When the one adopted is stuck in the middle

29 May

I’m in a few adoption groups on facebook, closed groups.  Groups that lean-to opposite sides of adoption, i.e. adoptive parent heavy or first parent heavy.  The message promoted in each group is often weighted on based on the predominant voices in the group.  I hear a very different message presented in each, two sides of the same coin where the scales tip to the side of the prominent voices in the group.

Each group has their own flavor, focus and intent – they serve a purpose, they both need to exist.  They also serve as echo chambers and you need to be in many different groups to see a wider picture.  To see the middle ground.  To learn what slippery slopes exist in adoption.

As an adoptee, it seems my role in both of these groups often comes down to pushing back on the we are the good guys being hard done narrative I hear on both sides of the aisle.  Trying to remind them that they need to take a step back and focus on the impact to that child.  A focus that is often lost in the clamor of what about me and how I feel.

Both seem to forget that there’s a little adoptee who is living through the challenges of growing up being the child, who, once adopted, has two sets of parents.

Adoption is about the one adopted first and foremost.  Parents on either side of the aisle would be well served to remember that and that both sets of parents matter to the one adopted.  Treat the other fairly and as you would like to be treated, it will serve you well in regards to how your long-term relationship is with your child.  Disrespect the other set of parents at your own peril, and please, please, don’t put your child in a position where they need to choose between parents.






Posted by on May 29, 2018 in Adoption


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10 responses to “When the one adopted is stuck in the middle

  1. Laksh

    May 29, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    You say it so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My Perfect Breakdown

    May 29, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    My best non-adoption focused analogy for what you are describing is when a kid gets put in the middle of a divorce. Simply put, a kid should never be in a situation where they are made to choose between parents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      May 29, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      Exactly on point.


  3. Jill Daviau

    May 30, 2018 at 11:53 am

    All the Facebook groups I’m in are adoptee-only, save the only mixed group I can bear to be in. I see this all the time – bparents and aparents being so considerate of each other’s feelings, but no one considers the adoptee. Or everyone else is somehow the innocent party, but not the adoptee. It hits me that I don’t think either bparents or aparents have any clue what adoption does to adoptees. I feel so bad for their kids.


    • TAO

      May 30, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      So true Jill. We are in the same mixed group btw…


  4. Jifer

    May 30, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    I knew all along I was adopted but it was never really anything I thought about until my b parents passed on. I felt it was safe to look into it once my parents were gone and couldn’t be hurt. (Loyalty to b. parents is usually a given for adoptees). My b mother was located last year but she doesn’t want to talk to me, let alone meet me. As a result, I may never get to know who or what she was and where or why I came to be. Now, more than ever, I want/need to know,…This past winter, I was in a restaurant, close enough to overhear a conversation between a man and a woman. The man was talking about the daughter he only recently discovered he had fathered many years before during a trip overseas, before he was married, a daughter given up for adoption by a woman he hardly knew. Apparently, the daughter wanted a reunion and he was worried about acknowledging her and telling his own adult children, actually debating whether he would communicate with this woman of 26 yrs– at all. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! What kind of morality allows someone, even if they never knew they had a child, to ignore that person, especially when the person is now an adult, old enough to know what they need and want? After years of anonymity and self-preservation for a b parent, at what point does an adoptee deserve some rights too? People provide platitudes about the “poor birth mother”…and how she must have been so ashamed at the time and how one should “feel sorry” for her; how hard it must have been…So, I get the comment made above about where do the adoptees fit in here? As an adoptee, you never “don’t need to know”.Even loyalty to your adopted parents won’t shut it off for long. It’s like an itch that can’t be scratched…So, where are the adoptees in these profound discussions about “the times” and “hardships” of birth parents, the magnanimous gesture of the adopted parents….etc etc….?


    • TAO

      May 30, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      I’m sorry Jiffer that your mother doesn’t want to meet you. My father was the same. The only solution for me to gleam bits and pieces of why was to compile a family tree and see who they were, what they did, try to understand. It helped a tab-bit but not fully. I also had my mother’s family to help by telling me what they could. But you don’t have the flip side I assume to try to understand – have you considered dna testing to figure out who your father is?

      And yes, there has to be a place at the table for the one adopted to also be part of what’s important – for so long we’ve been the compliant make everyone else comfortable first and put our needs aside. You have every right to state you have needs and they aren’t being met.

      Your comments will post automatically now.


  5. beth62

    May 30, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    I agree with that! Especially the at your own peril part. It’s a risky thing no one has real control over.

    When you are put in that position to choose one biased side over another, it may look like you’ve chosen one side, or extreme, or the other – to others. BTW I don’t believe biased is always a bad thing or extreme thing either. Depends. There are degrees of bias as well.
    You may even fool yourself for a while with this choice, out of habit, out of sight out of mind, out of necessity, fear, survival…all kinds of ways to bring in the fog of survival.

    That other choice, the one leaned away from, with Adoption it doesn’t dissappear, even if the people do. No matter which way you lean. It’s always there, it doesn’t go away, there are daily reminders. I don’t know how it could be possible not to examine it thoroughly in secret, or run far from it, if not all of it, if you’re stuck and forced to choose. Unless you choose to be in and to stay in the middle, and are able to pull it off without anyone knowing your secret. Another way to look at that is – you are teaching your kid to lie, and lie well to their very core, very well.

    I’m even in the middle on being in the middle by choice.
    The middle has always been my choice, in nearly everything in life that I choose to explore both and everything in between. The farthest ends of a thing? Typically feel like dead ends to me.

    But there is a HUGE difference between choosing to be in the middle with both, and being forced in the middle to choose either this one or that one while the free middle is vanquished.

    It’s scary to me to think of it with no peaceful, understanding and accepting middle ground, terrifying and terribly sad. Eek! My beloved rabbit hole!! It simply disappears if there is no good middle, nothing left but mud in that space that you can seriously get stuck in then. I know all about that mud. It stinks. I got in all kinds of trouble digging around in it looking for my rabbit hole and the good sweet smelling middle. Then finally, I figured out I could dig my own hole to the good middle, once someone handed me that shovel. I dug deep and far, many followed, many helped. We’ve even managed to remodel and upgrade most of it. I hear so much of it is even welcoming and open to all kinds of visitors now☺Many new passages. Check it out.

    Today I look at the two women I’m spending my day with……..
    I thought my breakfasts with my old buddys, AKA Archie Bunker, George Jefferson and Fred Sanford were “entertaining” in an awfully disturbing way, until today.

    Having activities, breakfast, lunch and dinner with the ladies today. Most happy about that part.They are both exceptional people, and great cooks. We’ve been very close friends and neighbors for decades, business partners, we know each other well, like sisters. We’ve cared for each other during illnesses. We were the mama’s to the same kids. We’ve filled the same bellies, and wiped the same butts and noses for years. (that’s how they say it 🙂 ) We’ve put up with each other very well. The best way to describe it today is –

    OMG HELP!!! Help!!Help!! I’m stuck in the middle of Wanda Sykes and Roseanne! Omg, I’m not sure if I’ll make it to lunch without running, or finding someone’s neck in my grasp. They both seem to be overly determined to get me on their side! Neither will ever win, in my world they are both, um, right and not so right. (Hey, I don’t want to die today, no way would I utter the words ‘you’re wrong’ to either lol)

    So I agreed and disagreed with both on some stuff, led them both on, instead of dashing all hopes of me sticking to either. I think they fell for it a little. So I came here to hide in the good middle and breathe good air again! Of course all that just stirred them both up even worse! Now they’ll have to up their games to catch me.

    Such is life, maybe all my experience and practice being in the middle has done me well. I’ve learned how to stay out of the stinky mud and escape to the good middle, even if I have to leave everything and everywhere else behind.

    I think I’ll wait until after dinner to chew them both out 🙂 Drooling just thinking about the homemade rolls and bread, Mz C’s Mac and cheese and Mz M’s taters and snaps. Not to mention the apple molasses cake I could wear… Maybe I’ll wait til after dessert to let them both have it 🙂

    TAO, I really like the way you managed to write this. I think you just described well not only the middle adoptees can get stuck in, but how it is with most everything in life that can be stretched far in different directions. Things many think, insist that we all must choose between.
    In every case I can think of, it seems like either or both ends of it just pile all the stinky mud they can in between them, forgetting all about what they just buried there in the middle, the thing they both profess to care about the most. Then both ends of it stand there in the same stinky mud together. It makes no sense to me.

    My hope is (instead of everything being so spread from one end to the other, with little in the middle seen as acceptable) that soon the fog will clear and more and more will stop smelling the old mud of either/or in the middle – and realize that in the middle joined with both is the reasonable, sweet smelling and only truly real place there is to be.

    Sorry :/ They put stinky mud on me today, makes me run to my reasonably clean and comfy hole and type too much about it. I have deadly issues, and severe side effects, with stinky mud.


    • TAO

      May 30, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      I love your dissection of the whole stinking mess. I’m a middle girl for sure – I just can’t do hate well, not my nature, although there are things I hate with a passion – I just can’t hate as much as some do – how’s that for a ramble…


      • beth62

        May 30, 2018 at 9:20 pm

        You can count on me to not hate on the ramble 🙂

        Liked by 1 person


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