Sip of the iceberg

I had a couple of conversations with my mom about adoption which were provoked by the societies I've discovered online. The society of very much anti adoption members, mainly biological mothers and female adoptees, some of whom are very angry. The society of adoptive parents who's hearts seem to be in the right place trying to learn from these people. The society of potential adoptive parents who use religion in a bizarre way to rationalize their infertility and resulting desire to adopt.

The first conversation started out with me acknowledging that my mom must have done something right to have ended up with two daughters that have very different personalities that are both okay with having been adopted, something I've been wanting to tell her for a few weeks now. I confess this first conversation was fueled by a very large glass of white wine. It's not that it wouldn't have happened without the wine as I've always felt comfortable talking about being adopted it's just that I'm not as familiar with telling my mom she's done something right. For the past few years I've just tried to keep it simple and "not go there" with her as our points of view on life can be quite different and there does come a point where one has to resign themselves that most dogs can get too old to teach new tricks to. Oh I know, I'll be there myself some day but my plan is to fight it tooth n nail.

Some of the first conversation's details are fuzzy, like just exactly how we got to the place where she'd write something on adoption for me to post on my blog. Yesterday's conversation was alcohol free and she insists she's still determined to supply me with her thoughts. Since I want anything she writes to be free of my words her contribution may never happen as she sometimes has trouble completing tasks on her own (without mine or someone else's help) for others but she's surprised me before. If she does surprise me with something, I'll be prepared to cringe and blush, but then who knows, maybe I'll be forced again to admit my mom did something right.

A few of the tidbits from our conversation yesterday are the fact I wasn't kept in foster care at all, something I've wanted to ask since reading that some have been and were unaware. I was kept in the hospital for the month or so prior to joining my family at home. That they paid $25, the cost of the paper work. That it was a year until the adoption was completely finalized, that until then my biological mother could have changed her mind. That in a way, she did pick me (this tidbit was offered up when I was discussing how as an adult I know that it's not the case but as a child it helped me) that, in her words, "well, in a way we did pick you because after seeing you we could have said no". Me, "mom, you know that isn't the same thing". Sigh.

We discussed how she wouldn't have adopted us if she'd been able to have her own children. This one was hard to get her to admit to but she got there. I truly think her hesitance is because she doesn't want to hurt my feelings, which is nice. I talked to her about the responsibility we have as adoption affected people to talk about the "dark side" of adoption, that not all families end up like ours. That there are people out there making bigs bucks off other people's misery, that children are being adopted by abusive people and there are parents losing their babies that don't have to. Finally, we talked about the fact that I can't find my voice very often (ever?) online. That the people like me aren't here or aren't talking. I know some of you will say they don't exist but that's not true. Because I exist. My sister exists. My son exists.


  1. My mother exists and she has the same feelings towards adoption as you. I swear your writing could be my mothers words!
    I wish my mother had the desire to blog, unfortunately she's just not that type.

    I tend to be a very direct person and at times I've made my mom uncomfortable with my questions about her feelings on adoption, things she's never really thought about. As I've mentioned before she is very comfortable with her life, and the role adoption played in it, no regrets. For me knowing how she feels is important as her daughter and as an adoptive mom.
    Reading your posts, give me a lot to think abuot and hopefully have a few good discussions with her in the future.

  2. so what is an unhealthy attitude to being adopted?

  3. You are so great Campbell. Good for you for addressing these things with your mom. It may be weird at times but don't you think ultimately good things will come of it? And interesting to hear your story...even things you didn't realize about your adoption.
    I've been thinking about you actually wondering how you got your name.

  4. P.S. I also liked your comment on Mary's blog. You are grateful and I am so glad to hear it! I mean, you are right...there is no voice like yours out there. I just keep assuming that no one is grateful or happy they were adopted. Sometimes it makes me think whats the point of parenting then if they are just going to grow up and hate me anyways. But you're right, I can't project anything onto my kids whether it's bad or good! Ack! It is mind boggling sometimes and honestly I don't sit here and dwell on it every second but when I think about it...well...when I think about it I am still trying to figure out my place, my role, as a "good" adoptive mother.

  5. Thanks for the comment CP.

    If your mom ever wants to write a guest post here let me know!

  6. @weaver...hmmm, touche.

    I guess for the way I look at things either me having a healthy attitude is a poor choice of words or it's a case of the opposite word, "unhealthy" doesn't apply in this case.

    I see where you're coming from calling me on it. It is not my intention to imply someone who isn't okay with being adopted has an unhealthy attitude but I guess that's just what I've done. I'll see to correcting that.

    My apologies!

  7. Nah Shannan, I'm not so great. I'm serious when I say the hardest part about talking with my mom about adoption is having to admit she did something right lol. Bad, eh?

    It's really not and never has been a delicate or weird subject for me. Even now when I'm not just talking about my positive experience, when I venture into the "dark side", which now go hand in hand by the way. No longer does one exist without the other.

    I just wish everyone would realize or admit that adoption outcomes are so very unique to each situation. So many variables, so that good or bad has to be relative to the situation and the parties involved, doesn't it?

    As far as the grateful part goes, wouldn't even the most ardent anti adoption activist have to admit that there are situations that a person could be very grateful to have been removed from?

  8. I think there are other adoptees like you - I actually know 3 IRL (and 1 is an AP, 1 is a PAP so they must not "hate" adoption). I do read a lot of anti-adoption blogs so I can understand the dark side better (after all as an AP, I only know the bright side). I want to understand the way my daughter may feel someday and I am interested in adoption reform. I have a lot of conflicted feelings about adoption. However, I also really love reading your blog and your POV. It is encouraging to know there are adoptees who are really "OK" with it, even while acknowledging that there is a dark side. I am glad you add your voice to the "chorus" of adoption bloggers.

  9. "whats the point of parenting then if they are just going to grow up and hate me anyways"

    Only in this blogosophere does that haunt me as a possibility. In real life, I doubt that will be case. I have confidence in our ability to work it out.

    I agree, Campbell. Keep talkin'.

  10. O Solo Mama, glad you stopped by.

    The following is a comment I submitted that is still awaiting moderation on another blog (hopefully you know what post I'm referring to). Perhaps the blog owner was trying to protect me from myself, I don't know, but I get the feeling it likely won't be published so since this is my blog and I felt it important to say, I'll share it with you here. I'm only sorry it won't have the impact I had hoped it would have there. So, for what it's worth now, here is what I wanted to say:

    "Campbell said

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    March 2, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Call me crazy, this is likely going to bite me in the ass, but this is just the right thing to do and I refuse to be afraid.

    I’ve just gone back and reread that entire exchange, again. Please allow me to say without too much repercussion that O Solo Mama is getting a bad rap here and her contribution to the discussion is being misrepresented. My hope is that it’s unintentional and it’s just a mix up.

    For the record, I don’t know her at all beyond reading her blog and making the odd comment."

  11. I've stopped reading what they wrote. A number of people wrote to me to tell me they were appalled at some of the blowback. I can't help it. I'm not the enemy. If they don't know that, too bad.

  12. Well good for you, and I'm glad to hear people besides myself were appalled.

  13. If you are so healthy, then why do you feel such a need to belittle adoptees who dare to have a different opinion from yours?

    I think there is a lot more to all of this than what you are saying. And there is obvious a strong urge for you to prove yourself time and again that you are superior.

    You are getting up there in years, isn't it about time you started validating yourself instead of looking for validation in those around you?

    You blog screams "VALIDATE ME!!!".

    As my adoptive mother often says, "One does not need to blow out another's candle to make their own shine brighter."

    It seems to me that you get a lot of pleasure from doing just that.

    The reality is that every time you insult and belittle a fellow adoptee either here on your own blog or in your numerous comments throughout the internet, you are saying much more about yourself than you are saying about anyone else.

    And what you are saying is not very flattering.

  14. Thanks for commenting Elisabeth.

    I'll do some reading to see if what you're accusing me of is true, that I belittle and insult adoptees who have a different opinion than me, because I'd hate for it to be true and if it is, I'll try and not do it anymore.

  15. Campbell, I tried to refrain from commenting on your rants, which are obviously written to deliberately rub a particular group the wrong way. You're very good at it. But then I reminded myself, why should I refrain? I have just as big of a platform as you do. Actually bigger, since I'm living in 2010, and apparently lost somewhere in 1827.

    Reading this post of yours, brought back a very familiar feeling that I have not felt since I was a very young teen. It was an eerie, fearful feeling I once felt. Do you know what produced that feeling?... I heard a sermon from Ted Haggard.

    You wrote, "most dogs can get too old to teach new tricks to. Oh I know, I'll be there myself some day but my plan is to fight it tooth n nail."

    Honey, you're already there.

  16. Thank you, dearly. Your opinions and views on we less fortunate ones are duly noted.

    I'm MorningCoffee from the forum you obsessively lurk then critique. Did you not adhere to my previous comment on your blog? It was never posted so I guess you wanted to keep your faithful readers from any frame of truth in this well-oiled agenda of yours.

  17. How is Campbell ranting or screaming for validation from anyone. She doesn't seem like the ranting type. She does hold an opinion that some people don't. I don't understand what you're saying. Where did she belittle someone?

  18. I've been thinking about whether my reading the forum mentioned above is a bad thing or something which I'm not entitled to do. What I've come to is that I am adopted, I'm a member, it's a way to communicate with other members via messaging, and I haven't said a word there since February 18th. I've learned and continue to learn from what's written there. I'm clearly not the only one who reads without commenting, for whatever reason.

    Also, for the record, I'm having trouble finding where I've said anything to a fellow adoptee that's anywhere near as insulting or belittling than what's been submitted for comment here on my blog, most of which I've published, 2 of which I have not.

    This latest post being addressed here shouldn't be insulting to anyone besides my mom and perhaps people who are very sensitive to comments about religion and/or infertility.

  19. Campbell I've been sitting here for about five minutes trying to decide if or what I should write, but honestly I think you have already said or expressed everything. You're expereinces and feelings are yours and yours alone. No one can tell anyone else how they should feel or how they should be dealing with something. This is where you are today and everyone should respect it....just as you do to others.

  20. Thanks Shannan and right back at ya.

  21. Why is it that some people think that if someone doesn't agree with them, that they are ranting or that there is "more to it"? How is Campbell looking for validation from others? She is writing about her own experiences and feelings. Why would she need validation from ANYONE? Why isn't Campbell allowed to have her own voice and opinion? Some of you are doing to her EXACTLY what you accuse APs of doing to you. So much hostility to a relatively innocuous post....(and this is HER blog by the way, she isn't posting this on YOUR blog, so why so defensive??) I have VERY conflicted feelings about adoption despite being an AP - I read many of your blogs and agree with much (actually most) of what you write. However, I also think everyone is entitled to their own opinion and shouldn't be blasted for it.

  22. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I haven't read many adopted peoples blogs, as I started reading blogs as a way of supporting some friends that were going through infertility. But naturally with infertility, adoption comes up in the discussions. And as such I have found some grown adoptees that have blogs. And, as you commented many of them DO seem to struggle with it. And to be honest that confuses me a bit. But perhaps these people would struggle with any path they were put upon to be raised in this world. Maybe its just their nature to question. Or, maybe adoptions like ours are the rare ones. The feeling of completeness, and security. I don't know...I can only put myself in my own shoes. But I do feel complete. My parents are my parents and I don't feel the need to find my biological mother/parents. If they chose to contact me, I would likely agree to attempt discussions of contact, but I would go into it with realistic expectations. Many reunions do not go well. And...these people are strangers to me. We share DNA but we are not a family. And thats okay. I have a family. My mom and dad will always be the only mom and dad I have. Even when we don't get along, its a clashing of personalities, not a matter of adoption. My brothers are my brothers. Growing up I could pick on them(they are older) but no one else better or I would jump to their defence. Thats what family does.

    My parents did have 2 biological children before they adopted me. They chose to adopt a child because they're family wasn't complete. I was in foster care(1 family) for close to 4 months but that was primarily because I had a hip issue that they were making sure was healed well. And my mom said to me that the hardest thing she ever had to do was tell me I was adopted. And she did that the very day they brought me home. And was easy and I have never not known that I was adopted. Its always been a part of me, but not ME. I am a very proud adopted child. I tell people, strangers that I am adopted because I think the whole process is wonderful. But I don't make it my mission or my life. I am a wife, a mother and a daughter. That is my life. Being adopted is just one unique part of it.

    I wish more people felt comfortable in their own skin about their adoption. I think many spend too much time on feeling like a part of them is missing or trying to find out "who they are" and frankly thats a bit of a crock to me. Your genetics don't make you who you are. Your morals, your strangths and your family does. I am not trying to jundge people that do...I just feel sad for them because they are missing out of so much by obcessing or worrying.

    Now my vies of adoption are coming from one of a very supportive family. My parents always told me if I wanted to they would help me find my biological family, and they game me all of my paperwork when I turned 18. I felt nurtured and loved and supported. So I suppose someone that doesn't have as nurturing a family might feel a bit lost, and thats a shame. But the same can be said for an unsupported biological child. So really, I guess I don't see how adopted children are that different from biological. Kids are kids and families are families. It isn't always that simple, but it should be.

  23. Thanks Alex, for the thoughtful comment. Much of what you say is in sync with my way of thinking, but I have to come clean about one thing.

    I am a snooze button hitter

  24. Campbell, was nice knowing you ;)

  25. And wow did I ever have a lot of typos on my first comment...sorry I'm sick this week and with 3 sick kids as well I'm a bit sleep deprived!


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