Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy Adoptee Wonderland

(Originally posted at Wordpress on 10/8/07)

How many times do we hear it..."Well, my cousin/friend/hairdresser's sister's roommate's aunt is adopted and she's happy..."

It doesn't matter what you are talking about, what point you are trying to get across, or how strongly or politely you are trying to convey it; but somebody always, always, always feels the need to jump in and point out that somebody in their world is a happy adoptee.

Case in point? My new friend Jessie, the Happy Adoptee who has been commenting on my Infertility and Adoption post. (Not you, OSF Jessie, although you are truly an inspiration to me and I love you dearly!) And really, IMO, the self-proclaimed "Happy Adoptees" are the most voluble when they feel the need to proclaim their happy status...shouting it from the rooftops, casting their pity upon us poor, "angry" souls, wishing us peace. As if they are a cut above us pitiful "angrates"(lol).

But really, one has to wonder.

Why, if they are so happy, do they feel the need to keep telling everyone how happy they are? (And, Jessie, if you happen to stop by and read this, I promise this post is not directed AT you, it was just inspired BY you, so please don't take offense or feel that I am picking on you.)

Have you ever noticed that adoptees are the only class of people who go around telling everyone how much they love their parents? I mean, think about it...if you are reading this, and are not an adoptee, would you go out and tell someone in casual conversation, how much you LOOOOVE your parents and are SOOOO grateful to them for raising you? It's just not normal for non-adopted people to go around talking about. Yet adoptees do it all the time; it's a social expectation that we proclaim our gratitude and reinforce it whenever we hear someone else speaking out against adoption.

But I think there's something deeper going on in some of those "happy" adoptees, something lurking beneath that necessity to tell others how happy and content they are. Consider this: normally, people who are happy and content with their lives don't feel the desire to go out of their way to tell everyone how happy and content they are, to the point of having to prove their happiness. But these "happy" adoptees, on the other hand, the ones who go out of their way to tell everyone that they are happy to be adopted, that they have no issues...I have to wonder.

Just who are they trying so hard to convince; me, or themselves?

Oh, I get why some adoptees fight so hard to hang on to happiness. Staying in the fog is much easier than facing the painful truth. Coming out of the fog is hard; it hurts, it takes a LOT of hard work, self-examination, re-evaluation of your entire life, and that is no small undertaking. You begin to question the meaning of your very existence, of the relationships with your loved ones, and try to piece together how your love for them can co-exist with the anger that can manifest toward the industry that did this to you and your family.

No, coming out of the Happy Adoptee Wonderland is not fun at all. And for some adoptees, staying in the fog is not merely an issue of ease of life, it is a matter of survival. I don't know how some of us even survive it. Some don't; I don't know the exact statistics, but I've heard of far too many adoptee suicides than I have cared to, and even to the very obvious end, they have proclaimed their undying love and gratitude to their adopters, while pulling the plug on their painful adopted lives. These were the adoptees whose fog was lifting, but seeing the light was just too much.

And then there are those who really don't realize that there is anything to be unhappy about. I was there once, I admit, I was one of them. I was so far into the fog that I really couldn't find my ass with both hands. But I don't think that's really an excuse for this pathological adopter-worship that is so prevalent in some adoptees. This sense of zealous loyalty to the people who adopted them and abject indifference, and even hatred, of the people who created's mind-boggling.

I wonder, have these adoptees ever considered the reasons why they were relinquished? Or have they swallowed the outdated notion of the disinterested, drug-abusing, prostitute, alcoholic, destitute, dumpster-dumping "birth" mother that society spoon-feeds us? Do they really believe that drivel?

Or is it just another survival mechanism? One has to wonder. Because if real mommy was actually sad to let us go, then why did she do it? Is it easier to believe she is a cold-hearted monster and that our loyalties (and love) must reside with those who did us the ultimate favor by taking us in?

I feel so sad for these "happy" adoptees, I really do.

Loving your parents is one thing; I mean, of course you should love your aparents, if they are good people and weren't abusive or manipulative, that's true of any parent-child relationship. I'd have to wonder about anyone who didn't. When I speak out against adoption, I'm certainly not saying "DOWN WITH APARENTS!!"

But this radical devotion, this loyalty to the extreme? When it comes to the point that you are losing out on WHO YOU ARE and WHO YOU WHERE MEANT TO BE? That is where it is time to stop, and re-evaluate just why you are so determined to prove to the world that you LOVE your adoptive parents and are at war with your bio's. And you know what I'm talking about.

You're losing yourself in the process.

Adoption isn't about creating a support system for your adoptive parents. It isn't about taking a child and turning him or her into a warrior for adoption. And you shouldn't have to feel that you have to defend or praise your adoptive parents every time you draw breath; they are the grown-ups, they shouldn't need your protection.

Adoption should be about nurturing the child, about giving the child a healthy sense of well-being, a sense of self, separate from their parents, whoever is doing the raising. And it should be the parents who protect and nurture the child, not the other way around.

There is just this huge disconnect between the "happy" adoptee's life mission, which is to keep driving home the fact that they love their adoptive parents and that adoption is great and they are so happy they were adopted and that they would have been nothing had their wonderful adopters not taken them in; and what the adoptee really could be, which is an emotionally healthy, self-aware human being, who instead can full focus on his or her own needs without this constant fear and repression because they may "hurt" their aparents.

Happy Adoptee Wonderland. Now open, get your tickets here. Half-price on foggy days.

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