Everyone exists in a reality that was created by someone else

I've just been reading a blog post. It seemed so much like the blogger was reaching for trouble, creating their own drama, surmising about things that seem like a stretch in imagination. I get that it's in an effort to inform, to educate, to warn others about the possible ramifications of adoption but not everyone knows that's the intent, or will take the time to investigate. Take the time to think about the words and the feeling and care that goes into them. I know for myself as soon as I note that a blog seems unrealistic or ridiculous, (overly religious PAP's or AP's come to mind) I'm gone. Never to return.

It got me thinking about birth order and birthrights and gender at birth, not to mention circumstance of birth. How absolutely self indulgent and whiny adopted person's issues may come across to those who are biological to their family but yet still have their own personal crosses to bear, those who mean it when they say they "wish they'd been adopted". I also acknowledge that an adopted person may have their adoption issues as well as the problems I discuss here, sort of like a double whammy.

I mean just think about how many scenarios can and do exist. I'm going to list a few and welcome any I don't mention or haven't thought of. If you're touched by adoption, try and put that aside and think of "regular" folks for just a minute or two. I know some will say that's impossible, that they can't because they are, but for those that can, be creative or tap in to your own experience or the experience of those you know.

I mean seriously, isn't it supposed to be about children, period? Not just those of us who are adopted?

K, the first one I want to discuss is gender. I know of at least one person who insisted throughout her entire pregnancy she'd be terribly disappointed if she had a boy. No matter what was said to her, no matter how many times she was begged to not think that way, she was adamant that she did not want a boy and vowed she'd be unhappy if she had one. She did. Nuff said.

The unwanted, unplanned, yet kept child. This child could be the oldest, the youngest, or an in between but the timing of their conception was poor, unexpected, and inconvenient. The parent or parents cannot get over this fact and have an uncontrollable resentment toward this child for their entire existence.

The child born to a person of celebrity or infamy. The whole world knows who they are and their story. It is inescapable, the child's existence is forever compared to their famous parent, their every move under a microscope.

Order of birth. It can be huge you know. There are many traits and responsibilities automatically assigned based on birth order. There are unconscious attitudes toward other family members, peers, co-workers, and offspring directly related to the order of one's birth.

Poverty. People born into impoverished situations are affected by it, just as they can be affected by being born into wealth. It can be negative or positive, but they are affected.

Who a person is conceived to, and why. I'll use the example of a child conceived by people trying to "fix" their unhappy or broken relationship. I dare anyone to say this is effective in achieving the intended goal. If the relationship is broken a child will certainly not repair it but the responsibility to do have done so can be glaring to the child.

A child conceived of rape. I imagine no matter how "ok" the mother is with it all, that even if she's managed to somehow separate the act of conception and the process of giving birth and parenting, the child is affected by who and what their father is or was.

A child who is a multiple, but is the only survivor of birth. I know of people who've experienced this and there seems to be a measure of guilt and/or loss they carry forever.

Children who exist in a family and have suffered the loss of a sibling, suffer their parents loss of a child. This can come in the form of death, adoption, mental illness and/or substance abuse and addiction, incarceration whether it be wrongful or warranted. I think of the family of an American woman who is in prison for murder in Italy. I saw some coverage of how the rest of the children in that family are affected and it's heartbreaking, all around.

Children who suffer the loss of the important parent or parents when they are young and still need their mom or dad and have to make this difficult journey through life without the person they needed the most.

Finally, I think of children born to evil or demented parents. Children like those born to well known women who have put their sick husbands before their own babies, or who abuse their babies themselves, either after they are born or before.Children conceived by horrible men who do horrible things to others and/or their own children.

I understand, accept, and empathize with adopted people who feel a primal wound or experience trauma because of it. I believe some people are more affected than others, whether it be because of their personality or because of their circumstance or a combination of both. I think though that we don't have the corner on misery, trauma, loss, rejection, guilt, obligation or even abandonment. Nothing is ever perfect, one can ever know what if's or what if not's. These are our lives, these are our families, both created for all of us who exist without any one of us having been consulted or given choices.

I think every child deserves to be born planned and wanted, just the way they are, to responsible, caring and thoughtful people who've given thought to what they are doing, what choices they've made and will make for this new human being so that when the rest of the crap happens, at least they've had a fighting chance to make it.

Idealistic, maybe unrealistic, perhaps even ridiculous I know, but thank you for sticking around to the end even if you think so.


  1. I heard on NPR yestereday that 50% (!!!) of pregnancies in the US are unplanned. Many kids have problems that are unrelated to adoption. However, I don't think most adoptees are whining. I think the main point many want to get across is that adoption is seen as such a positive in our society and no one acknowledges the negatives and the loss involved. Most of the situations listed are recognized as negative, whereas adoption is often seen as only positive. That is the main point I have learned from adoptees online. However, having said that, when an adoptee or anyone else starts calling me a kidnapper or child trafficker, I won't read their blog anymore. You are right that there are some blogs that just seem to be all about the drama and saying ridiculous things (like adoption is the same as kidnapping) and that is when I am gone, too.

  2. I don't necessarily think most adoptees are whining either Kris, but as I say in the post, not sure how they "may come across to those who are biological to their family but yet still have their own personal crosses to bear".

  3. I don't read many adoptee blogs, but I do follow a couple of them - both written by young transracial adoptees in their early to mid-20s. I find a lot of their angst comes from their age - I remember being that age and feeling my problems were super important. Sometimes I want to respond, "You know, as a fellow Asian, I've experienced that too and I don't think that is limited to Asian adoptees" but I know that they wouldn't appreciate that. I wouldn't have, at that age, either. So I don't.

    In the above, I fall under the "Children who exist in a family and have suffered the loss of a sibling, suffer their parents loss of a child." Through mental illness. So yeah, I do have little patience for whining. I tend to avoid blogs (and people) that only do that.

  4. Thank you for the honest, considerate comment yokogao.

    The "category" you fall under is indeed a tough one to navigate.

  5. How about children who are adopted, black in a white family, and have abio brother with cancer???? :) Sucks for my family right now all around right?

    I appreciate this post because it says what I think a lot of us feel but never express...that many situations are unfortunate. And I believe that adoptees that are in pain are just trying to say, hey...put me in the suffering category and give me sympathy and compassion too, rather than tell me to just be grateful. DOn't you think?

    You wouldn't tell a rape victim to be grateful, but adoptees get the "be grateful" thing often (my own kids get that already via strangers telling me how lucky they are). Many adoptees feel similar pain and anger in their lives (from what I understand) and want the same consideration. I think this is what you are trying to say as well.

    Many have had bad situations and we all deserve more compassion and understanding.

  6. yokogao,
    good point about that age group. I don't like to generalize, but at that age you are really trying to discover who you are and figure out why you are the way you are and perhaps experience a lot of agst - as you said. I used to HATE it when people disparaged my thoughts and feelings when I was younger and when they would say things like "You'll feel differently when you're older." But is really true, no? At 41 I can honestly say I barely recognize who I was at 22 (and I mean this in a good way!). Good point.

  7. Yes Shannan, it totally sucks for you and your family right now.

    The rape analogy is odd to use, for me, although I've seen it done elsewhere, which is why I'm sure you've used it here.

    It's absurd to think a victim of rape would or should have something to be grateful for where as thinking a person adopted out of a "dangerous or obviously bleak institutional situation where they haven't a parent in sight or the one that is present is either an axe murderer, a heroine addicted crack head, or 12 year old prostitute who's on her 10th baby"(I actually don't know what people assume about the parents of adopted children, but, it ain't good) than it's not so absurd to imagine someone involved might be a little grateful for something.

    That's where education comes in. That adopted people has nothing more to be grateful for than their non adopted brothers and sisters. We're also just as entitled to feel grateful or lucky or fortunate if we do, but, it's one area for sure there shouldn't be any difference between adopted and non adopted kids.

    Course I've blathered on again but I guess part of my whole point is how can people be educated if they're turned off immediately because they have familial problems too that they've dealt with or are dealing with and are kind of shaking their heads at us adopted people saying, "geeeeez, you think you got it bad?!?!?!" instead of "wow, I didn't know it felt like that to be adopted, it's kind of how I feel about my situation and I can relate to this".

    I dunno, none of it seems that important when I think of what you're going through Shannan. Hopefully I've provided some distraction for you at least. You're welcome to vent here anytime if you want or need, thanks for your comment.

  8. I agree that age and experience are relevant even if it's not applicable to all.

    I also think that young people are capable of accepting there's a possibility they'll feel different "when they're older" but that message has got to be delivered by someone they respect, trust and/or admire and relayed in a non dismissive way.

    I have found an exception when it comes to this though, and that's when it comes to marriage or romantic love. Seems nobody can tell anyone anything at any age when it comes to love.

    Biology is cruel isn't it? We're designed to have children when we're young but we're quite often too young to make the best choice about who to have babies with.

  9. "I think every child deserves to be born planned and wanted"

    I agree with this, but I do feel the need to point out that unwanted does not necessarily always end up equaling -unloved-.

    I'm also not saying it's impossible for a mother to not love her child. I also believe that has more to do with mental issues in the mother's mind than it does anything regarding her body's hormones and her reaction towards the body she birthed.

    Some people might say "Well a mother isn't 'supposed' to love her child, it's all societal hierarchy and social expectations." IMO, I disagree with that. Aren't we all designed for nature, or -shouldn't- we be? That's why people want to parent. It's a natural feeling.

    But uh, anyway, as I was saying, unplanned doesn't always mean "unwanted." It is often outside factors which end up dictating to a mother's psychology/hormones if the child will end up being unloved even at birth.

    (I won't pretend to understand mothers who get unplanned pregnancies and then end up NOT parenting their unwanted AND unloved child anyway.)

  10. Biology can definitely be cruel to itself.

    Sometimes I find it hard to believe my mother and brother are related, the way they go at each other. And they're both adults! With their own families.

    Yeah, they're blood, although sometimes if you had never told me I wouldn't want to believe it - blood kin can be pretty nasty to itself. But I think their relationship is more naturally created (base foundation of DNA) as opposed to a child who was factually born to someone else.

  11. Hey Mei Ling

    I definitely agree that unwanted, or even unplanned, doesn't necessarily always end up equaling unloved.

    When you describe your brother and mom's nature, what sounds like "something in the genes", it makes me think of the times that my dad would say "thank god you're adopted" when some family members were not showing their best side.

    I always found this humorous, and was at those times "grateful" myself. I hope you get what I mean : )

  12. Well, the pro of them being blood related is that they have each other. They are mirrored in each other - that's not something I get from my adoptive family. It's only something I see from my blood kin.

    The con of them being related is that when they're nasty, it's hard to believe two people who are blood-related CAN be so nasty.

    I realize this is kinda proving the point that "blood doesn't conquer all" in every-day relationship, but technically that is my point - two people who are literally "of" each other can also treat each other as garbage, and it's just... not right.

  13. I must say, when I hear about how "Uncle John" on Dad's side or "Aunt Mary" on Mom's side has been diagnosed with cancer or has a history of [genetic disease], that's when I think I'm glad to be adopted.

    But then again, I don't know what my own family is at risk of, so there's another con to being adopted.

  14. I'll drink to people not treating each other as garbage!

    Of course it's true we don't know what our biological people are at risk of but I've always been able to find a bit of humour in being adopted and when the "crazy genes" are staring you in the face it was always kind of, still is, to be able to go "phew! I'm so dodging that bullet".

    I imagine my biological people are "practically perfect in every way" ...they must be 'cause I am! ; )

  15. it was always kind of "fun" is what I meant to say.

    I did say practically :|

  16. Yeah, but I meant not being able to find out if your biological grandmother has a history of heart cancer that she passed onto your bio mom - only you don't know about this because you don't have the language to ask.

    I don't think I can relate to the "crazy genes" aspect. I've heard about it being talked about by other adult adoptees as a sort of inside joke with their adoptive families, but my adoptive family was never like that.

  17. "Yeah, but I meant not being able to find out if your biological grandmother has a history of heart cancer that she passed onto your bio mom - only you don't know about this because you don't have the language to ask."

    Ahh, ok. Gotcha.

    Mei Ling, have you ever thought of hiring a translator some day to have this type (or any type) of conversation with your mom?

  18. Another scenario is a child living with a sibling who has drug/legal problems. My mom was the child dealing with her siblings drug addition(s) and subsequent legal problems. Despite his problems she still loved him and was there for him. After my grandmother passed on my mom maintained contact with my uncle even though he had caused major issues right after the funeral. She was there for him til the end, sadly he passed away last month at the age of 54. My Mom has buried both parents and a sibling. I can't even begin to understand what that was/is like for her, only those who have done it can.

    On a lighter note, hubby and I have joked numerous times about our "genetic gene pools" whenever people asked why we were adopting, one of us would usually respond with, "You've met my family right? Need I say more?"

  19. Haha cheryl, ahh yes. That is funny and a good response to a question that can sometimes be nobody's business.

    Nice to see you again, was wondering where you'd gotten to : )

  20. I've been lurking. Pondering/reading/comprehending posts and other's comments, mostly.

  21. Campbell, I dig this post. I am only speaking for myself, and this comment is not directed at anyone but me. As you know, I had to walk away from the sorrowful stuff. I had an adult version of the grieving period over the past year, and now it's time to be a human being living in the present and moving forward - partly for some of the reasons you state here. Yes, everyone has a burden to carry or lay down, as each needs or desires. Thanks for this post, and the discussion.

  22. Hi Raina, thanks for commenting.

    I like that, burden to carry or lay down. Sometimes it can be our choice, can't it?

  23. There are many, many who suffer trauma and all the things you list.There is no scale of suffering, no way to rate whether it is worse for some, better for others..Some learn to deal with life and survive, others do not.
    Adoptees of course,are not the only ones suffering, but they are, along with genuine orphans the only ones who suffer the loss of attachment to their mother.It's been well documented elsewhere, so won't go on.
    There are those in the adoption world who because of their issues, like to stir up trouble, reignite their anger and keep it going.It's not healthy and it's not the best way to survive adoption but it may be the only way for those people.It is also not the best way to be a successful adopter or a survive relinquishment.There is much wrong with the way we raise children today, the way we parent and the way we view children, their rights and their lives.

  24. "Adoptees of course,are not the only ones suffering, but they are, along with genuine orphans the only ones who suffer the loss of attachment to their mother."

    That's not true. People who grow up with a mother who doesn't want them or has attachment problems herself also miss out on the mother-child attachment.

  25. I see how you're working through some complicated issues and feelings related to adoption here, and I agree wholeheartedly that "complicated" is the name of the game.

    I am confused, however, by your mention of a "gang mindset" among some of us who advocate for adoptee rights and the primal wound theory. I saw elsewhere how you were very concerned about what you termed the hypocrisy of those who dared used subjunctive phraseology, "perhaps..." rather than speak for anyone else's feelings. And now you use "gang mindset"? How is that any less judgmental that the use of "perhaps" to describe another person's experiences? There are no initiation rites or rules to follow in order to find a home among activist adoptees; I didn't have to flame AP or PAP blogs to build street cred. I feel free to disagree, and I have found most people to be open and welcoming.

    I also want to say that I am a person who has been very negatively affected by lack of medical history, and then lies about familial medical history. I am glad that you personally weren't affected by not knowing anything about yours, but it is, for some of us, a very big deal and not something to be swept away with a laugh.

    I am disappointed by your lack of sensitivity when you are so vocal in demanding it of others.

  26. Katherine, criticism and disappointment noted.

    Thanks for commenting.


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