The older I get, the more I realize how life is just a series of phases. Some phases I admit to looking back on with a “what the hell were you thinking of” view, and others with great joy and laughter, and of course some were just so mundane that they just exist. Getting sick was the catalyst for the next phase in my life that included finding my adoptee voice, and actually seeing adoption outside of just “my” adoption story. I had no idea when I first came on-line just what would happen, and how I would move into yet another phase a few short years later…
The pursuit of knowledge phase
When I first came on-line, thirsting for knowledge of what my future would look like, and deeply in pain because the life I had created was irrevocably changed in a heartbeat. I updated my rusty knowledge of medical terminology through on-line sources, or, used my most trusted resource via a quick phone call to dad to get something explained. I craved knowledge, and took full advantage of every credible source possible. I learned as much as any layperson could, and learned how little knowledge was out there for my disease. I am proud of what I did, but that challenge is complete – for now – because denial is so much easier and less painful.
The denial phase I am in now
For the last couple of years, even though I still have more doctor appointments and yearly tests than you can shake a stick at – I have chosen to ignore the fact that I have a rare disease and just try to live my life. I don’t want to read about what’s new in the research, hear how others are doing, basically, I am burying my head in the sand hoping it will just magically go away. The joy of denial.
The knowledge phase also included finding my adoptee voice Before I got sick I used the internet primarily for work, but never thought there was any adoption community on-line, or what that would look like if there was one. It is very easy to understand why people who say they know adoptees who don’t worry about adoption, or go on-line to forums, because I would have been one of them. I had no clue that you could make friends and carry on in-depth conversations with other adoptees. An entire world that didn’t exist to me before I got sick. Coming on-line allowed me to find other adoptees and how much value it would bring to my life. Adoptees with similar feelings throughout their life, who experienced times when being adopted was hard, and other times, when you didn’t really think a lot about it. Being able to open up and talk about things with others was priceless, freeing, validating, and as I came to realize, very needed. A gift.
The denial phase also included the start of going deeper into adoption
The start of delving into the stories of mothers from my era, the current era, and in-between. History fascinated me and I started digging into the adoption laws, and practices by the agencies past and present, which included realizing that the counseling today – looks suspiciously like the counseling from my era, except they reversed the “tone” from “shame the mother into surrender” to “how brave the mother is to make an adoption plan“. The message of not good enough is still there, they just changed the spin. I learned a lot about what was good and bad in adoption today, as well as what happened in my era.
As much as I love the friendships and value the discussions and posts, there is the other side, the industry side of adoption today on-line. The disregard, or downplaying the totality of being adopted, and that did get me angry. For the first time in my life I got angry at adoption. An anger so deep it seethed inside me – because decades later, any reality that there was a downside to adoption was smothered with sugary words of “Adoption is beautiful”.” “Adoption is love.” “Adoption is…” No one wants to look deeper than the glittery surface that gives them what they want. No one wants to hear that there are deeply flawed practices, laws, processes that need to change to make adoption what it should be. That despite all the knowledge, tools, research, and voices available at their fingertips, few of the harder realities of what it is like to be adopted, are known, want to be known, or are willing to understood by those who most needed to know. Nothing is all positive, but you would never know that from how adoption is promoted on-line.
The next phase I am moving into…
Now I am finding myself almost at the point of not being able to find words – because I see the never-ending line of people who want to be parents to newborn babies, and know there will always be another group of people soliciting expectant mothers to “make an adoption plan” to fill that need. The sheer number of facebook pages promoting adoption haunt me, and when I see ads popping up on the side of “my” page for pages like “BraveLove” whose mission is increase domestic infant adoption – it instantly brings tears to my eyes, because why would anyone want to separate a mother and child? It is getting worse, not better, and I can’t see it changing.
“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough”
― Walt Whitman
Oct 2014: You may speak freely, but please try to use words that everyone can hear about your individual story or view. If you don't, those who can actually benefit won't hear it, I want to see change in my lifetime. I may refuse to approve certain comments.
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