Keeps popping into my head…

02 Dec

Something Adopto-Snark wrote keeps popping back into my head, so, I figured I share with you, let me know if the same happens to you.  I think it’s something that many say all the time, but should we?

As you can tell by the blog name, it’s snark, adoption snark to be specific, no punches pulled.

[.from this post here.] It is written by an adoptee so fawning and so Good she even starts with “I’ve always known I was adopted,” as if not having one’s parents lie to one about one’s identity all one’s life is evidence of having The Best APs Ever. Having experienced basic human decency (and a thing experts have been telling APs to do for at least fifty years now) is a low bar, but a Good Adoptee makes sure to congratulate his/her parents for clearing it.

She’s right, telling is a very low bar and has nothing whatsoever to do with how good of parents they are.  All it means is they decided not to lie to their children, it speaks to one character trait they have.  It takes a whole lot more to be a good parent other than not lying to your children about being adopted.

Yet, many of us (myself included) have used this to prove to others that our parents were good parents.  Why would this prove that?  Are we conditioned to say that because the myth of secrecy and not telling during the bad old days (pre 1990) is still pervasive today?  Is that myth still pervasive because it allows adoptive parents to believe that, if only, our parents had been more aware, we wouldn’t be saying things need changing in how adoption is practiced and the laws that need revamped?

What say you?




Posted by on December 2, 2015 in Adoption


Tags: ,

30 responses to “Keeps popping into my head…

  1. Tara-Anita Brown

    December 2, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    I was told I was adopted when I was about four or five. But was never told I had a sister and two brothers 😦 Still as bad.


    • TAO

      December 2, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      I’m sorry that if they knew that – you should have known too.


  2. Lynne Miller

    December 2, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I would agree. Telling your child that she’s adopted doesn’t exactly qualify you for a Parent of the Year award. There’s so much more to being a good parent than that. However, I come from the dark secret era of adoption so I would have appreciated learning the truth about my adoption from my adoptive parents. Having uncovered the truth after their deaths, I feel betrayed. I would have liked more honesty from Mom and Dad.


    • TAO

      December 2, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      I’m sorry you weren’t told.
      Lynne, I come the era you do and the majority from our era appear to have always known, the agencies advised telling. Today the majority are told and yet, there are still adoptee’s growing up today whose parents won’t tell them.


  3. Snarkurchin

    December 2, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    This subject came up at my workplace today, and one woman said she wouldn’t tell, because that way her (entirely hypothetical) child would not feel rejected by his/her original family. The ignorance just keeps on coming.


    • TAO

      December 2, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      The problem today is that even if they get away with it, the craze for dna testing will out them, sooner or later…


  4. yan

    December 2, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    You know, I STILL use that line on the uninitiated (i.e. people I decide are worth talking to about adoption even though I don’t know that they will listen). WHY???? You are so right. This is baseline. This is some weird level of brainwashing where we’re supposed to feel lucky our a-parents weren’t complete liars? I mean, yes, not knowing is way way way worse than knowing, but how on earth did this become shorthand for “yeah, they were decent people”???


    I was talking about knowing vs. not-knowing with a good friend who has known me through this whole adult transition from “I’m okay! Really!” through search and reunion and complication and rejection. Some of her family in-laws are still lying to their obviously mixed race child, who is maybe 4, so it’s not like there aren’t still utter idiots getting approved to adopt. And my a-parents were decent people. But not because they didn’t lie to me my whole life.

    Every time I think I’m pretty well out of the fog, I find wisps. It’s more like sticky spiderweb than fog, isn’t it?


    • TAO

      December 2, 2015 at 11:28 pm

      What you have said is pretty much the lightbulb that went off from Snark’s low-bar standard…aka the penny dropped…


  5. Paige Adams Strickland

    December 2, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    In my case, my A parents were also lied to by the welfare agency. They told me what they were told, but it was all BS. I searched and found my B family anyway. My A-parents didn’t lie to me. It was all on the agency in my case.


    • TAO

      December 2, 2015 at 11:30 pm

      The SW “manipulated” the truth in mine as well…she’s long dead…


      • cb

        December 3, 2015 at 12:33 pm

        With myself and my siblings, none of our stories were entirely accurate and like Paige says, it wasn’t our APs fault, it was what the SW had told them. My parents did tell us what they knew and kept with the facts of what they were told. They didn’t embellish things or put their own spin on things.


  6. Tiffany

    December 2, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Well, I think every person is entitled to his or her own personal viewpoint, especially on personal life experiences, but on the “best parent” front, no, being honest doesn’t make you the best parent. I’m not sure what does, actually… maybe I’ll know after my kids turn out and tell me what all I did wrong! 🙂 I do know that adoptive parents can make mistakes in a thousand additional areas besides all the normal parenting ones, and I think one area that ties into the telling the truth aspect is the part where APs should be careful how they speak of their child’s origins and natural family. I consider my words and tone so very thoughtfully when speaking to my daughter about her parents because I don’t want her to feel like she needs to qualify speaking of her adoption with “but of course I love my adoptive parents” or “but of course they are great parents.” She should be able to speak her thoughts about adoption (positive and negative) without feeling she has to justify anything regarding us as APs. It’s ok to say “I am hurt/upset/sad/depressed/regretful/angry that I was adopted.” Period. No “But I do love my adoptive parents and they are great.” No. It won’t necessarily mean she hates us or anything. It just means she feels a certain way about her loss of her parents, and that’s what our society has so much trouble seeing as ok. It means that adoption isn’t about us. It’s about the adoptee’s personal experience and emotions, and although the truth is important, it is not the only important aspect of parenting a child who is adopted.


    • TAO

      December 2, 2015 at 11:26 pm



    • Tara-Anita Brown

      December 3, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      Hi Tiffany, I wish all Adopted parents thought like that. I rarely ever brought up the ‘adoption’ topic because I knew it would upset my adopted mother. She start crying etc. It was like a big secret. It always felt awkward when she spoke of my adopted brother births how they were as babies etc. then when it got to me it was “..when we “got” Tara. Or it would just end there. awkward silence. They don’t realize this affects us EVERY single day of our lives. How we live how lives, Always wondering if I am where I am supposed to be, If this is how my life was supposed to turn out? I always feel out of place. not fitting in. Always wondering how my life would have been if I wasn’t adopted. If I had stayed in my own country. Always unsettled. Always feel like I have to ask for permission to live my life. Always feeling obligated. Never want to disappoint. I know my adopted family loves me but the ignorance of mothers and fathers (AND extended families) that want to adopt really need to be educated that it is not about their feelings or the biological mother’s feelings….please consider the adoptees feelings…they have actually have no choice in the matter. Make informed decisions that would help them.


      • Tiffany

        December 4, 2015 at 9:35 pm

        Tara, that sounds very hard to manage as a child and then as an adult trying to reconcile all your feelings. Like I said, I am certain I do things wrong (hard as I try), but I too had parents who weren’t ok with me having feelings that didn’t make them feel great. So I try very hard to let my kids have their feelings.

        I do think that some parents just aren’t capable of letting their kids feelings roll off and not be about them. Some people just aren’t wired, I don’t think, to be able to understand someone else’s feelings and have enough empathy to set their own emotions aside. An example I think of is when kids scream, “I hate you!” at their parents. I’m not bothered by it- I know they are just angry. I can feel the anger, and I realize that it’s just an outlet and not their truth (although they might think they mean it in the moment! lol). But I know some moms who are devastated when their kids do this, and they can’t handle it (my own mom was one). Some people struggle with understanding a person’s feelings are not always directly connected to the people around them. Adoptees can have feelings about their adoption that are entirely separate from their feelings about their adoptive family. I wish this could have greater acceptance among adoptive parents.

        I did want to add that I think it’s normal and healthy to wonder about how your life would have otherwise turned out. I absolutely believe my daughter will wonder this often throughout her life. I’m not even the adoptee, and I think about it often, actually. It’s like this alternate universe of reality. I absolutely understand wondering… we all wonder what would happen if we had taken different paths in life. For an adoptee, it’s such a larger wondering because a different choice wouldn’t have just changed some things, it would have changed absolutely everything. Who could help but wonder, especially in the hard times, about what could have been?


  7. eagoodlife

    December 2, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    I don’t remember being told…always seen as a sign of good AP’s! Lying to kids is never a mark of good parenting – Santa and the Tooth Fairy are very debatable.


    • TAO

      December 2, 2015 at 11:29 pm

      true von – but it should not be the be all, end all of what gives a parent high marks…


  8. L4R

    December 3, 2015 at 3:30 am

    I’ve never said, “I’ve always known I was adopted” to glorify my adoptive parents. It’s always been in response to someone asking me how long I’ve known.

    As a child, I never considered that some adoptive parents witheld that info.

    For me, it’s always just been a statement of fact.


    • TAO

      December 3, 2015 at 4:05 am

      Good point L4R – now you’ve made me try to remember my context.


      • cb

        December 3, 2015 at 12:24 pm

        I’m like L4R, I never considered either that some people would withheld that info. I doubt that my own parents were particularly remarkable for that time in how they talked to us about our adoption – they just kept within the facts and dealt with questions when they came. I’m at the stage where I just sort of thing “what does it say about the state of adoption education in the US if my own 80+ mother is far cluey than many of today’s APs”. There seems to be a lot of “adopting while clueless” happening and no-one seems to want to do anything about it.


  9. cb

    December 3, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    “No “But I do love my adoptive parents and they are great.”

    Tiffany, I look forward to the day that adoptees don’t have to offer their
    credentials before commenting on mixed adoption forums. Unfortunately, I feel like I have to keep using it on mixed forums as a deflection tool – if one doesn’t do so, one can be guaranteed to get “I’m sorry you had a bad experience” and other such things.


    • Tiffany

      December 4, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      Oh, I totally understand that. Even with qualifiers, everyone immediately jumps on an adoptee to explain away his or her experience. It’s so frustrating!!! I even have people do it with me. If I mention my daughter is adopted, and her parents come up some way, I get some response about how much better I must be as a mom, and how lucky my daughter is, or some such nonsense. Bull. Her mom is amazing. My daughter no better off with me in terms of motherly love, and besides, no one I interact with knows her other mom so they couldn’t possibly know that. The circumstances were difficult and sad, and thus, I am my daughter’s second mother. But I don’t need the world to pat my head and tell me what a good little mommy I am in order to feel ok about it all, and I think that’s part of the problem. Society still views adoptees and not truly part of a family, so people feel the need to force those feelings.

      I can only speak for my interactions with adoptees, and most importantly, with my own daughter. I defend her right to have her feelings without having to praise me or add footnotes to assuage the concerns adoptive parents and PAPs.


      • Tiffany

        December 4, 2015 at 9:45 pm

        There are an embarrassing number of grammatical errors in that reply. Goodness.


  10. pj

    December 3, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Like L4R, I always viewed it as a” statement of fact” (along with age of, birth name,etc.) when people asked me about my adoption.

    “what does it say about the state of adoption education in the US if my own 80+ mother is far cluey than many of today’s APs”. There seems to be a lot of “adopting while clueless” happening and no-one seems to want to do anything about it
    And CB, I can totally relate to this ! as my mom, who would have been 96, was far more “cluey”. Last year I was talking with a social worker who was considering adoption and debating “to tell or not to tell”…sigh


  11. Tara-Anita Brown

    December 3, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    I am interested in starting a “conversation” group where I want to educate people on adoption. People who have adopted, People who want to adopt, Mothers who are considering giving their child up for adoption most importantly to reach adoptees who are hurting, who don’t have a clue as to why they are feeling the way they feel and can’t make that ‘connection’, and to discuss their feelings…and to whoever is just interested in knowing about it. Can anyone give me some advice on how to start and how to hold such meetings please? I would Greatly appreciate it.


    • Tara-Anita Brown

      December 3, 2015 at 3:51 pm



  12. beth62

    December 3, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I was told all along, I remember reading… being read to and looking at pictures in books about adoption.

    I think I usually say, “well, at least they told me, could be worse”, while sticking on the gold star for it.

    How frickin sad is that??

    Mom and Dad get a good mark for telling me that I am an adopted person. With the following tests in that subject, they barely passed or failed completely.
    I think they did not study enough, we’re not prepared, certainly didnt ask enough questions, get enough answers, winged it. I should give them a report card LOL they, those who will not accept any thing less than an A from anyone else.

    I often wonder how it came about that I seem to have become a sales person for “Tell!”.
    (In my head “tell” sounds more like… omg! You didn’t even tell them? You’re not going to tell them!? WTF! I should kick your ass right now you selfish lying chicken shit control freak slave buyer who or what the hell do you think you are!)

    But instead I try to talk nice, reason with them, you know… kind and helpful – which really makes no sense.
    Like they should be permitted to have that option of not telling. I call BS. It’s not an option in my world, telling is expected. In my book, If you don’t tell- you FLUNK not only as a parent, but as a human.

    No more gold stars from me for telling an adoptee that they are adopted. Absolute Absurdity.

    I never just decided to take this campaign on one day for the fun of it.

    It keeps popping up for me too, and I too have to ask why.

    I know many who were not told they were adopted, let alone anything else.

    Right now I know several young people around 10 yrs old that do not know.
    So why the hell do I know???????? Because I AM adopted,,, wth!!

    I have a few I bumped into while doing ancestry, who’s relative contacted me insisting I remove their true info from my tree because they don’t know they are adopted. All three are adults.
    Not going to happen, I gave them my lawyers’ contact info. They have contacted to try to force me. Not gonna happen.

    Why do I know??????

    One day soon I think I may go off the deep end and just bust everyone’s secrets. I would not feel guilty, not real sure anymore why I don’t just do it today.


    • Tara-Anita Brown

      December 3, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Hi Beth I feel your frustration….(friendly advice) maybe you should talk to the adoptee first let them know that your are adopted the feelings that you have experiences that you’ve had. Feel them out to see where their head is at. OR if you can’t talk to them directly drops hints when you are around them. Causing them to think, have ‘light bulb’ experiences ‘like yeah I feel that way too or yeah that happened to me’, ‘I wonder why…’ and maybe they’ll start asking questions of their own. Easing themselves into the revelation, the fact, that yes ‘may be’ I am adopted. Just be there for them when that revelation HITS them. Not everyone accepts that reality and the deceit that went on, in the same way. It would be interesting to hear how it goes.


      • beth62

        December 19, 2015 at 7:27 am

        Thanks Tara. This is how it seems to work with the non-telling parents I happen to know. First, of course, they know I am adopted. Either I told them for some reason, usually trying to be helpful thinking that might make me seem more credible. Or it just came up in conversation. Or someone else told them thinking I might have some helpful advice on why they should tell, because they are too chicken to tell them the adopted person needs to be told and know I am not. Or they tell the non-tellers that they should really tell, but the non-tellers argue or ignore it because they don’t want to hear it, so I am called in for back up. And sometimes it’s because my friends aren’t adopted and the non-tellers write them off as clueless, so my friends pull me out of their pocket (knowing I’d be upset if they didn’t 🙂 ) to try and help this kid/family be “better at adoption” (one of my young adopted friends said that’s what I do LOL help people be better at adoption – got a kick out of that wording, especially from this particular kid!)

        All that to say, typically, the non-tellers would never, ever, let an adopted person like me close enough to their kid to let their secret, the word ‘adoption’, or any clues of it slip out in any way No way no how. They watch me like a hawk if I ever see them again. It must be exhausting living with that elephant.

        I have had the yucky opportuity more than once to tell the non-tellers, years down the road “I told ya so.”
        Oh yes, I said it. And said I dont blame them for dumping you now that they found out at 16, 21, 28, 35, 43….. And no, I did not wait until after the funeral when there was one. Over and over i said it. And added stupid selfish dumbass to the end, loudly. And hope you are happy now, and yes of course this is all your fault you selfish jerkface idiot.

        So if everyone on the planet would just listen, and tell, and tell asap, it sure would be a better planet for all.


  13. yan

    December 4, 2015 at 3:37 am

    I don’t think I really thought that telling me I was adopted made them good parents. I think I used that fact as a shield to protect me or them from other people’s judgments about my adoption? I don’t know. I just know I threw it out there A LOT in my life, and I don’t think I ever will again.



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