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I was silent over Mother’s Day

15 May

I couldn’t find any words over the last week to talk about Mother’s Day that could form a cohesive post, I tried, I failed.  Instead, I read old posts and it’s surprising how many reference mom and/or dad.  Then I found a post written in 2011 about what it means to be a family, I also read the comments including the following comment:

“i am under the impression that you are a person who was put up for adoption, adopted and now you are very anti-adoption? was it a bad experience-your being adopted?”

The post “What being a family means” was a post in reaction to a story that I didn’t link too.  The post is about what family means as taught to me by my family by their actions across their lifetime, a lifetime of action that included so much more than what I included in that post.

And yet, despite what I considered then and still consider now to be a post praising the values mom and dad lived, what they taught me – another adoptee left me the above comment that she assumed I was very anti-adoption, questioned my experience being adopted despite having just read a post holding my folks up as a family to emulate.  But because I was taught that family is family and you do what you have to do for family – I’m anti-adoption.

This reaction isn’t uncommon still today all these years later; if you’re adopted you must support all adoptions.  Where did the messaging in adoption go so wrong to expect adoptees to worship and hold up every adoption.  What makes adoption and being adopted so fragile that if you aren’t for every adoption you come across, you are against all.  That if you are for families staying together when possible, you’re trashing adoption.  The either/or mindset that still is applied in adoption is destructive, it’s not rational, it’s counterproductive, if you see it, push back and try to get the person to see the middle ground.

 

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20 Comments

Posted by on May 15, 2018 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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20 responses to “I was silent over Mother’s Day

  1. mariettewrites.com

    May 15, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    I agree, and I see this a lot with discussions between adoptees. If we even question the institution of adoption, we are labeled as ungrateful or as having a bad adoption experience.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      May 15, 2018 at 4:50 pm

      Welcome Mariette. I’m so tired of the either/or…

      Liked by 1 person

       
  2. Sally Bacchetta

    May 15, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Either/or hurts everyone. Because I’m an adoptive parent I’m not supposed to say anything negative about adoption. I’ve learned a lot over the last decade. I now see through the whitewashing, and no one’s going to make me be silent.

    Liked by 2 people

     
    • Tiffany

      May 15, 2018 at 6:46 pm

      Same here, Sally. I lost a friend a few years ago because she became irrationally angry with me when I said adoption should be considered carefully. We had a mutual friend with a sister in an unplanned pregnancy, and my friend suggested adoption and suggested the sister talk with Catholic Charities. I cautioned that the sister should think carefully and not contact an agency until she is certain adoption is what she wants as no agency is able to counsel without bias, and giving up a child for adoption is a lifelong choice with heavy ramifications. I was berated by this friend (it was in an online closed forum where we were all friends, and everyone was pretty appalled by her replies to me). I will never forget what she said: “You got your baby, so you don’t care if anyone else gets one.” (No, she was not considering adoption that I know of, but she was highly religious and viewed adoption as a savior of babies and deterrent to abortion, so it needed to be praised.) I lost it at that because she was labeling my daughter as if she was some sort of possession, and as if people have a “right” to get a baby if they want one, no matter how. went off on her, and I left the group even though others urged me to stay and that they didn’t agree with her. She also left and unfriended me.

      But… I also encounter people who are open to listening to me, and want to hear what I have to say. So, I try to concentrate on that and keep moving ahead with the same message. Some don’t want to hear it, but we need to focus on those who are open to change.

      Sidenote- my daughter called her parents and facetimed with them for an hour on Sunday. I encouraged her to remember it was mother’s day, and to wish her mom a happy day if she would like to do so. I was musing to my husband that night how our daughter will just say “I want to talk to them” and we all make it happen ASAP. I don’t understand why every AP wouldn’t want that for their child… I can never quite understand the insecurity, try as I might.

      Liked by 2 people

       
      • TAO

        May 15, 2018 at 7:10 pm

        Love having both of you guys here – makes me happy.

        Liked by 2 people

         
      • Sally Bacchetta

        May 15, 2018 at 9:03 pm

        Ah yes, the “You got yours, so now you don’t care about anyone else” rag. I know it well, and I feel your pain. Ironically, some of the people who have thrown that at me would never consider adopting domestically because they’re threatened by the notion of openness with the first parents. Uhh… I’m selfish for advocating adoption reform, but you’re not selfish for wanting to make dang sure your child is cut off from any chance of a relationship with their first parents. Okee… Like you, I’ve never been able to understand the insecurity. I’m sincerely grateful for your comments. I need to know there are “others” out there.

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        • cb

          May 15, 2018 at 9:39 pm

          Hi Sally Bacchetta,

          It is nice to have you on here. I just went to look at your latest blog posts and I was impressed by them 🙂

          However, I do have to say that a while ago I was able to read a lot of your book via google books and that I found it rather disturbing – I’m not sure why but I think it felt very much to me that you were telling your child how to feel about being adopted?

          I think your latest posts show that you have evolved in your thinking since you wrote your book. Do you feel that yourself?

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Sally Bacchetta

            May 18, 2018 at 12:09 pm

            CB, I appreciate your comments here and you reading my blog. I’m not ignoring you :). I’ve been thinking about what you said. I intend to respond here soon. Thanks!

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          • Sally Bacchetta

            May 22, 2018 at 3:01 pm

            Hi CB,

            Yes, I’ve definitely evolved, as a parent and a writer. I see now how in parts of my book I do “tell” them how to feel about having been adopted. Honestly, I doubt that was limited to adoption. I probably indirectly “told them how to feel” about a lot of things when they were younger. All parents get to do that. We choose what to bring into our kids’ lives until they’re old enough to make those choices on their own. I exposed them to nature and wildlife and music and other things I wanted them to know, and the ways I talked about those things shaped their earliest understanding of them.

            I wrote my book as a counterpoint to another book that cast adoption in a 100% negative light. I knew from experience that it was a one-sided portrayal, and I wanted my kids to know another perspective. In my zeal for counterbalance, I overstepped my own experience as an adoptive parent and landed squarely on the adoptee experience, which is one I am 100% unqualified to describe.

            I appreciate your sensitivity and your kindness about this. I really do.

            Liked by 1 person

             
      • Heather

        May 15, 2018 at 11:36 pm

        Tiffany, your sidenote is beautiful. I love to read about all the adults putting the child’s needs first.

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        • Tiffany

          May 16, 2018 at 5:02 pm

          Thank you. 🙂 I genuinely don’t understand why it isn’t just the universal default…. when you love someone, all you ever want is to make that person happy, fulfilled, and feel loved. I try to understand APs who want closed adoptions or break off contact or want to control their child’s connection with their family, but I can’t. It all comes down to selfishness and insecurity, and why don’t they overcome those issues to be the best parents they can be??? It’s so hard being a parent- it’s the hardest thing I have ever done. I’m sure I screw up a lot. Correction: I KNOW I screw up a lot. But I at least try my damnedest.

          Like

           
  3. cb

    May 15, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Reading the comments on the 2011 post, especially the ones by the adoptee who said the above comment, made me realise how often the so-called “positivity/negativity” towards adoption depends on the “comparison game”. The above adoptee saw her birth mother as being one who would have provided a terrible life for her and thus saw her adoption as being the better life, so to her, she sees adoption as being positive. Yet, I wonder if her view towards adoption would have been the same if her biological family had been different.

    I’ve said this but one of the reasons that I am seen as “negative” by some is because I cannot actively say my life was “better” but rather “different” – i.e. both my afamily and bfamily are lovely families.

    It seems that if one can’t actively negatively compare their bfamily to their afamily, then one is seen as being negative about adoption.

    Liked by 2 people

     
  4. maryleesdream

    May 16, 2018 at 2:15 am

    Adoptive parent insecurity is hard for adopted people to live with. I causes us to deny and suppress our feelings, and drives a wedge between us and our adoptive families.

    If our adoptive parents truly loved us, not just the idea of having their own baby, they would want the best for us, and want us to have healthy relationships with our natural families. Anything less is disrespectful, to us.

    I think it stems from their inability to have their own child, and their hidden guilt about taking someone else’s baby for their own. It’s an uncomfortable relationship. Unnatural and often strained.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      May 16, 2018 at 3:10 am

      Hey Marylee – did you mean to post this on the other post? If yes, post it there and I’ll delete it here. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • maryleesdream

        May 17, 2018 at 12:25 am

        No, I meant to reply here. I was responding to the adoptive parents who mentioned international adoption as a way to ensure the adopted person could never contact their natural family. That seemed so cruel.

        I read “The Brotherhood of Joseph”, and was horrified to learn the author did that to his adopted son. Purposefully adopted internationally, so he and his wife could claim full ownership. It seemed so cruel and demeaning to his adopted son. I was surprised that the author was actually proud of his decision, and bragging about it.

        Then, I was thinking last night, after I wrote the response, can there be a healthy relationship between a relinquished child and their natural mother? I know I could not have one. We tried, but it was impossible, for me and my dear mother. Once a child is given up, can there ever be an easy, natural relationship with their mother? I’m not sure. I’ve heard tell of it, but it seems a rare thing.

        I guess that’s enough for now. Picking up the baby from college tomorrow! At least I got my relationship with my children right. I love them to bits.

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        • TAO

          May 17, 2018 at 3:31 am

          I misunderstood! So many fear “the birthparents” but fail to understand *they* are always there because we are a part of them.

          I don’t know if my mother and I would have been able to forge a relationship – if she’d been open like my aunt – yet – but I think her scars from what happened were ever present – I’ll never know, just surmising.

          I’m so happy for you – college – that’s huge. Safe travels.

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  5. Pj

    May 16, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Most people who simply to either/or can’t or aren’t willing to comprehend the complexity of adoption.
    I was silent over Mother’s Day too, hibernating in my bubble.It’s always been a difficult day for me. Amom was always supportive, loving and encouraging and I wasn’t fair to her for many years. Just found out this w-end I had yet another b sis from b father. ( He was never faithful to his wife). I felt happy to have another birth connection, sad for my b sis’ pain, and very angry at my b father’s irresponsibility…
    Extremely grateful for my life but will never be grateful I had to be adopted.Don’t put me in that either/or box !

    Liked by 2 people

     
    • TAO

      May 16, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      Well said…

      Like

       
  6. beth62

    May 17, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Sometimes silence is a good thing, was thinking of you

    I eventually chose Neither And Both. I’m surrounded by people that have chosen the same. That’s a good thing. It’s not a one time choice of either/or, it’s a constant lifetime of many choices.

    It’s all a bit scary. Either/or is like fight or flight, to me. A very reactive choice.
    When I saw my kids choosing either\or and throwing not either and not or under the bus, because they were scared or angry… Nope, doesn’t fly in my house, time to talk.

    I chose either/or, it’s what Adoption teaches us to choose. I may not remember all of the details, but I will always remember, and will always be grateful to those that helped me look at my anger and fear involved in that choice. ((((Raven))))

    Once I managed to find my way out of that fog, I’ve found it impossible to choose either/or.

    I’m not sure, but I really think the attitude of Both is so much easier. Never would have believed it at one time, but it’s just so much more easy, peaceful, loving, respectful, forgiving, even filling, for me. Both has a future for me. Either/or, to me, often is simply deciding who can give me the most of what I want and/or need. Well, at this point in my life, in my fifties, what I want is love between everyone, truth and peace on earth :D. It would take a boatload of everlasting billions to buy me now. Love ain’t gonna do it, I’m full of love, surrounded by love, all I’ll ever need. True love can be found everywhere.

    I had to be tough with either/or. Very tough on the outside, and I had to keep that internal switch turned off, or set on dim. I had to be very careful what I said because I had to keep so much of what I felt hidden. Like if I spilled this tidbit, it could blow my argument supporting either/or with myself, if not others. A very tough and anxious way to choose to survive it.

    Either/or is terribly close to Neither, when there is no known space for Both.
    It’s scary.

    I’ve made my peace with Neither. It’s certainly an available choice. A livable choice. I liked it for quite a while, it served me very well then, then I changed my mind.

    I tend to choose Neither when my people won’t choose Both. When they try to control me, my actions, my choices, my thoughts, beliefs. When their expectations are not mine. When they try to use my children to control me, and now my grandkids, or try to put either/or on them too. When I’m put in the middle, I choose me, and physically flee whenever possible. I’m not going to stay and fight for either/or. I fly away while singing, both, both, only both can catch me 🙂

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