Saturday, November 15, 2008


It was a philosophy conference. People present papers they have previously written. Then the audience asks questions. The hope is that interesting dialogue will ensue. And, ultimately, we all learn a little something.

It was the last talk of the conference. I was intrigued by the title of the paper (which I won't share here - it was mundane enough, but I don't want to give out any identifying information). So I sat, waiting to see what would unfold.

The woman began. She was upfront that her experiences may very well have colored the way she views the world. And the way she views the world was the subject of her talk. So she wanted to begin by sharing a little something of her biography.

For reasons I cannot quite explain, my suspicions were already raised. Maybe because I knew that my own biography has so colored my view of the world, and that adoption was a big part of that lens. But still, I thought it a tenuous connection, so I tried to put it out of my mind. This wasn't my paper, wasn't my biography.

Then, as she began, she said the words that told me everything I needed to know. She mentioned, as the first thing out of her mouth, that she had two loving parents. And I knew. I knew she was adopted. Moments later, she confirmed it, as she said she had been adopted as an infant.

At that point, it seemed redundant. Of course she had been adopted. As I told this story to Ronni later, she said she wasn't surprised. That it seems, to her at least, that few people who aren't adoptees go out of their way to mention idyllic family lives.

In any event, though she never mentioned adoption the rest of the talk, I couldn't get it out of my mind. She was adopted. And part of me wanted to talk about it with her after the talk. But I decided not to. It hadn't been the point of her talk. And I also didn't know how she felt about adoption. If she had nothing but positive feelings about adoption, then it would be better to keep my mouth closed

So I said nothing. And I was distracted the entire talk. Adoption seems to follow me everywhere. And I am, once again, amazed at how much adoptees telegraph that they are adoptees.


joy said...

yes, me too.

Apparently my abrother tells people this in job interviews, that he was adopted and our adad is our hero, in part for being so calculating, but he doesn't have "issues"

oy vey

maybe said...

Strange that her presentation began with adoption, but then was not at all about adoption (?) Why did she bring it up, I wonder?

phil said...

I agree... strange...

I suppose it was just all part of how wonderful a life she had...