Questions that have been percolating…

26 Jul

I’d like you to think about these questions and give your answers in the comments (don’t be shy).  These questions have been percolating since the start of the adoptees flipping the script last November.  The pushback by some adoptive parents that led to one even stating it was a War On Adoption, the concerns raised by some adoption professionals…so please answer the questions below.

What does an adoptee owe to adoption?  Must we be the ambassadors for adoption and allow our stories, pictures to be broadcast to the public?  Are we fair game to be used to promote adoption?  Is how we act, feel, always to be scrutinized in how it may be regarded or impact adoption?

By adoption, I mean the institution of adoption, how the public views adoption as a cultural practice, or custom if you will.  And if you decide that adoptees need to give deference to adoption, how much deference?  Should adoptees promote adoption over their truths?  Should they be happy with the status quo and never talk about what needs changing?  Why or Why not?  What is acceptable behavior and why for an adoptee?  What isn’t acceptable behavior if you are an adoptee and why?  Are adoptees indebted to adoption?  Forever?  Would you want to be indebted in this way? Did thinking about this make you feel differently over how you viewed adoptees speaking up?  In what way?


Posted by on July 26, 2015 in Uncategorized


27 responses to “Questions that have been percolating…

  1. Lara/Trace

    July 26, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    One quick answer: what does an adoptee owe to adoption? Our voice. If we don’t speak about how we feel (and I might add it took a very long time) – then the adopters will languish in fantasy. Adoption is (as you already know) a billion dollar industry that protects its voice and silences out any other. Acceptable behavior for an adoptee? Stall Tall. It’s going to rip you up if you speak up.


    • TAO

      July 26, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      Well you know I agree Lara/Trace…but there are some in other positions that seem to think we owe allegiance (for lack of a better word) and I think they should be able to explain why they think that, and to what degree…and even if they don’t answer, hopefully a seed has been planted…we’ll see if those who disagree with us have what it takes to answer…


  2. Heather

    July 26, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    I detest the way of thinking that says adoptees need to be grateful or indebted for a life time. It’s a good way to keep adoptee perpetual children. I also don’t like society telling adoptees how they should feel or behave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elspeth Grey

      July 31, 2015 at 11:36 am

      The only ones who should be truly grateful forever about adoption are adoptive parents. They get a family but they must remember their family is created from the devastation of another family. For the adoptee it may be good, it may be bad, but for the child’s mother it is very very cruel indeed.


  3. beth62

    July 27, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    I am just wondering what else I could possibly say or do “wrong” to piss everyone off 🙂
    If you can think of anything new or different, let me know!
    Defiance has become my duty in adoption, and some other realms too.
    I came to this point naturally.
    I will not sell or push adoption.
    I will not sell or push GMO’s.
    I will not sell or push motorcycles on anyone.
    I will not sell or push dope or booze.
    I will not sell, push or encourage overpriced romanticized crap on people, no matter what it is.


    • cb

      July 27, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      I’m happy to join arms with you in defiance, Beth!


  4. Dannie

    July 27, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    I guess the only thing I hope for later on in life in regards to my daughter is that we have a great relationship. At this time she’s just about to turn 6 so obviously she thinks I’m awesome still.

    That being said, she knows she looks different and has expressed that she wishes she looked like me. So I want her to feel safe to be herself and I expect her to always speak her mind about everything and that will include adoption.


    • TAO

      July 27, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      But she’ll know that Dannie because you aren’t against her having a voice about anything including her adoption experience…but others seriously have problems with adoptees using their voice…


  5. TAO

    July 27, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    So not surprised by the crickets I’m hearing instead of those against adoptees speaking up answering the questions….


  6. Joneski

    July 27, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Institution, n. (person, place or thing)
    a society or organization founded for a religious, educational, social, or similar purpose
    an organization providing residential care for people with special needs
    an established official organization having an important role in the life of a country, such as a bank, church, or legislature
    an established law, practice, or custom
    a well-established and familiar person, custom, or object

    As this question evokes powerful feeling for me as an adoptee who was part of the “institutional” lie of adoption from birth by my a-parents calling adoption an “institution” is particularly appropriate to me. I had to do a DNA test to extract myself from the institution at 43. Only then was I free from the institutionalization of adoption. My a-parents held the keys long into my adulthood and planned to die with them in their hands leaving me to find the cancelled check for services rendered to the “Church” who had facilitated the “institutional” relationship. So, responding about the institution of adoption while segmenting the impact of being institutionalized by adoption as part of my personal story can get a little difficult.

    It’s been 11 years since I confirmed I was adopted so I have had some time to let it soak in that I was effectively “re-titled” much like one would a car or a house with all prior history of my existence erased or permanently sealed away as if I had never existed prior this event. Much like Kubler-Ross speaks of in her work on the acceptance of the death of an intimate loved on, in a flash I was released from the institution and left to try and figure out what tribe I belonged to. I was starting from scratch, who was I? That’s a story for a different post; however the institutional nature of adoption is just that, and institution into which we are all sentenced without reprieve. As is true with all institutionalization, sometimes we fair well, sometimes not. The one thing that is true, we have no choice in where we are placed or whether or when we are released. We are a product of the institution and its rules. Yes, we each come to know of our institutionalization at different time and in different ways – family by family, and state by state those institutions impact us each differently.

    Adoption as an institution was a great choice of wording for this question since the subtle nuance of being the product of an institution impacts us all.

    I’ll approach this by taking the questions one at a time:
    What does an adoptee owe to adoption? As an institution nothing, when we were foisted into the we were unable to speak for ourselves. As adults when we do speak for ourselves the institution is seen as bigger than any one of us and too big to impact any of us individually. We are all still treated as children without a voice whose heritage is without meaning and whose health and future wellbeing is best left to the institution who decided it in the first place.

    Must we be the ambassadors for adoption and allow our stories, pictures to be broadcast to the public? Ambassadors serve many purposes – not only one of platitude, peacemaking and good will. That said, no one is obligated to allow their story to broadcast to the public. I share my story in the hope my experience open a door for someone. I am no longer as sick as my secret. My story has tragedy, comedy, reunion and rejection. i’ll never share an edited version to spare someone else’s feelings; however I will always share to strengthen someone else’s spirit.

    Are we fair game to be used to promote adoption? No, we are not public figures unless we put ourselves there.

    Is how we act, feel, always to be scrutinized in how it may be regarded or impact adoption? Probably, but mostly because we are the ones speaking about it openly. We are a society of secrets where those who dare to speak are the most likely to become the targets. I’m comfortable with sharing my story. It’s my experience and my life. Others who are looking for examples of good or bad in my story are free to draw their own conclusions. “res ipsa loquitur” – the facts speak for themselves – to deny them would be to deny my life, to deny who am and to deny very existence. I am part of a generation who all want to know “Are you my mother”? If that impacts adoption, so be it. We have a right to know.


  7. Susie

    July 27, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    “What does an adoptee owe to adoption? Must we be the ambassadors for adoption and allow our stories, pictures to be broadcast to the public? Are we fair game to be used to promote adoption? Is how we act, feel, always to be scrutinized in how it may be regarded or impact adoption?”

    Yes!! You must be the ambassadors for adoption. Yes!! How you act and feel should always be scrutinized in how it may impact adoption!

    If not for you who have grown up adopted, who are now adults and finding your voice and your courage to speak out about how adoption has effected you, how will the truth about adoption ever be learned?? I applaud every adoptee who puts their heart on the line and writes/speaks out about the losses and traumas that adoption is built upon. This mom is also thankful to all of you speaking out for a more personal (yes, some may say selfish) reason. After reuniting with my son six years ago, I was lost in coming out of denial. I learned SO much from many of you, you all were a big part of my being able to heal my heart after keeping it tightly closed for nearly 30 years.

    Adoption in this country NEEDS to be scrutinized, to the very core. Who best to help reform all that is wrong with adoption except for those who have lived it their entire lives??

    Blog On!!!


  8. Jess

    July 27, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    What does an adoptee owe to adoption? Honesty, nothing more or less.

    No promotion, no indebtedness, just honesty. That should cover everything.


    • TAO

      July 28, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      And I knew you’d agree Jess…but those who don’t are sending crickets this way when they had the floor open…:)


    • Susie

      July 28, 2015 at 5:06 pm



  9. yan

    July 28, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Damn. I agree with Jess, but as a not-reformed English major, I got a lot wordier and just wrote a whole blog post in response:

    But the short, succinct, and lovely version is what Jess wrote above: Honesty.


  10. cb

    July 29, 2015 at 12:48 am

    To me, a lot of the issue is the commandeering of stories that happens in adoption. An adoptee may share their story and may be happy individuals who have considering everything in their life journey to be part of what makes them who they are today, i.e. they may share their stories just like anyone else, yet their story might be then used to promote adoption. In general, for all of us, adopted or not, only one life can guarantee to have gotten us to where we are today and that’s the life we have lived and thus anything in our life’s journey has contributed to that. However, we don’t tend to commandeer other events and use them to promote those actions, even if they were ultimately of benefit.


  11. valentinelogar

    July 29, 2015 at 9:31 am

    We owe nothing. Well we owe the truth, but nothing more. There is a great need for change, by telling the truth, we help to open the door for change. So we owe that.


  12. anenomekym

    July 29, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    We don’t owe explanations, entertaining stories, adoption propaganda, love, affection, or loyalty. We are owed the truth and honesty.


  13. Tiffany

    July 29, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    As an adoptive mom, I say nothing. My daughter who is adopted had no choice in her adoption, and as an small baby, was not asked about her desire to participate in this.

    I hope that I am raising (and I actively try to) socially conscious and aware human beings who want to speak out against injustices in this world. I hope the want to use their voices and their personal life experiences to shed light in the dark places. But I would never tell or insinuate to my daughter that she has any kind of responsibility to share her story or take any sides. I do because it is my choice- I speak out for opening birth certificates, and I support family preservation. I do it because it is the right thing to do, and I am passionate about a cause close to my heart and life experiences. My daughter has the same choice I had, maybe even more so as an unwilling participant, and she can either speak out or not, share her story or not, or find some middle ground.

    My daughter owes no one anything. But I owe her many things, including supporting her in however she decides to handle these choices and decisions made for her that she was left to process for the rest of her life.


    • Heather

      July 30, 2015 at 5:52 am

      Beautifully said Tiffany.


    • M & D

      July 31, 2015 at 2:22 am

      “My daughter owes no one anything. But I owe her many things, including supporting her in however she decides to handle these choices and decisions made for her that she was left to process for the rest of her life.”

      This. As a prospective adoptive parent, this is what I strive to ingrain in myself and my actions/thoughts as well as others who learn we are adopting.


  14. Paige Adams Strickland

    July 30, 2015 at 4:56 am

    1-What do we owe to adoption? The truth, plain and simple. That means telling everyone all the good and unpleasant parts. The truth brings about needed reforms. The truth educates.
    2-Should we be ambassadors for adoption? OK sure fine, but… (See answer #1) You ask for it, You’ll get it! ; )
    3-Are we fair game in adoption promo? Nope. Not in its current state. (again see answer #1)
    4-Is how we act/feel always to be scrutinized? Scrutinized no. Recognized yes.
    5-Giving deference? I think that’s a personal choice.
    6- Promoting adoption over the truth? Isn’t that sorta like an oxymoron? LOL
    7- Regarding status quo: Again, Just my opinion, but there’s a personal comfort zone to keep in mind. Our opinions are all over the place here about status quo although the majority of us would prefer open records and access without restrictions at the very least.
    8- Never talking about it??? WTF? (see answer #1)
    9-Acceptable behavior for an adoptee? It’s the same expectation as non-adoptees.
    10-Should we be indebted to adoption? No more than my cat is indebted to the SPCA.


  15. TAO

    July 30, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Sorry for not responding everyone, life through a curve ball and I’ve been dealing with all of that…

    Yan – no idea why I didn’t know you had a blog, I want to see what you had wrote, but not today, I’m exhausted and done…


  16. beth62

    July 31, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Hey TAO, hope things have straightened out for you today.

    I wonder what it would be like if every adoptee and family decided to never mention they were adopted to anyone else? (I know many that have been able to do this… just not me! and I do wonder why not me? Was I groomed to be an adoption salesperson? I dunno, maybe so, probably in a way. I think I got fired from that job for thinking and saying the “wrong” stuff)

    No glowing mushy sales stories and pics to be found. No rave reviews. No bad reviews. Nada.
    Treated and spoken of like everyone else who is born and raised.
    Interested in what that would be like…


  17. beth62

    July 31, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Someone old and wise said to me today, out of the blue as he was asking me more questions:

    The story you tell about you, Beth, is different than the story you tell about you, Kelly (my original name).
    He said Kelly’s story is all heartbreak.
    Beth’s story is uplifting and spectacular.
    Which story you tell when requested by others depends on their need for the story, the story you choose can and should involve your needs too.

    I think I get it and I will have to think on that one for a while.
    I think this got me upset/sad thinking about it, so maybe I will think on this later 😦
    I think I am gonna have a let’s be caring and kind to Beth AND Kelly weekend instead 🙂


  18. Kelli

    August 5, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    a very interesting discussion! I loathe the notion I should be grateful, any more grateful than any child should be to parents who loved, nurtured and provided for them.

    it’s always astounding and upsetting to people that I (of all people they say) should be pro-choice, or that I’m not a huge advocate of adoption in general.



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