Can we stop being so shallow in the adoption community?

16 Dec

Originally posted 2018

I’ve tried every which way to help people, specifically adoptive parents in the adoption community to move on from labelling an adoptee as having either a positive or negative adoption experience. I’ve failed in all previous attempts and I don’t like admitting defeat, so here’s one more try…

And no, I wasn’t the one labelled that sparked this post…

This is for adoptive parents who’ve reduced the adoptee experience to an either/or positive or negative, and those who stay quiet and/or quietly like the comment by your peer or soon to be peer.

Do you have any idea how dispiriting it is to still see some adoptive parents labelling an adoptee as having had a positive or negative adoption experience? No nuance allowed for the adoptee’s story, no recognition that an adoptee can have complicated, contradictory feelings that continue to evolve over time either way.

Just either/or judgement applied…

Do you really believe this will be good for your child in the future if they dare to talk about their adoption or feelings about being adopted, critique the industry, the practices, or the laws when they’re adults? Or do you believe that you will offer the most magical and amazing life that your child will never once question, or feel anything less that positive in respect to their adoption?

I’m fed up with adoptive parents and those still waiting to adopt who make those snap judgements about an adoptee’s experience, an experience that has spanned decades while you’re still a newbie to this life.  And, to a lesser degree, to their peers who keep allowing others to get away with this without even a whimper of protest. You are raising the current generation of adoptees. They will face the same labelling that you apply to adoptees or watch happen in any mixed adoption group.

So tell me, what is it that defines an adoption experience to be positive for the one adopted? What defines it to be a negative one? Is there a definitive definition and a criteria list where you can check boxes off and based on your limited interaction with the one adopted can decide whether that adoptee had a positive or negative adoption experience?  Or does it just come down to the adoptee said something you didn’t like or want to hear – so you judged them to not be worthy of hearing because they didn’t have a “positive adoption” experience?

I refuse to have my experience of being adopted labelled in such a shallow way by others and certainly not by those who’ve only been part of adoption for a few years or so.

Do better. Start a conversation in your group on the ridiculousness of either/or, positive/negative labelling applied by others to adoptees in adoption land. Talk about how there can, and likely will be, both positive and negative feelings in an adoptee throughout their life, and how they feel about anything and everything interconnected to their adoption is what it is, and oh, to stop being an ass.


Posted by on December 16, 2021 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , ,

12 responses to “Can we stop being so shallow in the adoption community?

  1. Lara/Trace

    December 16, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    You are one brave warrior to even try

    Liked by 2 people

  2. c b

    December 16, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    Well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lori Lavender Luz

    December 16, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    I would quibble with this: “I’ve failed in all previous attempts.”

    I suspect you have a pretty high success rate with the people you have reached. The problem is, it’s hard to reach everyone — and there are new people entering the space all the time. A certain percentage of them will dig in their heels to their rigid views, But many will reexamine their rush to either/or and take your words to heart.

    You made a difference with me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      December 16, 2021 at 10:37 pm

      Thank you Lori, now if you could just follow me around in adoptionland and tsk tsk to everyone who likes to judge adoptees – that’d be swell. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Laksh

    December 17, 2021 at 12:13 am

    You definitely have changed my life and made me a better person and parent. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. beth62

    December 22, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    I know you’ve helped many adoptees too.
    I can remember when it was new to me, when I first started typing online, being judgemental in that way towards other adoptees and their situations, because they weren’t like mine. I was just as quietly judgemental with adoptive and birth parents.
    It was very childish of me. My ignorance became troubling to me.
    I didn’t always listen to what they had to say, or I had a hard time finding relevant or helpful to me things in their words…
    Soon enough I found myself in the middle, defending those with judged “negative” situations (or attitudes), as well as defending those in judged “positive” situations/attitudes, whenever anyone was judged either way.
    I got judged in both directions many times, still do. It tells much about the judge, plain as day to see.

    I believe almost anyone can find positive and negative things about their situations. Weighing them against each other to choose which one wins, can only be done by the one who lived it. We’re all different in many ways, yet all the same in many more.

    Why is this positive/negative thing so strong within adoption? There lies the problem. Many want the picture to look a certain way. It doesn’t. And even if you can make it look that way for you, doesn’t mean anyone else has to do the same to be relevant to adoption, or to reflect adoption in the “right” way, or see it the same as anyone else.
    As an artist I have a picture in my head, when I pick up the paint brush and attempt to create that, it ALWAYS comes out a little, and sometimes A LOT, different. That’s just how life works. And I’m usually quite proud of my artistic creation, or not, no matter what anyone else thinks it should be like.
    Just keep typing TAO 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kumar

    December 29, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    I’ve found myself having lots of these types of conversations lately and it is quite frustrating but also always so refreshing to read your words. I find myself explaining that one of the most impactful parts of my adoption experience/journey, etc. is learning that my feelings do not need to be linearly consistent, that contradiction is oftentimes just a reflection of my lived experienced coming into contact with/conflict with my aspirational self (morally, philosophically, politically) and that conflict does not need to be resolved.


  7. Robyn C

    January 24, 2022 at 3:38 am

    Thanks for sticking around and educating us. I know I used to be one of those “positive/negative” people, when Jackson was a baby. I’ve learned a lot from you.


    • TAO

      January 24, 2022 at 3:45 am

      Awe, thanks Robyn – goes both ways.



Tell me your thoughts, but please be nice...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: