My friend Shadowtheadoptee and I email back and forth on a pretty regular basis. We are both at the stage in life where our parent(s) are starting to lean on us to ensure they don’t make mistakes, or to do more and more for them. See how nicely I can evade using terms that could upset people?
Our most recent conversation got me to thinking how ‘we’ (general ‘we’ not specific to all or every adoptee) have always in certain areas of our life (adoption), had to make sure our parents were okay as well as others in the room.
Things like insecurities over terminology, i.e. terms like real parents used for our other parents being next best thing to blasphemy, or ensuring we say our AP’s are our real parents – i.e. the right terminology to make everyone happy. Just one example of many and one of the more benign universal examples.
Other people’s perceptions about adoption, as a child I felt I must always put forward that being adopted is FAR superior than just being born and living with, you know, your biological parents – being adopted is WAY better. Doing that protected our parents from other people and their gossipy, nasty tongues.
Topics like searching had to be approached very gingerly, on tip-toes so to speak, and really made to seem not important, more like just a whim. Is it any wonder why you hear the terms ‘curiosity‘ or ‘medical history’ as the two most common reasons adoptees wish to search? Have you not figured out that they are the only two acceptable reasons too search according to both AP’s, and the world in general? Anything else is being disrespectful to those saintly people who took in the unwanted child, OR, it makes others look down on your parents as bad parents. The only solution as the adult is to provide the right answer that makes everyone happy and calm.
There are so many times I can remember being the adult that I could go on forever but it would be too specific and I am not willing to go there, I never go there because I have always been the adult, protecting the adults feelings.
As children, teenagers, young adults, we always had to be the adult to manage the adults feelings…
And as mature adults we are treated like forever children by AP’s who know better about adoption as they have gone through the process and are old-hands with 2 – 5 years of experience…versus our 25 – 60 plus years of being adoptees…but yet “they” are the experts doling out advice that is often not helpful, and is in fact unhelpful and damaging on a regular basis.
Legislators are just as bad or worse preferring to take the word of those ‘saintly‘ people who facilitated all those adoptions of you kids who weren’t wanted, so they must know best and we can’t change legislation to give you your original birth certificates, or make adoption laws tougher to ensure ethics. Despite the proven ethical concerns, i.e. entire country programs closing due to massive fraud and corrption, or a history of coercive tactics used on mothers, nor the fact they have made millions facilitating adoptions. They wouldn’t lie – I’m sure…
And now once again, our parents need us to be the adult in the room for different reasons this time, and we gladly do it, but it gets frustrating because quite often their memories have morphed over the last few years and anything they don’t want to remember is gone, and only the fluffy memories remain.
Sometimes I think we have had to be the adults in the room our entire lives…I am looking forward to my
second first childhood when I reach that age.
Disclaimer – this is not saying I did not have a normal childhood but when it came to adoption stuff being a child wasn’t possible.