My husband and I took a trip recently. We went to see his parents, whom we haven’t seen or talked to in over 4 years. We decided to take the trip for a few reasons, but the main reason was so they could see and hear how HE felt about what has happened.
My husband told his parents this, and more, when we were there. As you can probably guess, things did not go well. In fact, we seemed to annoy them more than anything. I felt as if I was no more than dirt under their feet. My father-in-law even made a point of positioning himself, I presume, to limit his view of me. My mother-in-law first told us she stopped talking about this mess two years ago. Then accused me of being a martyr and my daughter of being neglectful to her daughter during her annual visits. Something her son (my granddaughter’s adoptive father) also accused me of being in an email to my daughter sent to her earlier THIS YEAR where he also castigated her for not behaving as he thought she should as the birth mom to his daughter. So much for “we never talk about any of this mess”.
There are multiple definitions for martyr, but I can only imagine my mother-in-law and her son meant I exaggerate my suffering to get sympathy. I guess it helps them sleep better at night thinking they really haven’t caused as much pain as I claim they’ve caused and continue to cause. At least now they know I am not the only one suffering. If they only knew the depth of pain they’ve caused our children…
Robin told me before we made this trip, “I don’t think you are going to ‘win’ by persuasion, or by facts, statistics, personal anecdotes, etc. Even if your case is so good you could win a Supreme Court argument.” And by ‘win’ she meant make them understand. My husband and I kept her advice in mind when we went, and it helped tremendously. I don’t think I would have been able to pick my self up off their couch, walk out of their house and drive nearly 1000 miles home if it wasn’t for Robin. She has helped me, and by default, my family so much. I can’t even tell you the ways she’s helped. Which brings me to what this blog IS about.
Olivia and Robin and TAO and all the other adoptees out there.
It began with Olivia. Then it evolved after I began to understand the depth of psychological injury that can be inflicted upon a child by adoption. Then to add insult to injury, make it an unnecessary adoption and layer it with a bunch of people shouting adoptees down and telling them to be grateful and get over it. Last, but certainly not least, top it off with a violation of their civil rights by denying them access to their Original Birth Certificate and their right to know where they came from. So, we’ve told them to sit down, shut-up, not ask questions about who they are, and be grateful we tolerate them in the first place. We adopted them because WE wanted to be parents. Nothing was ever said about their rights to be human, loved and treated with dignity like the rest of us.
I read a wonderful post by Lynn Steinberg at Lost Daughters the other day. I say wonderful, but I imagine growing up the way she did wasn’t so “wonderful” at all. Her adoption wasn’t talked about in her home. I imagine my granddaughter growing up in a house where she is discouraged from speaking about her adoption. How would she feel never being able to talk about the people she came from? Do they let her talk about us? She might be a little young to start questioning, but when she does will we be some nondescript family? I can’t imagine the truth will be comfortable. After all, her grandfather is her father’s brother. Her mother, his niece. Is it all a big secret everyone knows but her? I cringe at the thought of that for her.
These are the conversations we have ALL. THE. TIME. We talk about Olivia every day. She is never far from our thoughts. We worry about how much trauma she will suffer. We wonder if she will hate us. We wonder if she will be taught to hate us and by extension, herself. The original intent with this blog was to warn others how adoptions can easily go so wrong, but it quickly became about Olivia and doing things in honor of her and other adoptees. Hopefully, saving a child from having to live and grow up in a mess like Olivia will make up for some of my part in the making of this reality.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month. It is a difficult month for most of us in Adoptionland. I noticed the other day the Lost Daughter’s had posted a message about “flipping the message” or something to that effect this month. Another blog is calling it #flipthescript.
So, in the spirit of #flipthescript, I’ve listed adoptee blogs at the bottom of this post. Please visit and read what they have to say about their adoption experiences.
Please feel free to list any adoptee blogs you enjoy in the comments, and I will add them. I will also re-blog adoptee blog posts here every day for the month of November.
American Indian Adoptees
DAniel Ibn Zayd
The Life of Von
The Adopted Ones
No Apologies for Being Me
Laura Dennis Blog
Neither Here Nor There…
The Declassified Adoptee
Pushing on a Rope
Today’s the day!
Fantasy mom has died…
Indigo Child Khara
Land of Gazillion Adoptees
Twin Prints: An Adoption Story
United Adoptees International
Exile of Xingnan
The Improper Adoptee
Diary of a Not-So-Angry Asian Adoptee
I Am Adopted: The Blog
Karen Pickell — A View From The Space That Separates
Shepherd’s Heart Spot
If you are an adoptee who doesn’t have a blog and would like to tell your story, anonymously or not, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I reserve the right to publish at my discretion.
* “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon, 1972.
* Carly Simon explains on her website http://www.carlysimon.com/You’re_So_Vain.html “Clouds In My Coffee” was used to explain the “illusion” of a relationship.