Dear Columnist

30 Dec

From 2017

I read your article posted a few days ago: 3 Reasons To NOT Find Your Birth Parents with the tag line “It’s your life; it’s your choice.” and just wanted to lay out some statements of facts before getting into a nuanced rebuttal.

  • You are an adoptive parent
  • You have written another ‘instructive’ article to adoptees before (title below)
  • You are not an adoptee, at least you don’t claim to be

Your first paragraph indicated to me that you are one of those ‘rare advocates for closed adoptions’ and keeping that door firmly closed, if possible. My take away from your points.

  • If we’ve been told we were the product of rape or incest it may bring up feelings to our first mother if we search? You don’t think we’d come to that conclusion on our own? First, as an adoptive parent you speak for the first mother feelings, then you instruct us (adoptees) and end with this gem designed to keep that door closed: “As sad as that is, many adult adoptees are able to live fulfilled, happy lives without feeling a huge gap from not knowing the birth families.” I would suggest that you don’t have a factual basis to state that is true in regards to those who wanted to search, it is only an assumption meant to shame the adoptee for their feelings so they comply.
  • That if we are ‘rejected’ we need to quit? You don’t believe we’d do that on our own? At the end after telling us we probably won’t get all our answers and may feel worse if we kept trying you say this: “At a certain point, it may be best to release the desire of creating a relationship”. I’d suggest that adoptees are the experts in having had to make peace with never knowing, despite the reality that desire that will always be there, we do, we’ve done it our entire adopted life.
  • That if we don’t want to search it’s okay and we need an adoptive parent to tell us that? You start with this: “Negative Feelings When Considering Search and Reunion. Sometimes there’s no clear reason to not search.” You presume that all adoptees even consider searching. We don’t. We aren’t a monolith. The desire to know where we came from is not universal, if you have no desire to search, you aren’t going to consider searching, nor feel bad. If an adoptee is interested, it is an immensely personal journey undertaken when they feel the time is right, it isn’t guided by anything other than what the adoptee wants at that point in their life based on their feelings and needs.

I’m still sitting here bemused by the thought of you, an adoptive parent, telling an adoptee what they should do about something so deeply personal as searching for their truth. Just a big ole ‘wow’ to your tenacity, but based on your previous article on How To Approach Your Adoptive Parents About Finding Your Birth Parents with the tag line “As told by an adoptive parent” and the one you just wrote – you seem to think so lowly of adoptees, that we need you to write these instructions for us, because, we need tutoring on how to behave in a civilized society, and how to think rationally.

That is my reaction to an adoptive parent writing about anything to do with an adoptee and their choice whether to search, or not. It’s not your place. If you must write something on the subject; consider interviewing adult adoptees, listen to their stories and reasons why they searched, or chose not to search, listen to the their words of wisdom gleaned from their lived experiences, and then, write something that details what they experienced, what they learned, what they tell other adoptees to be aware of, without your bias bleeding through.

Here are some facts you may not be aware of about adoptees that generally hold true:

  • As an adoptee; you can’t take anything told you from an agency as fact.  History has proven time after time that what an adoptee is told, may, or may not, have any relevance to the truth.
  • As an adoptee; you may want to verify what your adoptive parents or your first parents told you, if you have any doubts to the veracity.
  • An adoptee has the right to seek their truth if they so wish, whether they find what they are seeking or not.
  • An adoptee decides to search based on their own unique needs and reasons, whatever they may be.

And finally, the adoptees I know are strong, strong-willed, hold strong opinions on what is right for them. As a group, adoptees have been schooled, talked down to, chastised, preached too our entire life, repeatedly, by multiple people about the dangers of daring to know our truth, and/or the harm we can do if we open that door, both to our adoptive parents and to our first parents. My day the vernacular was about the dangers of opening a can of worms. What’s missing in all of them, is what the adoptee needs.

Here we are in 2017, and adoptees are still being told what to do. It gets tiresome to live your whole life being treated, as if, we are ignorant of the ramifications, don’t have the ability to have thought deeply about it, considered the potential outcomes, or willing and ready to tread carefully in making any decision on reaching out for our truth.

What also boggles the mind, especially coming from an adoptive parent, is the lack of faith you have in your fellow adoptive parents. To assume our parents didn’t raise us right; to be thinkers, to be considerate of others, to do our own research and search our own moral compass before making such a life-changing decision. That as adults, because we are adoptees, you think if we decided to search, that we would just rush in like a bull-in-a-china-shop, damn the consequences, or not have any consideration for our first parents and the effect on them.

Do you really think so little of the rest of us living in adoption?

I’m choosing not to link to the article, but should you want to read for yourself, a simple search on the title of the post will get you there on your own.

2017 the post is still on, my original post I just copied above is here, and, as always, the comments are well worth your time.


Posted by on December 30, 2021 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , ,

14 responses to “Dear Columnist

  1. swiftabc

    December 30, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    So many folks continue to prefer the fiction of the Fairy tale, the vision of adoption as 100% being. As a result, they miss the opportunity to see and live the complicated truth and to be sacred witnesses to the experiences of adoptees. Our work is essential, an uphill battle that we cannot, must not lose.


    • TAO

      December 30, 2021 at 5:25 pm

      Thanks Swift as always. Wishing you the best in the coming year for your and yours.


  2. legitimatebastard

    December 30, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    Before heading over to read the original posts, I’m curious as to what inspired you to re-post this now?

    I sit in amazement over the antics of adoptive parents and extended adoptive family who claim ownership over an adoptee. This “talk-down-to-us” as if we are misbehaving children in need of discipline seems to be universal, cross-cultural.

    Adoptees grow in and out of the fog at different rates. Some never want to search, to ask questions, to reunite. And that’s okay.

    It’s up to the adopted person and no one else.


    • TAO

      December 30, 2021 at 6:31 pm

      No reason in particular, was searching for a different post and started reading this one and figured I’d post it again.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. virtuous

    December 30, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    Thank you so much for your blog today


    • TAO

      December 30, 2021 at 10:26 pm

      You’re welcome, do feel free to talk about it if you are so inclined.


      • cindy621

        January 1, 2022 at 3:04 pm

        Hi Tao.

        It’s interesting that the author of that article felt they were an expert because they adopted a child/children. I agree with your comment that they should have taken the time to interview other adoptees. I’ve raised to adult daughters but I’m by no means an expert parent.

        I located both my birth mother and father and am a better person because of it. That’s not to say there weren’t bumps along the road, but that’s how life is.

        This is off topic, but have you read The Primal Wound? It’s been out many many years, but I’m just now reading it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • TAO

          January 1, 2022 at 3:11 pm

          Hi Cindy, yes, I’ve read the Primal Wound but it’s been years.

          I found it very helpful in explaining feelings I never understood. It was also interesting in being able to see the different paths my siblings took.

          There are a few posts I’ve done over the years on the book, if you are interested the search bar on the right side should bring them up.

          It does explain the many different ways an adoptee reacts to being adopted.

          There is a follow-up book called Coming Home to Self, never read the whole book, but found parts to be helpful.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Cindy P

            January 3, 2022 at 7:25 pm

            Thank you so much for your response. I will definitely check out your other posts in the Primal Wound.


  4. beth62

    January 1, 2022 at 3:33 pm

    I find this schooling frequently. Nearly as often as mansplaining. Both seem so similiar.
    My daughter and I have been attempting to find ways to end the mansplaining, with grace. It’s easy to embarass them, but sometimes we need stuff from the ‘splainer… so the grace thing is needed. Sometimes it’s helpful, most often it comes from a “know-it-all know-nothing”. It has become a big annoying issue for us, a time sucker, happens all the damn time. So much so we expect it.
    To be labeled as clueless just because you are a female, when you are a master at that skill – just as annoying as being labeled a clueless adopted child… when you’re a grandma, with a masters degree in reunion.
    Our men know better, and they’ve seen it enough to help out if they are around. My guys are really good at defering the questions to me, when the mansplainer talks to him instead of me. Or ask for my opinion or detailed explanation of how it works in front of them. It used to be fun sometimes, now it’s just boring.

    Silencing the know-it-all know nothing dreamers in adoption, with grace… argh, fighting “clueless adopted child” is much harder than fighting “clueless female” to me.

    It’s one thing to be a know it all, some actually do know a particular thing very well. It’s another thing to be a know it all when you don’t know all of what you are saying. Those listening that do know, know instantly that you are clueless and full of it. Just flappin yer yap to feel better about what you think you might know. Aka – covering your fear of your weaknesses or lack of experienced knowledge.

    Ya don’t have to know everything, nobody does. There’s always something new to discover, and always another way to do a thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      January 1, 2022 at 3:37 pm

      Morning Beth! Sitting here having coffee trying to remember what I wanted to write for this New Year Day one and drawing a blank. Hoping you got through the holidays okay.


      • beth62

        January 1, 2022 at 3:48 pm

        Happy New Year! We made it to 2022! Enjoying my first cup of coffee of the year, and it’s perfect 🙂


        • TAO

          January 1, 2022 at 8:15 pm

          Coffee – the nectar of life.


  5. Robyn C

    January 24, 2022 at 3:34 am

    Adoption dot com doesn’t want any hint of controversy, so their writers all have to tow the party line.

    Liked by 1 person


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