Question for many in the adoption community…

24 Apr

I’m sure we are all guilty of this to a certain extent, but is it really necessary to point out when an adoptee speaks – that not all adoptees are the same, think the same, have the same experience?

If you think it is necessary, then may I ask why?

Is it because you didn’t like that adoptee’s views on adoption, because it doesn’t match your view?

Is it some bias, or internalized belief you have about adoptees, that makes us different from you?  If yes, please, do explain how we are different.

Do you fear that other people listening, don’t have the level of intelligence that you have, to know that everyone is unique, and has their own feelings based on their lived experience?

Please tell me why you need to point that out in the comments every time an adoptee speaks…






Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , ,

12 responses to “Question for many in the adoption community…

  1. alane64

    April 24, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I agree with so many that’s posted it is not a celebration, or a day to
    Celebrate. Yet, I have to say in my experience I found out by a fellow student in 3rd grade my parents weren’t my ” real ” parents. I went home told my mother what the fellow student told me and asked her what that meant.
    I was told the horrific story of what that meant, as she also explained that my two older brothers were her natural biological children.
    I cannot begin to explain the difference I felt, or realized why whom I had thought were family treated me differently than cousins, etc.
    I am 50 now an this is still a horror story of my life. It’s extremely hard to put into words as you know you were not always treated the same as who you were raised with that we’re to be your siblings. The difference is extremely major.
    In 2001 when my father died my mother gave me my adoption papers. I must say I was shocked and dismayed, yet at the same time hopeful that somehow there was a happy beginning, or a piece of
    Knowledge that would reveal ” Who I am”.., Who am I ? What is my family history?
    In New Orleans in 1964, The Methodist Hospital, in Orleans Parish handled adoptions from Arkansas, Louisiana as well as Mississippi from what I had been told. Truth? I just do not know?
    The lawyers document contains, my name as R’enee Juanita now named legally forever more.. ( New Adoptive Parents chosen Name) no last name was given. Just 4lbs 5oz single girl, 8:59 am. X 17th, 1964.
    I have called so many registries, clerk of court in New Orleans Parish, still
    No known answers. Nothing.
    To this day nearing 51 still no answers.
    I do understand both sides of the coin, more so than I would like to admit.
    I married my husband who also was adopted through the same Methodist Agency, and he feels his adoptive parents are his an his only parents. Period end of story. He has feelings so opposite from those that I do, because of the way we were raised. His adoptive family also adopted his sister, and were very influential. Very prominent people, basically accepted. Where as I was raised total opposite, lower middle class, raised on small farm, small town everyone knew you an your business, he major city,.. Just
    So different. As he knows exactly his full Birth Name where he came from, and has no desire at all for any answers, not questions, or any intention to see if siblings exist at all.
    I agree it is not a time for celebration of the day ” we adopted you” yet I understand completely why others are completely content. Those are the ones I am thankful for, ” Peace in knowing who you are” Peace in heart an mind. Does this make sense?


    • TAO

      April 24, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Alane – did you mean to post this on this post or another post?

      You made sense – I wish you could find what you seek, it must be frustrating that your husband knows but doesn’t want to seek. HUGS

      Liked by 1 person

      • alane64

        April 24, 2015 at 5:50 pm

        This for once I feel as though someone gets what I am trying to express, however for some reason feel as a betrayal to utter such thoughts? Do you know what I mean? There are differences. In adoptions, lifestyle, circumstances, many factors.. Many happy an many not so mush of happy endings.
        Thank you I too wish I knew how to find “Who I am”?


        • TAO

          April 24, 2015 at 6:01 pm

          Alane it’s the adoption loyalty thing playing games with your mind. You have every right to feel like you feel. Feelings are valid and can’t be disputed.

          Liked by 1 person

          • alane64

            April 24, 2015 at 6:07 pm

            I pray that’s so… I know that my husband feels differently, however validates and understands where I am coming from, by seeing for himself all the differences in our families. He states He and our children are my family ( period ) and he hopes that’s enough for me.. Maybe as a woman I am emotionally wired differently, because I have children of my own. As a Mother an child relationship, yes I do have questions of WHO I AM? who an where do I and our children come from? Just saying…


  2. eagoodlife

    April 25, 2015 at 12:13 am

    As a blogging adoptee I find I have to point it out constantly because it does not appear obvious to so many. I am currently writing a post about being dismissed in this way, by being lumped together. Perhaps it makes an amazingly diverse, talented, skilled and smart group of people easier to deal with!!


  3. L4R

    April 25, 2015 at 12:17 am

    Well said.

    Those types of comments are dismissive counters to statements that are not acceptable to the responder. After all, how often do we hear someone who agrees with a statement saying ” Well, that’s just your opinion or experience”?

    It’s an attempt to diminish the viewpoint/experience of the adoptee, an attempt to diminish the power of the statement.

    I try to weaken the counterpoint by saying it first. It can be annoying to have to write it. If I’m speaking from experience, it is my experience, and I shouldn’t have to state that others may have different experiences. But, if I want to be heard, it is sometimes necessary to do.


  4. AdoptiveBlackMom

    April 25, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Goodness! Everytime I look at a series of posts by my fellow adoptive parents concerning the views of various adoptees I end up rolling my eyes. There’s always an assertion that *that* adoptee must be bitter because their cousin/sister/brother/uncle/auntie/random known person is happy as a clam and it’s so unfortunate that the article is so biased that they don’t include the Disney-fied version of adoption. Sigh. My people–adoptive parents–have a lot to learn about just listening and accepting a narrative at face value as a personal narrative that may share attributes with other narratives.

    I struggle to understand how my daughter processes her own story; I know it’s changed and evolved since she’s been with me. I also know that she struggles to articulate all that she feels and experiences. I don’t know what she would publicly write about her experience as an adoptee, but whatever it is, I promise to respect it. I have my own story and she has hers. I love her madly, and I respect her enough to know that she has her own view of how this thing is playing out.

    Keep speaking truth to power, Tao. 🙂


    • eagoodlife

      April 26, 2015 at 12:27 am

      So glad to read this and see that a more realistic view has been heard. I have lifted part of your comment for my blog, hope that is acceptable. You’ll find it at


  5. thebeautifulopportunity

    April 26, 2015 at 1:35 am

    Maybe this phenomena is not specific to adoption / adoptees.

    Sometimes people over-generalize that one person’s experience applies to all people who are members of “their group.” For example, when I traveled overseas to a remote village in Vietnam where the villagers had never seen a white person before, they thought that all white women were tall like me, because I was the only one of “my kind” they had ever met. Since they didn’t have experience knowing what white women were like, they just assumed we all come in one size – tall. Obviously, this is not the case. I’ve had this happen to me many times for all sorts of “groups” I belong to: an American, a female entrepreneur, foster parent, etc.

    Sometimes the media portrays a specific group of people in a particular way that doesn’t accurately represent the wide variety of personalities of people of that “kind.” For example, when I travel overseas, I’ve had foreigners express their shock that I don’t sleep around or get into fights. The American women they’ve seen on tv are always falling into bed with strangers or shooting guns. Why don’t I? Obviously, Hollywood produces movies and tv shows with lots of sex and violence to get a lot of viewers, but it doesn’t represent reality!

    If you have ever experienced people assuming you represent everyone of your “kind,” or people assuming that since you are that “kind” you must be a certain way… well, you might be quick to point out that you are a unique individual or that one person of your “kind” doesn’t represent what you are like.

    I think that adoptees as a group often encounter stereotypes that understandably rub them the wrong way. Some common stereotypes are: adoptees always want to meet their birth parents, adoptees always struggle with family relationships, adoptees are always glad they were adopted, adoptees are always angry that they were placed for adoption, adoptees are always different than non-adoptees, etc.

    So, if I am talking about adoption to people who haven’t had much experience with adoption, I usually do say that my family’s experiences may or may not be typical for adoptees. However, if I am talking with people who know lots of adoptees/birth parents/adoptive parents/bio & adoptive siblings, then I usually assume they already have a good idea of the wide spectrum of adoption experiences.

    Tao, my answer is a long one, but since it seems to bother you when people point out that not all adoptees are the same, I wanted to explain that this sometimes annoying behavior is not really about adoption, but more about human psychology.


    • L4R

      April 26, 2015 at 6:52 pm


      I agree that this issue does have a universal element to it, but it also a very specific issue for many adoptees. Adoptees have historically not been given a voice at the table. News media still often talk with adoptive parents about adoptees rather than to adult adoptees about our own experiences.

      Thus, these “that’s your experience” comments tend to be dismissive and tend to be used to lessen the power of the adoptee’s statement.

      Tao is specifically referring to times when an adoptee’s experience is marginalized because the other person wants to diminish the power of the comment.

      Think of who has the power. Why is that power base trying to silence or minimize the experience of some adoptees?



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