Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Problem with Adoption

I'm almost sure I've talked about this before, but I've seen enough comments about bitter adoptees who have turned out badly because of crummy parents that I feel the need to revisit this. I apologize if I'm just repeating myself.

I often see adoptees who complain about adoption be dismissed because they had bad experiences. They should, it seems, be quiet so they don't ruin it for the children that will have wonderful experiences if only people are allowed to adopt them.

This response seems to be an attempt to explain away adoptees' concerns and criticisms. If it's just a matter of who our parents are, if they just messed up, then it isn't adoption that's the problem. We just got lousy parents. Thus, people are free to adopt as long as they aren't "lousy."

Here's the thing, my parents weren't lousy. Were they perfect? No, of course not. But they weren't lousy, either. Some adoptees did get lousy parents, which seems to me a doubly-whammy. Because if I'm this screwed up over adoption and I didn't get lousy parents, imagine how someone who did must feel.

Am I mad at my adoptive parents? No. Am I mad at my first mom? No. But that doesn't mean that I'm okay with my adoption.

Some people seem to be willing to admit that it wasn't the fault of my adoptive parents. But then they seem to want to turn it on me. There must be something wrong with me. Lots of adopted kids turned out okay and happy, so there must just be something broken in me.

I'm presenting ideas that I've seen elsewhere on the internet, without giving direct quotations because I'm not trying to take anyone to task. I'm after an idea, here, not people.

The problem I have, with all of this, is that it strikes me as so obviously delusional. Could that many adoptees just be screwed up? Could that many have had horrible parents? The answer, it seems, has to be no.

But the real problem for me is that all of this criticism of adoptees sows doubt in my skull. Did I just get lousy parents and not realize it? If so, does that mean that's what I should be pissed off about?

That doesn't seem right. Am I just broken inside?

And there it is. The worry that I'm broken. That's something is deeply wrong with me. I don't want to be happy. Or I'm incapable of it. That no matter what my life had been like, I would be a miserable person.

Am I a miserable person? Am I not okay? Not happy? I didn't think so. But all these defenders of adoption tell me that I must be. That the problem is I'm deeply flawed.

Why should I listen to them?

Because it's the predominant voice in our society. Our society lauds adoption, views it romantically, sees it in the best possible light. When that is the message you hear day-in and day-out, you begin to doubt yourself. You can't help it. I can't help it.

So even while I have always thought there was something deeply wrong with adoption, I have always kept it to myself. I knew it would just give people one more reason to think there was something different about me. Something wrong.

And when I see people dismiss adoptees and their concerns about adoption in these ways, I feel my deepest fears about myself confirmed. What if it's true? What if I'm broken?

I lash out, sometimes vehemently, against such criticism. Not because it really angers me, but because it cuts too close to home. It touches that deepest fear and brings it to the surface. Like a cornered animal I lash out, because there is nothing left to do.

Would it be better if I could quit listening to those voices? If I could just conquer that fear and let it go? Yes, of course. But it's so hard to quit listening when the voices seem everywhere, and there seem to be so few voices to counter them.

"You're broken. You're broken. You're broken."


Mei-Ling said...

"When that is the message you hear day-in and day-out, you begin to doubt yourself."

Man, do I ever remember this surfacing doubt back in my early days of contact...

AdoptAuthor said...

• All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ~ Edmond Burke

• I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. ~ Elie Wiesel, Nobel Price for Peace, 1986

• Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. ~ Aristotle

• The most human thing we have to do in life is to learn to speak our honest convictions and feelings and live with the consequences. ~ Father William DuBay

• Rebels and dissidents challenge the complacent belief in a just world, and...they are usually denigrated for their efforts. While they are alive, they may be called "cantankerous", "crazy", "hysterical", "uppity", or "duped". Dead, some of them become saints and heroes, the sterling characters of history. It's a matter of proportion. One angry rebel is crazy, three is a conspiracy, fifty is a movement. ~ Carol Travis

• Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile I caught hell for. ~ Chief Justice Earl Warren

Shall I go on or do yo get the point? Speak even though your voice shakes!

These words are words I live be.

I wrote my first book (shedding light on...The Dark Side of Adoption) in 1988 because far too many mothers in my support group were finding their children in far less than the "better" homes we were promised adoption would provide them with.

I discovered that adopted children wound up beaten, sexually abused, tortured and MURDERED by those that adopt. This is far beyond just having "lousy" parents. Many adults adopted or not do like their parents...and that's OK.

But the real issue is that adoption is a total CRAP SHOOT. Aside from the small percentage of adption that handled by states -- th rets are private and the paid customers are tose adopting. Everythign in adoption is geraed to RTHEM.

Home studies in private adoption are a JOKE! They are paid for by the adopters and are often done after the child is already in their home.

Pedophiles have adopted and no one checked their background! These are very serious issues that we should all be concerned about.

As an adopted person - whether your adoptive parents were monsters from hell or angels that provided you with the most loving home imaginable - you still have reason to be angry, as do I as a mother who lost a child to adoption.

We have every right to be angry that adoption separation and loss are encouraged and promoted; that tax dollars go to help make adoptions easier instead of using tax dollars to help keep families in crisis together when possible.

Ad we have every right to be angry that adoption separated people are discriminated against and disallowed the right to birth certificates on which we are named!!

As an adoptee you should be SCREAMING MAD that you were issued a falsified birth certificate - your identity and heritage totally eradicated and you have no legal right to ever know your own genealogy - a right al others take for granted.

Anyone who cannot understand your righteous indignation is simply not paying attention and sees you as a commodity not a human being denied your equal human rights.

Own your anger! Do not suppress it or turn it inward! Channel it and work to change a very broken, very dysfunctional system that exploits families in crisis and commodifies their children.

Mirah Riben, author
The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry

*Peach* said...

What an amazingly validating post. Thank you.
I think it is adoption that is broken, not us. It just leaves us feeling that way. Everyone, even the adoptive parents. Because it isn't honest or truthful. It tries to hide identities and connections that can't be erased, no matter how "sealed".

joy said...

Well I think you are amazing.

The Buddhists believe that the softened heart is broken open. Don't quote me on that, am such a phony re: Buddhism. I live in N.Cali, it is a requirement of citizenship.

Glad you are part of my tribe too.