I met new people at class yesterday, and we talked individually back and forth, and the response I received several times was some version of “wow, you look great” or “I would never have guessed that you had that happen to you”. I also had my hair cut by a new stylist taking over for my old one (thankfully she is good because I went for a completely different style) and we chatted, and I had to explain, and the same “I would never have known looking at you” type of response happened.
Last night, as I was thinking about my day that scene replayed in my head which was of course about my health – I couldn’t help but think of another scene that I could see play out the same way, it would involve me and be my story, but I wouldn’t be the one telling it. My cousin, aunt, friend, neighbor only see that for me, being adopted worked out great. They would be the first ones to tell someone else that I had no problems with being adopted into my family (which I don’t), and that I never felt any loss, challenges, or angst about being adopted (which I have and do), or concerns on how adoption works in the larger scope of things (I do). Nor would I ever go there with them unless they brought the subject up, because my concerns aren’t about “my” adoption – it’s about how adoption can be practiced badly, very badly, and people hurt for life. I wouldn’t go there for a couple of reasons – I would not allow anything to taint mom and dad, and when you are talking about adoption, regardless if it about how it is practiced and not your personal story – people always to go to the personal story in adoption, as in your adoption was done wrong by your mom and dad. People have a hard time from separating the personal story from adoption as an industry, so unless they were adopting, or had a modicum of knowledge about the big picture of adoption – what would be the point?
The only time I speak up to friends, or an acquaintance, is about Adoptee Rights and how we as adoptees are barred by laws to access our own factual birth certificate. How wrong that is, and how people need to speak up and rectify this wrong.
Maybe I should be more open in face to face conversations – just from an education standpoint, but based on the reactions by the public when an adoptee speaks up the outcome is fairly predictable. The words bitter, angry, bad experience, bad parents usually come out, someone will talk about someone they know who is adopted who is fine with it (you never know they may be talking about me, or, someone just like me), and truly believe adoption makes the loss of the family of birth insignificant – to be told otherwise baffles them because you had good parents so what’s the problem. The problem is of course that families aren’t interchangeable like that without consequences, but with the cheerleading done in adoption, the public doesn’t think any deeper than – oh – adoption – how beautiful. If they went deeper and tried to see how they would feel it would make them uncomfortable – so they don’t. It’s easier to pretend there is no loss, and that the family who tried so hard for so many years finally has a baby. I do see a move by some adoption educators, agencies, in recent years to be more open about some of the loss that happens in adoption, but I only see it to those adopting, not the public. But at least it is happening now to a degree, and while I appreciate the effort, I also have to say what took you so long – it’s not rocket science, families aren’t meant to be replaced easily, or without impact, or really what is the point of a family if it is so easily replaced?
“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.
Elvis Presley ( 1960 ) Elvis Presley completes his two-year stint is discharged from the US Army. Bank Holiday to Save Banks 5th March ( 1933 ) : To help stop the run on US banks U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced a four-day "bank holiday" . All U.S. banks would close effective March 6 to help stop Americans from withdrawing their money […]