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Dear Adoptive Parents who are tired of Adoptees speaking up…

14 Nov

Have you ever stopped to consider how and why things have changed in adoption from the 1950’s to now?  The answer to those questions begins with: But for adoptees being willing to talk about their deepest feelings, parents would still be parenting adopted children the same way adoptive parents were taught in the 1950’s.  I’m not saying that changes were always adoptee driven, but, only that, if no adoptee had ever reached out, or spoken up, there would be no impetus for change.  Change is scary, hard, unknown. 

One would assume that at a certain point, the adoptee voice would no longer be the voice that is needed to be heard by adoptive parents and professionals.  Instead everyone would have learned a more holistic and empathetic way to parent adopted children, and to know to ask what could be done better to each generation.  Some did, and this post is not about you, because you will also listen to those adoptees from this era too, but some didn’t listen, and each successive generation will have ones that refuse to listen.

Right now, the ‘some didn’t’ group of adoptive parents that carried on with a thinly veiled layer of contempt for what adoptees have said, their entitlement to be parents whatever that took, stopped them from having humility to not only listen, but to learn from anyone outside of their position in adoption.  They weren’t even willing to tuck the information away just in case their child seemed to be struggling at any given point, because they knew their child wouldn’t feel that way.  To protect themselves they chose to self-select and close ranks, only letting in new prospective adoptive parents and stayed within their close knit ‘support’ group.  Anyone in a ‘support’ group that wanted to open the door to talking about adoptees challenges, ethical practices, derogatory language, micro aggressions, or any other topic would be quickly shown the door because they weren’t being supportive.

An adoption ‘support’ group should never be a ‘you do whatever you need to achieve your desires, whatever the cost, whoever you hurt, you are entitled to be parents because you jumped through all those hoops to prove you’d be superior to those ordinary biological parents’.  That’s not support.  A support group should be offering suggestions to help, and challenging you to see the entire picture from start to finish, and understand why it’s so important to make the very best decisions, instead just shutting your eyes when anything questionable happens.

The ‘some didn’t’ also includes adoption professionals that still carry on with inappropriate terminology like calling expectant mothers ‘Birthmothers’ and for short ‘BM’ even when corresponding with both expectant, birth, and adoptive parents. I’m only giving them a mention in this post simply because adoptive parents use their agency as an explanation of why they refuse to stop using ‘Birthmother’ before an expectant mother has given birth and relinquished her rights, and to use the two initials ‘BM’ when referring to the mother who chose them to raise and parent her child.

I’m sure many reading this post have looked at different adoptive parents today, and thought, I can’t believe they think that is the way to do that, we know that practice caused pain, and harm, to a lot of adoptees in the past, you may have even pointed it out to that adoptive parent.  I’m also sure you get tired of reading posts by adoptees, and can start to feel that adoptees will always assume you don’t get it.  It’s not you they are trying to reach.  Adoption and knowledge will continue to evolve as adoptees from this new era bring a new perspective, and will talk about what could be understood, or done, better.  Support those posts and help those other adoptive parents who get uncomfortable and defensive about what is said by adoptees, help them dig deep to listen to the adoptees, to hear from adoptees with experiences of being adopted in this new era of adoption.   There are many adopted people speaking, listen to all voices, it will help you understand the full spectrum of feelings, and examples of what challenges are still being faced today, despite all the progress that has already been made.

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32 Comments

Posted by on November 14, 2014 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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32 responses to “Dear Adoptive Parents who are tired of Adoptees speaking up…

  1. Jess

    November 14, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    A perfect example of the phenom you are talking about occurs in the responses to the Flip the Script post by an adoptee on Motherlode. One of them actually tells her she has no right to the feelings she has and owes people “an apology.”
    http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/adoptees-like-me-flip-the-script-on-the-pro-adoption-narrative/?emc=edit_ml_20141113&nl=style&nlid=63608734

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    • TAO

      November 14, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      Oh my goodness the comments are so terrible, dismissive and just over the top. I guess there is far more work to be done and I should change my post from ‘some didn’t’ to ‘MANY didn’t’…

      Sigh – I was also looking for the apology comment and if you read it again – please copy it here…

      Very, very disappointed…and they say adoption has changed so very much…

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      • TAO

        November 14, 2014 at 11:28 pm

        (comments from the Motherlode post)

        “Nan North Yesterday

        But why even call it abandonment? Why not reframe it with more positive language? The bio mom was 20, single (we assume), and did not have the means or maturity to care for her. So she “placed” – let’s use that word instead – her daughter with a couple that she thought would provide a loving home and a secure future for her. Abandonment makes it sound like she was thrown inside a basket like Moses and sent floating down a river. Why not consider that this woman, the bio mom, had Ms. Barcella’s best interests in mind?”

        Oh yes, the use positive language and all will be fine…

        ****

        Or this…hello, 1950 is calling…when unwed mothers were considered feeble-minded just for becoming pregnant…

        “islandmommy Staten Island, NY 23 hours ago

        It is also possible that adoptees suffer from psychological issues because they inherited that genetic influence from their bio parents. In theory the kind of woman who will fall pregnant at the wrong time, then choose to let go of her child (particularly in an age where single motherhood is socially accepted) probably has psychological problems of her own. Same goes for the bio dad who does not try to stop the adoption. This is another factor that is whitewashed. “

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      • Jess

        November 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm

        Hi Tao –
        Here ’tis:

        T. Libby
        Colorado8 hours ago
        I feel so sorry for your pain. But I really dont relate to it at all. I come from a multi-generational family of adoptees. My grandfather,father,sister,myself and my two best friends are all adopted. Oh,by the way,my sister is Vietnamese and we’re from Alabama. Not evangelical,but still seems to fit a no-no from your writing.
        Your experience is by no means every adoptees,just as mine is not. But adoption is by no means the horror show you depict it to be. You’ve leveled very strong blanket accusations that just don’t hold up. Frankly,you’ve directly insulted a great deal of people bcz of your own pain.
        Adoption does not automatically lead to the problems you state. And you’ve painted with a very broad brush.
        You to publish an apology to those people, and all the normal,well adjusted, functioning adoptees. Because you certainly don’t speak for us.

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        • TAO

          November 14, 2014 at 11:58 pm

          Wow, just wow – she needs to write a piece that generalizes over what is their 6 Million adoptees in the US? And she needs to apologize and apparently is not according to this person neither normal, well adjusted (whatever that means), or functioning…

          My best guess is she doth protest too much or the secret is to live in a home where no one shares genetic relatedness…

          Thanks for copying it…

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          • Jess

            November 15, 2014 at 2:12 am

            The thing that gets me is that this adoptee didn’t blame anyone! She just said the institution was broken and that she personally had felt so much pain. There was nothing in the post to get anyone’s back up. In fact, she said very little about either set of parents, which to me was very revealing. It wasn’t about them at all. It was about her.

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            • TAO

              November 15, 2014 at 4:22 am

              I know Jess and it’s incredibly sad that people assume what isn’t part of the post. That may also be happening with this post right now…and I thought it a very tame post in the overall scheme of things.

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  2. cb

    November 14, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I think also that many of us older adoptees have our opinions dismissed because we are from the closed era – we are often told “but today’s adoptions are open, everything is different”. However, one can see from posts by parents of older children in open adoption or even open adoption adoptees themselves that there are still often the same questions. They may have more answers but the questions still remain.

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    • TAO

      November 14, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      True enough CB – but I’m sure after reading those comments that they will just change the wording and still say adoption is all fluffy and wonderful all the time…

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  3. JenniferS

    November 15, 2014 at 1:35 am

    AP supporting your post here. I never ever get tired of reading any adoptees writings regardless of tone, intent, positive, negative, venting, praising . . . consider myself incredibly fortunate to have so many of you trying so hard to discuss the tough stuff & I am sure my son will appreciate it too as he grows up & realises the support, insight & challenges you all have given me & other AP’s. Thank you.

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    • TAO

      November 15, 2014 at 4:06 am

      Thanks Jennifer – I actually meant other adoptee blogs and posts, especially adoptees that have been adopted long after my era, in the era of knowing better…they have so much to offer and are doing an amazing job of speaking up. I so impressed and know they are going to change the world of adoption.

      Apparently this post touched a nerve with some – no idea why – hopefully people can actually breathe and listen…sigh…it will be interesting to see if they will.

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  4. Raven

    November 15, 2014 at 7:31 am

    The post that Jess quoted raised a red flag to me. I knew an adoptive mother on another forum years ago when she went by the screen name of Libby and has a similar writing style.

    Sigh, I am at the point where I question myself on a daily basis why I’m still a part of the adoption community. We’re making some real headway when it comes to opening up the OBCs, but I have this nagging fear that things are going to become worse in future years, instead of better, as far as ethical adoption practices go. With all the contamination of the food supply, coupled with air pollution and chemicals in everything we eat or touch, infertility rates are going upwards. And you know what that means, TAO….

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    • TAO

      November 15, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Me too Raven…

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    • Jess

      November 15, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      Well, it’s not like members of the “triad” haven’t pretended to be each other. It’s happened, for sure, and sometimes the ruse has gone on for months. Of course, we don”t know this. But if it’s true, then she is deeply insecure in her position and her ethics are even flimsier.

      I probably have a very naive view but my feeling about such posts is that after the words are said they can’t be taken back. The sentiments that need to be heard will permeate at least some people’s brains and get a discussion going. Maybe because of that piece, fifty new people will buy Kathryn Joyce’s book or maybe someone will be persuaded to adopt an older child from foster care. You never know. It’s a long process, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

       
    • Beth

      November 17, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Did you hear the latest opinion of the guy that invented the Pill?
      Same thing some of us have been saying.
      I think transparency is becoming even more important than ever. No more sealed and secret in adoption, IVF, or whatever. http://rt.com/news/204423-ivf-sex-fun-pregnancy/

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  5. Robyn C

    November 15, 2014 at 7:50 am

    “A support group should be offering suggestions to help, and challenging you to see the entire picture from start to finish, and understand why it’s so important to make the very best decisions, instead just shutting your eyes when anything questionable happens.”

    YES!

    Just yes.

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    • TAO

      November 15, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks Robyn – it always give me pause when people only want to hear – ‘go for it’…it’s not like asking whether or not this mop is the right one to buy…

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  6. Sallie Jameson

    November 15, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    As an older adoptee who thought there was nothing my adoption had to the way I was raised….#1. NEVER lie to your child. I found out all the lies my mother told me when I was in my 50s and older and REALLY angry at her. She died years ago so there is nothing I can do. She even changed my heritage! And the fact my bmom was still alive!

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    • TAO

      November 15, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Wow, I’m so sorry.

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  7. adopteeinrecovery

    November 16, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Reblogged this on Adoptee In Recovery.

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  8. kellie3

    November 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Reblogged on All In the Family of Adoption.

    I love this, TAO. I could say so many things about surrounding yourself with only like minded people and the dangers of the single story. I believe there is a TED talks…

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    • TAO

      November 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      I’m posting (reposting and updating) my yearly post on that talk Kellie…

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  9. shatteredmindscapes

    November 17, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Thank you so much for this post, that speaks so directly to my experiences as an adoptee. Reblogging this.

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    • TAO

      November 17, 2014 at 3:52 am

      Thank you!

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      • shatteredmindscapes

        November 17, 2014 at 4:34 am

        You’re welcome 🙂

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  10. shatteredmindscapes

    November 17, 2014 at 12:26 am

    Reblogged this on ShatteredMindscapes and commented:
    This is an excellent post. Please listen to our voices…

    Like

     
  11. socialworksocialwork

    November 17, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Reblogged this on Social Work, Social Work and commented:
    A deep and thoughtful post.

    Like

     
  12. flrpwll

    November 17, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    “Children should be seen and not heard.”

    Adoptees are still treated as children, from the top down, in many ways.

    Always be grateful. Be careful what you say. Don’t offend your parents. Know your place and don’t rock the boat.

    Always, always have to ask for permission for information that is freely available to anyone else.

    Is it really that surprising that some AP’s don’t want to hear the negatives, considering the above?

    No one really wants to think that they’re “wrong”, and they especially don’t want to hear it from unruly children who don’t want to do what they are told.

    When it’s generally accepted that adult adoptees are actual adults, people are more likely to listen.

    Is that a superficial take on it?

    More than likely; but I do believe that it contributes to the stuborn reluctance of some AP’s to accept that they’ve been sucked in by the bullshit … and then there are the ones who just want what they want, and hang the consequences.

    It’s getting better though. 🙂

    Like

     

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