A BLOG ABOUT THE ADOPTION EXPERIENCE
As an AP of kids now in their 30's, I've been amazed over the years by the questions people felt free to ask us, as well as when & where they posed them. There's a societal level of ignorance that is steeped in the transactional, happily-ever-after view of adoption. Often their inquiry arises from idle curiosity and not genuine curiosity to learn. But sometimes, there’s an aggressive need to push us back into the convenient box which labels Aps as saints & saviours and adoptees as the rescued. Thus anything that contradicts that fairy tale meets deep skepticism, perhaps even, anger & judgment. It's also usually accompanied by an expectation that adoptees should be "grateful" and consider themselves "lucky" they were adopted instead of aborted. This invalidating and pervasive attitude creates a current against which we who yearn for empathy and Adoption-attunement* are all swimming. How “dare” we say adoption is complicated, steeped in loss and grief? We dare because it is the truth. We are no longer willing to be boxed in by the fairytale. Instead we insist on the messy & complicated truth.
Thank you Gayle for your profound insights. Every time you comment on anything I write, it helps me to see the piece(s) I'm missing.
Lynn, I read this on your blog, but hearing you say it made me realize the person asking this was (if she meant to or not) was trying to turn the tables. Because if you felt one way as an adoptee, you should feel the opposite as an adoptive parent. Opposing sides. I think she was trying to make you say that. No wonder you are angry about it.
Hi Elle, I think you are spot-on. It took me quite a while to realize why I felt so angry at this person, who is generally a very kind person. I am guessing she has an adoptee in the family and she probably did not like my viewpoints at all, but wasn't going to tell me this outright. I find this so common with women. It rarely happens to me with conversations with men. They just seem to just take most things I say at face value without personalizing it.
Awesome!!! As a birth-mom I try to do the same thing. Try to show the complexity of emotion on all sides of adoption. I too get frustrated, and try to see things from the other person's point of view, but still, it's like scraping my skin off. I made a ton of mistakes when I met my birth-daughter. I learned from those mistakes, but it still made things terribly difficult for us for a number of years. Thank God, He did help, and now I just do what you do, try to help people see the truth. Keep on going Lynn. I salute you for your unselfish and brave nature.