What is written vs. What is heard…

27 Jun

I find it an ongoing annoyance that what I write is not what people hear and am hoping to find a way to write in a way that will be heard – because including thoughts on my adoption/parents or not does not seem to make a difference.  I am also sure Shadow feels the same and perhaps why she has been so quiet lately.  A recent example is a post that has received hits since another blog linked to Shadow’s post on that same subject – fundraising

The first eight paragraphs of my post are about mom and dad – highlighting the fact that I hold them up as the caliber or standard of parents everyone else needs to strive to come close to…which I stand behind, but I get tired of needing to continually speak about, as I have lived more decades as an adult outside of the family home – than I did as a child – and it does not seem to make any difference.

The last of the first eight paragraphs states this: My parents had far more respect for us than to do anything like that.  We weren’t “charity cases” to be pitied and money given to help save us.  We weren’t adopted to be converted and save our souls.  We were respected as human beings who simply needed a home, and would not have subjected us to any of that.

Then I discuss my view of how “fundraising to save the orphan or charity case” (not the earning of extra money without bringing the adoptee into it) – that fundraising can be hurtful for the adoptee and I shows ways it can be.  This is the type of comment that tells me that what I write is not being heard.

From Rob: “I hope that you are able to get the help you need to help you be more at peace with your situation and that of your friends.”

I approved the comment but I am unclear how speaking out as an adult adoptee deems me as needing help because I voiced my opinion on “fundraising to save the orphan“.  That instead of going along with the status quo if it is too expensive – demand reform and if that reform results in less adoptees created then that is good because really who wants more adoptees created.

Is there any acceptable way for an adoptee to challenge current practices, or must we all simply roll-over and play the grateful adoptee to the saints who saved us?  Sometimes I think that is the preferred (or only) way for the adoptee to speak and that the more adoptees created – the better some would like it…and that saddens me deeply.

Somewhat off topic – it seems to be a requirement for an adoptee to speak about her parents (which I am happy to do), but yet I never seem to hear [adoptive] parents qualifying that they had great parents or speaking about them at all – before talking about something that might challenge the status quo in adoption – ask yourself why when we are the ones who actually lived it and are as old or older than you are…


On a completely different note – an update about my little amputee chickadee I talked about here – I didn’t see her for weeks and thought perhaps she didn’t make it, but then I saw her a couple of weeks ago and she’s still kicking and fighting to survive and just came for her first peanut of the day.  Life is good in my backyard!


Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, Ethics


Tags: , , , , , ,

15 responses to “What is written vs. What is heard…

  1. momsomniac

    June 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    It’s always frustrating when people read what was not written. Anyone can get their own “stuff” in there – and then handily refuse to see that. It must be triply frustrating for you when you write about this subject. People want to see adoption as something rosy, such that anything stated to the contrary becomes….something else.

    To expect you to perpetually qualify that you love your parents before you say *anything* on the subject is treating you as an eternal child. How maddening it must be to go ahead and do that and STILL have people hear something else. How maddening that adoptive parents who are NOT adult adoptees don’t face the same treatment.

    I have told Mr. Coffee that I’ll know we did right by all 3 of our kids if, when they are adults, they are comfortable telling us where we screwed up. It will be tragic is *one* of my sons has to jump through qualifying hoops before he speaks critically about me, adoption, or any other part of his experience. I hope we have moved past that by then.

    As always, thank you for your openness here.


    • TAO

      June 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      Mom – you are the best – have to run…


      • momsomniac

        June 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm

        good luck at the dentist! and I do not think you sound cold!


        • TAO

          June 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm

          Mom – funny thing is that I can’t think of anything mom and dad did wrong – well perhaps being too strict but I think that applies to any child/parent relationship…


  2. Kellie

    June 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Hi TAO,

    Thank you for both of your posts. I learn so much from adoptee blogs every day, and I appreciate what you have to say. I didn’t know about fundraising for adoptions until a month or so ago. It may have been your post that clued me in, I’m not sure? It is a disgusting practice, in my opinion. I would never contribute to such a thing.
    As far as “Rob” goes, it sounds like he may be a “fundraiser” himself. Or maybe just another disillusioned soul. I can see how people like that are hard to deal with. You are trying to make people aware of the tragedies that adoption can bring to a person. Trying to make them think logically and not emotionally in regards to adoption. Some people just don’t understand. I was one of those people. It took our own family adoption tragedy to open my eyes. If I’d have found your blog, or a blog like yours, in time, I could have saved myself and my family a lot of heartache. I may be late to the game, but I’m listening (or reading) and understanding now.


    • TAO

      June 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      Welcome Kellie – future posts will not go through moderation.

      Logically not emotionally – YES – I am first and foremost a logical thinker – perhaps that is why my posts come off as cold – who knows. I am happy to be challenged because that makes me think – I don’t like to be talked to like Rob did – who does.

      I would assume everyone goes into adoption naive – it is what you do to learn about it and are willing to think logically about it that matters.

      I will check out your blog but unfortunately have to go to the dentist to get a crown put on …oh joy…

      Thanks for posting.


      • Kellie

        June 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm

        I don’t think you sound cold, either. I’m married to a very logical thinking person. So, maybe I’m used to the “tone”? What REALLY frustrates me is he’s usually right!
        It seems to me if you make your decisions based on logic, you are more likely to get what you need emotionally. I hope that makes sense.
        Good luck at the dentist.


        • TAO

          June 27, 2012 at 7:59 pm

          It did and my husband shares your frustrations…he’s more likely to base reactions on emotions…makes for great conversations though on my end.


  3. shadowtheadoptee

    June 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I find it interesting that of all the things we have posted on this blog, two of our most popular post, are the two we wrote on fund raising. I pour my heart and sole out, in the hopes of helping APs understand, what adoptees may go through, baring my grief for the world to see, and what do they pay attention to, but a perceived criticism of a a practice in adopting that I find, as an adoptee, offensive. I stand behind my post even more today because of the response by APs. They have proven the point of everything I have said in that post time and time again. If that post strikes a nerve for APs, I can say, they either need to read it again, because they have not paid attention to what I stated, or they should take a good look in the mirror…if the shoe fits. I hope they will then read my post “I Cannot Deny It”, and get a clue.


    • TAO

      June 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      Shadow – that’s the trick is reading something that makes you mad and trying to determine if you missed the truth…


  4. veggiemom

    June 27, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Sadly, I’ve come to the conclusion that most APs/PAPs will only hear what they want to hear. If you (the collective you) aren’t saying “adoption is always wonderful” and “there are millions of infant true orphans waiting to be rescued from orphanages around the world” most APs/PAPs will automatically assume you’re anti-adoption and ignore you. It doesn’t matter what your role in adoption is, they can’t see beyond their desire to get that next child. Thank you for writing your truth. It resonates so strongly with my experiences in parenting my two daughters.


    • TAO

      June 27, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      Veggiemom – I know you have had your share of being verbally slapped around. You have the gift of thinking of others…sometimes the price is too much though…glad you got your storm shelter built – a worry off your mind for sure.


  5. b.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    First;I would like to say yes, I agree, and yes, thank you for writing about this experience openly.

    I hope you do not mind if I add another aspect here.
    It seems to be a common and general experience – and not limited to the writings of adoptees – that people very very often seem to read what they want to read, or look for proof for their already finished concepts and agendas. I have found this to be true even more for the internet blog sphere and forums. Someone wise, I don’t remember who, once said that more than three quarters of all the communication we are participating in day after day is about confirming our roles and attitudes and about confirming our feeling of belonging to a certain group of people.
    In quoting this, I do not mean to justify the way certain listeners/ readers behave, and of course I do not in the least want to imply anything like: “Thats how people are, no need to be frustrated”.
    I would, however, very much like to encourage you not to let this “not reading/not listening properly” discourage you. Please let me assure you there are adoptive parents who benefit greatly from what you have been sharing.

    Conversations between adoptive parents and adoptees can become extremely challenging at times, (if real conversations begin to take place, in the first place). But, at least in my view, they are the most beneficial way of improving in parenthood. And therefore thank you for offering what you have been offering.


    • TAO

      June 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      B – I believe we are all guilty of wanting to be affirmed that we are right, and I have to check myself regularly in many things from adoption to politics to just everyday stuff – sometimes I have to force myself to mull and not react instinctively…human failing we all share…just like getting frustrated…and I need to acknowledge I am not always right…

      We all need to have the ability to step back and listen because if there is a grain of truth that can make a difference we owe it to the future to consider how we play into shaping the future. Sometimes they are really small things like taking the time to recycle something that is easier to just throw away…but they all count.

      Hope all is well or getting better – miss your posts.


      • b.

        June 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm

        Thank you so much,
        infact, nothing has really been wrong, to begin with; we are preparing family reunion for the children and I find this extremely absorbing – and most of it not the organizing, but all the other components. It is difficult for me to decide how to go about this bloggingwise – because it is not really my story to share, and I bet I would share more than they would want, once they are a few years older …. Yet at the moment, if there are things I am interested in reading or I would be interested in writing about, it would be all about how it is to prepare for and (hopefully) accompany the reunion. So, that is why it wiil take me a while, until I have found a good way to deal with this.



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