Monday, February 11, 2013


I was reading a post over on the forum today and something one of our members said really struck a chord with me.

...I wish all the people who've told me how lucky I am to be adopted and how wonderful it is, could have felt the confusion and sickness I felt after all that. I constantly feel, and I am sure all adopees get this, that I'm being dragged from one loyalty to another.
God this is SO TRUE. The loyalty thing! Adoptees are pushed and pulled in different directions all the time by our families, our friends, by complete strangers who think they have the right to dictate our lives to us. And to not even realize what they are doing, while telling us to be grateful for having people such as themselves pushing us around. It's insane-making. On one hand, you have the obvious pro-adoption camp who think that adoptees should "get over" their biological family and be happy/grateful/thankful/glad we have this super duper awesome forever family who so graciously let us sleep under their roof and tossed us some food from time to time. And then you have the seriously anti-adoption nuts who will tell you that your adoptive parents are nothing more than child abductors and any "love" I think I feel for them is simply Stockholm Syndrome and they are only merely fond of me as well. (Yes, I have actually heard those words from someone). And then there's the rest of society - people who are well-meaning usually, maybe they have no real connection with adoption so they don't know what to think, or maybe they know someone who knows someone who is adopted and they feel this way or that, so of course all adoptees should. And last but not least, you have your families, adoptive and, if in reunion/open adoption, your biological families. And I count my friends in here too, because they are close to me and are part of my "inner circle" so to speak. Everyone has an opinion on where my loyalties should lie. EVERYONE. And almost everyone feels they have the right to TELL me where my loyalties lie. What is it about loyalty anyway? I mean, why is it that society has this idea that adoptive parents are like a lover who is being cheated on if the adoptee decides to see where she came from? What's with this notion that because they raised me, I can't form friendships and relationships with people other than them? Oh wait...I can, just not anyone who might share my DNA. Because THAT would be "disloyal." I can call my mother-in-law Mom, but if I called my n-mother Mom? THAT would be a betrayal. And most people have no qualms whatsoever about telling me so, and making me feel like shit in the process. Because my own feelings and needs don't matter, apparently. And then to top it off by telling me how awesome it must be to feel this way. Do people listen to themselves? I don't think so. I don't think they even think about what is about to come out of their mouth most of the time. And damn this is turning into another anti-adoptive parent thing isn't it? LOL no, no, I don't hate my adoptive parents. Nothing could be further from the truth. And if they were alive today? I don't think they'd be the least bit bothered by my reunion and subsequent relationships with my biological family. At least I like to think they wouldn't, because they were pretty awesome people, and never once made me feel like I should be grateful for my adoption. They never used any of the tired old cliche's about adoption, and I'm so thankful for that. And you know, they ARE my parents. I DO feel a loyalty to them. But that doesn't mean I can't or shouldn't also have a space for the people who are my family by birth. What is so dangerous, or disloyal, about having more people in my life who love me? Do people tell their friends, they can't make more friends because the old friends will feel betrayed? I've never heard of that happening. But it's kind of par for the course in adopto-land. And it's funny, because when it comes to my biological vs. adoptive siblings, the sentiments don't seem to apply. Nobody thinks my adoptive brothers will feel betrayed if I list my biological brother as such on my FB family list. Nobody tells me I shouldn't talk to him because my brothers were the ones beating me up my entire childhood, not him. Nobody seems to care, they actually think it's pretty cool. But the parents loyalty thing is what's huge. And it's not like I can suddenly go back and be re-raised by my's not like my entire lifetime of memories is going to be wiped clean and I'll forget my a-parents ever existed. Yet people think adoptees must choose one or the other, pick sides, be loyal. I'll tell you what...I'll be loyal to those who show me love and respect and EARN my loyalty. And I - me, myself and I alone, will decide who that its. I don't tell anyone else who they should be loyal to...but for some reason, adoptee loyalty is open season. Sickening.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Leave God out of it

I know I've blogged about this before. But it's a recurring theme in the adoption world, especially from the AP side, that somehow God plays a hand in making adoptions happen. For me, this is kind of a loaded statement. I mean I am a woman of faith; I do believe there is a God and I do believe that he loves all of us, little ol' me included, but I don't want to get any deeper into the whole religion discussion because that would take a mountain of blog posts and I want to keep the focus specifically on adoption. A vast majority of the adoptees I know from the forum and from FB and the blog-o-sphere are nonbelievers. This is something that makes me go hmmmm. Doesn't it seem telling, that so many people who were supposedly put into their adoptive homes because of an act of God, choosing to either walk away or simply don't believe at all? Ask any adoptive parent and I'll bet close to 90% will tell you it was God's will for their lives. Ask any adoptee (at least the ones I have spoken to/read blogs from) and they will say God doesn't exist, or God is an asshole for doing this. Telling. Telling indeed. For me, I don't think God micromanages any of our lives to such an extent. From my understanding of scripture, family (meaning blood) is extremely important, and Jesus never went around convincing pregnant Gentile girls to hand over their babies to his "deserving" Jewish buddies. Christians who truly want to keep to God's word are to care for the orphan AND the widow, and I don't think this can be interpreted as helping themselves TO the widow's little orphan. But that's just me, and I'm not a theologian. This is JUST my opinion, but one I have come to after much contemplation. I don't know. It just seems to me that bringing God into something that can be so painful and traumatizing to a person (adoptee) is downright damaging. To say that God somehow screwed up and put that baby in the wrong tummy is, well, sorry to be mean, but it's stupid and it won't take long for the little adoptee hearing that line of bull to figure out exactly how stinky the bull is. If there is a God, and I think there is, I don't think he would ever purposefully create a child within one woman just so that another woman can come along and take possession of it. I don't think a loving God would intentionally create a situation where two of the three parties are left feeling broken, alone, and full of grief for the rest of their lives. I don't think any adoptive parent, no matter how "deserving," is special enough in God's eyes to allow the to profit from another's pain. No, God doesn't play favorites. Whenever someone tells me that my adoption was God's will, I just smile and nod, knowing they are probably just trying to make me feel better. Although the intent is appreciated, I know better, and after years of hard internal work, I know better. I just hope that more people out there, especially APs, would think long and hard about the ramifications of justifying greed with God.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday...Adoption is SO BEAUTIFUL!!! (unless, of course, you are an adoptee apparently)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Going Viral

Some of you who are dialed in to the adoptee rights movement or are in some other way involved in adoption stuff may have noticed the onslaught of FB pictures of adoptees searching for the mothers & families. While I’m happy that it has worked for some and it’s a great resource for those of us who live under the oppression of sealed records, it also saddens and angers me greatly. The fact that any of these men & women have to publicly beg for a tiny shred of information, all the while facing some very sharp criticism from well-meaning (and not-so-well-meaning) people is demeaning and dehumanizing. People like to drone on about “privacy” - but if adoptees had the right to access their own birth records, then that “privacy” (which is a myth, by the way) could be respected much more by not forcing adoptees to blast their information all over FB and the internet. What should be personal and yes, private, is now very public. But I don’t even want to get into the open records spiel. I want to get at the public perception of adoption and reunion and this romanticized image that people have of the whole ordeal. Everyone loves a warm and fuzzy happy reunion full of tears and hugs. They like to be voyeurs to something that is so fraught with emotion and get caught up in the happiness and joy of it all. But what they don’t see, what the television talk shows and newspaper stories and viral photos don’t tell you, is the incredible aftermath. Meeting your family and suddenly having your dreams of what could have been turn into the reality of what should have been can leave a person feeling devastated. The term “roller coaster” has been used to describe it, and it’s an apt description. The initial highs can be followed by some very deep and profound lows. Nobody who has not lived it can possibly understand the paradox of meeting your own family, but knowing you’ll never really be a true part of that family, because it’s impossible to make up for that lifetime of memories and shared experiences that truly make us “family.” It’s seeing parts of yourself reflected back in the features and actions and attitudes, for the first time in your life, and FINALLY understanding exactly who you are. It’s like coming home, but knowing you will never be able to stay. Because the push and the pull from other parts of your life make it impossible. Your adoptive family feels betrayed; your friends think you need to forget it and move on; your SO just wants the “old” you back, the one who wasn’t constantly obsessing over every tiny detail of every moment spent with your new-found relatives. The one who still had time for them and wasn’t so wrapped up in this new discovery. And then times goes on, things kind of even out, but distance makes it hard to develop a relationship and your own fears of abandonment force you to keep a comfortable distance. For me, the fact that my mother kicked me out of her life twice, really made me afraid. I thought, well, if my own mother can walk away from me, what’s to stop the rest of the family? And so we pull back. We distance ourselves to protect ourselves from the inevitable fallout that we feel certain is going to come. And this pull back is often misunderstood, seen as a lack of interest or maybe a rejection of them of sorts, but we are afraid – afraid to make our feelings known because all our lives, we have been expected to keep our feelings in check in the interest of not hurting our adoptive parents or upsetting someone. Because we are expendable; we are the second choice children, society is quick to remind us, we have no right to this life because our mothers could have taken us out of it via abortion and we’d better be good and grateful. It’s a hard thing to shake, even for the strongest of us. This is why records should be open (ok, ok, I brought up the records). This is why it’s so sad to see my fellow adoptees, my fellow human beings, resorting to these public displays of pleading which might very well pay off, but at what price? We should all be allowed to know the most basic information about ourselves…who we are, where we came from, who we were before our birth certificates were legally falsified and the originals locked away forever. And then you have the nay-sayers…the “you don’t know what you’re going to find, you might not like the outcome, I know a person who was adopted and had a bad experience and now has nothing to do with her birth family!” Really? Well good for your friend. I’m glad she knows. It is her right, and what happened after reunion is also her right. I often tell people (ok, I don’t, but I would LIKE to) that we can’t get closure from fantasies. We can’t come to terms with only our imagination. No matter what the truth is, good or bad, at least it can be DEALT with and processed. It is only through knowing the truth and, if it is indeed not pretty, being able to face it is the only thing that will allow us to heal and become stronger. Society recognizes the value of facing all sorts of problems and traumas…we know that to “bottle it up” is unhealthy, yet adopted people are expected to do just that. Bottle it up, get over it, ignore it, just stfu and be grateful. Really, it’s no wonder so many serial killers are adopted…we’re expected to somehow magically get over something without ever being allowed to talk about it, to process it, to explore our own feelings for the sake of those around us. Including complete strangers who think they need to give their opinion on something they know jack about. So what exactly is the point I’m trying to make…I don’t even know. Lord knows I’ve made a ton of mistakes in my own reunion, and I can say it’s been a mixture of both good and bad. But it’s mine and mine alone, and no matter what has happened, I’m glad I did it. I wish some things could have been different, I wish I had done some things better, but at least I KNOW and can have peace with that. I just hope that all my fellow adoptees get the same opportunity and wish that someday, they can all do it privately, in their own time, without having to get the approval of complete strangers or beg like children for a crumb of information. Let’s stop the inhumanity.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bad adopter, BAD!

Question: for those of you who are parents, what do you think one of the most important jobs of parenting are? Would protecting your child(ren) be something that you feel is important for you? Do you think parents have an obligation to do so?

Earlier this year, my family and I took a long weekend and spent a few days in Wisconsin Dells for a sort of last hoorah before school started. It was a lovely weekend - the weather was sunny and warm, the parks weren't terribly crowded, and I got a great deal on lodging and passes to the Mt. Olympus theme park. (I love a good deal). Now I'm not as excited about going on roller coasters as I used to be, but the kids are at an age where they can ride without a parent so I have no problem finding a bench to rest my behind while they are having their fun. On this particular weekend, however, my happiness at sitting on that park bench and soaking up some warm sunshine while watching the ever-interesting parade of people going by was ruined. Absolutely, positively, ruined. And not just those few minutes; no the rest of the day, the rest of the trip, were destroyed by the actions of one person.

Let me explain.

The kids wanted to go on one of the many wooden roller coasters at the park. DH decided to ride with them, and I was more than happy to wait, and maybe enjoy some Dippin' Dots. So I found an empty bench near the exit and proceeded to mind my own business. It wasn't long before a woman sat on the other side of the bench, which of course I didn't care, she was trying to eat something but in my state of being preoccupied with minding my own business, I didn't really get a good look at what it was. So I was just kind of casually looking around, hoping she wouldn't want to drum up a conversation (I am an intensely shy person and HATE trying to hold conversations with complete strangers...HATE IT). But of course she did.

It started out innocently enough, she asked if I was waiting for my kids to which I replied a short yes, hoping she'd get the hint. But of course she went on, telling me how she hates wooden roller coasters and thinks they are SO unsafe and SO stupid when they can be built out of metal and don't they know that wood can rot? All the while I'm not looking at her, not encouraging her, but she persisted. I shrugged my shoulders - they (whoever that mythical "they" are) have been building wooden roller coasters for the last centruy and I'm sure there are safety regulations and inspections that are followed, but I didn't want to get into this discussion with her. I personally see no problem with wooden coasters; after all, doesn't metal rust?

So soon after her diatribe about wooden roller coasters, she waves and calls out to someone who I assume is probably her kid - I don't know, I wasn't really looking. Then she turns to me and says, "That was my son. He's 14. We got him out of a Russian orphanage."

Me - silence. I can feel my face turning red.

She goes on. "Yeah, he used to be SO clingy. When we got him home we would NOT let me out of his sight! I couldn't even go to the bathroom!"

Me - silence.

Lady: "But lately he's been getting better, like now he's actually going on the roller coaster without me. He's becoming more independent which is kind of good, I guess."

Me - crickets.

Lady: "But he used to be so bad. They say the teenage years are hard but I think the preteen years are worse. I mean he was so BAD. We had to call the police on him a few times, he was just awful!"

At this point I was livid, but I was just so shocked and stunned that this woman was TELLING ME THIS. What. the. fuck!!

I mean, first of all, what is the purpose of announcing to a complete stranger that you "got him" from a Russian orphanage? Attention whoring much? And then, THEN, to go on and tell this complete stranger how completely bad and awful this kid is and was? Honestly??

I really wish I had had the wherewithall to respond to this twit. I wish my brain didn't freeze up in these situations rendering me unable to barely breathe, let alone give this woman a piece of my mind. I WISH I could go back and say to her, "What is wrong with you?? You are his MOTHER. You are supposed to PROTECT him, not exploit and use him to - what - try to get a little praise or sympathy from a COMPLETE FUCKING STRANGER!" And I'd go on to tell her that as an adopted person, I found her to be obnoxious, disgusting, rude, and a horrible awful person. I'd then wait until her poor little son got off the roller coaster and gave him my condolences on being stuck with such a monster for a "mother."

But of course, I said nothing, and being that my family got off the coaster before her kid did, I got up and got away from her as fast as I could, without a word.

It still gnaws at me to this day though.

If this woman happens across this blog? I want you to know that you disgust me. I want you do know that not ONLY will I not give you praise for what you seem to perceive in your mind as being some sort of saint, but I think you are the scum of the earth for using that boy and his very personal life circumstances for your own narcissism. And I can't believe this shit is STILL bothering me. I just feel so horrible for that innocent little boy.

And yes, I know, sometimes kids adopted from Russian orphanages suffer from RAD and he probably did exhibit some "bad" behavior and yadda yadda yadda, but that is not the point here. The POINT, my friends, is that she USED this to try to GAIN some paltry adoration from someone who has NO BUSINESS knowing what happened to that child. She EXPLOITED him to her benefit. Her ONLY goal here was to try to get me to respond in a way that would make her feel heroic for having to deal with it THAT is the point. As a mother, it is her JOB to protect him, and not flaunt his pain for personal gain.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On being "chosen"

A lot of people like to adoptees that we're special; that we were "chosen" and should therefore feel really good and blessed and happy. It seems to be a favorite (right after "you could have been aborted," which if you think of it, how does one go from being a worthless and unwanted thing to be gotten rid of to being special and chosen in one breath? Talk about a mind fuck). I know I heard it, I think pretty much all of my adoptee friends have heard it too.

As a young child I really used to buy into it too. I would imagine my parents driving to the adoption agency, their faces lit up with these huge grins of anticipation, their hearts pounding as they arrived at the place where they would CHOOSE THEIR BABY. I pictured a big room filled with other adoptive parents just like mine, and soon a line of ladies would come from an inconspicuous wooden door off in the corner, each one smiling brightly as they each carried a plump and adorable baby dressed in white cotton dresses with eyelet trim. These babies would then be passed around the room, from adoptive parent to adoptive parent, and whoever was holding the baby when she stopped crying would "choose" that baby and they'd adopt her and go live happily ever after.

I had an active imagination as a child.

Chosen...was I chosen?

My amom told me a story one time that before they adopted me, they had received a call from the adoption agency, telling them that a baby girl was available for adoption. She was everything that they had hoped for...except for one dark stain on her record, her mother had been on drugs. (Insert audible gasping in of breath). So my parents in all their parental wisdom decided NOT to take that particular baby. Which leads me to wonder; what if they had? What if they DID adopt this little girl? Then there'd be somebody ELSE sitting here in my chair, with my name and all my memories and living MY life. Who, then, would I have become? Where would I be? What would my name be? What kind of life would I be living?

For I sure as heck wouldn't be who I am today.

My parents waited until the NEXT little girl was available for adoption - mois - and the rest is history. But I don't think of it as being so much chosen as just being the next available baby for the people at the top of the list. They didn't come into a room and select me from a group of other babies. They didn't pass me around and keep me because I stopped crying for them. No, I am who I am because of simple logistics.

I wonder about that little baby that was passed up. Where is she now? WHO is she now? Did she get as good of parents as I did, or was she abused and mistreated? Does she know she came *this close* to being ME? If she went to the people who were next on the list after my parents, would I have went to them if she had been chosen by mine?

God it is such a mind fuck.


So I have been pulled back into the blogging world. I really haven't had a lot to say for the last year or so, I guess life and work and everything with it has consumed my time and my thoughts, but all the fuss that has arisen over a little letter I wrote has got me to thinking and spurred me to action. I figured since a lot of other people are posting it, I might as well too, and try to address the comments on my own blog instead of everbody elses. (Sorry, iadoptee!)

So I will post my letter on a separate page here at the Cabbage Patch. And, hopefully, I will find the time and inspiration to blog again. I've kind of missed it anyway!

design by