RSS

Adoptee loyalty…

04 Jun

The feelings of loyalty that I feel (and expect others feel in varying degrees) can play a significant role in how we talk about our adoption experience, both to our parents throughout our lives, and as adults to others.  I’ve wanted to talk on this subject for a while, but worried, I couldn’t tease out a cohesive post explaining why I think it happens.  This is my attempt to explain many of the different factors playing into it that I see around me. 

When I was young, I often thought of my other mother, I also had the typical childhood fantasies that go along with it.  I never shared either with mom or dad.  I never brought any of my deeper feelings up.  I didn’t talk about the feelings of loss.  If I did mention anything at all it came out more of a curiosity than anything deeper.  But I had those feelings.  The feelings of not being good enough.  The feelings of being rejected, and expecting everyone to leave me.  Believing there had to be something wrong with me they could see, that I couldn’t to answer why they (she) didn’t fight to the end of the earth to keep me.  At the same time, logically I understood why.  I never brought any of those feelings up out of feelings of loyalty.  My loyalty was to mom and dad and you don’t hurt those you love.

As an adult, I’ve wondered if I’d have been less reserved, less protective of their feelings, if the dynamics within the family had been different (a sibling with mental health challenges).  I might have, but I also doubt it, because of my personality, who they were to me, combined with the fact that they couldn’t have children, and the recognition that they didn’t have to adopt any of us.  To me, that’s why the public’s continued onslaught of telling people adopted they better be grateful makes an adoptee angry, as if, we are so befuddled, ignorant, less-than, that we don’t have the ability of understanding all that, that we need others to explain it to us.

That adoptee loyalty can extend outside of the personal familial relationships, into how we talk to others about our experience being adopted.  When I read comments by some adoptees, I look at the carefully formulated responses about their experience, and, I hear, my own modulated responses within their words.  I don’t hear pain or joy, I hear protection for their parents against a world made up of biological family norms.  I hear the adoptee protecting their parents because adoptive families are different compared to biological families.  Other, different, not quite good enough.  Our parents are seen as either suspect or saviors, pitied or held up as saints, never just as parents, and us as families.  Adoptees are often seen as troubled, and some are, either from the trauma that they’ve been through, or mental illness, but the broad brush strokes paints all, because we aren’t part of the norm, we are other.

I don’t know how to fix the public perception, what people have done to date hasn’t helped, that much I know, and perhaps, made it worse looking at how the media has covered adoption since I was little.  I think they’ve made it worse for the adoptees, they removed the tragedy of losing a family from the narrative and only focused on the outcome, being adopted.  I think that started in the era I was adopted in.  Before then, wars and the depression were to vivid in everyone’s mind, to not understand the calamity that befell families, the damage done to more than just the one adopted.  Solutions were found, but they weren’t seen as a win, just a solution.

I don’t have any wise words, I just wanted to talk about how loyalty can also silence us, moderate our voices, stories.  There are brave adoptee’s who can open up with their deepest feelings.  I’m not one.  I wish I was, but then, I wouldn’t be me.

Have a safe week and let me know what you’re up to, what you think.

Advertisements
 
88 Comments

Posted by on June 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

88 responses to “Adoptee loyalty…

  1. Lara/Trace

    June 4, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Hey Tao, it’s my feeling that those who control the message, control outcomes, too. I have had very deep conversations with adoptive parents who admit that if they had known more, they would have done more. And there you are. We all are still in a sort of limbo. What changes the perceptions? Blogs like yours and Von and many others. We may be adoptee readers but we have grown tremendously and as loyal friends and readers. I applaud your writing.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      June 4, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks Lara/Trace – I appreciate that more than you can know. Have to admit I was scared of the reaction…now I can breathe…

      Like

       
    • eagoodlife

      June 5, 2016 at 12:21 am

      Thanks for the mention Trace. Your continued work towards understanding has moved us forwards and out of limbo. The recent years have seen such enormous advances for us because we have all found each other, made a community, a huge world-wide community none of us could have imagined. We have found others who understand and accept us and a loyalty we’ve probably never known before. Change always takes time and I do see change. Perhaps one day others will understand and appreciate that we are owed a debt of gratitude for the role we had imposed on us, took up with lack of choice and for the most part have performed well! Nowadays we are learning to speak for ourselves and to write our own dialogue using our own rules. Thanks for the post TAO hope you get lots of interesting responses.

      Like

       
      • TAO

        June 5, 2016 at 2:18 am

        Thanks Von – hoping you are well, despite the onset of winter…

        Like

         
        • eagoodlife

          June 6, 2016 at 12:31 am

          Thanks TAO, you too. Not so good but keep going. x

          Like

           
  2. The EcoFeminist

    June 4, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Well said, for me in particular about the adoptive parents being seen as either saviors or suspect. My husband and I have always wanted to adopt and it has absolutely nothing to do with religion, and while it turns out I’m not able to have babies using my own eggs, that also is irrelevant to our pending adoption. We never had this holier-than-thou attitude that we were “called to” adopt, we just want to, and people don’t seem to understand that we’re simply trying to be parents like everyone else. In adopting from Ethiopia, we’ve learned that many times the family members are at the court hearing which I think is a good thing if that’s what they want. We’ve always firmly believe that our child will decide for herself if she wants to explore her roots and don’t believe in secrecy around adoption. I suppose it helps because my biological cousin was given up for adoption by my aunt and found us when she was 18, and we never for once considered my aunt her mother. Anyhow, great peace and keep being open and honest because for every person who expresses themselves on their blog there are usually ten times as many who have stayed silent but feel the same way.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      June 5, 2016 at 2:23 am

      Did you know there is a growing group of International open adoptions? It is doable…

      As to your cousin – she has made her choice. My mother has and will always be my mother, not just to me but to mom and dad too. But then dad delivered many babies, so it’d be pretty hard for him to pretend my mother wasn’t my mother seeing as I came from her…

      Like

       
      • The EcoFeminist

        June 5, 2016 at 2:49 pm

        International adoption is not an easy process and with our country it’s fully dependent on that family’s situation, if there even is one.

        Not sure what you mean about my cousin’s “choice”. They stay in touch but the term “mother” is a special one that is fully dependent on the actual relationship, if there is one. Not everyone who gives birth are meant to be mothers.

        Like

         
        • TAO

          June 5, 2016 at 3:01 pm

          Were are going to have to disagree. You don’t get to define the criteria surrounding whether a mother is in fact a mother. Also note that by your narrow rigid definition a person who gave birth to a baby who then passed away is not a mother or no longer a mother. You could also take it further and say that once the mother passes away she is no longer a mother because there is no relationship.

          I’m really sorry that you can’t grasp the reality that an adopted person can have more than one mother.

          A mother who procreated, gestated and gave birth is a mother, even if they don’t parent.

          Like

           
          • The EcoFeminist

            June 5, 2016 at 4:30 pm

            Please do not condescend or make assumptions about me, you don’t know me and everyone has a right to their perspective about parenthood versus biological relatives.

            Like

             
          • The EcoFeminist

            June 5, 2016 at 4:34 pm

            And I never said that adopted people “cannot have more than one mother” – I was very clear that it depends on the circumstances and that our family’s situation was a certain way.

            As a woman getting a donor egg to try to have a baby, I most *certainly* will never (nor will the donor) consider the baby that we may have (if the treatment works) to be the donor’s child simply because there is a genetic connection to her.

            No one is an expert here – there are a million ways to look at it and looking down at others is counterproductive and unnecessarily inflammatory.

            Like

             
            • TAO

              June 5, 2016 at 4:47 pm

              Your words not mine: “They stay in touch but the term “mother” is a special one that is fully dependent on the actual relationship, if there is one. Not everyone who gives birth are meant to be mothers.”

              And thank you for your approval and permission for an adopted person to have more than one mother providing it follows your definition “the term “mother” is a special one that is fully dependent on the actual relationship”. I do not need your approval to call my mother my mother. It does not matter what the “circumstances” were (or are) or if there is “an actual relationship”.

              Liked by 1 person

               
              • eagoodlife

                June 6, 2016 at 12:45 am

                Any woman who has given birth is a mother regardless of the circumstances that follow hence much of the pain and suffering of the mothers-of-loss. It is for the adoptee or offspring to define who are parents and how they regard anyone with a biological/genetic connection. How an adopter regards that connection is often crucial to the future of relationships. Ignore the bonds of genetic connection at your peril! If you don’t handle it right it will rebound on you. There may be no experts but there are those with a great deal of experience and a knowledge of rights, justice and ethics. Why is it that when adoptees present an informed opinion they are being ‘unnecessarily inflammatory’ or are ‘looking down on others’? Our opinions and informed viewpoint count -we after all have to live the adopted life and I include those who are the product of egg donation here.

                Like

                 
            • L4R

              June 5, 2016 at 8:58 pm

              You have an absolute right to your beliefs, but I hope you–along with everyone else here–will try to listen to what is being said before becoming defensive.

              I will say that, yes, adoptees are experts. We have lived these lives for our entire lives. Many of us have done years of research on the subject of adoption. So, we often not only know about our own situations, but also about other adoptees in general.

              I certainly do not speak for all adoptees. Every adoptee has his or her own story. But, I would hope that adoptive parents, perspective adoptive parents, and society would take the time to listen to what adoptees have to say.

              Too often someone knows one or two adoptees, and they think they know about adoption. Everyone has layers. And, adoptees often have very layered responses to questions about adoption. No one in my adoptive family knows my full thoughts about adoption. In fact, I don’t even think I know my full thoughts yet. It’s a journey, and what adoptees tend to think at age five changes by age 15 and changes by 40.

              But, I do think it is an insult to say that adoptees aren’t experts. We aren’t experts in your cousin’s life. That’s for sure. But, we shouldn’t be discounted as novices, either. We are experts. We aren’t experts on specific situations. But, we certainly know about adoption on a level that others simply cannot.

              Liked by 1 person

               
              • TAO

                June 5, 2016 at 9:01 pm

                Bravo – you should change course and become an orator – or least write a blog…

                Like

                 
                • Heather

                  June 5, 2016 at 9:33 pm

                  I agree. Well stated L4R.

                  Like

                   
                • L4R

                  June 6, 2016 at 3:04 pm

                  Thanks, Tao. But, I’m definitely not an orator.

                  Liked by 1 person

                   
            • beth62

              June 8, 2016 at 4:41 pm

              “As a woman getting a donor egg to try to have a baby, I most *certainly* will never (nor will the donor) consider the baby that we may have (if the treatment works) to be the donor’s child simply because there is a genetic connection to her.”

              I agree that there are many ways to look at it all. And often our views change with time and circumstance.

              What happens if your child/children do consider their genetic parents to be a mother and father to them? What if they consider their genetic siblings to be their siblings, grandparents to be grandparents?

              What if it were your eggs and a surrogate mother was to be considered, along with a separate adoptive mother.

              Everyone forms their own beliefs about it all, including our children, however they came to be.
              As a mother of many I can tell you with much certainty that our children will find their own beliefs, and quite often those beliefs are much different than ours LOL
              Best to learn early to laugh about that part of raising children and get ready to roll with it, instead of forcing beliefs on them that they may only pretend to believe to keep you happy and them anxiously safe and secure.
              I’ve been in that spot, seen many in that spot, and have watched most find a way to wiggle out of that miserable spot, in one way or another. Best to give them a good way out of it, instead of insisting they stay there for ever and ever, for your sake, for your confidence.

              I have come to believe if a mother sees her child in that spot it’s best to give them a good and healthy way out of it asap. That and, Mother ALWAYS equals sacrifice, in one way or another, always, no matter how mother came to be.

              Like

               
              • Heather

                June 9, 2016 at 8:28 am

                Thank you beth62

                Like

                 
          • Heather

            June 5, 2016 at 8:17 pm

            Well said.

            I was once told that “Family is people you see often during the year”. I’m sure fear and insecurity was behind that very narrow view of family, especially since it excluded anyone who had passed away.

            Like

             
        • iwishiwasadopted

          June 5, 2016 at 3:04 pm

          No, not everyone who give birth is meant to be a mother, but everyone who gives birth IS a mother, like it or not. Your family’s refusal to acknowledge that is sad to me, as an adoptee.

          Like

           
          • The EcoFeminist

            June 5, 2016 at 4:28 pm

            Please do not judge my family, you don’t know us and what’s important is that my cousin is a happy, healthy, wonderful person – which is due very much in part to the people who raised her.

            Like

             
            • Heather

              June 5, 2016 at 9:36 pm

              I find it thought provoking that you are allowed to refer to her as your Cousin yet your Aunt is not allowed to be called her Mother.

              Like

               
    • Heather

      June 5, 2016 at 7:58 am

      I feel sadness for your Aunt. Are you able to articulate why “it helps” that you “never for once considered my aunt her mother”?

      Like

       
      • The EcoFeminist

        June 5, 2016 at 2:42 pm

        My aunt gave her up for adoption as a pregnant teenager…why would I consider her my cousin’s mother? She gave birth to her but the term motherhood goes to the person who raised her. There was no confusion for anyone as to this, why would you pity her for doing what was right for my cousin and respecting the role of my cousin’s parents?

        Like

         
        • Heather

          June 5, 2016 at 8:21 pm

          Nowhere did I use the word “pity”.

          It also makes me sad that in 2016 you continue to hold such an out dated view of adoption. I agree with TAO that you don’t get to define who is a mother. Perspective and beliefs do not change biology.

          It is not condescending to explain what we have learned from years of experience in an attempt to prevent future pain. Try not to be fearful and insecure. Put yourself in the child’s shoes and have compassion.

          I hope you take advantage of the wealth of information available prior to using an egg donor or adopting. This blog is a great place to start.

          Like

           
          • The EcoFeminist

            June 5, 2016 at 8:29 pm

            I am neither fearful nor insecure. Why are you insisting on insulting someone just because their views are different than yours? I am not denying biology but rather embracing those who are doing the hard, lifetime job of parenting, and for the third time, have said that this all depends on the situation. Never have I been against open adoptions. It’s clear you believe your view is the only view and that you think you have the right to tell other people how to parent, without getting to know their own stories. Your lessons do not speak for everyone, and insult the people in my family who were adopted and don’t agree with you whatsoever.

            Like

             
            • Heather

              June 5, 2016 at 8:39 pm

              Try to read my words again with an open heart and less defensiveness.

              Like

               
            • Heather

              June 5, 2016 at 8:44 pm

              Denying biology in your own words

              “I suppose it helps because my biological cousin was given up for adoption by my aunt and found us when she was 18, and we never for once considered my aunt her mother. “

              “As a woman getting a donor egg to try to have a baby, I most *certainly* will never (nor will the donor) consider the baby that we may have (if the treatment works) to be the donor’s child simply because there is a genetic connection to her.”

              “My aunt gave her up for adoption as a pregnant teenager…why would I consider her my cousin’s mother? She gave birth to her but the term motherhood goes to the person who raised her.”

              Like

               
            • eagoodlife

              June 6, 2016 at 12:54 am

              Try this and the link on genealogical bewilderment – https://judithland.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/adoption-are-you-burned-out/#comments

              Like

               
            • cb

              June 6, 2016 at 1:31 am

              ZI remember an AP giving the usual “it is doing x, y and z that miss someone a mother ” and I remember one of the criteria was “worrying about one’s child every day “. Using that criterion, might that not mean that any bmom who thought about and worried about her child is also worthy of being called a mother?

              Also I do want to point out that not every bmother relinquished their child because they just couldn’t be stuffed “doing the hard work of being a parent”. Many were in a situation where lack of support meant that it was very hard for them to know whether they were able to provide security.

              Like

               
            • eagoodlife

              June 6, 2016 at 7:55 am

              It is possible to embrace biology, in fact a necessity for the health of adoptees as well as embracing the very hard work of being an effective adopter. Adoptees go through many stages of the adopted life and can radically alter their views from stage to stage. It is very rare for them to reveal their true and deepest feelings about their adoptions to others, particularly those within their adoptive family. What they tell you they agree with now may not be what they agree with next year. That is not fickle but part of the development of the adopted life. It is to be welcomed and part of the acceptance of the pathology of adoption.

              Liked by 1 person

               
            • Lori Lavender Luz

              June 6, 2016 at 2:15 pm

              For The EcoFeminist,

              It sounds like you are in the process of becoming the mother to an Ethiopian daughter. I suspect you have traveled a long road to get there and that you are quite excited to be the best mother you can to her knowing that she’s already endured a lot of loss and hardship. It’s great that you are here reading adoptee voices so that you are better prepared to tune in to her. Kudos.

              I wonder if you came to this thread with the notion that you are already on the right track to be a good adoptive mom. You plan to have no secrecy around adoption. Your child will have the freedom to explore her roots as she desires, perhaps even with your blessing and help (that’s part of the point that TAO is making, that certain dynamics and subtle cues from adoptive parents can further “split the baby” — or not).

              But do you see that in your explanation that you are already familiar with adoption and that you “get it,” you used wording that splits adoptees at their core? You said that your aunt who gave birth to your cousin was not that baby’s mother. That your definition of mother is something else, which brings up a fundamental question: can an adopted person have more than one real mother? Must adoptees function in an Either/Or setup? In order to validate one family, does the adoptee have to negate the other? It sounds like that mindset was imposed your aunt and for your cousin. Their connection was invalidated by the rest of the birth family.

              Your Either/Or mindset was revealed with this declaration, and instead of listening to TAO and others, you dug your heels in further. You feel misunderstood, attacked, hurt. That’s understandable. I get it and I’ve been there. But I do also hope that you are listening to what you need to hear to help your future daughter not face the prospect of having to deny one of her families in order to have the love and support of her other. This happens so subtly, and not always with words. The call for the adoptee to do so often stems from the unhealed and unacknowledged wounds deep within the parents about not being the Only.

              Can you see how your words about your aunt could trigger adoptees on a post about loyalty, about being split?

              I hope you open yourself to exploring instead a Both/And viewpoint. Because I do think you aim to be open and do this parenting thing well, in spite of your being hurt here, I encourage you to watch this Kohl’s commercial about an adoptee and read some of the resulting comments here: http://lavenderluz.com/2015/12/kohls-adoption-video.html.

              Liked by 1 person

               
        • Heather

          June 5, 2016 at 8:28 pm

          I’m sure (no matter the circumstances or her age) that when your Aunt felt her child move inside of her body she knew she was her mother. Just like I’m sure if egg donation works for you, you will feel the same.

          Whatever happened after her birth doesn’t change that fact and has nothing to do with respecting the A parents.

          You are disrespecting your Aunt by defining and minimizing her experience.

          Like

           
        • gsmwc02

          June 8, 2016 at 10:39 am

          Too often I think we are hung up on terms and what we think they should mean. I’m just as guilty of anyone in doing this. In relationships I don’t think we think about what we call them when we are with that person or what they mean to us. Whether or not we consider a person to hold a certain title doesn’t change the feelings we have toward that person.

          I know it’s hard to change this way of thinking because of what society tells us we should feel. It takes practice for us to just go with how we feel and ignore what society tells us we should feel.

          Like

           
    • Tiffany

      June 7, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      It saddens me when I see a Prospective Adoptive Parent already getting defensive about adoptee feelings and emotions. Unless you are adopted, you really have no space to talk about what it feels like or assume emotions, especially not when you are using the standard “an adoptee I know/in my family feels this way so that means you are wrong.” Your “cousin” probably has a whole bunch of feelings and emotions that she doesn’t confide in you.

      Also, it’s weird how you call her your “cousin” when you don’t view your aunt as her mother??? Either she is a relation to you all or not- she cannot be your cousin while at the same time you erase her mother-daughter connection to your aunt. Her relationship to her mother is her own, not yours to determine or define or view how you choose.

      It’s interesting that you label yourself a feminist…. as a feminist, I think adoptee rights are straight in line with feminism: the right to know their biological roots, the right to connection with their family of birth, their right to remain within their family of birth unless all options are exhausted, and their right to determine for themselves how it feels to be adopted instead of having non-adoptees tell them what they think.

      Btw, I’m an adoptive mother. I’m not an adoptee. And I have learned to listen instead of talk, to hear instead of assume, and to know that I am not the authority on how my daughter will view her adoption regardless of how many other adoptees I know, how I view her adoption, or what my feelings are. I know that I MUST give her the right and the space and the support to determine for herself things like how she views her parents, the relationship she chooses to have with them, and how she views her adoption.

      Like

       
      • TAO

        June 7, 2016 at 9:49 pm

        Missed your voice Tiffany…

        Like

         
      • eagoodlife

        June 7, 2016 at 11:59 pm

        Spot on!!

        Like

         
      • gsmwc02

        June 8, 2016 at 10:42 am

        Tiffany,

        May I ask how you came to the decision to adopt? Was it due to not being able to have children or something else? I ask because I’ve noticed that those coming to adoption due to infertility have a different frame of mind than those who don’t. I apologize if I’m getting too personal.

        Like

         
        • Tiffany

          June 8, 2016 at 4:58 pm

          TAO, I’ve been reading along, but I’ve been too busy to reply. Your blog is always so powerful to me.

          gsmwc02, sure, that’s fine to ask. I’ve been asked in a much ruder way often! lol.

          I always wanted to adopt when I was younger. I had this… feeling… that someday, there would be a child who would need me who was not my own, and she would need me to be her mother. It sounds silly, and I realize that, but there it is. We had a natural born child, and we have no issues with infertility, but once she was a toddler, we started thinking about my desire to adopt. We went to some info sessions at multiple agencies, decided on one, and went to their state mandated training. And there we hit the wall.

          I had envisioned being a mother to a child who needed one, not advertising to women in crisis, hoping they would decide to give me their child because they thought we were better parents than she. The training left us feeling very uncomfortable, as did the words and responses of the PAPs there with us. There were multiple flags for us. We were not at all comfortable with the advertising portion. So we decided to step back from it all and explore other options. We were thinking of maybe foster care or adopting a child who was already in the system, but we wanted to keep birth order, so we thought about waiting until our daughter was a little older (most of the children already waiting are older).

          Before we explored anything else, we came into contact with parents in need. I’m trying to be careful with my phrasing to be sensitive as well as purposely vague. I do not share my daughter’s or her parents’ story online (and IRL, only to close friends and family), so I won’t say more than they needed to place their child for adoption and hadn’t connected with an agency. We adopted their daughter. We did use the agency we initially found (who were rather irate with me when they found out I didn’t have infertility, btw, and said had they known that, they wouldn’t have worked with us) at the choice of the parents. So it was technically an agency, domestic, open adoption.

          Feel free to ask me questions. I don’t want to write a ton and overflow TAO’s comment section with unrelated stuff.

          I do feel that regardless of infertility struggles or not, a mother is a mother. My daughter has two mothers and two fathers. I am not higher or greater. She will decide her own words and feelings for us all as she grows. I hope that with both my natural child and my adopted child, I live up to the word “Mother.” It’s an immense responsibility, and I would walk through fire and give my life for them, so why wouldn’t I be understanding and compassionate and intensely aware of how my daughter who is adopted will experience lots of feelings and emotions related to that? I would be failing her as a mother (and failing her other mother, who trusts me to be the best mother I can possibly be, in her stead) if I did anything less. I don’t think this makes me stand out or any better than any other mother… don’t we all want to be the very best we can for our children?

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • gsmwc02

            June 8, 2016 at 5:40 pm

            Thanks for responding and you reinforced my thinking that those who adopt who don’t come from infertility are less likely to be defensive and have insecure feelings about their place in the child’s life. I say this as someone who is infertile part of a couple they decided not to adopt.

            I did and at times still get defensive and take parts of these discussions personally more so than I should. So I get where eco feminist is coming from. This is where I believe more support for those going through infertility is needed. It’s needed to work through these feelings to help them get to the point where it’s not carried into any potential parenthood (BTW I think it’s wrong you were shamed for not coming from a place of infertility by your agency).

            I’m not trying to say that APs coming from infertility should be given a pass but rather hoping that by better understanding these APs background we as a society can help them help their kids better.

            Like

             
            • Tiffany

              June 9, 2016 at 11:48 pm

              I suppose you might be right in general, based on my experience as well. I think coming from a place of having given birth myself, which some APs have not, I am able to more empathize with my daughter’s mom because I know the emotional ties between mother and daughter… I love my daughter who is adopted with equal fervor as my daughter who I gave birth to, but I know that she has another mother who also loves her with that fervor. Giving birth is indescribable. The connection is a lifelong tie. I think I do understand that a little better, maybe. I know some of the things that made me very uncomfortable in the agency training I mentioned related directly to that. None of the couples in our session had children, and all had infertility. Without meaning to be malicious, the women were all very dismissive of what a mother goes through and that deep tie between the two that comes from biology. I agree that there should be more training, but I think it is such a very sensitive subject that agencies do not wish to broach it.

              For me, the bottom line is the child. People get defensive when the statement is made that adoption is about the child. But if I take it and apply that to me and my daughter, of course I want her life experience to center around her basic needs. I want the very best for her, and I love her so much. If instead of saying “adoption is about the children,” PAPs/APs would think “my adoption is about my child and her needs,” I think they would understand better and agree that adoption should be child-centric by the very nature of parents desiring to put their child’s needs first.

              APs do need to learn not to take anything regarding adoption personally. 🙂 I am a frequent reader of adoptee and first mother blogs, and there is a lot of well-justified venting, much of it against adoptive parents. I think about what I would want my daughter to experience should she visit a blog like these someday, and she needed to vent about her feelings, and I let it go. I realize that much of it is not about me personally, and what is, well, I truly do have a lot to learn. And many of the arguments of adoptees and first mothers are true and justified, such as the fact that coercion has no place in adoption or that adoptees have rights to their OBC.

              Like

               
              • gsmwc02

                June 11, 2016 at 3:03 pm

                What I meant by support for those going through infertility I was referring more so to therapy prior to making the decision on how to proceed. I wasn’t so much referring to training. I think if PAPs were in a better frame of mind prior to pursuing adoption that we wouldn’t see some of the issues we see with adoption.

                It makes sense that you and others who have given birth can empathize with parents who have lost their children to adoption. It also makes sense that you wouldn’t be able to empathize with those going through or have been through infertility and how it can change a person/couple. This is where I think listening to APs and where they’ve come from can help the adoption community help them and thus end up helping adoptees.

                Like

                 
                • Heather

                  June 12, 2016 at 8:49 pm

                  Greg have you found the therapy you speak of?

                  Liked by 1 person

                   
                  • gsmwc02

                    June 12, 2016 at 9:10 pm

                    Yes, but it goes beyond therapy. Having supportive friends and family have been just as important. I was extremely lucky. Most people aren’t.

                    Like

                     
    • gsmwc02

      June 8, 2016 at 10:29 am

      Question, you said your family doesn’t consider your Aunt to be your cousin’s mother how do your Aunt and your cousin view their relationship? By that I mean does your Aunt consider your cousin her daughter and does your cousin consider your Aunt to be her mother (or one of her mother’s)? The reason I ask is that while you and other family members don’t recognize their relationship as a mother and daughter your Aunt and Cousin may view their relationship differently.

      Like

       
    • Lara/Trace

      June 11, 2016 at 3:21 pm

       
      • gsmwc02

        June 12, 2016 at 11:39 am

        What should her and her husband do with that 60K instead?

        Like

         
  3. L4R

    June 4, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    When I’ve explained to others, especially some adoptive parents, that I found my biological family, and we get along, I can feel their worries. But, when they learn that my adoptive father was an alcoholic, those same families relax. They feel as though the reason I sought out my original family was because of a deficit in my current one…. I usually don’t have the energy to tell them that I had planned to find my original family long, long before I ever knew that an alcoholic family wasn’t the norm.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      June 5, 2016 at 2:27 am

      People can be far too rigid in how they view the world, I feel sorry for them that they are locked into that. It’s silly thinking that we must chose either/or not both. But then, it wasn’t all that long ago that the so-called professionals in adoption deemed an adoptee that searched to be mal-adjusted.

      Like

       
  4. iwishiwasadopted

    June 5, 2016 at 3:02 am

    We are still considered maladjusted if we search. The good adoptee has no desire to search, because they are very happy with the family who raised them.

    My natural family feels like TheEcofeminist. They do not see themselves as my family. But I see them as my family. I see my natural father as my father, mother as mother and Aunts, Uncles and Cousins as Aunts,Uncles and Cousins. I never thought i was related to my adoptive family. It just never made sense to me. How incredibly sad for that adopted out relative, that ” we never for once considered my aunt her mother”. What did they consider her then? My heart breaks for us.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      June 5, 2016 at 3:42 am

      You’re right – you hear it in the words after an adoptee says she/he doesn’t need to search – the reader hopes their child feels that way.

      Like

       
    • gsmwc02

      June 8, 2016 at 10:45 am

      I think a lot of it depends upon your experience and relationships. When you hear stories like yours and others it makes sense when you say whether you consider certain people as family. Having learned about your story how you feel about your Adoptive Mother makes so much sense to me just as Tao’s makes sense.

      Like

       
  5. yan

    June 5, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Loyalty kept me from searching for years. What I find funny after reunion was how narrow my focus was — I considered my first parents, but not my extended family. When I met my first mom, turned out that the whole family knew about me and considered me family. They are more welcoming and easy with me than my extended adopted family ever has been. I gained roots (and reality) when I searched, but also some incredible aunts, uncles, and cousins.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      June 5, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks yan. I wanted everything – but then I’ve always been into family trees.

      Like

       
      • yan

        June 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm

        It truthfully never occurred to me that I could have anything more than my first parents — and not even them, likely. I got what I expected on one side of the family (nothing), and way more than I could have dreamed of on the other.

        Like

         
    • iwishiwasadopted

      June 5, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Loyalty held me back too,until i was 48 and suddenly knew time was short. I was waiting for my adoptive Mom to pass. I even got a PO box at first, to keep everything secret.

      A mom figured it out, she knows me very well! I confessed and both mothers met a few times. I’m glad I searched when I did, my natural mother died,and A mom is still here. I do wish i had done it sooner. I first started looking when i was 11, and searched the telephone books where I was born. If I had called everyone with my birth name, about 10 people, I would have found family.

      But I was too scared,and too loyal for too long.

      Like

       
  6. pj

    June 5, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    I so wish my a mom was still alive when I searched…so much to share with her. Although, wonder if I would have been so willing in my 30’s or even 40’s. B mom was…well, not really into being a mother. But honestly never had a single negative thought about her. I will always consider both to be my mother but in incredibly unique and often complicated ways. To me, that’s just what adoption is. As always Tao, thanks for your thoughtful insight…

    Like

     
  7. Heather

    June 5, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    TAO I disagree with you. Your words are very wise and often quite profound.

    I have learned so much from you and you have helped me immensely during difficult times when I haven’t been able to find the words I needed inside of me.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      June 5, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      🙂 thank you…

      Like

       
  8. cb

    June 6, 2016 at 12:57 am

    It wasn’t loyalty that kept me back, I think it was 1) fear of rejection and 2) I wasn’t sure what a relationship would be like. I got my OBC in the late 80s but decided to “leave it up to her”, I didn’t want to disrupt any life that she had made for herself. It wasn’t until the advent of the internet that I decided to look and the first thing I found was a cemetery record – she’d died when I was 16.

    I am now in contact with extended family and they were very welcoming – I now have lots of uncles, aunts and cousins, both biological and adopted. I actually now know by extended bfamily better than my extended afamily (this is mainly due to distance because extended afmily is in NZ,bfamily are in Australia).

    Like

     
    • gsmwc02

      June 8, 2016 at 10:48 am

      Catherine,

      May I ask whether you were able to get past the fear of rejection from your biological family and if so how you were able to?

      Like

       
      • cb

        June 8, 2016 at 12:50 pm

        The worry of rejection was from my bmother. After I found out she’d passed away, I then decided to contact one of her brothers. It took a fewxyears for me to decide who to contact (second youngest uncle via family history society (secretary was go between) and by then I’d decided whatever happens happens. I feel fairly comfortable with how things are.

        Like

         
        • gsmwc02

          June 8, 2016 at 1:59 pm

          Is there anything that helped you get past that fear?

          Like

           
          • beth62

            June 8, 2016 at 3:29 pm

            I’m trying to remember that day on that cliff when I finally found the courage to just frickin jump, regardless of the landing.
            1. my kids and the want to do “mother” “right”
            2. I had studied much about mother, enough to gain the confidence that flight was indeed a real possibility
            3. I had my own money, home and people who supported my attempt at flight. Some even tried to push me! Which I did not appreciate at all 🙂
            4. I was pissed. Sick and tired of all the BS. Had enough. Didn’t care any more if others would be hurt. I was hurt for decades and they didn’t care. I managed, so could they. It wasn’t about them, or even so much about me anymore. It was about my kids. It was about “mother”.

            It gets easier each time you jump. I enjoy it now, look forward to it sometimes. Bought a flying suit so the fall would last even longer 😁. I find myself needing to jump nearly everyday now, others still have the habit of trying to divide me, hold me back, catch me, make me choose. Ha! Good luck with that – I’m jumpin! Everyone has commented that they enjoy watching me jump now. Most jump with me, some will always be happy to just watch while calling me crazy 🙂 some can’t even watch LOL That’s all good, I’ve found it doesn’t matter to me anymore, I have the strength to jump anyway 🙂
            Maybe one day I’ll find it important to talk normal LOL

            Liked by 2 people

             
            • gsmwc02

              June 8, 2016 at 6:00 pm

              This all makes so much sense. A lot in life is about making that jump and seeing where you land. I really admire your courage and strength.

              Like

               
            • cb

              June 9, 2016 at 5:26 am

              Well said, Beth.

              Greg, just accepting that people are people and that their responses are often a reaction to a situation helped to realise that 1) if my extended bfamily hadn’t wanted contact, it would have just been their way of dealing the situation, nothing personal; and 2) if my bmother had said “get lost”, then that would have been her way of dealing with the situation. I would have been disappointed but I probably would have just shrugged my shoulders and moved on. My bmother does sound like she was a nice person so I like to think she would have wanted contact but if she hadn’t, then I like to think she would have been nice about it. In the end, it is

              Like

               
              • cb

                June 9, 2016 at 5:29 am

                (cut myself off) In the end, it fiscally a bit of a moot point because she passed away a long time ago.

                Like

                 
              • gsmwc02

                June 9, 2016 at 1:50 pm

                That’s a realistic way of looking at it. I can’t imagine it was easy to get to that place.

                Like

                 
  9. cb

    June 6, 2016 at 1:17 am

    When my bfamily have talked to me about my bmother, they have said “your mother” which I quite like because it makes me feel more connected to both them and her. If they had used “your bmother”, it would feel more distancing. To be honest though, we tend to just use her name.

    I don’t feel this is disloyal to mum or dad because when bfamily have asked about her, they have said “your mum “.
    Btw if I had been like my abrother and had a long and caring relationship with my bmother, I wouldn’t necessarily have ruled out calling her “mum ” too I there is nothing to say we can’t have more than two mums.

    Like

     
  10. meg

    June 6, 2016 at 3:25 am

    I feel like I’m coming late into a thread that’s gone in a bit of a different direction, but this is something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit recently, so I’m going to jump in anyway. My children are 6 and 7, biological siblings, adopted at birth. We have always had an open adoption in theory but not in practice; we are intermittently in touch with their first mother (and recently got in touch with their maternal grandmother), but her life circumstances have been kind of complicated so we’ve never been able to visit with her the way we hoped we would. (It’s hard to explain without going into way more detail than I am comfortable with about her private life; I just want to be clear that we’re not withholding contact or anything. 🙂 )

    So our children are pretty young & we are just at the beginning of trying to help them along this journey, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about their comfort in talking with us about their adoption now that they are getting older & starting to have more complex thoughts, mulling things over, etc. So far the deepest feelings they’ve expressed to us are about missing Mama D but I know there is probably a lot going on in their little heads. We want them to be comfortable talking about their feelings about it with us because we think a pretty crucial function of a parent is helping their kids figure out how to deal with difficult stuff, and it seems like for adopted kids adoption-related things are likely to be a big part of the “difficult stuff” of growing up.

    I guess my question – for you and for the many wise commenters who’ve been part of the discussion so far – is this: Do you think there’s anything your parents could have done differently to make you feel more comfortable talking about your feelings with them? We’ve tried to be really mindful of not setting things up so that they felt like they had to hold back out of some sense of loyalty to us (although I will admit to having an unexpectedly odd feeling when we settled on “Mama D—–” as the name we’d use to refer to their first mother…I think there’s always a little insecurity you have to get over as an adoptive parent no matter how “enlightened” you think you are going into it). For the moment I think we’re getting it “right” – they easily talk about adoption, missing Mama D, saying I’m one of the two best Mamas they have, etc. – but it’s early days yet. I think you might have some insight into what I might want to do or avoid doing as they get older & I’d love to learn from you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      June 6, 2016 at 3:47 am

      The comments did certainly go in a completely opposite direction…

      No child I’ve ever met wants to make their parents sad. Work on that angle and show that you *get* that there can be big feelings, that they are natural to have, that those feelings don’t reflect on or change their feelings for you, that you are fine – tell them they are separate because we have two distinct sets of parents – so it’s okay to talk to you about them because that’s you are there for them. (and for you – those feelings don’t cross over to you – remember that love is limitless, loving/feeling whatever doesn’t reduce what is given to you – hope that makes sense.)

      I’ve heard car rides are excellent places for these types of conversations because there no one is looking directly at the other – if the time is right (you’d know) then open the proverbial adoption door and see what happens…

      I don’t think my parents could have done anything, or at least not much with the dynamics at play – it is what it is. I’m also introverted and the one who always makes sure everyone else is okay – bad combination.

      Like

       
      • meg

        June 6, 2016 at 2:51 pm

        J (our 7YO) is one of those, too – always trying to make everyone else feel better. I think that’s why I worry so much about trying to make her comfortable talking about it. I don’t want her to feel like she has to stuff her feelings to avoid hurting mine & she is totally the sort of person to do that.

        Thanks so much for your insight. It’s really helpful. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

         
    • L4R

      June 6, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      “Do you think there’s anything your parents could have done differently to make you feel more comfortable talking about your feelings with them?”

      It’s about the adoptive parents arriving at a place of comfort. If you are comfortable with the topic, you child will be more comfortable with it. But, it has to be an authentic comfort…. My adoptive mother would say that she was comfortable with discussions about my original family, but her body language read otherwise. I could read her body language from a very early age.

      Moreover, you need to explicitly state–and more than once–that you are open to talking about this with your child, and you can bring up the original family from time to time to show that you are open to talking about them. Obviously, the flip side is that you don’t want to push the topic onto your child. Your child may not have an interest. But, don’t assume lack of interest solely because your child isn’t mentioning his/her other family.

      Like

       
      • meg

        June 6, 2016 at 3:08 pm

        This is good stuff – thank you. We’ve talked about their family openly & often since they were babies – at that point I think it was mostly for our own benefit, so that when they were old enough to know what we were talking about we wouldn’t still be in that awkward “don’t know how to talk about this” place – so I guess we’re doing okay there. 🙂

        I have been concerned about striking that balance between bringing it up often enough & in such a way that lets them know that we are open to any discussion they want/need to have, and not talking about it *so* often that it feels like we’re reiterating their “otherness” or forcing the topic on them.

        I have to say that I’m so grateful to be able to make connections in places like this. I am learning so much from adults who have lived what my children are living. There’s always something someone says that I hadn’t thought of before.

        Liked by 1 person

         
    • Dawn

      June 7, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      One thing we do with our kids that has seemed to open dialogue is to put blunt truths out in front of them. I’ve said to my 7 year old things like do you know there are some children who were adopted that feel like they can only love one of their mothers? Then I see where she takes that and follow up with stating that we love so many people and our love grows without excluding anyone. I even tell her she can tell me if I ever make her feel bad or confused about anything. And she is quick to do so but thankfully not about this topic. It helps too I think that she sees me openly love many of her biological family members. Our relationship with them is very open with frequent in person contact. I hope we are on the right track!

      Like

       
      • TAO

        June 7, 2016 at 9:50 pm

        Sorry for the delay in moderation

        Like

         
  11. pj

    June 6, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Would like to comment…although a mom is deceased, my relationship with a dad has become even closer since my search. For me, there is absolutely nothing like the power of DNA and that feeling of connection. Life-changing in so many ways..

    Like

     
    • TAO

      June 6, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      The day I received a picture of my mother – I had to drive over to show mom right then…

      Like

       
  12. Lori Lavender Luz

    June 6, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    So much good stuff in this post, TAO.I can see that it must be difficult to have your loyalties forced to be split, which is what can happen in adoption or divorce, and which requires that the grownups be mindful of their own wounded places. “My loyalty was to mom and dad and you don’t hurt those you love.” Hard place.

    Also, I’m pondering what you said about raising our families amid a society of biological family norms. I hadn’t thought of it in that way, but yes, that can contribute to a sense of otherness for adoptive families, making parents seem odd, like, as you say, saviors or just suspect for some reason (people love to question our motives no matter which path to family we choose if it’s not the norm).

    Thanks to Meg for a question I had, too, and for your answer.

    I’ll join the conversation with The EcoFeminist conversation further up the comment stream ↑.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      June 6, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks Lori – our family dynamics were complicated – and – I in my little child’s mind chose not to add my big feelings…I do know it wouldn’t have hurt either – but they had so much on their plate…mom and I have had many talks throughout the years about that time…

      I do think the biological norms plays a HUGE role. I also think the adoption dynamic today of painting adoption as a win-win-win just adds to the problem…better to show adoptive families also face challenges just like biological families do.

      Like

       
  13. beth62

    June 8, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    ((TAO)) Love what you have written here, have been thinking on this loyalty realm lately too 🙂

    Hey, why not just do the mother math?
    I’ve given all of the equations much thought, and each a very calculated and very serious try.

    Me + A – B = me/A
    Me – A + B = me/B
    Me – A – B = – me
    Me + A + B = Me

    I’ve found the last equation to be the best math for me. And the most positive!
    I’ve lived them all and survived just fine…
    The first three left me divided and/or disconnected to humans in general.
    The third left me especially disconnected to “mother”, but I was just fine.
    Just fine until I had Mine, became “mother”, and knew that disconnect would not work for me any longer, at all, and saw that Mine could easily inherit that disconnect from me. It was no longer a strength that could work for me. It became a weakness, a threat, a real danger to My family. It was useless.
    That’s when the last equation became most important to me, for us to have any chance at having real relationships together or with anyone else for long.

    Me + mine + many real mothers = one amazingly happy and peaceful person with so many people to love and connect with. 🙂
    Me and Mine are so happy I wasn’t too “loyal” (afraid) to give that kind of math a try.

    I’m truly loyal to all now, and not just loyal out of fear of some kind, not just fealty, obligation, duty.
    My healthy loyalty, faithfulness and devotion to My loved ones today is due to true love, respect, gratitude and trust.
    I’m SO much more than just “fine” now :). All of my mothers seem to be most happy about that too… father’s, sibs, uncles aunts cousins nieces nephews and special friends included of course.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      June 8, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Beautiful

      Like

       
    • cb

      June 9, 2016 at 5:07 am

      Sounds just right to me, Beth 🙂

      Like

       
      • beth62

        June 9, 2016 at 5:02 pm

        🙂 ya’ll are beautiful 🙂
        I doubt I would be able to understand that math as well as I do now were it not for our years of study and discussions of it all, and every detail imaginable at the time, together. Very thankful for that!
        I am amazed daily at the wealth of wise information adopted people have managed to get out there.
        Never could have dreamed it even just a decade ago.
        I feel like so many of us should have some kind of official advanced degree by now LOL

        It looks like easy math at first glance doesn’t it! Haha
        The most difficult equations I have ever completed.
        My understanding of the difficulty of it typically gives me more patience now with people who are in the beginning of their Mother 101 study. Those who are serious, those who have realized mother and child have to at least try to leave their ego at the door for this class.

        But the ones that insist they don’t need to learn Algebra, will never have a need to use it in their daily lives, why bother, waste of time, don’t need it, don’t want it, blah blah blah…
        I’m tired of having to take up their slack, finish the job for them, waste my time sharing and teaching, all because they think they are better than, too good to do the dirty work themselves.

        One thing I have learned all too well from raising a dozen+ astonishing men…
        When they insist on arguing simple, proven and well known equations, when they throw a fit, raise voices, loose tempers, call you names, cry foul and not fair, you don’t understand, it’s too hard for me, I don’t want to, I can’t, I won’t, I don’t need to, I’m different, boohoo poor me…………. it’s just plain ole simple laziness talking. They know – they just don’t want to.
        Nothing more, nothing less, just lazy.

        Don’t let the lazy one’s get you down 🙂 or hold you back. There are so many willing to take their place. You have proven that here TAO. Look at all the Moms here that get it :). Gives me such great joy to see, incredible. I’m in happy shock every time I see it, their words add to ours, they don’t take away, I can hardly believe it. I don’t even know how to really respond to it yet! Never dreamed I’d see such a thing in my lifetime. What great peace it brings to me 🙂 and many I am sure.
        ((((Proud of you and your hard work done here))))

        Like

         
  14. Heather

    June 9, 2016 at 8:25 am

    There are so many thoughtful and powerful words on this page. Eloquent and wise.

    I am grateful to all the women for sharing so much of theirselves. I learn so much from all of you.

    Like

     
  15. liz40k

    January 12, 2017 at 11:16 am

    We are the public protection. The way that we live our lives i.e. interaction with our neighbors, lead LITERALLY (no matter how f**ked we think it is) by example, dismiss bigotry and ignorance, and share ourselves. We also have the ability to change public “perception”… definitely not all but maybe its quid opus est. As an adoptee I feel we have the luxury of a true freedom,and should be shared 🙂

    Like

     

Tell me your thoughts, but please be nice...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: