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On being heard…

13 Aug

This is likely going to be fairly muddled because I don’t like to publicly call people out by name, rather just talk about why I found something problematic. So there was a blog post recently by an adoption agency that ruffled feathers (pissed off) many in the adoption community, raising my hand as one of them. The outcome, I lost the respect I’d previously held for them.

Words matter.

And while there were valid points made in the post, calling out behavior I wouldn’t take part in, it was both unhelpful and the words used painted adoptees and first mothers with a very wide broad-bush. And if there’s one thing adoptee’s learn quickly is that if you want to be heard, you have to define specifically what, or who, you are speaking of. That wasn’t done, at all, and I can guarantee those who (I think) you meant the message for – didn’t hear it. Those who I don’t think the message was intended for (I include myself here) are the ones you (probably) lost ground with.

I know there are some mothers and adoptees who’ve been seriously harmed by adoption. Inside that category are those who try to educate for understanding and change, others react in anger to anything adoption, others just stay silent mostly but want to be with others who experienced the same thing. What it isn’t – is a uniform group who all think alike across the spectrum and agree with how each reacts, i.e., they are human beings too.

There’s also other mothers and adoptees that have also been challenged in different ways by adoption, they too break down into similar (but different) subsets. From speaking up gently hoping to be heard for the next generation, to those more forceful but still being able to be heard by many in the adopting/adopted category, to those who remain silent but agree. This is the broad category I fit into.

There are people who are anti-adoption, they have the right to be against adoption, their experience is one that should not exist, but does, maybe not as frequent as in the past, but serious harm still happens.

There are others (like myself) who have been challenged by being adopted, struggled, and still struggle at times. We would prefer adoption to be rare, but recognise that it is also necessary sometimes, and that how you adopt matters the most (ethics and fair play). Then there are others who never found an adoption they didn’t just love.

And lets also be real here – there are some prospective adoptive parents who make incredibly crass and stupid statements, who, regardless of the words used to caution them, choose to remain solely in some fluffy cloud where they are saving that brand-new baby who will never, ever, feel like adoptees today do, and they just love “their birthmother for choosing life and them”. Others who offer similar messages while also fundraising the entire cost of adoption. If only they’d do some research, educate themselves on adoption and get into some deep thought on all that adoption is and act accordingly with dignity and a reasoned understanding of all that adoption is, what it isn’t.

Back to the problem with the blog post is that the words used didn’t allow for the wide variety of feelings of adoptees and first parents, how they act, the choices each has made on how to speak.

“Disgruntled Adoptees” is the term used in the post for adoptees.

Tell me how that doesn’t paint with a broad brush every one of us who speak up about the challenges of being adopted, the current adoption practices, the ethical failings we see in adoption, the lack of any real effort to ensure education on adoption, best practices, impact on the one adopted, the added challenges in transracial adoption be required by all adopting. To those who want to ensure the professionals be held to high standards in a practice that makes it’s living off an adoption happening, all the way to those on the other end of the spectrum, those who want adoption abolished.

I did send a private message that also called out the privilege of not feeling the need to couch the words used to define exactly who you were speaking of in order to be heard. It was ignored, and a week later, it’s still bothering me, so here I am. Words matter, you failed, and maybe that was your intent, to mollify the adopting/adoptive parents that you have their back. If you wanted to be heard by those who you were specifically railing against, you failed, spectacularly, and I suspect you just made it worse.

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8 Comments

Posted by on August 13, 2019 in Adoption

 

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8 responses to “On being heard…

  1. cb

    August 13, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    Thank you for putting into words what I was thinking about that article.

    ” That wasn’t done, at all, and I can guarantee those who (I think) you meant the message for – didn’t hear it. Those who I don’t think the message was intended for (I include myself here) are the ones you (probably) lost ground with.”

    Exactly – when I read the article, I was like “Umm, what was the point of this article? You have probably just alienated every adoptee who has been there helping to educate APs and HAPs. It felt designed to shut down any criticism of any actions by APs/HAPs. You and i have also been on enough forums where the threshold for what is considered villification of APs is very low, eg I posted some problematic pictures of a HAP and emom on a mixed forum and quite a few people said “stop villifying APs” so judged on that, am I seen as someone who villifies APs because I posted a problematic meme?

    I also try to call out people on specific forums, eg if they say “I am unwilling to post on here because of APs being vilified on here”, I always say “please point out exactly where” – half the time, one then gets some talk about how on another forum someone said X and Y. I then say “but is that on here? No? THen stop talking about as if it is”.

    She also made a broad generalisation about the parents of us older adoptees which I think is sort of hilarious because the longer I spend on forums, the more I realise how well my parents have done (just saying).

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  2. cb

    August 13, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    I think there is another issue also that has been making me feel uneasy lately. I know that it can often feel that we are not being listened to but sometimes, I think the truth might be worse, our words are being heard but not being used for the purpose intended. LIke you, I believe in necessary adoptions and I suspect that most adoptees (yes I am generalising here) are hoping that their words will make people realise that adoption is complicated and not just a simple transfer from one family to another but instead, I think our words are being by adoption professionals to “repackage adoption” as something that everyone can be happy about.

    The above agency also had a video of a baby talking to their new APs and although I agreed with everything the baby said, the video finishes with “happy ever after” as if doing A, B and C will solve everything. It is the concerning direction in which I see adoption in the US going, i.e. if we make it glossy, everyone will be happy about it.

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  3. Dannie

    August 14, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    my child is only 10 and honestly, if any child that is adopted doesn’t fit the “disgruntled adoptee” at some point in their life or ongoing, I would think something is wrong. I love my child and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she loves me, however, I know some things eat at her, e.g. no one looks like her, even when I tell her she’s the most beautiful out of all of us, she loves that, but still no one looks like her, classmates have made statements that bother her, she wonders if shes unconditionally loved at times…..adoption isn’t a unicorn universe even at its best times. I shared with you something I recently found out….and that I’m sure will add even more layers…..but when adoptees question, maybe even be allowed to be disgruntled at times, I think it is the healthiest thing….how else can a person come into their own and value themselves if they can’t have space to question, criticize, and make their own conclusions about themselves and their situations. My daughter is awesome, and my life has way more depth and appreciation for human beings in general because of her. If she is “disgruntled” at times, let’s celebrate that. It’s nothing to be afraid of.

    I have no clue what article you are talking about….just going off of your post and hoping my comment can make a difference out there…..we recently moved houses, I am very behind in news, in current events at the moment.

    Liked by 3 people

     
    • TAO

      August 14, 2019 at 5:47 pm

      Your comments always make sense Dannie.

      Like

       
  4. beth62

    August 14, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    I’ll take the disgruntled employee label.
    I’d really like to see that original employment contract, that I was not privy to then, or now.
    the boss says, Nope. Shut up and get back to work.
    Is there an actual paycheck or compensation for all of this work done, effort expended, time taken?
    The boss says, Nope. Shut up and get back to work, don’t forget to be grateful.
    and here’s some more responsibility, keep working for free, and don’t forget to like the servitude and the pretending, forever.

    My best parental advice,
    You gotta have, and give up the bucks, if you want to buy and keep a real baby forever. It’s very simple.
    Give up the money to the kid, the agency only requires payment once, real kids are forever.
    You think love makes the world go round and keeps them coming back?
    Think again. Cough up the cash bitchez!
    Your expectations aren’t free.

    I’ll bet the majority of the disgruntled they speak of simply don’t have a substantial trustfund, or much hope of much inheritance. Probably been forced into the generic forever life, trying to make do the best they can, with what they have left.
    Resentment grows with no compensation. Especially after age 18.

    Get with it people. It’s all about money. Employees don’t stick around for long once the money stops flowing. We all pay for what we want. You want it? You owe!! Pay for it!! Caveat emptor!

    I’m sure those words, from an Adoptee, can be twisted and used for the agency’s benefit somehow, too. Repackage that, and this.

    I’ve decided that I’m going to need to see proof of funds, before I can begin to make any real judgements on how good or bad any Adoption is.
    😇

    Liked by 2 people

     
    • cb

      August 15, 2019 at 3:03 am

      I was just thinking that some of these people need to find new words in their thesaurus.

      Angry, bitter, disgruntled, unhappy.

      Here is a list of some synonyms (and a few antonyms).

      https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/disgruntled

      I could imagine people using a few of them in a sentence to describe us:

      “Those g***mn bellyaching grumpy old adoptees, they are always griping, grousing, kvetching about being adopted. Why are they always so peevish and vexed?”

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • beth62

        August 15, 2019 at 1:01 pm

        Haha cb, good idea. I kinda like malcontent too, a maladjusted malcontent.
        I claim that one, might change my screen name lol

        I’m just narked, they hear curlish.
        The serenas could listen better tho, much of what I see and hear out there… could very easily be their ‘blackface’ in the very near future. The sooner the better IMO. I feel so bad for some of these kids, being used by so many to prove, or push ideas and agendas. I label it abuse.

        I didn’t know there were so many offs!
        I’m off today
        teed off
        peed off
        ticked off
        hacked off
        cheesed off
        brassed off
        browned off

        Like

         

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