Sunday, November 8, 2009

Twin Traumas

There are two things that seem to be everywhere. Adoption has popped up in the strangest places, as though it won't let me forget it. That seems to have been increasingly the case over the last few years. The other one is divorce.

I've been "lucky" enough to live through both. And they each affected me in different ways.

Brodzinsky, et al., compare and contrast the losses suffered by children of adoption and children of divorce. I get to reflect on how they can reinforce one another. After all, when one set of parents abandons you, it sets you up to think that relationships are impermanent things. Who knows when the next person will leave.

And with divorce, they do just that. You go from two new parents, back to one (depending on the custody arrangement). And when it happens at a relatively young age, it's hard to really understand that it's not about you, and that it won't keep happening.

So as I'm watching the season finale of Mad Men tonight, I'm struck by the scene where the two leads sit the children down to explain that daddy won't be living in the house anymore. All I can think about is how unfair this is to the children. I want to scream at the parents that their own shit is stupid, that they need to suck it up and do what's right for their kids. Never mind that they can't figure out how to make their relationship work, they have a responsibility to those kids, and their divorce is going to mess with them for the rest of their lives.

My reaction to this story is nearly as visceral as my reaction to every dumb adoption story I've seen on television since I started seeing adoptions stories on television. I hate how children are treated, and I hate how self-absorbed adults can be. Yes, it sucks to be responsible for another human being, but you had a kid, suck it up and be the adult.

I know it's just a television show. And I know this is the sort of thing that happens. But it still bothers me. I hate that it happens. What bothers me more is that we have little trouble recognizing the harm that divorce does to children. But we are still so unwilling to acknowledge the harm adoption does.

Maybe I just need to quit watching television.

1 comment:

*Peach* said...


It also bugs me when people respond that they are all for adoptee access, but that adoption is done so differently nowdays that no woman is ever coerced and that the laws are all ethical. Yeah sure.