Friday, August 16, 2013

Being a "bitter" and "angry" adoptee is hard work

How many times have I been accused of being an "angry adoptee"?

Well, usually I am accused of this when I point out something blatantly wrong about the adoption industry.

Usually, it is a non-adoptee or an adoptive parent who says it.  It is usually never another adoptee unless they have not dealt with their own adoption issues.

In fact, I've been accused of being too adoption-loving by some adoptees.  That one just blows my mind!

I'm usually accused of this through electronic communications (probably because adoption is not my favorite topic of conversation in real life) by people who have big computer screen kahunas, but would never call me up and say "Hey, help me to understand your perspective here." 

I have been told not to show so much emotion on my blog.   I've been accused of stepping off my spiritual path.  I've been told I have "anger issues".

And you know what?  I take all of these comments as a compliment.

I know -- sounds crazy, doesn't it?  But what it really means to me is that I am not in "the adoption fog" or "numb to my feelings".  It means that I can feel the ups, downs and heart breaks of this journey called adoption.  People who can't feel are in a world of hurting. They just go through the motions of life without really experiencing it.  They make decisions with only their heads -- not their hearts.

It may be hard for some people to believe, but adoption is only a very tiny aspect of who I am as a person.  You may know me for three years or a lifetime and have never heard me discuss adoption with you (unless you asked me a question adoption-related).  I would never try to pressure another adoptee to search for birth family or join the Adoptee Rights Coalition because I truly believe these decisions are very personal and should be made only when and if one is ready or interested.

I love my life. I love to make jokes and have fun.  I love people, animals and sunsets. Basically, I'm pretty much just like you, except that I was raised within an institution that I do not agree with.

Does that mean I don't love my adoptive family?  Absolutely not.  Does that mean I am not thankful for my adoptive family? (grateful needs to be permanently removed from adoption)?  No! 

What it means is that I do not agree with lying to children about where they came from.  I do not agree that falsifying documents is a good legal practice.  I thought the law was supposed to be about justice.  Call me naive, but that is one of the things I like about working in the legal field -- the justice aspect of it.

Currently, I see very little justice within private adoption in the United States.  I don't see any justice in the Veronica case either. (a little plug for Two Worlds Radio that will be interviewing several Lost Daughters including myself and Trace DeMeyer, a Native American adoptee, about this case--this Sunday night at 10:00 p.m.)  You can visit Trace at her blog.

Does adoption give children a safe and loving home? Hopefully, yes.  Sometimes, no.   I hope that adoption gives all adoptees a safe loving home because isn't that what adoption claims to be about?  I hope all current and future adoptees grow up to become happy, healthy and whole.

Part of growing up happy, healthy and whole is knowing where you came from.  Knowing that the people who say they love you aren't lying to you.  Knowing that you are treated equally as a U.S. citizen to every other person in this country.

I did not grow up whole and yes, it makes me angry.  I don't want other adoptees to grow up feeling like I did and then have layers of guilt to uncover to get to the truth of who they are.  I get really tired of non-adopted people who say that their life was so much worse growing up with their biological families.  (and have some silly adoption fantasy about how their life would be better).  This is not a comparison of whose life was better or worse.

What you can compare is that the greatest majority of biological family members take it for granted that the people who raised them are their genetic family.  They take it for granted that they can call their grandmother for information or research their family tree and have an accurate starting place.  They take it for granted that their birth certificate has accurate information on it. 

 It makes me angry that I am still trying to piece together my history like a whole series of Who Do You Think You Ares but instead of answers by the genealogists, they are scratching their heads and going, "Sorry, we just don't know". 

Angry people are the change-makers.  Do you think women were happy when they couldn't vote?  Do you think slaves were content with their plight?   When people get angry enough about mistreatment, generally, they stand up and try to to fight for change.

I do not want to be remiss in thanking the overwhelming majority of you who read my blog and post comments and message me privately with support.  That means alot to me.  In fact, knowing your stories helps me to heal my own wounds and continue to fight the good fight.

So when you accuse me of being angry -- thank you.  I will continue to be angry about the injustices I see in adoption and I will continue to fight for change.






8 comments:

  1. Wonderful writing, Lynn...just wonderful. No one could have said it better.

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  2. Thank YOU for being you and sharing your voice!

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  3. Personally, the anti adoption accusation is my favorite.

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  4. I'm only now getting in touch with my adoption anger after years of feeling that I wasn't entitled to be angry. If friends of mine had a baby, left it lying in a room up the corridor in the hospital, went home, were subsequently content to know that their child had ended up in an orphanage for a significant amount of time before eventually being taken in by a strange family, I would wonder about them! Yet this is the reality for many adoptees. It annoys me that the common perception is that those who give their children away do so because they have no money or because they are religious; many parents who give their children away do so out of selfish reasons. I spent my entire life waiting to reunite with my "parents," as I had believed the myth that they had loved me so much that they had given me away to better things. When I met them, however, I was merely told that they had no feelings for me and that they did not regret what they did. They even said they could have made more of an effort to keep me but didn't. I was asked to disappear, as such. This certainly added insult to injury. I realise that some birth parents, in the past, were coerced into giving up their children, and I feel sorry for those parents who genuinely wanted their child. Anyway, basically, although I do hope to one day not feel angry, just right now I need to feel angry. It's just a fact. I think that had society allowed me to feel entitled to feel outraged at what had happened to me, then by now I probably would have worked through the anger. For years though, I thought that being angry was wrong. I thought that feeling annoyed at having been abandoned and cast out from my family was somehow wrong, which is so ridiculous. Non-adoptees don't do this intentionally, but they very often treat adoptees as inferior; comments, for example, such as "your adoptive parents must be really great people" - as in, they took in and loved a stranger. Funnilly enough, noone ever tells an adoptee that they must be a great person for having managed to somehow live with strangers their entire life.

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    1. Anonymous. I apologize for just replying to this comment so late after it was posted; however, thank you so much for sharing your experience. Your experience is very common and is will help others bust through the myths of the "always loving mother" who places. Truth be told, my mother didn't want to fool with me either. She was looking for a husband and baggage (me) wasn't going to help her find one. I say this not in anger, but my mother actually told me this to my face (minus the baggage comment). But people outside of adoption want to paint the self-sacrificing birth mother ALWAYS. Why? Because it makes potential birth mothers feel good to know that they are doing a LOVING thing. It fuels the adoption industry, it fuels the demand for babies, it fuels the beliefs that society has about adoptees. On some level, society does know that we were outcasts and inferior, as you point out, so how dare we actually make a fuss over the lot we had been given? But remember it's o.k. for anyone in their biological families to coplain -- just not us.

      I AGREE that the invalidation of our very real and understandable anger about being relinquished and left with strangers is a reality most people do not want to acknowledge. Why? I feel it is because it is the worst thing that can happen to anyone --- to be abandoned and tossed away. So euphemisms are born. You were "placed" -- you weren't abandoned!! Your were "chosen" instead of the reality that you were matched or just the next one on the list. Why do we have to sugar coat adoption? Because of the deep, deep pain that lies underneath. Thank you again, for sharing your experience.

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  5. Child Adoption is not normal, it is abnormal to discard your offspring into the rabbit hole known as adoption, that makes promises and does not keep them. That sells children and never looks back to see if they survived childhood.

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