Just Get Over It

I try not to rant very often these days, but a recent discussion on a forum I read has me thinking and I just have to get it out.

The discussion centers around the blog post found here: www.declassifiedadoptee.com/2011/05/guest-post-being-adopted-when-your.html. I recommend reading it but the gist of the post is that the adoptee never felt that she fit in with her family, which included biological children of her adoptive parents. After her experience, and the experience of other adoptees that she knows, this adult adoptee has concluded that it’s not in the adopted child’s best interest to mix adopted children with biological children in a family. Many adult adoptees left comments on this post expressing similar experiences and concerns.

But many of the comments on the adoptive parents’ discussion board went the way of “she should just get over it” or “I know an adoptee who doesn’t feel this way at all” or “everybody gets picked on for something so why should she whine about it.”

Honestly, these comments are why the adult adoptee community often doesn’t want to interact with APs. Instead of listening and keeping our mouths shut, and preparing for what our future might hold, we have to defend ourselves and the decisions we’ve made. We have to make it about us, which was one of the things that this blogger notes in the first few paragraphs and ironically was one of the comments that  most riled the adoptive parents. Here’s the statement the blogger makes to adoptive parents:

Be calm, this isn’t about what is in your best interest, this post is about what is in the best interests of the child and while I understand that is on the very bottom of the list of what adoptive parents care about, I’m going to take a stab at it anyway. Too often I hear about what is supposed to be in the best interest of the child but if you look deep, it is almost always about the adoptive parents pursuing their dreams. There seems to be much more concern about if the child will fit into the family than if that family is the best one for a particular child but that is its own post.

“What?” APs said. “Us not have our child’s best interest at heart? Well, of course, we do; having a family is what’s in the child’s best interest.” I summarized that quote, but essentially that’s what many of the parents said.

If you’ve read this blog for long, you know that’s not what I believe. While, yes, having a family is in a child’s best interest, I don’t believe that adoption is always in the child’s best interest and I believe that at heart adopting often comes from selfish motives on the part of the parents. I struggle with the part adoptive parents play in creating a “demand” for children to be placed and with the less-than-ethically dealings that this “demand” can lead to (everything from manipulation to human trafficking).

My reaction to blog posts such as the one linked to is to pretend  it is my son saying these things. What would I say to him? Would I tell him to “just get over it?” Would I tell him that “Johnny” is adopted and doesn’t feel this way so why should he? Would I go into all of the injustices I’ve experienced in my life to show him that he’s not hurting any more than anyone else has?

No, that’s not what I would do, and I don’t believe it’s what most parents would do in dealing with their own children. But they so quick to say those very things to other people’s children because it’s easier to discount these feelings that adult adoptees have than it is to listen, take note, file it away, and be prepared if their child says something similar someday. It’s easier to ignore the feelings of other people’s children, put blinders on, and believe in the mantra “not my child/not my family.”

Given that attitude, it’s hard for me to believe that some APs do have their child’s interests at heart. Parenting is hard; parenting an adopted child adds another layer of hard to the parenting equation. But for me it’s better to prepared for those issues, if they come up, than it is to be blindsided. In today’s adoption community, there’s not excuse for being blindsided; there simply too much information out there in every form imaginable. If in five or 10 years some of these parents are blindsided by adoption issues, it will be because they chose to stick their heads in the sand and ignore all of the information that could have left them prepared.

And how sad it is that more adoptees will have to struggle with parents who are defensive, uneducated about adoption issues, and who generally are not allies for their children on this journey that is life as an adoptee. If not us, maybe the next generation of adoptive parents. Or better yet, maybe in the future there will be so little need for adoption, including international adoption, that none of this will be an issue.

2 Responses to “Just Get Over It”

  1. May 6, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Ignorance of the reality that adopted people live and invalidation of that experience are adoptive parent behaviors that need to end. Unfortunately, it’s easy in the internet age for people to gravitate to the like-minded where they can defend their point of view, incorrect thought it may be.

    Ignoring the hard stuff only makes it harder.

  2. May 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    (Sorry, I clicked the wrong spot and posted this to the wrong entry before).

    You’re right. The type of responses you mentioned are exactly why the adoptee guest blogger wanted to be anonymous and why adoptees don’t share things with others.

    People will always consistently find a way to invalidate what adoptees are saying, for whatever reason. It doesn’t matter that the guest blogger felt that way, it doesn’t matter that her post got more page hits than any other post ever on my blog and the adoptees that responded validated her feelings, and the empirical research that I will post on Monday that also validates what the adoptees said on this topic will also not mean a thing.

    Because so long as it’s something others do not want to hear, the adoptee is always wrong about what they think about adoption. Always.

    Go figure, right?

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