Several years ago, when TAO asked me to join her here, I was a bit hesitant. My therapist encouraged me to join her, telling me it would be very therapeutic, and encouraging me to tell my story, because, in my therapist’s words, “It’s a story that needs to be told”. When I initially resisted, knowing from personal experience how telling my truth, my story, affected people, how they didn’t really want to hear the truth, and how angry people could get, she further encouraged me by pointing out how I was not afraid to talk about the difficult, unpleasant, and uncomfortable things in life. My therapist, an adoptive mother, emphatically stated, “These things need to be talked about! Somebody has to talk about it!” So, here I sit, on a beautiful day, the sun shining, listening to the birds singing outside, Oh, no, I just heard one of the cats getting himself into trouble on the front porch, as something just came crashing to the ground, and wondering what in the world am I possibly going to write about for the next 30 days.
My blogging partner, TAO, is so good at finding all the studies, articles, reports, and discussing things so intelligently. I, on the other hand, lean more to the emotional side, needing some kind of strong, emotional trigger before I can even come up with a sentence. She took the first prompt and ran with it. I read it and thought, “Oh, crap. What can I possibly say about any of this?” I have no idea where this will go, but what the heck? I’m going to give it a shot.
As an adoptee, and a blind person, I am a living, breathing, walking, talking, stereotype, whether I want to be or not, think I am, or not. I’ve been at war with stereotypes most of my life in one form or another. I’ve fought the good fight and, at times, it’s kicked my ass. However, there have been other times when someone actually got it, grew, and finally understood that I am not just some poor, helpless, blind person, and sometimes angry adoptee. I am a perfectly capable, sometimes intelligent, kind, caring, and compassionate human being, like so many other blind people, and adoptees are if given the chance. When that happens, and you see a bit of progress, even if it is one person at a time, it sort of makes the battle scars worth the fight.
The stereotype I find most interesting is the one in regards to my status as an adoptee, the ever so popular illegitimate child of an unwed mother. E, my first mother, told me once that one of the reasons she placed me for adoption was because of the illegitimacy stereotype. She had known a lady, who had kept her illegitimate child. She had watched how, not only the lady, but the innocent child, had been shunned, looked down on, and ostracized. She said she didn’t want that for me. She thought placing me for adoption would save me from the shame of that stereotype. I find it so interesting that adoption did not save me from the stereotype, or the shame. I find it even more interesting that it was because of adoption I felt that shame, because people simply assumed that to be the reason I found myself an adoptee. Yes, people treated me differently even though I had been adopted. I couldn’t escape that stereotype even through adoption.
I find it sad that it was the shame of that stereotype that E, my first mother, could never get past, so much so that she, herself, put that shame on me later in reunion. I have found the reactions, of my biological families, to my being such a stereotype quite interesting, amusing at times, and sometimes the reactions were very painful. Funny, how adoption became, and made me, the stereotype it was expected to save me from.
I suppose, this is, just one of the reasons, why I find it so offensive when I see how many adoption agencies, in their attempts to explain the benefits of an “adoption plan” for a pregnant woman seem to imply that the answer to all her problems is to place her child for adoption. It has been said many times. For many, adoption is a permanent solution to what, very well may be, a temporary problem. Now, that I’ve gotten through this first post, I wonder what tomorrow will bring? I suppose, I better go, now, and check to see just how much trouble that silly cat has gotten himself into.
TAO’s thoughts on this November 1st prompt