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Phases…

20 Jan

By TAO

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.

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18 Comments

Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics

 

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18 responses to “Phases…

  1. eagoodlife

    January 20, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    I so agree.The adoption industry grew to be an industry worth millions of $$ and got clever in how it presents itself and how it ensures supply and promotes demand, in my view in the most unethical and immoral way possible.It is tragic to see so many ‘believers’ who are taken in, hoodwinked and blinded to the facts. Adoption has always been and will always be about the loss of a mother and family to a child who has no choice about living out an imposed life.

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    • TAO

      January 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      Ah Von – I truly miss your presense here and on your blog. I know you update us now an again but it seems like you are kind of liking your new phase – at least I hope you do.

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      • eagoodlifeon

        January 21, 2013 at 5:43 am

        Hi there, lovely to be missed, thank you! Miss you too! I love it and I hate it – I don’t miss the nasties, the blustering bullies and the misinformed, but I miss writing and have been glad to do some today at last.My health is poor still with little change in sight.I really liked your post and am definitely in a new phase, who knows what it will bring?There is a certain peace and a sense of being finished with some aspects, not with others. It’s got very personal -my health is a direct result of my adoption and it feels like a sentence being carried out finally.
        Dannie, adoption has always lacked ethics never more so than now but just differently. We’re lucky to have the social media at our finger tips, it helps with transparency and it’s harder to get away with the many ills of adoption and the industry.It also makes it so much easier to challenge the myths, the stigma and the ignorance.

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  2. eagoodlife

    January 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    The adopted life, a series of phases.

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  3. Dannie

    January 21, 2013 at 12:45 am

    Do you believe the adoption industry is ‘worse’ or do you think now it’s just more prominent due to the Internet and social media…..highlighting the way it’s always been. Don’t know if this makes sense or not

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    • TAO

      January 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      Dannie – how about both. Before the internet couples would let their pastor or doctor and close friends know – just in case. Today there are tons of prospective parents soliciting (the only word that works to me) for expectant mothers to pick them with their blogs laid out to show they are “the ones”, the SEO tags used in the posts like “considering adoption”, “birthmother”, “adoption”, etc carefully detailed in every version imagineable. Online sites like Craigslist instead of printed newspapers that can now reach people across the country. They even have apps for it, and websites designed like dating sites. Not saying they are doing anything people didn’t wish they could do before, but the internet has certainly made it more blatant and easy. The agencies are also off-loading the find your match onto the prospective parents (but not reducing the fees). Now you also have consultants to help you get picked faster in addition to your agency.

      The skirting of/walking a very fine line of fair advertising standards astounds me. Websites promoting that the mother is in charge and can pick openness when there is no disclaimer on the page defining that there is no guarantee of openness – things like that. Any advertiser knows they will get dinged if they don’t provide disclaimers explaining the reality – just look at car advertisments – how agencies and others get away with not being challenged in beyond me.

      I found a newspaper article from 1976 and did a post about it – it seemed like everything they were calling blackmarket is the norm today – is everything done today bad? I don’t think so but I do think we have gone way past what’s acceptable in many areas.

      Does that answer the question?

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  4. shadowtheadoptee

    January 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks for saying this. I thought it was just me. J and I had gone to Dallas. He saw this billboard:
    “The alternative to Abortion: know your options” with a picture of a smiling white girl, and a phone number. The billboard was in a not so financially secure part of town, not to mention a part of town that was not predominantly white. It made my stomach turn. My, oh my, what could the alternative to abortion possibly be? Keeping your child with a little help? With a “smiling” girl on the billboard, the option surely wasn’t adoption. Was it? I mean, mothers are “happy” about placing their child for adoption? I don’t know any that are, or were, even when they didn’t want to be a parent. Such a freaking insult to all of us in the triad.
    I was going to blog about it, but when I tried thought, why bother, no one listens. It makes me want to cry too.
    And they say adoption isn’t a billion dollar business, and they don’t solicit pregnant women. I suppose they call that billboard a public service? Again, what an insult to all of us in the triad.

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  5. shadowtheadoptee

    January 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    P.S. This bilboard was just down the street from, what once was, a very large maternity home, which is no longer there, for a very well-known, and still in business today adoption agency. Not having called the number, I cannot say the ad belonged to this agency. I just found that fact interesting as I thought about it.

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    • TAO

      January 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Hey Shadow! I have no problems with offering solutions to abortion but not when it is solely focused on adoption, and I will never, ever, believe than an adoption agency will not be biased for adoption. That would be like saying a Ford dealership would provide all the different truck options available to the consumer and tell the consumer the best choice was a Toyota, it just is not going to happen.

      What is especially concerning is the Organizations that pretend to be just wanting to help and don’t declare their links to adoption agencies, like BraveLove, which when you do the research on the board of directors, one of them is the Pres and CEO of one of the biggest and oldest adoption agencies. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

      If people want to be pro-life then fight to get services for expectant mothers that make them able to get through the first few years. In Canada, (provided you are working) has an unemployment insurance program that gives 50 weeks total for maternity leave, and you have a job to go back too. Imagine with just that safety net alone – how many mothers could financially make it. Now add on Universal health care and other services, and hey, mothers can actually parent.

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  6. shadowtheadoptee

    January 21, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Agreed. Another bilboard J pointed out a while back stated: “Pregnant…Need help” and a phone number. this one was directly in front of a church. Actually, I think, in their parking lot. I’m always tempted to call those phone numbers, but know it would just make me angry. I’m just curious what they would say if I asked just “how” they could, or would, help? Wouldn’t that be an interesting conversation?

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    • Beth

      January 22, 2013 at 12:12 am

      I call the numbers. Why make it easy on them? Why not waste some of their money by wasting their employees time? When I go to the beach, before you get there in the flat buggy swampy hard-living farm lands, those billboards are everywhere. Calling keeps me occupied during the long drive:) When I go west to the mountains in VA and WV, where life is awfully harsh and poor too, those billboards litter the highways, posters in the restaurants, grocery store, gas/convenience stores, in the BAR bathrooms (yes, I tore those down :)). Plenty of poor white mamas there. The ones that get to me are the private flyers and cards from PAPs in the store windows and on the counters . ack

      I’m old, and reunited, and the signs upset me greatly. Can you imagine what those billboards could make you feel or think like if you were 10, adopted, and on the way to the beach with mom and dad?????? i can tell you there is plenty of time for deep thought in the backseat on a long trip. Looks like your mama could be happy to be rid of ya.
      Have you ever seen a picture out there in public of a person who is pregnant and considering adoption, or has already chosen adoption, anywhere else? If that is all you see, they sure do look happy, especially that one with the graduation gown on, she looks thrilled to be rid of the kid. The pictures with the girls that look distressed and scared are even more upsetting.

      I’ve noticed something lately about general attitudes tho. When I am with people that are upper middle class, or upper upper upper, especially church people, adoption is ALL good. Any thing that could be bad about it is erased by the benefits of it. When I am out and about with the band in the clubs, (around what my kids call real people, regular people, the workin’ people LOL) they aren’t so ignorant about it. I guess they know more, have seen and heard more about how easy a family can be broken with all of the effects that having very limited funds can bring.

      I don’t know what phase I am in now, it’s a better one that’s for sure!
      Miss Ya’ll

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  7. shadowtheadoptee

    January 22, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Oh, how I’d like to be a fly in that car when Beth makes those calls. Beth, you’re my hero ya know. And I know just what you mean about that 10 year old’s thoughts about those pictures…btdt too. Makes reuniting even more complicated and hurtful when you grow up and find out it was all lies.

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    • Beth

      January 22, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      LOL Shadow, I’m usually pretty tame, and nice even. I just talk on and on and ask tons of questions. My goal being to find out who/what is behind that phone number. I did get upset with one, rightfully, and called her a @$#% @#$% @#$% @#$% @#$% @#$% @#$% baby buying @#$% @#$% child trafficker. I couldn’t think of anymore cuss words, and she didn’t hang up so i continued to hex her with hemorrhoids, boils, hair loss, shingles, fungus’, loss of teeth, cold sores, and anything unpleasant I could think of to hex her with LOL Hey, maybe I made a difference in one persons life LOL

      I admit I enjoy letting them think they have a hot lead for as long as I can, just to hear what they will say to get my pretend baby from me. It’ll give you a belly ache tho.

      Now Uncle G, that’s a whole new ball game. He’s way more entertaining than me! He’s a big ole liar, alright, whatever, actor. He’ll call, just as serious as he can be, and say in a crazy voice things like: Is this the place where ya can sell yer baby at? How much are they going for today? How much do ya pay for one that’s slightly used for about a year? Does it matter if he’s funny lookin? I can get ya some more if you give me a good price. He goes on and on. Oh he’s horrible. At least I don’t get such a yucky belly ache from his calls, just the kind from (silently) laughing so hard.

      What kills me is they don’t hang up, and I am pretty sure they are taking him seriously. Because if they thought he was full of it you’d think they’d just hang up? I don’t understand that, or maybe I don’t want to.

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  8. necessarygrace

    January 22, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Jumping in to say… I know first hand of a number of church/christian organizations under the category of “pregnant – need help?” who fully support women who want to keep their child – they help with baby supplies, mentoring, financial support, even housing sometimes. So yes, there are some who are doing things with a profit motive, but many who truly just want to help.
    And TAO, I know how you feel… sometimes it does feel like the world is going the wrong way and I just want to hide my head under the blankets and give up. But know that your voice is being heard, and you are making a difference.

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    • TAO

      January 22, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks necessarygrace. Enjoyed your posts about your trip…:)

      Glad to know there are groups that actually provide options with the s on the end. More of them are needed especially since the recession.

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      • Beth

        January 22, 2013 at 8:19 pm

        TAO, I agree that you and others are being heard, and making a HUGE difference. It’s just hard to see, like watching a plant grow everyday, doesn’t look much different. But stay away for a week or so and then look at it, huge difference.

        When I was just too tired and discouraged to carry on with my phase of screaming for open records and pushing that searching/reuniting is not being disloyal or ungrateful and all of that, I stepped back and noticed the changes. At that time things started happening, states started opening, more people were searching and talking about it. I couldn’t believe it, I thought it would never happen.

        Look now, so many adopted parents are supporting all this and saying the same things to other APs just as we have been. Many are even bad mouthing unethical agencies, coercion of mothers, and costs. It wasn’t like that before, ten years ago anyway. It’s a commonly known thing in the online adoption community now. What seems like long ago, you might find a rare few that would agree that searching was OK, but having a relationship? Calling her Mom? Oh no.
        Now some of the APs are educated and even better at spreading the word to other APs than we adoptees could ever be.
        Who do you think educated them?
        There is a difference being made.

        Sweetheart, if you need to take a break, take a break you deserve it! If you’re like me and just can’t/don’t want to walk away from it completely, maybe just focus on growing one branch, or even one leaf, not the whole plant for a while. Kwim?

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        • TAO

          January 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm

          Thanks Beth – just kind of worn out but I’m sure it’s just a phase.

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    • Beth

      January 22, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      necessarygrace, I would love to be able to buy them a billboard or two, hundred. I am surely glad to hear that some are helping in that way.
      One of the churches near me helps members and locals with what they can, motive being to avoid abortion. I don’t have such a problem with that, but some do. And I hear about it when I suggest they could donate those clothes and things they are getting rid of to that particular church…

      When I call the numbers I ask what kind of help is available. One person did refer me to a church who would help with maternity clothes, diapers and things for baby. Which was awesome, but maybe not as much help as “I” might need. One person said I could go to social services and they would set me up with everything I’d need. One suggested if I couldn’t do it right now, to consider foster care for a while until I got more money and a place of my own. That was awfully tricky IMO.

      Most are pretty upfront about being an adoption agency, and push open adoption and free housing/expenses hard. One said they would also pay the college loans I would need after grants and scholarships were applied, post-adoption, to help me.

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