Simple primer for reading this blog…

27 Dec

The other day an Adoptive Parent left a comment on a post detailing that I had enormous problems bonding with my adoptive parents and how I demonize adoption as the source of all my pain and woes.  Say what?  Funny thing happened though, it didn’t upset me like it would have in the past, whether that’s because it’s become old hat, or because I’ve come to the conclusion that most folks can’t separate “adoption” from “being adopted” from “family” from “feelings” and get upset that I don’t use “disclaimers”, which I believe may have been part of the reason the comment was left.

That type of comment does leave me speechless though, and I wonder if they view adoption different from I do, so lets start there.  Is Adoption some type of sacred object that no one is allowed to critique and offer process improvements for, and must only be seen as something joyful and loving and never mention any feelings regarding loss?  Or is it an institution created to find the best solution for when a child needs a new home, and as such, is subject to human frailties and must always continue to evolve to make sure it is done with the highest level of awareness, empathy, compassion, and most of all, with fair play?  It can’t be both, and if you think it is the former, rather than the latter, this blog is not the right venue for you and you can stop here.

But for the sake of future adoptive parents who may read this blog from time to time and passed the test above, I’ve written a simple primer for you to understand what I mean when I talk here.

Adoption: An institution created as a solution to a child needing a new family.  Being an institution makes it subject to mistakes and bad practices.  Laws change as times change and understanding grows (or at least they should), sometimes they change for the worse and that needs to be called out too.  Adoption, the practise now (and in the past) are open to critique and discussion and suggestions for improvement.  If you take that as a personal affront (or think it demonizes adoption) then you won’t do well here.

Being Adopted: The feelings an adoptee may experience because they are adopted (not because of who their parents are) that are common defined issues in adoption, the different times they may come into play, the higher risk for adopted teens attempting suicide from a recent study.  The laws on our files and our original birth certificates and other challenges like citizenship and the lack thereof.  The ways to parent an adopted child, the bare basics like your child should always know they’re adopted (you wouldn’t believe how many fail this simple test), ways to walk alongside your child.  Things that can help an adoptee because they are adopted and dealing with a challenge and need you.

Feelings: As in my personal feelings on being adopted, the challenges I faced, still face, what’s happened in my life that caused big feelings, both the joys and the tears, and the things that drive me batty.  My space, my choice.

My families: I have two families, have since I was a baby.  That is how adoption and being adopted works.  I have Mom and Dad and my family, and I’ve made my feelings for them clear in multiple posts and if you’ve missed them, look for them.  They shaped my moral compass and taught me to speak up when I saw something was wrong, being done wrong.  The fastest way to make me angry is to allude to how they parented me in a negative way, or that they didn’t know how to be good adoptive parents.  I don’t know how many adoptees have to explain that our parents didn’t have the knowledge available to you today, they had to figure it out as they went along and many did a fine job using common sense and empathy, and most get a pass you won’t get with the knowledge at your fingertips.  The knowledge you have that was gained from studying adoptees I might add.  You don’t want to see me angry, and it’s not good for my blood pressure either so just don’t go there.  I also have a mother and father and families as well being adopted and have talked a bit about them.  My ancestors from all four parents and the trees I have for each are a big deal for me.  And, just to be clear, they are all off-limits to people who would leave nasty comments.  Stick to this rule and we’ll get along fine as long as you are polite and not mean-spirited with your words.

Disclaimers: I stopped doing the adoptee disclaimer years ago.  The disclaimers adoptees feel they need to tell you for you to even consider hearing what they have to say.  You know the one which states how I love my parents and family and all that stuff that many adoptees still start with before daring to talk about being adopted and adoption?  It infantilises adoptees and is disturbing to think that in order for an adoptee to speak with the chance of being heard, they must first pass a loyalty test lauding their parents and love for them.  No, just no, you don’t get to demand that from an adoptee, and would you want your child to have other people require that from them just to have a voice?


Posted by on December 27, 2017 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , ,

13 responses to “Simple primer for reading this blog…

  1. Paige Adams Strickland

    December 28, 2017 at 12:54 am

    Well said!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pj

    December 28, 2017 at 1:20 am

    Tao, I believe we have similar stories…Please keep teling yours, saying and expressing as you do.You have a kind, compassionate but truthful voice for adoptees…
    and birth moms…xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      December 28, 2017 at 3:35 am

      We do PJ, that we do.


  3. legitimatebastard

    December 28, 2017 at 1:25 am

    I especially like when non-adopted people tell me what I “should” feel, what I “should” think, and who I “should” love or who I “should” not want in my life.

    Many adoptive parents have told me in the past that “they didn’t want you, they gave you away, so why do you want them in your life now?”

    Or, adoptive parents said to me, “Your adoptive parents gave you everything. How could you do this to them?”

    Or, they say, “Yes, my name belongs on my child’s birth certificate!” To which I ask, “Did you give birth to that child?” To which adoptive parents say, “No, but she is my child now and that’s the way it is.”

    Non-adoptees do tend to infantilize adoptees. Even when we are senior citizens.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. L4R

    December 28, 2017 at 4:06 am

    Ugh!… I’m glad that Tao isn’t upset, but I am. I’m upset for her.

    Tao deliberately reaches out to adoptive, perspective, and first parents. She wants to help others to better understand adoptees, in general. If you cannot read this blog without getting defensive, I’d urge you to 1) stay away from all blogs with viewpoints that differ from your own, and 2) work on whatever is causing you to be defensive regarding adult adoptees and their blogs.

    If the adoptive parent Tao mentioned had read more than one post, the AP would know that Tao loves her family. Moreover, the AP may have taken a more compassionate tone, if s/he had read other posts. Why? Tao has recently lost family.

    This blog is among the most welcoming adoptee-focused blogs out there. Tao wants to dialogue with other members of the triad. However, the dialogue needs to be respectful.

    Please understand that as adult adoptees many of us have been adopted our entire lives. We know this life. We realize that some of our life experiences are unique, but we also see the patterns and similarities that so many adoptees share. We have a wealth of information that we could share.

    I’m shocked that Tao would be viewed as another angry adopted. It just shows how easy it is to silence or discredit adult adoptees. Here’s the problem: Tao is not an angry nor a bitter adoptee. She is always trying to share her knowledge with others.

    I gravitated to Tao’s blog because the blog is welcoming and not vitriolic. I believe that the way she writes allows others to really hear what she is saying. I’m saddened that even Tao can be put into the angry adoptee category despite years of blogging evidence to the contrary.

    Liked by 3 people

    • TAO

      December 28, 2017 at 4:36 am

      Thank you my friend, I’ve missed your voice. Cheers.


  5. Heather

    December 28, 2017 at 5:51 am

    Beautiful and articulate.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cb

    December 29, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Well said, TAO. You say what a lot of us less articulate adoptees wish we could say. This is something that every AP should read.

    I admit that I overdo the “disclaimers” although now I try more to say that I “separate” my feelings about the people in my adoption from my feelings about adoption in general.


    • TAO

      December 29, 2017 at 4:07 am

      Thanks Cb


  7. Sheryl

    December 29, 2017 at 2:24 am

    I am very grateful to you for sharing your story and for everything you’ve written. You’ve helped me to understand the feelings my son may be experiencing. He has a great adoptive family and for years I believed what I was told, that they would be enough. That he wouldn’t need me. It makes me angry that I didn’t know the truth about adoption loss and trauma. I have him back now though, and I’m glad you speak the truth.


    • TAO

      December 29, 2017 at 4:08 am

      Thank you Sheryl


  8. Dannie

    January 4, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    I don’t know why anyone would leave such a negative comment on your blog. Anyone that “knows” you (quotes because some of us are online friends vs. real life) knows you are an awesome person to sit down have coffee with and shoot the breeze. And to say you don’t appreciate your mom and dad, oh many of us would go up in arms and defend you. You of all people have oozed out immense love and respect that the computer gets damp. Sometimes readers need to chill and take a minute and not jump to any conclusions.


    • TAO

      January 4, 2018 at 9:24 pm

      You can be my defender any day 🙂



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