oh dear promoters of PAL out there. lol. We’re never allowed to grow up.

    I am an adult adoptee who was surrendered to adoption because the circumstances that weighed against my mother at the time left her no other real option but to surrender. PAL will never pretty that up for us.

    Great post!

    Veggiemom, the problem with PAL is that it seeks to protray adoption as an institution positively at the expense of not portraying the people it effects positively or realistically. So if “real” suits something that is positive for an adoptee and suits a particular conversation, I think that’s OK (not that I’m the queen of deciding lol. JMHO).

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    • The adopted ones

      June 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      “Take your Feelings and Shove it” Language

      pretty much exactly what PAL does – we will tell you what to say, how to feel, how to behave…

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  22. Raven

    June 25, 2011 at 3:51 am

    Mamma Grump sincerely thanks Big Boss Grump and the Amazing Shadow for allowing her entrance into The Grumpy Old Adoptee Club. Lord knows, I think I need a new place to hang out. I think “they” are gunning for me at you-know-where – my posts keep getting deleted with no warning or explanation…and I’m either confused or paranoid, I can’t decide.

    Mamma Grump thanks Dannie the Young Grump for making her an honorary Grandmother to Dannie’s Littlest Grump. Does that mean I get to spoil her rotten? I promise that I won’t indoctrinate her into Barfmugglehood…but she might have to fight me over the Lincoln Logs and Tinkertoys…and eat a lot of homemade vegetable soup.

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    • The adopted ones

      June 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      You too huh…

      I love it when comments turn into just plain old having fun (ooops – sorry – I mean grumpiness…)

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    • Dannie

      June 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      Dannie the young grump approves of Mamma Grump spoiling the littlest grump. Vegetable soup is awesome for us veggie tarians so that is approved, and anyone that thinks my chihuahua is cute and wants to “steal” her is evidence of a kind human being so it is decided then! Maybe mamma grump will be fighting the young grump instead for the Lincoln Logs and Tinkertoys…(my FAV) oh wait this is about littlest grump…nevermind.

      Well littlest grump will get the “real” language….after all she didn’t “move up in the world” staying with her mother or with me she would be raised by a single mom….so we’re a bit of a different breed….!!!!!

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  23. shadowtheadoptee

    June 25, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Ao, ah, yes, the heat, I am accustomed to it, but stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day, and drink lots of water. It’s not so much the heat, as the humidity, which has been really high, that gets me; sucks all the energy right out of a person. The goal for the next two-three months is to just keep alive the tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber plants. If I’m lucky, they will start producing again the end of September. The rest of the garden is history for now. They don’t call it the lazy days of summer for nothing Down here. Lol My town is sponsoring, and starting a music jam on the square in a couple of weeks. It’s under a little pavillion, outside, near the courthouse. I think they are crazy. Who wants to sit out side in 90-100 degree temps and pick guitars? That’s nuts, and yes, I’m going to go check it out, and probably sit in myself. lol

    I have a name for Von. I hope she will like it? How about Wise old grump, or Eldest/elder Grump? Still working on one for CB.

    Oh, Raven, you know you are welcome here anytime. I just got tired of argueing with folks, who just want to argue, or when backed in a corner ignore my questions. Makes me want to tell them, if you can’t play with the big dogs, stay on the porch. That’ll make em mad, since a few of them rread here too. Lol and they think we don’t know.

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  24. Von

    June 25, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Shad…love it!!!!! Grump the Elder suits just fine! Makes me sound like a Hobbitt and that fits too!Hope you’re all having a great day in Grumpiland.I’m actualy rather cheerful and lacking in grumps, my dear daughter is here for the w/e and we’re having fun, just hanging out, talking, eating, chocolate features. See, adult adoptees can have lives too!! It’s not all anger,ingratitude and ‘wallowing in misery’.
    Raven where is ‘You Know Where’? Is it a land far away beginning with O or Somewherelseville?

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    • cb

      June 26, 2011 at 7:09 am

      So what grump am I? Do I have a special name? Or am I just one of the general Grumpettes?

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    • Raven

      June 27, 2011 at 4:56 am

      Von, you’ll know that you’ve arrived at the “You Know Where” forum when you find yourself being attacked for no reason by a certain group of AP’s, other than the fact that you refuse to drink the Kool-Aid. I’ve been living adoption for the past 39 years now, and these 30-something’s keep telling me that the BSE never happened, or if it did, it couldn’t have been nearly as bad as I remember.

      They also like to stalk some of us throughout the blogosphere. I’ve gotten some messages from a couple of them behind the scenes, telling me that I better watch what I say because they “have their eye on me.” Nice, huh?

      Big Boss Grump and the Amazing Shadow: How about a blog entry on how what we’re witnessing now in adoption-land is worse than the BSE ever was…

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      • Von

        June 27, 2011 at 6:02 am

        Really? Just doing a little research, you’ll find me at Von66.I’ve touched on it in the past maybe it’s time for a revisit!

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  25. Von

    June 26, 2011 at 8:19 am

    I do rather like the idea of The Grumpettes!

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  26. shadowtheadoptee

    June 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    CB, great minds…I thought about grumpette, but…grumparoo also came to my mind for you, but I’m thinking no, not really, doesn’t fit really…need to give a name for you more thought…hmmm.

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  27. shadowtheadoptee

    June 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Sister Grump? and not like a nun sister, like a sister sister.

    Like

     

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