Saturday

If it ain't broke, you can't fix other things?

I quite often wonder why my experience of being adopted hasn't made me hate adoption. I mean, the obvious reason why I don't hate adoption is because my being adopted worked. What I'm talking about is WHY did my adoption work out, seemingly for all concerned.

My parents, although not happy with me all the time, seem to have enjoyed what they got. Not that that is really all that important since they actively sought out another kid to raise, and paid a whole $25 . I'm just saying, I think they've gotten their moneys worth out of me. I think they're satisfied customers, happy campers, so to speak.

My biological mother, well, she told me herself she's had a good life. She's gone on to have other children and didn't spend her life regretting giving me to someone else. I'm afraid my recent attempt for communication via snail mail has likely made her wary of being outed, something for which I'm sorry, but didn't expect since I was led to believe she was interested in further communication, albeit anonymous which it no longer is.

Biological father, don't know anything concrete about him and can't without biological mother's help. He's likely dead though now anyway. In fact, who knows if he even knew about me, so I can surmise his life was/is good enough.

My siblings, they seemed to like me enough. I've never felt they weren't "real" nor have they ever given me any indication they felt any different toward me. None of us were blood to each other, didn't make a damn bit of difference as far as I can tell. My sister, the other adopted one , is fine enough with being adopted too.

I, with the exception of the usual bumps in the road of adoption.... finding out my sister wasn't biological, realizing it wasn't a nurse that had babies for people who couldn't and that there was a real person out there somewhere who might not be as happy as me (did she have anyone to love her? did she have enough food?), and such other moments of realization, am at peace with the situation and feel no sense of rejection or abandonment. I have no resentment toward my biological parents or jealousy toward half siblings. With the exception of mild curiosity and a slight annoyance at not having heard back from my biological mother again, I'm cool with it all.

At this point, it leaves me with a big fat why. Why am I cool with it?

I don't have a storybook relationship with my mom, but, maybe my dad made up for that.

My parents were not wealthy by any stretch, but, money's not really ever been that much of a priority to me. I'd love to have scads of it, win a lottery or something, but as long as I have enough, I'm happy.

I don't especially look like anyone in my family, but have kind of told myself that I look like my dad's side, if I didn't have dark hair that is.

My personality isn't markedly similar to anyone in my family, but, there are things I have in common with lots of them and I've always been very relieved to have not inherited any crazy genes, that I know about anyway.

From my understanding, in 1963, they tried to match people up. Kind of find family similarities and values although I think there was likely lots of lying and omitting going on so how much this did to contribute to the success of my adoption is debatable. I was NOT adopted into a family of a different color or culture or from another country. These things, I think now, can make a huge difference between adopted people's experiences.

I've had my moments in life when I've felt  inferior, made bad decisions, behaved recklessly, but for the life of me I cannot connect that with my being adopted.

I've been told my good experience makes me privileged, and I guess that may be so, but I can assure you it in no way lessens my compassion and concern for those less fortunate, makes me any less determined to do my small part in addressing adoption dysfunction.

Thing is, I think it would be so helpful in fixing what's wrong, if I could just figure out what went right.....for me.

22 comments:

  1. Campbell, For you, it seems to be balance that worked. Or maybe it is genetics. Who actually knows? Since your first mother is reticent to contact.

    You said that "My biological mother, well, she told me herself she's had a good life. She's gone on to have other children and didn't spend her life regretting giving me to someone else. I'm afraid my recent attempt for communication via snail mail has likely made her wary of being outed"

    I hate to say it, but it seems totally contradictory to me. And, no offense meant, if you were that comfortable, you would not be bothering to try to take it to another level.

    I have a theory, which you may think is crackpot. But it goes something like this: If your glass is leaking, but you don't see a crack, get glasses!

    I read your blog - every time you post and the one thing I noted is that when you discuss adoption, you are good with your adopted family and your place in it - which I think is wonderful and healthy. But you simply skip over the issue that you are not thrilled with the biological family that you know nothing about, because you know nothing about them. Stated, or understated, "mild curiosity and a slight annoyance at not having heard back from my biological mother again" - hmm....

    So, do you see the crack?

    I am just curious, mostly because you are one of the most level people I have ever met - on or off line. Yet this gnaws at me.

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  2. We're kind of in the same boat in a lot of ways, Campbell. My adoption "worked out" too..and though I can definitely trace some adoption issues in my past..they all started when I was reunited at 12, and intensified as my reunion failed. So its hard for me to say whether or not they were caused by the relinquishment itself or the rocky reunion.

    But... nomatter how "good" I am, or how "stable", I am.....there is still always something amiss. Not broken, necessarily. But slightly shifted. I feel so loved and blessed in my family. Why can't I say, with certainty, that I am 100% happy to have been adopted? Why can't you?


    I wish I had an answer for you. But it's something very...elusive.

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  3. Cambpell,
    I don't usually comment on these types of posts, because, well, I am not adopted and I am not a first mom. I am the one who benefitted from adoption. I am glad you feel things worked out for you. I really hope my daughter feels the same way some day. We have made contact with her first family in Russia but they are so far away, speak a different language and have a life so different from ours I'm not sure how connected she will feel to them - and I am wondering how much resentment and pain that will cause her. I know it will cause "Some" - just don't know if it will be monumental or as Amanda said - as if something is shifted. I am guessing at the more monumental end since she is an international adoptee (although not trans-racial).

    I think everyone is different and every situation is different (I have been doing a lot of thinking about how things can influence people so differently since my son's appt that I posted about). What may be OK with you is unacceptable to someone else. Just like getting 30 vaccines may be Ok for one child but not for another. Or smoking a pack a day may cause one person to have a cough and one to die of lung cancer. I think adoption needs to be reformed so it is the SAFEST it can be for all children, keeping in mind the most vulnerable ones. This means, perhaps, an end to international adoption and a new campaign to encourage young mothers to keep their childre, rather than to relinquish them "for a better life". Just like I think it means being more cautious about vaccines and the medications we load our kids up with. Sorry for the autism spectrum comparisons, but that is what I live!

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  4. Hey Lori : )

    "And, no offense meant, if you were that comfortable, you would not be bothering to try to take it to another level."

    This is the area where I find myself so often defending my thoughts. It honestly, truly, is pure curiosity, nothing to do with being uncomfortable. I guess that's hard for people to understand or accept. Not the fact that I'm curious, because really I can't imagine anyone not being the tiniest bit curious, but that it's nothing more than that. And, it's sincere that I only feel slightly annoyed about her not mailing back. I just don't get that and since I'm a "thinker", I mull over what I've done and/or should now do quite often and it's annoying lol.

    As far as your theory Lori, you've got something wrong, which may be my fault for I may have presented the situation too vaguely. I actually do know quite a bit about my biological family, likely more than other adopted people, and actually, this could have something to do with my peace.

    This post was in reaction to me commenting elsewhere about examining what's gone right to figure out what's going wrong. In that comment I stated the people who are interested in improving, reforming, redressing adoption need one big loud voice, not many different voices all dismissing what each other is saying if they don’t like the way it’s being said. Something similar to what you've been trying to say Lori, I think. I was then told the following(and a whole lot more), "Adoption doesn’t need to speak with one voice. When only one voice is allowed, any voice that disagrees is shut out of the party. Adoption needs disagreement, in-fighting, and a breaking down of privilege within the movement before it can address the needs of ALL."

    It's funny, it seems to me there's tons of disagreement and in-fighting going on and it ain't working so far.

    Thank you for your comment Lori, I always enjoy discussing this craziness with you!

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  5. Amanda...we're in the same boat in many ways and yet still so much is different. It just another confirmation of how very unique each situation is! I guess that's why it's so hard to determine what's the best way to "do adoption".

    As you're saying Kris, it's so dependent on the individual and their vulnerability and/or immunity to outside influences.

    Great comments you guys, I thank you for them.

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  6. Hey Campbell,

    I'm in a rush and didn't read through all the comments, I pretty much stopped at Lori' first one. Her "no offence but you can't be that okay if you tried contact" (I'm paraphrasing of course) comment annoyed me. As you know I am Okay with adoption too. More than. Consider myself and my family an adoption success story. And nope haven't tried to find bio relatives and don't actively plan to. That said, I think that just because you have tried, doesn't make you in some way broken. I think its natural to be curious about relatives, bio or not that you don't know. Of course you'd want to know why someone chose to give you up. I often say I'd love to be a fly on the wall in a bio relatives house. But for me its more of a "gossip" type curiosity. What happened, what became of them etc. I have said the same thing about friends and relatives as well. I blame the girl in me...I gossip and I am curious. But I do think its normal. And I wouldn't judge you for making contact. Its your right to decide what works for you. And for me making contact(even though I was always told I had my families support) is not right for me. It makes me feel uncomfortable on a couple levels. As I have said before I don't want any more family drama and frankly reunion is a drama of some sort...even the best ones. And I don't want to feel obligated or responsible for someone elses feelings in reunion. My bioparents, my adoptive parents, or even my childrens feelings as they process a reunion and its repercussions. I don't want to find out if I would be sad if I was rejected about reunion. I don't want to find out if she would be sad if I rejected her in reunion. I don't want to find out if my parents would be hurt by it even though they would support me. Its a kettle of worms I don't care to delve into. That doesn't make me "not fine" with adoption. It simply means I have a great life and why mess with something thats good just because I am adopted and have bio relatives out there. I have a great life and obligations here so I don't jump out of planes just because I can. Why risk something going horrible wrong just so I can get a thrill or say I did it. Why mess with perfection. Sure...you might be able to get more joy(and I love joy!!) but I might also get burned. And to me I am satisfied...more than satisfied with my life the way it is. So why should I have to change it because I am adopted. Thats stupid. If I didn't have bio parents out there no one would tell me to go find strangers and try to invite them into my family. And my bio family are strangers. DNA are only letters in the alphabet.

    With response to Lori, I say if the glass has a leak I haven't discovered, and its working well and not leaking enough to find, and growing bacteria in the cracks...keep using the glass. Just because you buy something new doesn't mean its not going to be flawed, chipped or cracked right out of the package.

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  7. Alex, this is a great comment and again, echoes so many of my own thoughts but especially this, "I often say I'd love to be a fly on the wall in a bio relatives house. But for me its more of a "gossip" type curiosity. What happened, what became of them etc."

    Having said that, I don't think it's wrong to feel the opposite. I can see how people would feel they have a right to know, to make contact, in fact I've asked myself that question. I've thought, well, isn't it my right to know who these people are and meet them and make my existence known? I mean, they created me! But, I always come back to the place of it may be my right, but it's just not one I want to exercise if it does harm to innocent people that I don't even know in order to be that fly on the wall.

    I do not have a primal wound to heal and I know I'd regret being responsible for wounding someone else.

    Oh, and I can see how you may find Lori's comment annoying not knowing her and how willing she's always been to engage in healthy discussion with me but I can assure you there was no ill will intended. I've learned lots from her about a side of adoption I was unaware of prior to starting this blogging thing.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Alex, it's nice to read someone's thoughts who are similar to mine in many ways.

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  8. Yes I don't think its wrong to feel the opposite and want to search either. I just question peoples motives behind it. Healthy searching can be healthy. Unhealthy reasons behind it(which I lump I want to know how I am because I am no one without knowing my genetics) are usually a disaster from what I have heard and read.

    As much as people may think I am anti-reunion I am not. It just has to be in the right circumstances. And frankly I am tired of people thinking there is something wrong with adopted people that feel "whole" and not wanting to find out biological information. Its frustrating that people can't just accept that some adopted people don't feel the need to find their biological ties. It doesn't make me uncaring, or in denial or abandoned. And its annoying to imply that people are less than whole because they have adoptive ties. Its like "get over it people. I'm adopted and thats not a handicap."

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  9. "Its frustrating that people can't just accept that some adopted people don't feel the need to find their biological ties. It doesn't make me uncaring, or in denial or abandoned."

    I hear ya on that one too Alex.

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  10. "I am guessing at the more monumental end since she is an international adoptee (although not trans-racial)."

    Kris, what's the difference? I honestly always thought they were the same thing...

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  11. Mei Ling - She is caucasian, we are caucasian.

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  12. I thought you adopted her from overseas?

    Sorry... it just sounds more like a domestic adoption. :\

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  13. She is from Russia. Most Russians are caucasian. As far as I know, this makes her an international adoptee but not transracial.

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  14. Campbell, In your case, and I have said this before, I hear a lot about things being hunky dory - which is good and I think healthy. But I also look at the other side of the coin - being ok with adoption does not, as Mei Ling so beautifully states on her entries, does not mean there is no pain, no sense of loss.

    This is where I am coming from. When I searched for my daughter, I was confused and not really sure what I wanted. Then, after years of battling her and her anger, I simply stopped. I realized that if she was good and happy, I was fine. That did not mean I would never let her into my heart or home - those places were always hers. It meant that I was finally OK with everything. Not necessarily thrilled.

    I don't see everyone as if they were me, I seriously just want to learn as much as I can - I want to see the world from the eyes of others.

    Alex, you thought my comment was offensive, so I apologize. But you must be able to be open minded enough to realize that you are making a choice, by choosing not to make the choice or choosing to make the choice not to look. I see that as, in a way, a possitive thing for you. That does not mean that I agree.

    However, since I do study people - besides it being an occupational hazard, I have always people watched - I find that when ambiguous statements are made, I want to understand them. Campbell knows this. It will not change my own internal feelings, but it may change my understanding of the person.

    So, hopefully, you will realize that I do not mean to be offensive, I simply am, as so ably stated here, curious. Possibly not in the gossipy "what happened to whom" way, but in a way that is a learning experience.

    Now, the personal side of that is one that comes from a lot of years experience, curiosity is a sign of interest, not a sign of wanting to know in a gossipy kind of way. I have yet to meet anyone who was curious about something and then suddenly was not interested.

    Just my possibly unwelcome thoughts.

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  15. Never unwelcome here Lori. Never.

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  16. Lori...I agree by its very nature curiosity implies interest. Yet you will likely acknowledge there are different levels of interest. And even simple "gossipy interest" can be informative. Its just whether that information is important to you or affects you that decides the level of time you will allow it to consume in your thoughts. Is Angelina Jolie really pregnant again? Gossip curiosity would make me wonder however it wouldn't keep me up at night. Who is my birth mother, and does she miss me, might keep some people up at night. And while I acknowledge I might occasionally have that thought, it has never even come close to keeping me up at night. So, I would equate it slightly higher on the interest scale than Angelina Jolie being pregnant again, but simply because it has the possibility of affecting my life should she choose to try and reunite. Chances are Angelina Jolie's uterus will never have any effect on my or my family.

    I have also noticed that people that tend to study people for career and educational purposes often have a slightly skewed version of "people watching" than those of us that tend to watch people for curiosity reasons. Years of books and analysis and statements about what to expect and why/if it conforms to the "norm" tend to jade or make people over analyze the "every day man." But then thats just my personal side of my years of people watching.

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  17. Alex, Interesting response. However, I don't study people just for those reasons and am relatively new to my field so I think I miss the "skewed" part of people watching. Actually, my father encouraged me to watch people and learn. But in fact, the reason I am a people watcher is that after age 12 I was a foster child and, sadly, many of us lack in social skills - including yours truly - so I have spent years learning how to live in society. Not as a sense of a scientist and the ant, but in a sense of the ant and the scientist. Guess whose the ant?

    Also, please, if you are going to read my blog, read it with an open mind, as I do Campbells and any others that I follow. I will not post things that are rude - I did this time, not the next. Until you have read it all, seen the journey, please, don't judge me. Thank you.

    Campbell it has been a pleasure knowing you.

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  18. Lori,

    I found that comment absolutely disgusting and offensive on so many levels. I know many adoptees(including myself) and many adoptive parents. And to say/feel/post that adoptive parents are baby stealers, cruel and not real parents is something that I can not abide by. Just because you had a negative experience with adoption and a negative experience with parenting (since you were a foster child I will assume this)does not give you the right to spread such lies and hate. Adoption is a valid and wonderful way of building a family and as an adopted child for you to essentially say that my parents are horrible people and my family dynamic isn't real...well it reminds me of Hitler spreading unfounded lies about a whole other race of people.

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  19. Alex, I thought hard about posting your last comment. It's really not related to my blog or my post but since I'm not sure just exactly what's going on with you and Lori and the fact that Lori addressed you here regarding a comment I assume you made on an old post of hers, I've posted it, for now.

    I believe in discussion and I hate censorship and believe everyone is entitled to their opinion. I also am inclined to prefer up front commentary as opposed to passive aggressive, ambiguous statements scattered here and there.
    However, I also hate fighting, and hope that some productive discussion can evolve out of whatever's going on here.

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  20. Campbell,

    I debated not posting that response here, because I didn't want to "hijack" your blog or involve you, however since Lori did reply to me here and I felt I had to respond in some way I figured I'd leave it up to your comfort level.

    I honestly could not being myself to go back to Lori's blog right now and am not sure I will be able to any time soon. I started at the beginning of her journey and the 5 or 6th post in made me feel ill. As such I can't bring myself to read any more right now, because I felt it was too insulting to too many people.

    Thanks for being a catalyst for "discussion"

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  21. @Campbell,

    My apologies for bringing my response here - however since I had no other way to reach Alex I did.

    @Alex, if you care to disagree, and show me exactly how my feelings and experiences are totally invalid, please feel free to email me. I do respond. As for "feeling ill" don't read anymore, after all I have blogged prolifically, only about 369 posts after the one that made you feel that way. I think you would find that as time passes and I learn more, there are huge differences in me, my writing and my beliefs as I learn and grow. Campbell is one of the first adoptees I have ever met, on line or off, that has no issues with adoption so learning from her has been a pleasure.

    Mei-Ling is also a pleasure. Her insights and understanding of her own thoughts and feelings are rare and wonderful. She is a good person.

    I also know many adoptive parents that are without a doubt wonderful people. Including my favorite cousin and her spouse.

    Campbell, thank you...you are a good person. I hope that you understand that I am tired of being hammered on because I want to learn.

    Blessed Be,

    Lori

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  22. Very cool, thank you both Lori and Alex.

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