One of the reasons I’ve kept this blog going is that I can see people start to understand a different view, not so much from the blog posts, but the comments and conversations by many different people. I love the conversations that happen in the comments, whether they stay on topic, or wander completely away. I struggle sometimes to write posts in a fully authentic voice, because I worry too much about whether it will be heard by those who can gain understanding, if they can only hear it. So, I temper my words too much to make them softer, when I am a plain speaker at heart. Comments though are different, it’s easier to talk one on one. I was reading an old post and the comments it sparked, and thought I’d put a comment and response into a post to show that often the best part of this blog – is in the conversations that happen after.
A prospective adoptive parent commented on this post, Finding Common Ground, very respectfully I might add, and her questions are ones I have come across many times…that applies the concept that adoption isn’t what caused the loss so why the anger. I’ve copied the first part of her comment below, and in my reply I have included her different questions that were part of her comment…(otherwise this long post would be a book)
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. [ questions that are posted below ] 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.
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 their 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 don’t 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 in between.
“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…
I hope you to go read the post and the comments because Naqeeya had the grace to continue the conversation…
Thank you to all who read this blog and comment – because that is what makes this space very special to me…others who don’t comment please reconsider and start adding your voice too – if we can all listen and talk to each other – then the outcome can only be to make things better…