Grumpy rant

02 Sep

I’m old and most days can easily become grumpy at the drop of a hat. That happened yesterday on a comment thread on NYT’s FB post of an article. My grumpiness wasn’t over the article, it was good, it was because the PAL crowd got terribly upset in a how dare you way and we demand you fix it, and fix it now (which the NYT did)

Their issue in the headline: Given up for adoption… 

The headline is changed but this is the post.

First comment on FB:

“Wonderful article and story. But one edit: please, NYT, use more adoption-appropriate language. Mr. Schmidt was “placed” for adoption, not “given up” for adoption. It may sound like a matter of semantics, but for adoptive families, it is much more. Given up implies that he was cast aside, while in reality, it seems quite clear that he was placed with a family who gave him a loving, secure upbringing. And given his birth parents’ obvious delight in reconnecting with him, it hardly seems like they “gave up” on him. It’s a matter of an adopted child’s story starting with a negative or a positive, and a child being raised by people who can care for him in a way his birth parents could not at that time in their lives, is very positive.”

Many comments later in the sub-thread she speaks again:

“Since there seems to be such interest, another adoption-positive term is that the birth mother “made an adoption plan.” This indicates that the birth mother played an active role in placing their child for adoption, and took the loving action of planning the best possible future for their child, at a time when they were not able to parent effectively. This term is only accurate for certain adoptions, but also falls within the context of making sure that the adopted child knows that their adoption came from a place of caring.”

Except the adoption happened 36 years ago, when placed for adoption wasn’t the common language used, and wouldn’t be for a few years.

We were given up or put up for adoption. Our mothers surrendered (or relinquished) their parental rights to us. We were adopted. I don’t think you get to demand our lived experience and language gets changed in our stories because you think placed and planned is more positive. Quite frankly, being given up for adoption seems a hell of a lot easier knowing my mother didn’t really have a choice being white and middle class in that era. I’m of the mind that having my mother plan to willingly place me for adoption wouldn’t make me swoon with thankfulness, it was hard enough knowing she didn’t have a choice. Willingly, no, just no, that wouldn’t be better for me. And I’ve thought about the difference between my adoption and today’s version and no thanks, I’ll stick with it not being a real choice, at all.

And the woman I quoted above may want to take a walk down adoption history to fully understand that most of us weren’t unwanted, thrown away, abandoned, we just weren’t acceptable to society given our status at birth. If you think about it, the way the adoptive parent commenters in thread reacted, has shades of a different time, my time, when society required (dictated) our mothers put us up for adoption.

And adoptees from pre PAL – do feel free to disagree with me here, I’m but one voice in a sea of many and we all have the right to what we feel and think.

The next reason I got angry…

How disrespectful and rude can adoptive parents today be? At a glance it seems half the comments are on Positive Adoption Language and are at the very start of the comments. Instead of commenting on the people and the story being told, the comments were all about PAL. I’d also guess most of those piling on with the PAL fervor hadn’t even read the story. Adoptive parents – do better, be respectful of the story, stop making it about you. If you really feel you need to say something, grab a pen and paper and write a letter to the editor, put it in an envelope, address it, stamp it, and mail it.




Posted by on September 2, 2018 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , ,

21 responses to “Grumpy rant

  1. pj

    September 2, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    I’m old:) too and have had non-adopted people correct my adoption lingo. As an adoptee, believe I should be able to use whatever adoption term is within my comfort zone. It’s my (adopted) life !!

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      September 2, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      Thanks PJ


  2. moonchild

    September 2, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! Thanks for your thoughts! P.S. I’m old, too.


    • TAO

      September 2, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      Thank moonchild


  3. maryleesdream

    September 2, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    I went and commented on the Facebook page. PAL is the adoption industry’s attempt to normalize the act of newborn abandonment. Sick and gross, really.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cindy

    September 3, 2018 at 5:00 am

    The language, “placed” and “made an adoption plan” is another way adoptive parents run from reality.

    They rewrite our lives from the horror of being forced to surrender having no choice in the matter, to their fairy tale, ‘”oh la la it’s all good”, so it’s easier on their conscience and so –the practice of adoption can continue unabated– because it’s a “”good”” thing. Mothers weren’t/ aren’t forced or coerced. They make “plans”. They don’t “give up” because it’s hopeless, no, they “place” their babies. Uh-huh, sure they do.

    Being a mother of loss and having to endure the continual abuse of PAL is like being beaten. The diminishing of my motherhood and loss, every single time I see those words used.

    I didn’t “place” and I sure the hell did not “make an adoption plan”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • maryleesdream

      September 3, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Neither did my mother. It was an act of desperation.


    • TAO

      September 3, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks Cindy


    • sheryl

      September 5, 2018 at 1:17 am

      I’ve had my son back for over three years now and I always say I lost my son to adoption, if the topic comes up in conversation. Back when his adoptive parents wrote me letters telling me why they should be his parents, they wrote “the baby will always know he came to us out of the utmost love “. Not true at all. He came to be with them because I was confused, broken and coerced. Period.


  5. cb

    September 3, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    As others have said, it is up to us (the adoptees) and/or up to our bparents to decide how they refer to our relinquishments.

    It was funny how many people asked for the change – did 8 people really need to comment? Did they not read each others posts? As for the fact that the NYT changed it, would they have changed anything if an adoptee had had an issue?

    As for “given up”, if a birthmother or adoptee wants to use that term, that is their right. For older bmothers/adoptees that may be how it feels. When I hear “placed for adoption”, I think of someone placing a child on a table and walking off. When I hear “made an adoption plan”, I think of a woman sitting in a recliner casually making a plan. I can’t imagine any older bmother actually saying “I made an adoption plan”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • cb

      September 3, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      Funnily enough, IRL, the 3 birthmothers I have spoken to (one I worked with years ago, 2 I talked to during my search, all used “adopted out/had adopted/adopted my child out” or some thing similar. I have a feeling that was the language used in their own cases, eg “you will be adopting your child out” .

      Liked by 1 person

      • BOOKS

        November 14, 2018 at 2:38 am

        I surrendered. I surrendered my child to adoption. I chose to carry my child and bear my child, but the surrender was unbearable.


    • TAO

      September 4, 2018 at 3:39 am



  6. beth62

    September 4, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    What, no one commented on the tiny bit of info given about the adoptive parents? Just all PAL?
    And, whoa! That’s some old fashioned scary talking in those comments. Shocking, worrisome. How clueless and cold is one supposed to become to Adopt? Dang


    • maryleesdream

      September 4, 2018 at 5:04 pm

      Don’t worry, a few on the Facebook page commented that the poor sainted adoptive parents not getting enough mention. In a story about reunion.


      • beth62

        September 4, 2018 at 9:20 pm

        Ah I was wondering 😉 I thought the game might have changed and I missed it.


    • TAO

      September 4, 2018 at 6:54 pm

      I don’t know if you read the pleathora of comments dictating how society must speak, (aka act) but it sure made me think about our days – when society dictated what must be done with us.


      • Cindy

        September 5, 2018 at 3:58 pm

        TAO, from my experience for the past 38 years, what you’re seeing is just what got covered up and hidden from many people’s view by a layer of frosting (aka PAL and the open adoption experiment that we all know often closes anyway). Now the frosting is melting and what has been since way back is coming into view again.

        It never seemed different or better from my interactions with agency workers or adoptive parents (except for the rare, precious few) or even in my personal life. I don’t know, maybe it was just me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • beth62

        September 6, 2018 at 5:58 pm

        I’ve only read what you shared here. That’s enough!
        I really just have to wonder if they know the twisting of words and thought controlling ideas are not new by any means. That so many people see right thru all that old mass controlling madness?

        Just the comments you posted, which gave me that old shiver, led me to the old book shelf. And even tho ancient musty books make me sneeze and give me a headache, I had to open one just to compare the familiar ideas and twisting of words in those comments.

        The Adopted Family Book 1. You and your child. A guide for adoptive parents. It was written in 1951. Mine is a twelfth printing, Feb. 1962.

        Yikes. These comments do have that flavor. I have to wonder if the new moms are working on a new printing for 2018? And if there was one printed in this new century. Maybe one for considering mothers?

        Some of my young and old adult visitors of the week read out loud from the book, others gathered for the commotion they heard, entertainment, others read the whole thing. Some now parents themselves. The shock and unbelief was apparent in their faces and responses. Most of which were – holy shit. that’s some sick twisted shit there. Omg. Whoa. WTF. Can you believe this shit. Are you kidding me, read that again. God Mom, how is it possible that you are still sane? And my favorite from another son just walking in – what is going on in here, what in the world are y’all reading? An episode of handmaids tale or something?

        It boiled some of them a bit. Ones displaced from family. Some asked why I hadn’t shown it before. Arrgg. I know some saw it and similar ones before. We’ve spent years talking about old ideas and twisted words used for control while assembling a family, a team, group, church, society, club, etc… Which they immediately remembered, but said seeing it in print now in an actual real book written to guide new mommies and daddies, instead of articles written about it now, or anything I’ve ever said, made it really real. That my mom had bought and read this book, wrote her name on the first page, and used many of the ideas which some they’ve witnessed/heard before, really made it real. They understand where a lot of these disturbing ideas might have come from, and why, and how they’ve morphed into what’s being said today. We are happy that my good, kind, loving Mom didn’t climb all the way in that bucket with the others. And sad that she fell for some of it. That shit hurt, still hurts, still hurts those around me now, hurts my Mom and Dad too.

        I wish I had shown all of our kids this book a decade ago! But I’m not sure they would have been able to see then what they see now.

        I looked for this book online to copy and paste from. Only found a printing from 1975 on Amazon… For $99!

        I think that could and should be fixed. I’d love to easily copy and paste from this book (and others) and put it next to the similar comments posted today. So more can see that this is some sick old shit, and it ain’t nuthin new honey. And you ain’t as good, smart and right as you think you are. And do you even know you’re climbing in the same sick bucket as those who have gone before you? Those that thousands of adult Adoptees are constantly trying to warn you about, daily, online everywhere?

        For so long typing online I’ve felt like I (we) had to convince people that this history is real. (And not that old, or over, remnants still growing strong) I’ve joined so many in trying to convince others that original parents are real people to any child, as well as Adopted parents. And even if they can grasp the reality some, get past thinking I’m negative, angry, ungrateful, had a bad experience, wrong thinking, etc., it all still gets dismissed as old, way back then, we know better now, of course we wouldn’t do that, blah blah blah. I guess I wouldn’t want to believe it either.

        What can ya say. Bless her heart.
        I could go along with Displaced for Adoption.
        But, Placed? Really?
        My Momma didn’t place me anywhere. She never even saw me, and had no idea what happened to me once I was born, only knew the lies they told her.
        She didn’t put me any where or make any Plan for Adoption, give me up or give up on me. She couldn’t even know if I ever got adopted.

        My Momma set me free in the world with my first breath.
        She set us both free from some sick sexist social shit.
        She had to surrender me and relinquish her motherhood to do it.
        I’ve known that all along. Duh.
        It’s very positive to me, very sad and very real.
        It just took my Adopted family a little longer to figure it out, can’t blame them, it’s not what they were told over 50 years ago. I guess it’s scary. It’s all I’ve ever known for sure. It’s been my one true constant. It took me a while to understand why others thought I was wrong thinking as a kid (and adult!) and why they found the need, supposedly for my sake, to twist us all up with all that sick mass society mind controlling shit like in this comment.

        I may be grumpy, I may be old, but I damn sure know shit when I see it!

        Liked by 2 people

  7. beth62

    September 7, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Saw this reconnection story on a morning show, CBS I think. I missed the beginning. The host added a bit at the end about Aparents and his sister being supportive. Then he uttered ‘gave up for adoption”, and that was the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • BOOKS

      December 8, 2018 at 6:42 am

      “Gave up.” Yes, as in giving up hope, as in feeling helpless, as in not being supported, as in ignoring what we were feeling! Feelings do count and they need to be explored. Adoption should not be a Band-Aid.

      Liked by 1 person


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