Too many people don’t care about adoptees. If they did, they wouldn’t be screaming at them that their feelings and point of view about THEIR OWN experiences are wrong. What is it about adoption that makes non-adoptees the experts on the experience? We don’t hear people who have never been diagnosed with cancer hell-bent on telling those suffering from the disease that they know better how to deal with it. Only in adoption does a lack of first-hand experience confer expertise on the subject.
And only adoptees get constantly treated to this attitude of, “You are wrong. I know better than you!” Perhaps it’s because adoption happens to children and adoptees are forevermore looked at as children. Even first mothers don’t face the degree of bullying that adoptees do. They, at least, are given some respect for their enormous loss, even though they do get way too much of the “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it” attitude.
The premise that love is the only requirement to create a family and to be a family is wrong; that sharing a genetic history, race, religion, etc., doesn’t matter is wrong. Actually, it’s a crock of sh*t. And then to add insult to injury, there is this insistence that those who are most affected and never had any say, the adoptees, must be silenced. What are people so afraid of when these premises are questioned? If they so love their children who are of a different race, and I believe they do, why don’t they want to hear –and why doesn’t the larger society want to hear—the feelings of those who have actually lived it? Are you afraid your child will not think of you as her parents? That she will not consider you her family? From my experience, the more any adoptee is allowed to share her real feelings, the more she does feel fully a member of the family.
I don’t believe that in all cases children from other countries, and children who are not white, even needed an alternative home in the first place. In many cases, the child probably could have remained in his or her family where he would have the genetic connection as well as his true ancestral background. I mean, look at Veronica Brown with her mixed background. She had absolutely 100% NO NEED for another family, yet she was forcibly removed to be raised by a white couple. Of course, every situation is different and must be evaluated on its own merits. I, as much as anyone, want to see children be part of a family. But I firmly believe that the premises about transracial and transnational adoption must be reevaluated and reconsidered in light of the many stories that are coming out. And, of course, the best and only way to do that is by respecting and encouraging the voices of those adoptees actually living the experience.
So enough of those who were raised by their natural parents, or were raised by parents of the same race, and enough of those who grew up in neighborhoods where they felt they fit in, telling those who didn’t how they should interpret their own life experiences. It’s time we stepped back and let them do the talking. It’s past time to listen and learn.
For an excellent blog post on this very subject: