I read a recent motherlode blog post titled Why I didn’t search for my daughters birth parents. Nothing to say about the post itself, but as per usual I read a selection of the comments. Can’t tell you anything about the comments except for one that stuck in my mind and wouldn’t let go, so I am going to break my feelings down here.
The comment was made by a friend of the parents whose children are now adult adoptees. Telling not only the parents story, and what they did, but also the adult adoptees stories. With enough facts that if you were one of the family, or knew the family being talked about, you could probably guess who it was about.
Usually it doesn’t bother me too much when people bring out their stories of my friend, or a friend of my cousins brother in-law, but the first trigger is the extraneous details not needed that I am not including below. Use the story but at least keep it generic – I have friends who adopted children who are now adults…
“They encouraged all of them to keep in contact with relatives there, but one daughter refused. My friends did keep in touch with her family, however, and eventually persuaded her to at least meet them. She said, though, that she knew who her family was, and felt no need to have another. So there are adoptees who couldn’t care less. Her siblings were more receptive to their birth families.”
The second trigger is dragging out the “see some adoptees don’t think about their other families and the adoptive family is enough” stereotype pitting the good adoptee against the bad adoptee, that came through loud and clear with the “So there are adoptees who couldn’t care less” part of the statement.
Perhaps the adoptee didn’t care, she isn’t here to tell us and it was the commenter who provided that couldn’t care less judgement of what the adoptee felt. If the adoptee had said it then the commenter would have stated: She said, though, she couldn’t care less and that she knew who her family was, and felt no need to have another. But the commenter didn’t state that – she added her own narrative to the story saying So there are adoptees who couldn’t care less without knowing what the adoptee in question actually felt, or didn’t feel, because it was third hand information. That triggered me.
Whatever reason the adoptee chose not to have a relationship is her own. I doubt it was as cut and dried and callous as the commenter makes it out to be. Adoptees are human beings, not paper dolls after all, and as humans we are capable of making complex emotional and rational decisions, based on what is best for us at that time and place in our lives. And like many of the decisions we make in life, we don’t always lay out exactly what thoughts and considerations went into making that decision, especially to a parent to pass on to a friend of that parent.
When I hear stories related by others they always make it seem so cut and dried, easy, no thought or emotion invested – the answer given is the sum total of all her feelings. As an adoptee I can come up with multiple reasons that may have been part of her thought process to come up with her decision to not have a relationship. Any adoptee can run through the different thoughts and feelings they have had at one point or another. We all have complex stories to unravel with complex feelings that change at different times, throughout our lives. Shadow has talked about how she never thought much about adoption until she got her diagnosis, and then the emotions and the processing started. I thought about being adopted from the time I was a child, and processed different parts, at different stages, and have had a myriad of different feelings and thoughts on being adopted. We are all unique. We all go through the process different, and feel different, at different times. Why is that so hard for people to understand?
My story is different from every other adoptees story, except the fact that we were all adopted. The same can be said for every adoptee. Being adopted is different for everyone. Why do people think that there are only two models of adoptees – good adoptees or bad adoptees. And if there are only two models adoptees come in, then that also means they see us as merely shallow versions of human beings, and perhaps more like cute chains of paper dolls, which model should I pick my child from. That is the view I think some people have of adoptees and that sucks.