Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Adoption is bad? (or why I should just shut the hell up)

I’m more than willing to concede there are adoptees in this world who have never “come to terms” with their adoptee status. I put those words in italics on purpose. I don’t know what psychological term to use. Deal with? Accept? Work through? Whatever you, the reader, want to take from that, you will. My point is that this group of individuals is completely defined by, undermined by and devastated by this experience in their lives. I truly am sorry for them. I don’t know what to say to them other than I am sorry. I wish that their experience were a different one. I’m not trying to trivialize their experience. I’m being brief because I obviously don’t have any idea what their truths are. I can’t comment on what they feel because it’s what they feel.

As a future adoptive mother, however, I obviously hope that this is not the case with my future son. I hope that he does not look upon his adoption as the sum total of his world. I expect that he will grieve and may have many doubts and fears. I have already begun to plan for these events in his life. The only thing I can do is be there for him, recognize his feelings and be there for him, in whatever capacity he wants me to be. Tragic events can happen in a person’s life but it does not mean they have to be defined by that tragic event.

I read numerous blogs of women who placed their children for adoption or were adoptees themselves. (Placed is my word. Feel free to peruse their blogs to read how they define it.) These blogs are rarely pleasant and generally fill me with fear and dread. I have to remind myself that it’s highly unlikely someone is going to create a blog that says “Hi. I was adopted and thrilled about it.” Of course not – don’t be silly! For the most part it appears that only people with horrific adoption experiences are compelled to share them with the world. I can understand why. I compare it to the infertility blogs I’ve read. As an infertile I often felt like I was the only person that felt the way I did. Oh, but only if I had known about the blogosphere five years ago!! I might have felt less alone. As such, I can understand the need for adoptees to write about their experiences in order to relate to other who feel the way they do. Power in numbers. I get it.

Another phrase I hear often in the aforementioned adoption / adoptee blogs is when an adoptive mother “gets it” or “doesn’t get it.” I continue to read these blogs in an attempt to be open-minded and understand there is another side to adoption. I’m happy to report that I have finally begun to understand the difference between my ability to “get it” or “not get it.” If I agree with their point of view, I “get it;” if I make the mistake of not agreeing with their point of view, I’m one of those who “doesn’t get it.” Good to know.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not so naïve as to think that someday, my son will tell me that he wishes I never adopted him. He may tell me that I stole him from his “real” family. I hope that it doesn’t happen, but it’s possible. I have to tell you though; my mother has four biological children. Two of these children adore her, are active in her life and thank her constantly for the lives they currently have. The other two children rarely speak to her and blame her for every negative thing that has ever happened in their lives. Same mother, same parenting skills – different perspectives on childhood. And I remind you – they are all the biological children of this woman. Interesting… sharing DNA with another human being does not equal a special bond. This may be an area worth researching. Anyone looking for a thesis topic in social psychology????

I guess this is just another rambling rant. I was under the assumption that folks with blogs were looking for discussion, open dialogue. If not, then close the comments section and simply post. Make it your personal op-ed page. If you’re writing and requesting comments, then you’ve got to assume the general public is going to do just that. If you’re looking for a specific demographic then perhaps a little disclaimer letting the unwelcome know who they are would be a helpful addition to your blog.

Then again, maybe I should just shut my trap and read. I always assume the silence is an invitation to talk.


MomEtc. said...

I'm right there with you Irshlas. Just keep in mind that those who blog about bad adoption experiences are the very small minority. Also, as you continue to read these blogs carefully, you'll see why the individual feels the way they do about their particular situation.

Third Mom said...

Yikes - I apologize if this one's aimed in my direction. I hope I didn't give the impression I was disregarding your comment yesterday - if so, it was unintended. I know I sometimes preach, and apologize if I came across that way.

I welcome your comments, and the dialog. I hope you'll keep stopping by.

Irshlas said...

OMG – Let me begin by saying that I definitely wasn’t aiming my comments at any one person / entity! I absolutely ADORE ThirdMom and it stuns me to think that I might have offended her. (So mea culpa to ThirdMom if it sounded like I was doling out the mud!) Ironically, I posted a comment on her page while I was already working on this post. It was a culmination of many thoughts over various days based on various posts I’d read and comments I’d left around the ‘sphere. I posted my comment on her page then later visited her sight to see a reply to me.

Speaking of, thanks ThirdMom for the points to ponder. I guess I never really considered the concept of aparents being held to a higher standard. I’m still trying to grasp the idea that I and the first mom aren’t on equal footing, at least when it comes to the adoption. (Please, no tar and feathers folks!) Every day I am learning more and more and admit that some of my ideas are changing. I truly appreciate those souls who are willing to be patient. ThirdMom is one of those precious people who are helping to bridge the gap. Thank you again!

Third Mom said...

Whew, I feel better, I was worried that I had gone a little overboard with my own comments to my post.

This subject is one that is really challenging, I've got a post brewing on it myself, and just can't get it organized. I think that's an example of just how challenging it is. But for me anyway it's an important one, so I'll keep trying.

Thanks so much for the kind words :)

Anonymous said...

Adoption is a challenging topic, especially because it is so personal to each person's experience.

I occassionally read the anti-adoption stuff just so that I can remind myself to be realistic about my children's adoption experience and educate myself a little. It's certainly disheartening at times, but I try to "intellectualize" the data and put it away for the future.

Anonymous said...

You've done it now! This post is being re-posted in places where adult adoptees can attack you, saying you nothing about adoption, AND parenting, as well. That's the spin du jour, anyway.

Of course, this is on a group that insists no one repeat a word of what they say there. "Shhhhhh. Don't tell the AParents that we trash them daily!"

It's a nasty old adoption world, isn't it?

Should increase your hits, though.

Anonymous said...

I had such a knock down, drag out with a birth mom blogger that it took something like 8 blog posts of mine and 4,000 words to detail how we managed to work out some of our differences in perception.
(Here's the link to the first:

The differences in POV are huge ... much greater than I would have ever expected before I adopted.

The biggest shock, however, was when a thirty-something grad student, adopted internationally as a child many years before, told me in no uncertain terms that anyone would be better off dead than adopted.

Silence as an invitation to talk. What a concept.

Irshlas said...

FABULOUS! Really? People are discussing me outside of this blog? I'm amazed. THANKS - really! I'm always amused when I can cause people to talk - even if it's about ME.

As far as AParents being trashed - same shit, different day. Truly. Isn't it ironic that I hear first mothers complain people pigeon hole them into unfair categories and stereotype their lives when they do that to AParents every single day. Glass houses.... glass houses.

They may be right. I may not know anything about adoption. I only know about mine. Then again, they know only about theirs. Anything else we both might know are the stories of others. We all choose to hear the ones we want to.

As for my ability to parent - I guess that's still up for debate, now isn't it. My stepsons seem to think I'm good at it. My two dead children probably didn't get much of a chance to form their opinion. My thoughts? Jury's still out. Check back in 20-30 years and I'll let ya know what I think.

For those feeling the need to trash me, hate it for ya. If you'd like a dialogue, stop by. Let's have a chat. I'm more than willing to hear what you've got to say. If it just makes you feel better to lash out and talk trash, that's okay, too. Whatever works.

So Anon, thanks for letting me know I'm making people talk. Maybe they're also taking a minute to think.

Anonymous said...

Study: Adoptive parents more invested
Children get more time, financial resources than with biological
moms, dads
The Associated Press

Irshlas said...

Interesting article, Anon. Thanks for the link. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Pertman - "Adoptive parents aren't less good or better." We're just parents.