“I’m sorry you had such a negative experience.”

19 Mar

For the last three days I keep going back to a post on AFC but couldn’t find the words, so I’m bringing it here to talk about.  It’s a post by a Former Foster Youth (FFY) that is in no way problematic and, was meant to help foster parents and foster adoptive parents understand what may be in the child’s mind.  

Predictably, while not horribly overt, the reception wasn’t all that welcoming in the responses.  I’ve read her post three times now, it makes perfect sense to me on what a Foster Child may feel, something I have no first hand experience with, and offering that perspective should have been taken as a gift.  The title of this post is what one of the commenters said to her, as well as noting that there aren’t many FFY or Adoptees on the site which is sad (can’t imagine why anyone would subject themselves over and over to being told in so many words that they aren’t welcome).

“I’m sorry you had such a negative experience” is a comment far too often leveled at adoptees that comes with many connotations and none of them supportive.  So, as a thought experiment, I’d ask you to consider how that comment would feel if someone said that to you if you struggled with infertility before you adopted, or any of the other hard life experiences people live through that they had no control over.  Would you feel uplifted.  Would you feel supported and heard.  Or would you feel like there was an unspoken your experience is not the norm because I know people who are grateful for whatever hand they were dealt.  Then ask yourself, if you can struggle with something hard and still appreciate what you have now (which I’m sure you’ve done), please know, adoptees can and do as well.  If you are ever tempted to offer that comment to an adoptee, perhaps just offer, “I’m sorry you had to go through that” which has no judgement or deflection, just compassion.



Posted by on March 19, 2018 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , ,

11 responses to ““I’m sorry you had such a negative experience.”

  1. Elizabeth

    March 19, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    I think that is something people say without thinking. They think they’re being supportive, but don’t realize that it does have a shaming connotation. I think I’m getting a thick skin… when I tell my students I’m adopted, they ask (in that way only a teenager can) if I’m mad or sad that my parents didn’t want me.


    • TAO

      March 19, 2018 at 11:21 pm

      Oh my Elizabeth – at least they try to feel what it’d be like. I’m pretty thick-skinned now days too, but you’re right, it’s a shaming connotation, I couldn’t find the right description of what it does to the adoptee.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Von

    March 19, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    I don’t hold with that negative positive thing, good emptions, bad emotions etc. It is what it is and we learn from it all. Most remarks like the one you quote are meant to be shaming and are part of the grateful adoptee act we’re supposed to perform.


    • TAO

      March 20, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      Hey Von – glad to see you. Yes, shaming combined with a heaping dose of you should be grateful.


  3. maryleesdream

    March 20, 2018 at 1:15 am

    Foster and adopted people are seen as damaged goods, no matter what society says. We are considered lucky that decent people want to help us.

    Things have not really changed so much. On the outside, society sees us as worthy of help, kindness and love, but deep down we are tainted by the sins of our parents, and expected to be grateful for the favors we receive from our betters.

    It’s all there, everytime we are shamed for daring to speak out against the system.


    • TAO

      March 20, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      I wish I could change it, but it doesn’t seem to sink in no matter how I word things, the penny never drops.


    • Dannie

      March 20, 2018 at 5:33 pm

      there’s even a hierchy of what’s the most desirable to adopt within the foster and adoption world as well. It’s pretty distasteful


      • TAO

        March 20, 2018 at 5:53 pm

        Always love your ability to not try to pretend human nature or adoption is perfect. It’s refreshing. Cheers Dannie


  4. Brent Snavely

    March 27, 2018 at 9:42 am

    “I’m sorry you had such a negative experience.”

    I am sorry that you are unable to comprehend that my experience does not need your commentary.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. beth62

    April 1, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Ugh, labeled negative. She got pelted with quite a few of the stones that get thrown, and a double down, when she continued to explain.
    I feel for her. A lot of what was said is just mean. Weapons of defense.

    I’ve found that when you try to explain, what she’s trying to explain, that nature/nurture argument gets in the way.
    If you continue trying to explain, eventually, you’ll likely get dismissed and labeled as Anti-Family.

    That’s usually when I give up talking about any of it with those who pretend to know what is and what will be Real and Forever.
    I’m not sure what can happen in that battle once they fly the pro and anti family flags, I don’t stick around after that. I go check on the bunnies instead. 🐰

    It’s even harder to explain in person. When you see the flag get hung then, better get those bunnies deep in their hole, cause they’ll be hunting for them. Count on it.

    It’s not – Foster to Not Adopt…
    They like the bunnies in a cage. It’s cheaper, and easier, that way. And income producing. It really can, and often does, get that simple.

    Let that bunny do his thing 🐇
    Happy Easter 💟

    Liked by 3 people


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