Will they ever learn?

17 Aug

Seems like I’ve written a lot of posts to adoptive parents lately.  I had high hopes for real changes to happen in adoption, everyone always states how different adoption is today, how much better it is.  I’m losing hope that those statements will actually become reality any time soon when I see what happens on a regular basis, some adoptive parents decide adoption is so beautiful that they just need to share, and the post goes viral, or they write a tell all book.  And they do it without a thought of protecting their child’s story, the story that the parents are supposed to guard, instead, they give it away, despite being educated, warned, that the story belongs to the child, that they are just the gatekeepers.  Other adoptive parents add to the problem by sharing it, commenting on it, continuing the over-sharing.

I’m not linking to the most recent story/pictures that’s gone viral and picked up by the media.  It’s also been shared in facebook posts, blog posts.  This child’s story of her beginning is spread all over the internet, both her new parents names, her name, where they live is included in that story.  Please protect your child’s story, there’s a way to talk about your family and children on-line, I don’t believe this type of over-sharing is the right way.

To others, it becomes her only story…



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


Tags: , , , ,

24 responses to “Will they ever learn?

  1. My Perfect Breakdown

    August 17, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Is this just an adoptive parent thing, or is this just a parent thing? I think all parents make decisions and some choose to share everything which might be their best decision at the time, but not the best in the long run. I know adoption throws a twist into it, I don’t mean to neglect this and in fact it is exactly why I don’t share certain details about our adoption. That said, I don’t think it’s over-sharing is limited to adoption it seems like a parenting decision that all parents have to make.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      August 17, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      No, it’s not limited to adoptive parents whatsoever – I’m amazed at what people share. It’s the child’s story about her adoption that should be protected. Not hiding her adoption, but did anyone else, really need to know that part of her story? Did they need to tell the world? Completely different talking about going camping, kid fell off their bike, was in a play at school, their baseball team won…


      • My Perfect Breakdown

        August 17, 2015 at 7:50 pm

        Yes, I totally get what you mean. For example, we’ve made the decision that we will never discuss what boxes we’ve checked or our child’s medical history with anyone other then our child’s doctors and our child at the appropriate age. We feel very strongly that this is our child’s story to tell, not ours. And in fact, with almost everything I write about our adoption I always think, is this something that it is mine to share? My thoughts are one thing, but my child’s are another. I’m sure this is going to become even more complex when we are actually parenting.


        • TAO

          August 17, 2015 at 8:04 pm

          Somehow I missed your second comment. I think we are on the same page, I like reading family stories, parents feelings evolving on adoption, all that kind of stuff – but the actual story of being adopted – no…that’s private and for the child to share or not share…and obviously the little girl in the viral story will have it follow her throughout life, pre-employment or university social media screening – it’s going to be there. She’s only ever going to have one single story, just like the Burger King Baby and all the rest…


          • TAO

            August 17, 2015 at 8:07 pm

            Seeing as I’ve apparently missed talking while I was absent. My adoption story that was shared by mom and dad – included their story about finding out about me, how they decided to adopt me, after I was home. Nothing else – they share their story, not mine…


            • yan

              August 20, 2015 at 9:52 pm

              That was all my parents ever shared with me. It was a revelation to me that *I* was never a part of the story “of me” that my parents told. It was all about them. I learned this last year in trying to figure out some of the issues I have with erasure in my early life — and I’m learning to tell some of MY story. My attempts to do so growing up were awkward, at best, and highly discouraged by my adoptive parents. Granted, no one probably likes their child proclaiming (and claiming) her bastard heritage, but… hey, it’s part of my truth.


    • anenomekym

      August 18, 2015 at 6:51 am

      Perfect Breakdown,
      One of the problems that specifically exist in adoption is that in adoption, remnants and traceability of the adoptees’ original story, coming-into-existence story are severed, molded, manipulated to take on a different story of existence and to recreate a different direction/trajectory of life.

      The faces the child sees growing up often don’t reveal clues to his/her original story. The origin stories re-written by adoption agencies are too often cut short, filled with holes, false or outright lies, leading the AP’s to tell false stories. Adoption laws mandate that adoptees live life missing their “Chapter one”. Cognitively, the child develops missing perhaps the most important chunk of their own story.

      So, to then have the AP (who might know or care little about the child’s/future adult’s relationship with this aspect of his/her life story) over-sharing while the child is deprived of his/her own story and reliving/re-experiencing/reinforcing his/her story of existence can be more understandably damaging.

      I met someone in South Korea who told me that his childhood friend was adopted, but was never told and didn’t know. While everyone in his friend’s community knew that he was adopted, the story he was told about his origins was a lie, a lie kept from him, a lie continuously told, repeated, and reinforced falsely. His friend has since married and has children, but his true story isn’t his to tell. Meanwhile everyone else can tell this part of his story better than he can. They can tell both stories – the false public one and the truer, secretive one. He’s at a loss telling his own story. His power to tell his own story has been taken away from him. He exists, but his existence is kind of a lie. Had he not been adopted, he would have grown up with faces and other physical evidence supporting the true tale of his existence and he wouldn’t be living this particular lie.


  2. momsomniac

    August 17, 2015 at 8:35 pm


    I am always a little surprised when folks ask questions about C’s birth mother/birth story/adoption story. They ask about her story and his. Not mine. I usually tell them his story is his to tell, not mine. I tell them his mother was “about my age and in a tough spot” because their assumed story is always wrong. Thankfully, no one has ever pushed me after that.

    The rest of this story is hers and his, and honestly, I don’t do as well honoring my bio-kids privacy as I should. I suppose it may be because they don’t have another mother so I don’t have that sense of separateness of stories. I am working on doing better by them as well, and it is in honoring C’s story that I realized they had a story to honor as well.

    I don’t know C’s mother. I may never know her. But her story could so easily have been mine. And I wouldn’t have wanted it tagged onto a child everywhere he went.


    • TAO

      August 17, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      Mom, I love when you stop by and comment!!! And of course I agree with you…


  3. firehouserox

    August 17, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Thank you, Tao, for writing this. My adoptive mother loves to tell people how they “rescued” me from a life of poverty and no love. She tells everyone that I didn’t even know how to use a telephone! It is MY story to tell… it used to upset me when she told it because I still had feelings toward my bio parents….


  4. Nara

    August 17, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    I saw the post you’re talking about, and I thought it did seem like a lot of over sharing and a little too much on the adoption/savior side. I think people do it with good intentions and these people didn’t mean any harm (and I think that a lot of bio parents overshare too).

    However I don’t know if it’s only the child’s story… I think each person has their story, and the adoption of a baby is part of an adoptive parent’s story. I think they can celebrate that whilst also protecting a child’s privacy. In this case I thought at the time it was perhaps disrespectful to the women who’d just given birth as in think it was at the hospital. But then when can they start celebrating their child’s birth/adoption? The sad fact of adoption is that one person’s happiness is another person’s loss. Like organ donation, perhaps… I don’t know. It is all mixed up.

    With changes in tech now there is so much more sharing of everything that an individual has an online footprint before adulthood that we never had as children. I think that’s the sort of overriding question: Is it okay to share stuff about your child before they have a say or any control? I tend to err on the side of thinking it’s innocuous (and possibly difficult to associate with an adult profile) but for something that goes viral like this, or is embarrassing (eg the kid after the dentist), I’m not sure that is entirely fair to the child. I’ve seen some sharing from parents, mainly bio, which seems dodgy. The adoptive parents I know have been the most respectful in terms of sharing, perhaps because they’re more aware of the potential pitfalls.


    • TAO

      August 17, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      I too was bothered by the lack of respect to the mother and father (although I don’t think he was even mentioned, hopefully he knew and consented). Instead they replaced it with the “Stork Drop” meme which is a trigger for me as it was one of those things in my era, adopted babies came via the stork…

      But – the privacy should be maintained. They could have mentioned first names and the state – instead they used ALL the names and even the child’s and place they lived in. That will persist online in the future.

      When can the celebrate? When they get home they can celebrate with their friends and family like other people do…

      And finally, the first article listed the agency – free advertising for them and the photographer at the cost of her privacy…seems wrong…One of the regular commenters here (Beth) was featured in a Christmas Story in the newspapers – she has a love / hate relationship to it, she can’t go a Christmas without being triggered – and the agency got free advertising…

      Liked by 1 person

      • TAO

        August 17, 2015 at 10:08 pm

        Nara – if you haven’t watched the Ted Talk – it’s the best one ever done…I think you’d like it…


        • anenomekym

          August 18, 2015 at 6:58 am

          TAO, thanks for sharing this TED talk. Of the <10 I've seen, I'd agree that this one's the best I've seen.


      • Nara

        August 17, 2015 at 10:24 pm

        I’m with you… Tbh I didn’t read any of the articles associated with the pictures as I, well, I just didn’t. So I didn’t know they mentioned names. I thought when I saw it that it was a bit of a cynical publicity stunt for the photographer. Not sure who released the photos… Was it the adoptive parents or the photographer?

        I can see why people might want photos like this for their own private use (and for the child when he/she is older… I always liked looking at photos of when I was a baby) but I think they were maybe co-opted by the pro-adoption lobby. I don’t know as I didn’t read the story too closely as it did seem a bit… I don’t know, in poor taste. I didn’t mention the dad as I assumed perhaps wrongly that he wasn’t there, but there was a mum there going through probably the worst day of her life. So yeah, it seemed a bit strange.

        I remember reading about the Christmas story on here and how distressing it was to Beth. It’s horrible that people don’t have ownership of their own stories, if that’s what they want. I always feel very worried about writing any of my story that overlaps with that of my siblings (adopted and bio children). They are a large part of my story but they have their own experiences and feelings towards it. So I try not to talk for them or about them too much. (I have one protected post with more details but generally try and keep it quite anon.) I feel like my own parents never tried to tell our story for us… My mum especially would generally refuse to engage and would talk about it only if we wanted to. I guess I didn’t grow up thinking it was a negative thing, but I think I can understand how people can feel like their story is co-opted by other people.


        • TAO

          August 17, 2015 at 10:28 pm

          It’s a fine line for sure – and with the internet it’s out there…the co-opting of the story is also part of it, a big part…

          Liked by 1 person

  5. eagoodlife

    August 17, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    Adoptees< stories, individual, unique and theirs! Do watch this TED talk if you haven't seen it before, one of the best ever!


  6. Paige Adams Strickland

    August 18, 2015 at 10:46 am

    I see a lot of over sharing in general re the family baby Sometimes it’s the grandparents or aunties. I am very much looking forward to grandkids one day but I am not, and know my daughters will not, blast every detail about their bowels moving, rashes, boogers, etc. I see this adopted or not. That baby is going to grow up one day and what will they think about their cute naked baby pix all on line? Adoption adds another layer. That’s personal business. I get being proud and excited and all that about a new family member, but babies are not puppies and kitties. Identity theft is real!


  7. Beth62

    August 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Is it legal to write and publish articles with identifying pictures about a person you’ve heard about, never met, but know people who have met them and have heard stories?
    Stories that may or may not be true.

    Is it legal to plan to do a documentary on them anyway, with old footage and classified documents after you call them for more information, and permission, and they say “Oh Hell No!”

    Is the only recourse to wait for the articles and documentary to be published and then complain or sue for lying after the damage is done?


  8. onewomanschoice

    August 27, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    Love the video. Hadn’t seen it before.



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