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Adoption and Stereotypes

01 Nov

By TAO

November 1st prompt…There are a lot of stereotypes when it comes to adoption.

How do you NOT fit the stereotype?

The stereotype: If you are a verbal adoptee who blogs or posts on forums then you are unhappy.

I am a contented person who loves gardening, reading, my animals, and nature.  I am a homeowner and wife, but I am not cut out to be a housewife.  I thrived in the business world, and mourned my retirement.  I am very interested in politics, science – primarily medical and genetic advances, and protecting the environment, and now, learning everything I can about adoption past, present, and future.

My impetus to joining the on-line world came when I became sick, and found out my family health history would have provided a detailed road map to the risks I faced.  Once on-line, I found out the adoption agencies, and adoption advocates and awareness groups, have done nothing meaningful to alleviate the risks of living your life without your family health history since I was adopted so many years ago.  I have routinely checked over the years, and it is not even a topic for study, or improvement, and that makes me feel sick inside – knowing others will be affected like I was.  I was frustrated then, and am frustrated now, by the complete lack of concern I find in this area, that it is just the risk accepted on behalf of the future people adopted.

My journey evolved into learning the history of why adult adoptees all over the states are denied the right to their own history and original birth certificates, and the sheer number (in the millions) of adoptees like me out there.  How demeaning it is to always be considered a child to be protected from our own history, while simultaneously seen as a threat to our own mothers by those in adoption, further compounded by the stereotype of how mothers would choose abortion than having the threat of one day meeting their adult children hanging over their heads.  How full of stereotypes and lies that propaganda really is.  The picture that is painted of what they actually think of adoptees – is mired in stereotypes  of us from the 1950’s.  How unwilling adoption advocates and awareness groups within adoption are to support adoptees in changing the law – rather – most will fight tooth and nail to keep the status quo – and you really have to ask what exactly do they have to hide?

What’s your least favorite stereotype?

That all mothers who surrender – willingly chose adoption. 

That wasn’t true in my era, and from talking to mothers today – it isn’t true now either.  It breaks my heart when any mother who would be a great mom “chooses adoption” because it is the only good solution because we as society, haven’t been willing to give them a hand-up in the early years.

There are even stereotypes in the adoption community. How do you fit into those stereotypes?

I don’t fit into any of the stereotypes, nor do most people I have met.  I found this quote that sums up my experience within the adoption community.

Stereotypes are devices for saving a biased person the trouble of learning ~ Author unknown

*****

While I was writing this  – I was also listening to this ted talk…

Lemn Sissay: A child of the state

Literature has long been fascinated with fostered, adopted and orphaned children, from Moses to Cinderella to Oliver Twist to Harry Potter. So why do many parentless children feel compelled to hide their pasts? Poet and playwright Lemn Sissay tells his own moving story.

(some views don’t show the Ted link – let me know if you see it in the comments, or to access the link to go to the comments)

Don’t miss Shadow’s thoughts about the November 1st prompt.

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11 Comments

Posted by on November 1, 2012 in Adoption

 

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11 responses to “Adoption and Stereotypes

  1. TAO

    November 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Just in case you can see the Ted talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/lemn_sissay_a_child_of_the_state.html

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  2. Luanne

    November 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    By talking about the stereotypes of adoption I hope it will help people understand that adoptees are one of the last groups of people who have not been considered for an updating of protections and rights.

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    • TAO

      November 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      Fingers crossed!!!

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  3. andy

    November 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I love your stereotype quote! Perfect. I’m going to have to try the link you just posted for the TED talk… I could only make it to the 9 minute mark and it stopped playing 😦

    I look forward to reading more about your story.

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    • TAO

      November 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      I will go hunt for a different one – not sure what is up with it – if the other link does not work you should be able to go to ted.com and Lemn Sissay in the search box. Strange they usually work fine.

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  4. www.afrikadvatage.com

    November 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    As an Adoptee, I too struggle with the first stereotype immensely. I wish to convey so much of my ‘heart’ and ‘mind’ in the hope that it will not be confined to all of the cliche stereotypes and labels that remain for Adoptees when they share but unfortunately my post ends up becoming 10% content and 90% disclaimers of explaining the fact that I get the fact that it exists. Or it just never makes it out into the real world. I am wondering what type of ‘new paradigm’ must exist outside of this ‘confined’ arena for others to truly hear/see/know the essence of Adoptees? 🙂 And what is the perfect/ideal ‘place’ that allows for Adoptees to share with out being conscious of that stereotype yet not be confined to preaching only to the choir? Open to your thoughts and thanks for posting!

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    • TAO

      November 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      Welcome…

      10% content and 90% disclaimers – I finally got to the point where I just refused to disclaim anything – I am an adult and older than most so why am I adding disclaimers regarding my childhood – some posts I will add at the end “include all the standard disclaimers necessary” or something like that if it is a more angry tone than usual (and I do get angry at times).

      Having to reassure the reader just allows the reader to keep the sterotype going. I have actually seen over the past year or so that without the disclaimers – a few more are listening – and those listening are also sharing with others and defending the point of view.

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  5. shadowtheadoptee

    November 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    I love that quote. so, so true itis, and a good reason to skip using any disclaimers. I wonder if disclaimers don’t just give those who don’t want to learn, or grow, and excusse not to “hear” what is being said?

    The disclaimer from adoptees of, “I love my parents” just makes my blod boil. Not at the adoptee, but that we even feel it needs to be said, when it should be a given. How dare anyone accuse me, or any other adoptee of “not” loving our parens jsut because we don’t continuously fart rainbows and unicorns about adoption, or even worse, assume I had a “bad experience”, or my parents were evil human beings, etc…!!!

    Sheesh, suddenly I feel like what’s his name in that tom Cruise movie screaming, “You can’t handle the truth!” lol

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    • TAO

      November 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      I do think it allows others to not hear what is said.

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  6. TAO

    November 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    If anyone want to hear more of Lemn Sissay’s story you can view the BBC Documentary at this link.

    http://www.lemnsissay.com/broadcast-2/video/

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  7. Snarkurchin

    November 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    The different answers being posted to this question are really interesting and informative. I’m not seeing a lot of us write about the same things; so take that, stereotypes! (-;

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