Friday, November 7, 2008


In other on-line venues where I participate, there is a lot of polarization. (I'm looking at you, Yahoo! Answers.) I have become, over the last year, more anti-adoption than I ever was before. I have always struggled with adoption, and always thought it should be treated as much more complex issue than it is (at least in society at large).

Many (I won't say "all") adoptive parents react negatively to the suggestion that adoption is not simply a good thing. They believe that they are doing a good thing. And they don't want anyone bursting that bubble. Adoptees who view adoption with ambivalence (or worse) are often dismissed in such discussions.

For me, that's when the polarization really begins. I find myself becoming increasingly negative about adoption in reaction to the repeated assertions that it's a good thing, that I'm just a negative person.

There is much I could say about those conversations (and maybe I will), but one thing that winds up happening is that it begins to seem as though I don't like adoptive parents as a group.

That's a mistake. There are a number of adoptive parents that I have a great deal of respect and affection for. Not the least of whom are my own adoptive parents.

Though I don't like adoption, I don't think adoptive parents are bad just because they adopt. Indeed, while I may disagree with their decision, I respect their decision. My interest is only to make them more aware of the real impact that adoption can have on the children they have adopted. That they have a lot of work to do to help their adoptee through what can be a difficult process. And that they need to understand that process doesn't end just because the judge approves the adoption. It never ends. And that they need to understand there isn't some magical fix for the issues that come up. Adoptees will always be adoptees. And that carries with it many implications.

I suppose I do lose patience, sometimes. It seems that I am constantly fighting misconceptions and oversimplifications when it comes to adoption. At some point, I do wonder when it becomes the adoptive parents' responsibility to educate themselves about all of this.

But I see so little discussion of the problems inherent in adoption. Society still does not want to face up to this issue. Prospective adoptive parents are not likely to stumble upon such discussions. A recent book discussing how to adopt even suggested that it was up to the parents as to whether they tell the child that he or she is adopted! There is so little good information out there. So how much can I expect PAPs or APs to know?

And yet, it feels like a never-ending struggle. I can tell my story over and over again. And there are always new people wondering why I hate adoption. At some point, it gets tiresome.

I wish I knew a better way to get this information more widely disseminated.

1 comment:

maybe said...

I see three main categories of APs:

-Those who just accept the standard "adoption is beautiful, we're saving an unwanted baby." They don't bother to dig deeper, they take whatever ideas are presented to them. Maybe they are intellectually lazy, or they just don't care, I can't really say. I'm sure most of these people make fine parents, they just choose to live in the dark.

-Those who insist there is nothing wrong with adoption in spite of any evidence to the contrary. They are the vocal ones on YA shouting "there is no such thing as primal wound," etc. They remind me of the old tobacco industry lobbyists who insisted cigarettes were perfectly healthy, the data be damned. (We could adapt "Thank You for Smoking" to "Thank You for Adopting" with very little effort.)

-Those who read, research, discuss adoption and who are truly open to change. Unfortunately, this is a VERY small minority.

I'm becoming less and less accepting of APs due to the willful ignorance of the first two groups.