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Shadow’s Thoughts on Stereotypes

01 Nov

By Shadow

Several years ago, when TAO asked me to join her here, I was a bit hesitant. My therapist encouraged me to join her, telling me it would be very therapeutic, and encouraging me to tell my story, because, in my therapist’s words, “It’s a story that needs to be told”. When I initially resisted, knowing from personal experience how telling my truth, my story, affected people, how they didn’t really want to hear the truth, and how angry people could get, she further encouraged me by pointing out how I was not afraid to talk about the difficult, unpleasant, and uncomfortable things in life. My therapist, an adoptive mother, emphatically stated, “These things need to be talked about! Somebody has to talk about it!” So, here I sit, on a beautiful day, the sun shining, listening to the birds singing outside, Oh, no, I just heard one of the cats getting himself into trouble on the front porch, as something just came crashing to the ground, and wondering what in the world am I possibly going to write about for the next 30 days.

My blogging partner, TAO, is so good at finding all the studies, articles, reports, and discussing things so intelligently. I, on the other hand, lean more to the emotional side, needing some kind of strong, emotional trigger before I can even come up with a sentence. She took the first prompt and ran with it. I read it and thought, “Oh, crap. What can I possibly say about any of this?” I have no idea where this will go, but what the heck? I’m going to give it a shot.

As an adoptee, and a blind person, I am a living, breathing, walking, talking, stereotype, whether I want to be or not, think I am, or not. I’ve been at war with stereotypes most of my life in one form or another. I’ve fought the good fight and, at times, it’s kicked my ass. However, there have been other times when someone actually got it, grew, and finally understood that I am not just some poor, helpless, blind person, and sometimes angry adoptee. I am a perfectly capable, sometimes intelligent, kind, caring, and compassionate human being, like so many other blind people, and adoptees are if given the chance. When that happens, and you see a bit of progress, even if it is one person at a time, it sort of makes the battle scars worth the fight.

The stereotype I find most interesting is the one in regards to my status as an adoptee, the ever so popular illegitimate child of an unwed mother. E, my first mother, told me once that one of the reasons she placed me for adoption was because of the illegitimacy stereotype. She had known a lady, who had kept her illegitimate child. She had watched how, not only the lady, but the innocent child, had been shunned, looked down on, and ostracized. She said she didn’t want that for me. She thought placing me for adoption would save me from the shame of that stereotype. I find it so interesting that adoption did not save me from the stereotype, or the shame. I find it even more interesting that it was because of adoption I felt that shame, because people simply assumed that to be the reason I found myself an adoptee. Yes, people treated me differently even though I had been adopted. I couldn’t escape that stereotype even through adoption.

I find it sad that it was the shame of that stereotype that E, my first mother, could never get past, so much so that she, herself, put that shame on me later in reunion. I have found the reactions, of my biological families, to my being such a stereotype quite interesting, amusing at times, and sometimes the reactions were very painful. Funny, how adoption became, and made me, the stereotype it was expected to save me from.

I suppose, this is, just one of the reasons, why I find it so offensive when I see how many adoption agencies, in their attempts to explain the benefits of an “adoption plan” for a pregnant woman seem to imply that the answer to all her problems is to place her child for adoption. It has been said many times. For many, adoption is a permanent solution to what, very well may be, a temporary problem. Now, that I’ve gotten through this first post, I wonder what tomorrow will bring? I suppose, I better go, now, and check to see just how much trouble that silly cat has gotten himself into.

TAO’s thoughts on this November 1st prompt

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12 responses to “Shadow’s Thoughts on Stereotypes

  1. Luanne

    November 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Thank you for this honest and haunting story.

    Like

     
  2. TAO

    November 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Needing the emotional prompt makes for a much more rewarding read though…just saying.

    Of course you are right – we were stereotyped as being illegitimate children – what other reason was there for the majority of us? Adoption didn’t solve that stigma – and I also get angry when I see the promotion to mothers that adoption is the solution to their “problem”…

    Great post as usual.

    Like

     
  3. andy

    November 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Your first post for the month is a great post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Like

     
  4. Snarkurchin

    November 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Powerful, well-written stuff, Shadow!

    Like

     
  5. eagoodlife

    November 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Great post and so true about shame following us.

    Like

     
  6. cb

    November 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    “The stereotype I find most interesting is the one in regards to my status as an adoptee, the ever so popular illegitimate child of an unwed mother. E, my first mother, told me once that one of the reasons she placed me for adoption was because of the illegitimacy stereotype. She had known a lady, who had kept her illegitimate child. She had watched how, not only the lady, but the innocent child, had been shunned, looked down on, and ostracized. She said she didn’t want that for me. She thought placing me for adoption would save me from the shame of that stereotype. I find it so interesting that adoption did not save me from the stereotype, or the shame. I find it even more interesting that it was because of adoption I felt that shame, because people simply assumed that to be the reason I found myself an adoptee. Yes, people treated me differently even though I had been adopted. I couldn’t escape that stereotype even through adoption.”

    That’s very true. We don’t escape the “illegitimacy” label just because we were adopted by married couples. In fact, I know I thought of myself as illegitimate because, being a churchgoing child, I remember being upset as a preteen when reading Deuteronomy 23.2 because it says this:

    “No one of illegitimate birth may enter the Lord’s assembly; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, may enter the Lord’s assembly.”

    I remember getting upset because I thought it mean I was doomed and asking my amum about and she quite rightly pointed out that it was a law of that time and that Christianity was based on the New Testament.

    Also just the fact that we are adopted means that it is obvious that we came at the wrong time in our mother’s lives, however much they may have grown to care for their unborn child.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  7. Starr

    November 2, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Shadow you are a great writer. Thank you for sharing your feelings and stories with us.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  8. shadowtheadoptee

    November 2, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Thank you all. I’m glad you liked it.

    Like

     
  9. Fran Whelan

    November 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    A permanent solution to a temporary problem – yep, that about sums it up. Nobody looks forward to the other problems it brings the innocent party

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  10. Valentine Logar

    November 3, 2012 at 11:57 am

    The stereotypes are the most powerful, what our birth or first mothers are attempting to shield us from are the very thing we carry forward. This is so true. Depending on when we were born it is more true and often the hammer used to keep us quite and ‘thankful’ someone wanted us.

    Shadow, this was wonderfully done. I look forward to more.

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  11. shadowtheadoptee

    November 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you.

    Like

     
  12. Mary Payne

    November 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Lovely Post, Shadow. Prospective adoptve parents who believe the birth mother is a horrible person because she had premarital sex should be disqualified to become parents. How can an adoptee feel good about himself or herself when the adoptive parent hates where he or she has come from? The home study should root out this destructive attitude. But I guess that’s wishful
    thinking. Thanks for your thoughts. They are powerful. Mary Payne

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