Teen years…

17 May

Lori has good post up today that’s well worth reading about Dear Abby.  It’s also a very timely post, as last night I was thinking about how confusing it was to be an adoptee at that age.  Specifically, early teens, and how I reacted while trying to define my identity, it was not a wonderful time, to put it mildly.

Here’s Lori’s post: Dear Abby Misses the Mark on Adoption Question

But getting back to me, that age, was the worst time I had in processing both being adopted, and figuring out who the hell I was.  Was my nature stronger than the nurture I’d always had from mom and dad.  Which would end up winning.  What was my nature?  Who was I?  Stepping back to what I knew then about my mother: she was unmarried, had sex, and I was the result of that sex.  That is the sum total of what I knew about her, except for the family religion, because apparently, that was important to know.  So what did that make her?  What did that make me?  Those were the questions swirling around in my head.  How any professional thought that zero information about who you came from, the why’s, the how’s, didn’t matter a bit, is simply, ludicrous.  That’s the result of the blank slate thinking that was so prevalent back then.  I’d like to say things are so different today, but from what I read, there are adoptive parents who speak a whole lot of the negatives of mothers by birth, and don’t focus on any positive attributes, much less, what makes their mother unique, and special, and how they see those special attributes shining through in their child.  If that is how the parents tell the stories today, even if there is some contact, I doubt it’s going to be much different for adoptees today.

How different would it be growing up, if I had known that my mother had been in a long-term boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with my father?  That was the why, and how, I was created.  Doesn’t that put a whole different spin on the fact that she had sex and I was the result?  What if I’d known she loved crafting, gardening, and her favorite flower, was also mine?  What if I’d known that she was raised by, and still lived with her mom and dad, and had a large supportive family?  Wouldn’t that info have helped me figure out how my nature and nurture could blend together, even if they were from different parties?

It could have saved a whole lot of teen angst and stupid decisions, although, I’m not saying I wouldn’t have done some of them, I was a teen.  But if I’d have any way to put things in context, it would have helped.

P.S. Dear Abby, wow, you got it wrong.  You basically said: she loved you so she gave you away, suck it up and be grateful, so you don’t upset your friends and family…


Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , ,

14 responses to “Teen years…

  1. Jess

    May 17, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    This is a perfect example of how Dear Abby needs to be brought up to speed, like other columnists and journalists.I hope someone communicates with her the gist of LL’s column in a non-confrontational way and lets her know that advice could, well . . . be so much better. A LOT of people out there simply don’t know that there has been a revolution in adoption thinking in the last 20 years or so. They are stuck in old moral and emotional paradigms that deny people’s experiences. Especially hard when it’s a vulnerable 13-year-old.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      May 17, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Jess – too bad the parents of the 13-year-old didn’t keep up, educate themselves, to know the clues she must be giving out that there is something not right…

      and the comments, oh my….those commenters (AP’s too) on the Dear Abby post, certainly didn’t change with the revolution.

      I’m back to there were good, not so good, and bad parents in my era and the same applies today…


      • Jess

        May 17, 2015 at 7:35 pm

        The thing is, the parents might change their tune if Abby told it like it was, not like it was made up to be. Provided they look for validation from that kind of thing. Yeah, I’m sure there are whole sectors of adopters who have never tuned into the revolution either. It’s sad.

        Liked by 1 person

        • TAO

          May 17, 2015 at 7:38 pm



          • Jess

            May 17, 2015 at 7:55 pm

            I left a comment. I hope you do.


      • cb

        May 17, 2015 at 11:11 pm

        “and the comments, oh my….those commenters (AP’s too) on the Dear Abby post, certainly didn’t change with the revolution. ”

        And in some ways, one wonders whether they are even worse. There seems to be a lot more talk of “Suck it up princess, you could have been aborted” these days. In fact it seems to me that people think the best way for an adoptee to “get over” being adopted is to get them to play the comparison game – “Stop whining, you could have been so much worse off”. My parents never did that – they just told me what they knew (which like you was very little and in my case not totally accurate). To be honest, I don’t remember asking too many questions (not their fault, I was just one of those that dealt with things on my own) but do remember playing the comparison game a bit myself as a child. I think I also interpreted things in a different way because of being born out of wedlock – my amum wanted us girls to go to an all girls school and I just assumed it was because she was worried we would turn out like our bmoms, whereas in reality, she probably would have wanted that even for biological daughters.

        When I did make contact with my bfamily, it made me realise how pathetic the comparison games are. Also, the truth is often more complicated than all the stock statements that everyone, including the adoption professionals, trot out.


        • dpen

          May 17, 2015 at 11:38 pm

          Ahhh yes the comparison games. When people tell me how thankful I should be for not be aborted and having family, and having people to love me…I like to say..Well, you could have been aborted too, you could have been stillborn, you could have been born with two heads!! Don’t you still want to know who your grandmother is.

          I was reading the comments and there are some good ones but the majority from both bmom,adoptive parents and general non adopted people are disgusting. That is pure brainwashing in action. She is at a crucial age we MUST get her to think this way, they are all saying. I needed to step away from my computer


          • L4R

            May 18, 2015 at 12:44 am

            I’m always tempted to tell that person to count backwards from the first born within his/her family. There is actually a pretty good chance that it was a shotgun wedding.


            • dpen

              May 18, 2015 at 1:13 am

              That is so true….But they were not ADOPTED…so they don’t have to worry about being thankful, or have to keep adoptive mothers and natural mothers happy. They get to be just who they are.


        • TAO

          May 18, 2015 at 2:46 pm

          They are worse CB than they’ve ever been. It’s because abortion has become such a divisive topic in the US. I’ve been watching the abortion debate heat up, and it seems to coincide with all the doctors who had to care for women after a back alley abortion – passing on. It’s like they carefully bided their time until they were gone, so no one was left to stand up and say what it was like when there was no way to access a safe abortion.

          That’s when they also changed the words from she could have chose abortion to she chose life. Means exactly the same thing, but it doesn’t make people stop and think what they really are saying…

          All of that is to say, that’s why this ramping up of shut up and be grateful you weren’t aborted is getting worse…


  2. Jess

    May 18, 2015 at 1:15 am

    The comments are unbelievable. I’ve never *gotten it* quite like this time.


    • TAO

      May 18, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Why it’s one of my pet peeves as an adoptee….imagine needing to be grateful that you are breathing – doesn’t matter what you need, breath is enough. The othering is quite painful. If I’d had the time, I would have counted how many times that poor 13 year old was told she could have been aborted (however it was phrased) and people wonder why adoptees seem to be insecure, have low self-esteem, higher rates of suicide, mental health challenges. That’s what happens when you are the subject of bullying for daring to ask a question or for help.


  3. Lori Lavender Luz

    May 18, 2015 at 4:09 am

    Dear Abby’s response and the comments on her post reinforce for me that there is a whole lot of work to do, bringing people out of the dark.

    It’s like that Indigo Girls song, “Darkness [closedness] has a hunger that’s insatiable. And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear.”

    I like what you say about being supported in blending together your nature and nurture. I’m sure that would have made teen years (and beyond) less dysfunctional.


    • TAO

      May 18, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks Lori – I do believe we need a way to blend the raised vs nature or they will always be at odds with each other…



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