Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Being Negative

One reaction that I've always experienced when I talk about adoption is something along the lines of... "Everyone has bad things happen to them. You can't dwell on the negatives in life." In other words, some variation on the "get over it" theme.

Understand that I say this as someone who had a relatively good adoption experience. My adoptive parents are good people who have given me lots of love, care, and support. They were, in a word, good parents.

But none of that changes the very real problems adoption brings with it. The lifelong struggle with abandonment fears, with trust issues, with being walled-off from people... These are real problems. My adoption caused some very real pain in my life.

When I talk about that pain, I'm sharing my story. I'm trying to educate people about what adoption really is (for some, at least). It's about loss and separation. It is basically a tragedy for the child, just as much as if the mother had died during childbirth. The loss and pain is real, even if good things happen later.

Recognizing the negatives about adoption, and about my life in general, does not mean I have not moved forward, that I am not functioning. I do think and talk about other things. I manage to have a job. I have friends and contribute to society. But that doesn't mean that adoption doesn't have a dark side.

As long as society doesn't want to hear our stories, as long as it wants to pretend adoption is win-win-win, the damage done by adoption will continue. It will continue for those of us who have experienced it. And it will continue to be visited on new generations of adoptees. We persevere and even succeed. But that doesn't mean the pain isn't real. And it doesn't mean the pain doesn't need to be acknowledged and validated.

I am negative about adoption. And it isn't directed towards my adoptive parents. Nor is directed towards my first mother. But that pain and sorrow is there. And I can't make it go away by ignoring it. I've tried that. For several decades. It doesn't work.


Mary said...

People dont tell children who have lost their parents to death to "get over it". Only those who have lost their family, heritage etc to adoption are told to "get over it". Great post!

Anonymous said...

Phil, I could have written that word for word myself..There is just no way of *getting Over it* and the sooner that Non Adopted people start recognizing and treating adoption for the myriad of problems it causes along with the *nicey-nicey* part of adoption the BETTER !!!