Dear Columnist

23 Mar

I read your article posted a few days ago: 3 Reasons To NOT Find Your Birth Parents with the tag line “It’s your life; it’s your choice.” and just wanted to lay out some statements of facts before getting into a nuanced rebuttal.

  • You are an adoptive parent
  • You have written another ‘instructive’ article to adoptees before (title below)
  • You are not an adoptee, at least you don’t claim to be

Your first paragraph indicated to me that you are one of those ‘rare advocates for closed adoptions’ and keeping that door firmly closed, if possible.  My take away from your points.

  • If we’ve been told we were the product of rape or incest it may bring up feelings to our first mother if we search?  You don’t think we’d come to that conclusion on our own?  First, as an adoptive parent you speak for the first mother feelings, then you instruct us (adoptees) and end with this gem designed to keep that door closed: “As sad as that is, many adult adoptees are able to live fulfilled, happy lives without feeling a huge gap from not knowing the birth families.”  I would suggest that you don’t have a factual basis to state that is true in regards to those who wanted to search, it is only an assumption meant to shame the adoptee for their feelings so they comply.
  • That if we are ‘rejected’ we need to quit? You don’t believe we’d do that on our own?  At the end after telling us we probably won’t get all our answers and may feel worse if we kept trying you say this: “At a certain point, it may be best to release the desire of creating a relationship”.  I’d suggest that adoptees are the experts in having had to make peace with never knowing, despite the reality that desire that will always be there, we do, we’ve done it our entire adopted life.
  • That if we don’t want to search it’s okay and we need an adoptive parent to tell us that? You start with this: “Negative Feelings When Considering Search and Reunion. Sometimes there’s no clear reason to not search.” You presume that all adoptees even consider searching.  We don’t.  We aren’t a monolith.  The desire to know where we came from is not universal, if you have no desire to search, you aren’t going to consider searching, nor feel bad.  If an adoptee is interested, it is an immensely personal journey undertaken when they feel the time is right, it isn’t guided by anything other than what the adoptee wants at that point in their life based on their feelings and needs.

I’m still sitting here bemused by the thought of you, an adoptive parent, telling an adoptee what they should do about something so deeply personal as searching for their truth.  Just a big ole ‘wow’ to your tenacity, but based on your previous article on How To Approach Your Adoptive Parents About Finding Your Birth Parents with the tag line “As told by an adoptive parent” and the one you just wrote – you seem to think so lowly of adoptees, that we need you to write these instructions for us, because, we need tutoring on how to behave in a civilized society, and how to think rationally.

That is my reaction to an adoptive parent writing about anything to do with an adoptee and their choice whether to search, or not.  It’s not your place.  If you must write something on the subject; consider interviewing adult adoptees, listen to their stories and reasons why they searched, or chose not to search, listen to the their words of wisdom gleaned from their lived experiences, and then, write something that details what they experienced, what they learned, what they tell other adoptees to be aware of, without your bias bleeding through.

Here are some facts you may not be aware of about adoptees that generally hold true:

  • As an adoptee; you can’t take anything told you from an agency as fact.  History has proven time after time that what an adoptee is told, may, or may not, have any relevance to the truth.
  • As an adoptee; you may want to verify what your adoptive parents or your first parents told you, if you have any doubts to the veracity.
  • An adoptee has the right to seek their truth if they so wish, whether they find what they are seeking or not.
  • An adoptee decides to search based on their own unique needs and reasons, whatever they may be.

And finally, the adoptees I know are strong, strong-willed, hold strong opinions on what is right for them. As a group, adoptees have been schooled, talked down to, chastised, preached too our entire life, repeatedly, by multiple people about the dangers of daring to know our truth, and/or the harm we can do if we open that door, both to our adoptive parents and to our first parents.  My day the vernacular was about the dangers of opening a can of worms.  What’s missing in all of them, is what the adoptee needs.

Here we are in 2017, and adoptees are still being told what to do.  It gets tiresome to live your whole life being treated, as if, we are ignorant of the ramifications, don’t have the ability to have thought deeply about it, considered the potential outcomes, or willing and ready to tread carefully in making any decision on reaching out for our truth.

What also boggles the mind, especially coming from an adoptive parent, is the lack of faith you have in your fellow adoptive parents.  To assume our parents didn’t raise us right; to be thinkers, to be considerate of others, to do our own research and search our own moral compass before making such a life-changing decision.  That as adults, because we are adoptees, you think if we decided to search, that we would just rush in like a bull-in-a-china-shop, damn the consequences, or not have any consideration for our first parents and the effect on them.

Do you really think so little of the rest of us living in adoption?

I’m choosing not to link to the article, but should you want to read for yourself, a simple search on the title of the post will get you there on your own.


Posted by on March 23, 2017 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , ,

15 responses to “Dear Columnist

  1. Lori Lavender Luz

    March 23, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    These are really important things to think about, especially since such a search belongs to the adopted person. I think we parents in the equation must be vigilant about not infantlizing adoptees. Thanks for providing your valid thoughts on search and reunion that come from actual experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      March 23, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks Lori…


  2. pj

    March 23, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    So the columnist is an adoptive mom…and a Mormon. The Mormon church encourages unwed parents who are unwilling or unable to marry to relinquish their children. Hmmm…I guess that comes under the columnist’s “other trauma associated with placing her child for adoption. ” Oh, the irony…

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      March 23, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      I couldn’t let this one go…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pj

        March 25, 2017 at 2:10 am

        Please, Tao..don’t ever let it go. You.Do.Great.Things.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Cindy

    March 23, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    If you don’t “open a can of worms” the worms die and stink. I’ve hated that trite, try to shut down any direction toward truth, saying for much of my life. It’s a controlling, narcissistic, cowards way of avoiding reality and truth. That’s my opinion from personal experience with those that use/have used that saying.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      March 23, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      🙂 you made me giggle


  4. L4R

    March 24, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Never needed my parents’ help in deciding that I wanted to search for my other mom and dad. I was probably around 3rd grade when I knew I wanted to search.

    I would have considered it invasive if either of my (adoptive) parents had attempted to persuade me against searching.

    The vast majority of adoptees are completely capable of thinking through most of the scenarios that might exist.

    Makes me sad that some consider it their business to interfere in a very personal decision. And, to those adoptive parents who think your worries are for adult son or daughter, please know that in most cases that is not why you are worried. You are worried for yourselves. You fear that the relationship between you and your son or daughter may change. Have faith that it won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      March 24, 2017 at 3:17 am

      I was probably about the same age, shortly after that mom explained if any of us wanted to search they’d help if they could and it was normal to want to know and if it was mom, she would.


  5. beth62

    March 24, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    I’ve been concerned about my worms ever since I found out I had a whole can of em.
    Which was about age 3. I had every emotion, feeling and thought I could muster, plus some, about me n my worms. I found out young ladies aren’t supposed to mention their worms, it’s just not proper behavior. My Mom was scared of those worms like this mom is. They allow the worm threat to be stronger than their realmomness. I have to ask… who is really in control here? Little trust or faith in the adoptee to be found. Like worrying your perfectly faithful husband will cheat on you, so you must control his every thought and move.

    This columnist writes for the parents of 5 year olds I think. She isn’t speaking to the 55 yr old me, I’m probably twice her age. I’ve noticed many young moms have a hard time considering older adults as “real Adoptees”. Have had several tell me I’m different because I’m old now, not the same, I couldn’t really know what it’s like now. They don’t want to hear that most of it will never change with time, that it stays the same and always has.

    They have some fantasy that they can control people, and if its done right, the control will last forever. I am sure they think my mommy didn’t do it right enough. If she had, I wouldnt get anywhere near those worms.


    • TAO

      March 24, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      LOL – apparently none of our parents did it right raising us to be strong, independent, opinionated, passionate adoptees when they wanted sheep…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. eagoodlife

    March 24, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    Still being told how to behave!


  7. beth62

    March 25, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Kept thinking the 5 year old me probably wouldn’t notice so much about what is said in this article. Then I thought about the 15 year old me reaction… and now I just can’t quit laughing 🙂

    I was way off, this woman is half my age only in her dreams. It must be the religious child-like control factor in play.

    Thanks TAO, this one has kept me laughing. I studied all I could about people, parents, babies, relationships, sex, laws, causes and outcomes, etc., and worms.
    I heard the can of worms thing many times. So, like the rest of it, I know entirely too much about worms now. The most important thing to know about worms? They are best when deep fried 🙂


  8. onewomanschoice

    April 4, 2017 at 2:34 am

    I found the article and read it. I commented as follows: Why would you want to “convince” anyone? That sounds like coerce. Coerce a birth parent to relinquish. Then “convince” an adoptee to not search. It’s all beginning to make sense now.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. trumpievans

    April 25, 2017 at 3:36 am

    Some people do not realize that a mother who surrendered her child after a rape can and may feel a tremendous loss, just like a mother who surrendered due to other circumstances. She may have other children but will always deeply grieve that one of her babies is missing. Of course, it should be emphasized that mothers deal with trauma in different ways. Ideally, the mother has had help processing the trauma surrounding conception. Ideally, this happens early on, rather than years down the road. Perhaps most therapists do not know how to deal with this kind of trauma — this is why rape counseling centers are important. It’s important that a mother and her grown-up child recognize the at some point and that the experience is not trivialized. However, my main point is that the adoption community recognize a mother’s deep sense of loss in this type of circumstance. Just like other first mothers, she will search for her child. Like all first mothers, she should prepare for the worst– rejection. But she should hope for the best.



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