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Postscript to My Story

16 May

After reading a horrible adoption story published in the NY Post written through the lens of the adopting parents, I realized, that I forgot to say how lucky I am in that post to being able to decide when (or not) to share My Story. 

I’m lucky that My Story wasn’t posted for public consumption.  It didn’t appear in print anywhere.

My Story wasn’t included in the telling of how mom and dad came to adopt me, the events that led up to me becoming one of the family, or what it was like after I came home.  That was our story, my story of coming home, not my original story of why I needed adoption (even if it was incorrect).  The two stories were treated as separate.  Mom and dad respected the fact that my story, my mother’s story, wasn’t theirs to share, or talk about to others.  I’m sure they may have told close family members about My Story at the beginning, but if they did, they picked people who wouldn’t turn around and share it to others.  They only talked about my story in our home with just us present.

I feel so bad for adoptee’s growing up today whose most intimate stories of why, how, when, who was there, who did what when they lost their families are posted all over the internet.  Their first parent(s) stories told by their adoptive parent(s) and sometimes by their first parent(s) too.  When I say that, I mean told by people under their own name with details, not anonymously and told with deep respect to being vague to protect their child’s privacy, that’s different.  Even under your own name, being vague helps.

I just can’t imagine what these adoptees will feel when they grow up and realize that their story doesn’t belong to them to share when they are ready, if they are ever ready.  Perhaps, by then, the concept and value of privacy will be seen as some long-ago old-fashioned value people held.  I can’t imagine coming upon a story about the day I was born, nor the story about losing my birthright, my privacy, my agency about who could know the most intimate things about me and who I came from.

I’m thankful that after all these decades I got to decide whether to share what little I’ve shared.

 

 

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12 Comments

Posted by on May 16, 2016 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

12 responses to “Postscript to My Story

  1. My Perfect Breakdown

    May 16, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    When we chose adoption to have children we made a decision very early on that we would not be sharing any of the details you discuss here with our family and friends. Early on when we brought our son home everyone was asking questions, and we simply said something like “she is a nice women who made what we can only imagine was a very hard decision, and we love and respect her”. We wanted to end the conversation and leave no room for further questions. And when people continued to press, we actually said that out of respect to our son and his birth mother we will not discuss that.
    Also, as someone who writes ALL the time and does so publicly yet anonymously, when we chose to adopt I knew I’d have to be extraordinarily careful about what I share. I figure, I’m anonymous today but that doesn’t mean I always will be, I could choose to share my identity one day or someone I know could randomly end up on my blog and figure it out. I will admit, it’s hard for me because I tend to over share. And I am the author of my story, not my son’s story. Of course there will be some overlap, but I try so hard to protect his story for him to share when and if he chooses to.

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    • TAO

      May 16, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      I don’t think you’ve ever ‘over-shared’ in a way that would be able to be identifiable, or even be questionable – not that I’ve read every post but you find the right side of the line. I think many find the right way – others are very specific and that is what bothers me…

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  2. eagoodlife

    May 16, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Couldn’t agree more TAO. Sharing a story that is not ours to share is the ultimate disrespect.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  3. eagoodlife

    May 16, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    One of the few benefits of the older adoption was that our stories were not shared with the world and are now ours to share when, if and how we decide.The current trend seems to be the ultimate disrespect to adoptees.

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  4. cb

    May 17, 2016 at 8:55 am

    I read that article and my first thought was for the adoptee and what she might think of the article further down the track. I would be mortified if my parents had ever shared anything online. I don’t even like to share too much about any of my relatives (adoptive or biological) at all online. I especially will never say anything negative about them online (which is fairly easy because they are nice average people).

    I have had APs say that other online APs may have been “taken out of context” – not just for that article but for other articles in general. Hey, adoptees in particular understand the concept of being “taken out of concept” which is at least part of the reason why I avoid sharing. I have also noticed in the past that certain defaults are expected re biological and adoptive parents. I once said to another online friend that if an adoptee tells people that their biological mother was a drug addicted streetwalker who had been in and out of prison, most people seem to believe them without batting an eyelid. Of course, for many of us, our bmoms were nothing like that but it can be hard to get over that concept that, yes, my bmother was a perfectly normal decent woman (often the adoptee is considered a fantasist). There is also the opposite where the default assumption is that my parents must automatically be good people. Luckily for me, they are :), but I know some adoptees who didn’t have good parents and again it is hard for them to get that concept through to people (often it is then considered the adoptee’s fault for having bad parents).

    So my advice to APs is share your side of the story publicly. Don’t overshare about bparents and put your own spin on their situation. Think of your child everytime you think about sharing their story. If it is something you would rather your adoptee not hear, then don’t say it publicly.

    Being on forums, one does also hear rather more about other people’s children’s bmothers that we should know. One thing that really irks me is when APs or PAPs share how many “abortions” a birthmother has had or even whether they considered abortion or not – I DO NOT believe that that is the business of a PAP/AP and it sure isn’t their business to be sharing it online. As for those who so pubicly, that is even worse. It often also tends to be mentioned in order to dismiss the bmother as some sort of uncaring individual.

    In general, specifically mentioning anything negative in order to put oneself in a better light than one’s child or their bmother is “not on”. We don’t know one’s child or their bmother so painting them with a negative brush is given us a picture that may not be the full one. As an adoptee, I try to live by that too – no-one online knows my bfamily or afamily so I try to avoid posting stuff that might given them a negative one-sided picture of my relatives.

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  5. Nara

    May 18, 2016 at 6:11 am

    I know the story you’re talking about and it was pretty shocking in its dismissal of “the birth mother” (a child!) and completely AP-centric. To give him his dues, he did come on the discussion group and listen / read comments from adoptees, many of whom were super critical. So hopefully he’s listening. The horse has already bolted but hopefully the reaction in the adoptee community will have given them some food for thought.

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    • TAO

      May 18, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      The whole thing was cringe worthy in the extreme…and it wasn’t just adoptee’s who thought that. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

       
  6. Unathi K.

    May 18, 2016 at 7:38 am

    I have been following your blog since last year and as an adoptee, I relate to a lot of your posts. Not only that, but I feel you write about the adoption experience incredibly well. I think more people should know about your blog.

    For this reason, I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. https://unathikay.wordpress.com/2016/05/18/liebster-award-nomination/

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    • TAO

      May 18, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      Thank you Unathi.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Unathi K.

        May 19, 2016 at 5:08 am

        My absolute pleasure.

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