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Finding common ground, it is possible…

08 Apr

By TAO

Red Flower by TAO 2014A comment was left here yesterday, that I declined to approve.  On the scale of some comments I have seen, it wasn’t the worst by any means.  It was though, derogatory to an entire segment of people in adoption, no exceptions, painting all with the same brush.  There is nothing to be gained by such comments except a further widening of the chasm between groups.  We can choose to come together, and agree to disagree on some points, and then, focus on points we do agree with…

We don’t have to agree on every single point…good grief folks…

I look around the adoption world and it seems to be so polarized by group, their own echo chambers, patting each other on the back, demonizing those they disagree with.  With that mindset there is no possibility of moving to the center, to meet, to find common ground.

Do people not realize that change is only possible when people work together?

There are good points and bad points in everything.  Work to remove the common bad points first.  It’s the place to start.  Stop painting other people as the good guys, or the bad guys…often it is lack of knowledge, lack of thinking outside the box, not malicious intentions.

Attack the idea, the problem, not the people…then progress can be made…

Your story is your own, your story is not everyone’s story…stop being offended that someone see’s their story differently, or doesn’t have the gift of soft words, or understand your pain.  Listen for the message in what they are trying to say, find the common ground…go from there…

Stop putting adoption on a pedestal as all good, or all bad, it can be either, or somewhere in-between.  Adoption has always been mired in grey areas, deep loss, pain, that won’t change, but changing the mindset of many to avoid the ethically challenged choices, now that is possible.

 

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16 Comments

Posted by on April 8, 2014 in Adoption, Ethics

 

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16 responses to “Finding common ground, it is possible…

  1. JavaMonkey

    April 8, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Great post, Tao. You nailed it. The only way forward is through dialog. Retreating to our respective corners does not benefit anyone, and only serves to maintain the status quo.

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  2. eagoodlife

    April 8, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Despite your considered posts, I’m not surprised to read that you have had a derogatory comment which has presumably come because you don’t push the idea that adoption is beautiful. Adoption is like many other things in life, full of contradictions, dilemmas, self-serving notions and selfless ideals. Those who cannot see or understand that there are many sides to adoption are doing everyone a disservice by ignoring what is the truth, fact and reality for so many of us who live the adopted life and may have done so for many decades. To be so blinkered is hurtful and insulting to those of us who are ignored, dismissed or contradicted. We will never see progress in the changes that need to happen in adoption to make us more than second class citizens while some refuse to see that adoption has a multitude of sides. While it continues to be that way bloggers like you and me will continue to do what we do, undaunted by what appears impossible sometimes.

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  3. Robyn C

    April 16, 2014 at 3:01 am

    Why do you keep writing the blog posts that I mean to write and have in draft form? 🙂 This is really excellent, esp. “Your story is your own, your story is not everyone’s story…stop being offended that someone see’s their story differently, or doesn’t have the gift of soft words, or understand your pain. Listen for the message in what they are trying to say, find the common ground…go from there…”

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  4. Robyn C

    April 16, 2014 at 5:13 am

    Reblogged this on Holding to the Ground and commented:
    Life is crazy busy right now. I’ve had a post about “getting along” in draft form for awhile. TAO wrote an even better post about the same subject. I highly recommend reading it!

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  5. Naqeeya R

    April 17, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Hi I’m someone who has been researching adoption for a few years now and as a hopeful future adoptive parent I have tried to look at both sides of adoption for both adoptive parents and adoptees. Ive come across several adoptee blogs where they discuss the pain loss grief and anger that they feel behind their adoption and I believe that those feeling should absolutely be validated and acknowledged. The entire idea of having to be grateful and indebted to your adoptive parents because they rescued your poor pitiful soul is just ridiculous. I kind feel the same way about how some people feel about conception, be grateful because I chose to get pregnant with you and give birth to you but in adopted childrens cases I think its definitely worse. Now I feel that you should be grateful to your parents for being good to you, loving you, caring for you (birth or otherwise) Ive been taught you should be grateful to the people who are good to you no matter who they are. The anger many adoptees say they have towards their adoptive parents for trying to shove this I took you in gratitude down their throats I can understand but is there a possibility that some of there anger is misdirected. I mean its seems as though and not all but some adoptees blame all of their suffering on the fact that they were adopted. Is adoption the reason you were abandoned given up or orphaned is adoption the reason you feel you dont know who you are. Is it the reason you were in many cases impoverished, abused and neglected, or your family was simply unable to stay together. Is adoption the reason you lost everything and deal with all of the feelings you deal with. Or is it everything that lead to you being adopted that caused that. Is it possible that some of adoptees feeling are directed at their adoptive parents and adoption rather than the situation that caused it to begin with. Please do think that I am judging or trying to be mean, my heart truly goes out to adoptees and their suffering. Im just trying to learn as much as I can. I will greatly appreciate your response thank you so much.

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    • TAO

      April 17, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Naqeeya,

      My answers are mine, not to be universally applied across the board. I know this isn’t a question but I would suggest that you consider using appreciative when speaking about what anyone (adopted/non-adopted) should feel for what they have been given. In my opinion – the problem with the grateful term is that it is linked to indebtedness (and no adoptee should ever be made to feel that way) vs being appreciative as a general consciousness/awareness – we all should have – for all that is good in our life. Now to your questions…I have broken them down into individual stand alone questions because I think it is easier for me to answer that way. Remember these answers are just one voice from many…

      “The anger many adoptees say they have towards their adoptive parents for trying to shove this I took you in gratitude down their throats I can understand but is there a possibility that some of there anger is misdirected.”

      I do think that anger is also caused by the numerous societal and societies view of the saint taking in the unfortunate mentality. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I was told how lucky I was to have mom and dad (and I was – no doubt) – but what they glossed over, omitted, was that first I lost everything before I gained. The disparity between how people in general view the adoptee, and that of the child whose mother died at birth, or was killed in a tragic accident, and is now being raised by a loving step-mom, well that was a tragedy that happened to her but thankfully she got a good mom to take care of her. Society recognises the latter and deletes the former, would they ever use the lucky term with the latter?

      “I mean its seems as though and not all but some adoptees blame all of their suffering on the fact that they were adopted.”

      I think this delves into the distinct differences between those looking in and those living in. Whether it is voluntary domestic infant adoption or foster care – up until the adoption is final, there is, was, still a chance of resolution. Once the adoption was final – it’s done, no going back. Especially in voluntary domestic infant adoption – there is a definite cause and effect, it would be the rare mother who just surrendered her baby if she didn’t know an adoptive home would be waiting – the surrender happened because adoption was pending, therefore, they are simply all part of the same.

      “Is adoption the reason you were abandoned given up or orphaned is adoption the reason you feel you dont know who you are.”

      This is a hard question to answer quickly because it isn’t cut and dried, more adoptees seem to see it, feel it as missing pieces, missing the first chapter. The short version is when you don’t know why you were not kept, why mountains were not moved to keep you, why, why, it’s hard. I’m going to come back and link to a post that I think if you did with deep heart you might see how not knowing could be really hard, and it is more than that, it also involves how you view yourself is partially, if not primarily because of how you view others who share those same traits, where you got them from and what that makes you feel. It is a combination of not knowing many different facets of what makes you – you.

      “Is it the reason you were in many cases impoverished, abused and neglected, or your family was simply unable to stay together.”

      For my story, none of those were the reasons. Society had laws in place that discriminated against illegitimate people (from childhood through adulthood). Society was also very judgemental, good families didn’t let their kids associate with those born on the wrong side of the sheets (old saying meaning not born within the bonds of marriage). Society would not hire unwed mothers, rent to them, deal with them, they and their children were outcasts from those in good society. There were no mother’s pensions, help per se. Fathers were not required by law to support their illegitimate children. There were few to no societal supports where a mother could raise her child. There was also great shame rained down upon the entire family, why mothers were sent away and families paid the maternity home fees to hide it from their communities. It would be good if you read “The Girls Who Went Away” by Ann Fessler (you can find the link in my blog roll at the top there is also a documentary).

      “Is adoption the reason you lost everything and deal with all of the feelings you deal with.”

      Adoption was the death knoll that there was no going back. That I would never meet my mother or father. That I lost the right to grow up with people who I mirrored in one way, or another. I also lost my ancestral history, knowledge of who my ancestors were, where they were from, when and why they immigrated, what they did…I know some don’t care, I always did.

      “Or is it everything that lead to you being adopted that caused that.”

      It is both but adoption sealed the deal. I lost before I gained, some lost and lost again because they had parents who should never have been allowed to adopt – and everything inbetween.

      “Is it possible that some of adoptees feeling are directed at their adoptive parents and adoption rather than the situation that caused it to begin with.”

      Of course, anything is possible. But quite likely it is both for all the reasons I noted above.

      I would also note that while not a question asked: No matter how you fancy up the language to make it more palatable – being given away sucks. Mothers are supposed to do whatever it takes, not being worth fighting for means you weren’t worth it. Try living your life with that as your starting premise, feelings of rejection, abandonment, they aren’t easily fixed. No matter how loved you are now, you were still rejected by the one who was supposed to love you most of all. It sucks…no matter what the reasons…you were still given away. That tends to sting for a long, long time and is part of every future relationship, parents – when will they have enough, friends – must make sure they like me enough to still be my friend tomorrow, romantic relationships…same story…when will they leave. That is the core of all the issues if you ask me – that very first abandonment…

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      • TAO

        April 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm

        This is the link I speak of above. Really delve into taking the test, I didn’t really give good instructions on questions to ask.
        https://theadoptedones.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/identity-inventory/

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      • Naqeeya R

        April 19, 2014 at 9:13 pm

        Thank you for taking the time to answer my question because I know it was a sensitive one and I hope that I didn’t in any way hurt or offend you in asking it. To be honest I got a little teary reading what you wrote especially the last paragraph because I cant imagine feeling that kind of pain. I’ve grown up in a home were both of my parents dealt with loss and abandonment for different reasons so I know first hand the way such things can affect people that pain that never really seems to go away, always right there beneath the surface. It is very sad. Oh and yes you are absolutely right I should have used the word appreciative. Once again thank you.

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        • TAO

          April 19, 2014 at 10:11 pm

          Not to worry Naqeeya, I have been on this earth for quite a long time and while it is still at the sensitive stage for many, I’m fine, now I get angry at the practices in adoption I think cross the line. I talk so others may get a glimpse into what it is like for many…take care.

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  6. Naqeeya R

    April 17, 2014 at 6:30 am

    I appreciate people like you speak out so openly and honestly about adoption.

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  7. eagoodlife

    April 17, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    I agree with everything TAO has written. I too was not an adoptee where impoverishment, abuse etc were a factor in my adoption. My mother loved and cared for me for a month before being forced by societal values and the practices of the times to give me up for adoption. She knew when she discovered she was pregnant that this would be the outcome because she was single and my father married. I have never questioned my identity but the scars left by mother-loss will remain for my whole life. We are so often raised by people who should never be parents, who are not adequately prepared, skilled or abled to take on the exacting task of being adoptive parents. I cannot emphasise enough the value of good preparation and research and of professional support in coming to terms with infertility well before adoption if that is your problem. All adoptees deserve the very best parents that can be found.

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  8. LoveInTheClouds

    May 2, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Really well said. I was reading comments on some other blogs and websites about adoptionlast night which were so hateful and judgemental. There is so much to it but sadly I think it often comes down to people not being educated on all asides of the situation
    http://www.loveintheclouds.wordpress.com

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    • TAO

      May 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      There is much to be critical about the adoption process (specifically the US) but there is a way to discuss the issues and ways not to. Attack the idea, talk about the impacts, don’t attack someone who doesn’t know better than the fluff they have been told. Adoption done right and for the right reasons matters a great deal to me – a civil tongue can reach farther than one lashing out ever can. Thanks for commenting.

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  9. marilynn

    May 10, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Tao
    What does common ground look like?

    You cannot be on common ground until your legal rights are identical to those you are negotiating with and I mean identical as in no modification to your identity or birth record or rights or kinship within your family – adoption could modify your parent’s rights without modifying yours.and your relatives.

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    • TAO

      May 10, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      To you first question Marilynn – It is very clear in the post what common ground I am seeking between the groups in adoption.

      I think I have told you before that I don’t have a problem with a) being given a first and second name, Baby Girl would have been so demeaning to use throughout my life – “Hey Baby what are you doing today”; and b) having the same last name as mom and dad, I’m perfectly fine with that as well. We are all unique, my sister refused to give that surname up when she married. I do agree with you that a legal severing of me to my family of birth was not necessary, that I should have the exact same rights to documents held by the state as non-adopted.

      I am not negotiating with others in adoption, I am looking for the common ground where we can all agree about the many problems that abound in adoption – to fix them.

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