i joined an adoption writers website. i don't really know why i did that, just seemed like the thing to do. i haven't spent much time on the site, but in my very limited experience with it, it seems to be a lot of adoptive parents and PAPs. there was an entry by an adoptive mother on one of the discussion boards that absolutely stunned me. since i am too new (and not really a writer-- at least not yet) i decided that the right place to vent my reaction to the post would be here, on my own blog. i tend to be a bit abrasive at times, but even i know that i should probably not alienate the majority of members in my very first post on a strange new site.
the entry was about age-regressed photos for older adoptees. the woman was apparently devastated by her 4-year-old adopted daughter's sadness about not having her baby photos in the family album. rather than allowing this to be a part of the process of this child's self-understanding and affirming the truth of her life experience, this mother had a photo made of what her daughter *might* have looked like at age one. the 4-year-old was delighted, of course. she's four! not exactly old enough to understand the perpetuation of falsehoods and myths that continually surround the adoption experience. not old enough to comprehend that the creation of a false image can only serve to remove a child even further from her own reality. not old enough to know that encouraging the continued denial of the fact of adoption can and will serve to shame her and confuse her about her own story.
but this mother is old enough. old enough to understand that meeting a momentary need of a four-year-old who doesn't understand her situation by creating a tangible lie can not be part of the process of understanding that in her life story, bits are missing and will always be missing. this can be accepted, discussed, affirmed and honored, or it can be shrouded in shame, denial and lies.
when this child grows up and learns the details of her story, where is this photo going to fit? how will she feel about it? i am sickened by the whole idea. if any adoptive parents read this blog, please consider the degradation of real life experience that this photo-shopping option represents and don't jump on that band-wagon when it comes through town.