Monday, February 16, 2009


I've been thinking about some of my online interactions about adoption. So many people (especially on Yahoo!) have come to think of me as angry. Indeed, so much so, that I've Styx's song "Fooling Yourself" going through my head:

"How can you be such an angry young man
When your future looks quite bright to me"

This sort of thing always gives me pause. Not because I listen to what people think of me. But I do wonder why I give off the impression that I'm angry. Precisely because I don't feel angry. At least, I don't think I do.

Am I angry about adoption? Maybe I am. I didn't think so. I'm sad about adoption. I'm sad about children losing their families. And I'm annoyed. I feel annoyed that society doesn't understand, really, how adoption affects children. Those are my primary emotions regarding adoption.

So why does that come across as anger? Maybe it's that people are not used to hearing criticisms of adoption and any criticism comes off angry? I"m not sure.

I know that I don't feel angry. And I don't blame anyone for being angry. Not when it comes to adoption. I'm probably going to have to keep thinking about this. If I am angry, I'd like to better understand that.

The only thing I can imagine being angry about is dealing with people who refuse to at least hear what I'm saying (even if they disagree). I'm okay with disagreement. I do get angry when people twist and/or ignore my words.

Still, I hope that sadness and frustration are not being confused for anger.

But in the end, I suppose that isn't my problem. It's the problem of those who want to dismiss adoptees as having relevant contributions to make to the discussion.


Lynn said...

Sometimes when I'm passionate about a subject (such as adoption) and I'm trying to get a point across, people think it's anger. Could it be that's what people are misreading in you? Just that you have such strong feelings about it, and you are trying to get them across to others? Sometimes I so desperately want others to understand the pain, etc, involved with adoption, and they just don't get it.

phil said...

I suspect you are right.

I also have to remember that this is the internet. So much of our communication is lost over the web. No body language. No inflection. None of the nonverbal cues that might signify something important.

So it is perhaps all too easy to interpret passion as anger.