"Victims and Villians" you say

 One of my favorite adoptee bloggers has a great, fearless post up. The following is the comment I left.

 "the only two adults in the equation who hold NO blame are my adoptive parents"

Same for me Amanda. To read things like "no adoption is ethical" just pisses me off. If my parents hadn't adopted me, someone else would have, my parents did nothing wrong. My bio mom was not keeping me, even though she could have financially. As far as the father goes, there was no "father". It's a non issue.

I'm fortunate to have been adopted by decent people. My mom, maybe not the perfect mom for me but good enough, my dad, couldn't have been a better dad for me. I know I am fortunate. There are some real wackos out there.

Vilifying good people who've adopted, pathologizing adopted people, and stereotyping and/or making victims out of all parents who make the choice to place their kids for adoption irritates the hell out of me as do inferences like you describe here...

"I only love my adoptive parents because they've tricked me into doing so, that if I were really educated about adoption ethics, I would realize that "those people" are not my parents and even though they raised me from babyhood, they are nothing more than long time babysitters who I happen to care about."

I've been reading some blogs of former foster kids who'd have given anything to have had the life I did. These are the people my stomach hurts for, people who didn't have good or any parents, bio or adopted.

Great, fearless post.


  1. I totally agree. I don't understand adoptees who are blaming their adoption on their adoptive parents. Seriously: it's your BIOLOGICAL parents who placed you. It's THEIR decision that made you an adoptee. Your adoptive parents may have been horrible parents, but they didn't steal you; your biological mother is who placed you.

    Emotional thinking always annoys me.

  2. Hey Mongoose...I'd just like to say it's not just adoptees who blame adoptive parents and also there are parents who had no choice, or not much of one anyway.

    My comment and the linked post are not meant to suggest coercion, unethical adoption, or baby stealing adoptive parents don't exist, it's just that it's not always that way.

    To say it is is a lie.

  3. Campbell
    I'm curious about the word tricked in that person's post. Is that person saying they were led to believe that they were related to the people that raised then learned later in life that they were adopted? Otherwise I can't see how they were tricked into loving the people who raised them.

  4. Enjoy your blog. I was just thinking about this the past few days. As an adoptive parent I find that I am always learning from adult adoptees on ways to be a better parent and get frustrated that they go unheard by most adoptive parents.

    However, I find that so many times there are blog posts and comments from adoptees that are emotional, hypocritical and illogical that it makes it impossible for most parents to take them seriously about even the important and logical things.

  5. "Seriously: it's your BIOLOGICAL parents who placed you. It's THEIR decision that made you an adoptee."

    I agree for some cases.

    However, I do have to ask - is it still a decision to place even if the government laws puts you in an option of either adoption or death?

    I would think it is a rare case for a mother who has help/support to give up her child. Most adoptees tend to be adopted to high economical families, not lower ones.

  6. P.S. I should clarify. When I mean "some", I mean the cases where the parents produce a girl and they have all the support in the world but still choose to give up the girl in hopes for a boy.

    I don't mean the cases where it is a situation of adoption versus a physical death. (And no, I don't mean abortion either. I mean a parent who wants their child but is forced to "choose" between allowing them to be adopted or letting them die at home.)

  7. I think it's all about the fog, Marilynn. That against all evidence of Good and Right [these people live for moral and scientific absolutes], the a-parents managed to trick the child into loving them. Because, of course, that musn't happen and anyway, we know adoptoraptors turn children into emotional caretakers, actually subverting the true parent and child relationship. And, of course, this happens universally.

    Is the extreme position I think Amanda is describing.

  8. This my comment on ethical adoption that was not accepted on an anti-adoption blog that claims there can be no such thing. It is long so it is in two parts.

    Part 1.
    Ethical adoption would not involve coercion, fraud, or lies.Pregnant
    mothers considering surrender would be fully informed of the
    consequences and the choices available to them, including abortion if it
    is early on, surrender, or keeping and raising their baby. If they
    choose to keep the child help to do this should be available and all
    talk of adoption would cease.

    Adoption would only be through strictly regulated agencies, with
    strictly regulated fees only for real services, not for profit. private
    adoption would be illegal. The natural father and his parents and the
    mother's parents would be involved and strongly urged to try to work
    things out so that the mother or father could raise the baby if they
    were able. This would cut out most unneeded adoptions. Initial
    counseling of mothers in crisis pregnancies would not come from an
    adoption agency but from an independent outside source with no stake in
    the outcome.

    In those cases where it was decided by the parties involved that
    adoption was the lesser evil and better choice they would begin to talk
    to an adoption agency, but there would be NO adoptive parent involvement
    until after the birth, and no prospective adoptive parents at the
    hospital or in the delivery room or in any way personally influencing
    the new mother.

    Surrender could not be signed until at least 6 weeks after the birth,
    with another month after that to change her mind, no questions asked and
    child promptly returned. During the 6 weeks the child could go home with
    the mother or be placed in good temporary foster care. Open adoption
    agreements would be enforceable by law. Adoption records would be open
    to adult adoptees and open adoption would be encouraged where possible.
    Everyone would be told upfront that adoption was a life-long process for
    all, not a one-time event, and that honesty and openness were vital.

  9. Part 2.

    Everyone would be told upfront that adoption was a life-long process for
    all, not a one-time event, and that honesty and openness were vital.

    Continuing realistic grief counseling and contraceptive help would be
    provided for surrendering mothers, whenever they needed it. Adoptive
    parents would also be provided with realistic ongoing counseling and
    help in dealing with the special situation of adoption which is not just
    like raising a biological child. Adoptee questions would be answered in
    age-appropriate way, and adoptee grief respected. Nobody would be told
    to forget or pretend it never happened.

    Yes, this is a dream, but so is seeing adoption totally abolished. I can
    see at least some of this happening in the future, maybe not soon but
    some day.

    I do not think getting rid of all adoption is the answer, as there will
    always be some parents unable or unwilling to raise their children, and
    some children who need stable homes. I think it is possible to do this
    ethically, but will require huge changes in the system. And yes, I am
    aware that there is a lot of opposition, but there is even more
    opposition to totally abolishing adoption. Plus if you believe all
    adoption is evil there is no way to talk about what can be fixed.

  10. Marilynn,

    Hope you don't mind me jumping in (its my post that Campbell was referencing). I used the word "tricked" because thats how many of the radical anti-adoption bloggers will describe the experience of an adoptee. Instead of "tricked", I could have said "conditioned" or "indoctrinated". I've seen pretty frequently in the anti-adoption community the sentiment that the bonds that adoptees form with their (adoptive)families are somehow less than, somehow more false, than the bond between biological parent and child. I disagree. In fact, I'm willing to bet that I love my parents as much as any child could love their parents. But if I say that to the anti adoption community..they will tell me I only *think* I love them, that our relationship is a lie, and that I only *believe* they are my family because I've been raised to believe in the lie.

    It's all bullshit, essentially. I have plenty of conflicting and powerful feelings regarding my adoption. But precious few of them have to do with my adoptive parents and my relationship with my adoptive family. I'm tired of that fact that adoptive parents get all the grit. I know for a fact that there are a bunch of crazy ass people out their who adopt babies. But it's become a stereotype and I'm tired of it.

    Hope that explains a little bit. And, I've always known I was adopted (my parents introduced the idea very early).

  11. I personally don't blame my daughters adoption on her parents nor do I view them as babysitters. They are her parents. Do I think that all adoptions are done morally and legally correct?No. My daughter's parents didn't write the adoption laws but they did take advantage of my lack of rights. That would be zero counseling. The lack of a named father.. that sort of stuff. But I agree about if they didn't adopt her someone else would have.. so blaming the adoptive parents is putting the energy into the wrong places.

  12. Amanda, what you've described here is the anti-adoption reference to Stockholm Syndrome - basically saying that adopted children only grow to love their parents because they have no chance; children need to depend emotionally on someone in order to survive.

    The Stockholm Syndrome comparison makes me incredibly uneasy because uh... well, it's not the same as an adult taking a minor, tying them much and depriving them on the necessities of life to the point where the captive consents/obeys anything just to remain alive.

  13. No, I don't think most anti-adoption absolutists are necessarily describing Stockholm Syndrome, though they do love to bring it up. I think they are describing emotionally frail, needy people who require the adopted child to *give back*. The thing is, there is something to the the idea of the adopted child playing the role of *making people parents* but it is more complex and situation-specific than they are willing to concede.

  14. Maryanne--loved your guidelines. Overseas there are additional issues to deal with (anonymous abandonment,etc.) but the core is terrific.

  15. Love those guidelines too, and, love the fact I got to have them on my blog :D

    One person's garbage is another person's treasure.

    Funny how that goes, innit?

  16. O Solo, I was aware when writing that there is lot more going on with international adoption, and my guidelines are limited to domestic adoption which is what I am familiar with.

    On the subject of anti-adopts, the sermon at my Church yesterday was about humility, and the priest paraphrased a quote from Thomas Merton about those who lack humility remaining forever emotional babies, thinking the world revolves around them. This struck me as being true of the anti-adopts, with their "us against them" worldview, rigid black and white thinking, and narcissistic ideation that their "truth" is ultimate truth and all that matters. "My mind is made up, don't confuse me with facts." Don't confuse me with compassion or empathy either. Ideology is all, individuals other than ME do not matter.

  17. I agree Maryanne that is true for some. "My mind is made up, don't confuse me with facts."

    For others though, I think they're afraid that any kind of straying from their message or the slightest change of heart or mind will diminish all they're trying, have tried, to accomplish. Personally, I don't think that's true. I have much more respect for people who are able to see more than one side, present different points of views, attack issues from different angles.

    And don't forget the peer pressure...I saw a doozy recently, whew. It rang as cultish, not kidding.

  18. Why can't we just accept that each person has their own life story that plays a role in how they feel about everything in life - including their views on adoption if it applies to them.

    Why do we need to point out and label a segment of the adoption population on how good or bad they are? Where they failed? How their view is wrong because of XYZ? Why can't we simply accept that they have their own views and leave it at that?

    Everyones views change based on specific to the individuals life experiences...the view I held as a 5 year old changed/evolved/matured when I was a 10 year old and again when I was 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and when I turn 50 I hope I have evolved past where I was at 45...its called growth...and the day my life view stops changing means I have given up...

    What happened to treating another as you would like to be treated?

  19. I totally agree with what you've said Sandy. This isn't what happens though.

    I have to wonder. Would my parents have treated me differently if they were afraid I'd grow up feeling stolen? That I may be a serial killer? Some kind of deviant, no matter how they parented me, no matter how aware they were of the possibility of grief and accepting of my questions?

    Would I question the reality of my feelings for my family if I was told I was really suffering from Stockholm Syndrome? That in fact my being adopted was nothing short of slavery? That what I was adopted for was to fill a void for "emotionally frail, needy people"?

    Would I feel guilty about not having thought of my bio parents on birthdays once I found out all other adopted people didn't enjoy their birthdays, except maybe for the presents?

    Support is one thing. Influence is another.

    If you feel ok, that's ok. If you don't, find others who can accept how you're feeling at that particular stage in the journey. People who understand change and know absolutes don't exist in familial situations. People who have compassion and understanding for all who are deserving, not just those who feel the same or say the "right things".

    I feel it sooo often reading adoption blogs and their comments. People reading here right now who may have much to contribute or are trying to become informed through discussion are likely too afraid to say the wrong thing and hurt an adoptee's feelings or piss off an adoptionland friend they're sure thinks this discussion is a load of crap.

    Which brings me to the people who are reading right now and thinking...just stfu.

  20. Campbell,

    You said..."Support is one thing and influence is another"...

    Absolutely and influence can make you think those things but the average Joe will also think about those things in context with their own real life experiences and keep what fits and throw out what doesn't. Some adoptees had parents who should never have parented...and they will feel strongly in regards to adoption not being a good thing. Some adoptees will have great parents and think adoption is the be all and end all and everyone should do it. Some adoptees will find the middle ground and each will have specific areas that they think need changing in adoption. Some adoptees will never think about adoption at all...

    Labels, camps and bashing only serve to further alienate adoptees from other adoptees. Allowing each to have our own opinion is what is needed. We are all entitled to our opinion that will vary over our lifetime and even by triggers that happen that day or last week.

    I get triggered and sometimes lash out - I feel empathy and console...I do not accept unethical behaviour and speak up and out when I feel my thoughts may make a difference.

    I make mistakes and when I realize my mistakes I change...

  21. I get something out of reading a lot of perspectives--Mei Ling, Campbell, Amanda(s), Joy, Melissa, Lorraine, Lori, to name a few . . . but don't get much out of reading the "bashers". Big difference. Campbell, like you I also (coincidentally) started reading more foster blogs. A whole other territory of perspectives, that's for sure.

  22. I also enjoy reading many of the same blogs as Osolo. They are honest and are able to point out the problems with adoption without bashing anyone personally. (Campbell, Amanda (2), Mei-Ling, Melissa, Joy, Christina, OSolo, Paula, and Thrid Mom are some of the ones I have learned a lot from.)

    As soon as as an AP or PAP starts talking about God telling them to adopt or an anti-adoption blogger starts talking about baby-stealers and adoptorapters, I stop reading b/c I know there will be no rational discussion.

    That's why I love this blog and many others. Because there is RATIONAL, INTELLIGENT discussion. Many times the points brought up are ones I had not considered and that is what we can learn from as APs.

  23. Interesting post and interesting conversation about it.

    A thought (speaking only for myself) on why APs take a lot of the heat: I think perhaps part of it comes from our collective unwillingness to say that adoption is broken. Many do (and many of those who do are commenting here), but plenty more don't, and expend plenty of energy crafting dismissals and denials that adoption has to improve, and parts of it actually have to end.

    It's just so complex.

  24. Sandy, there are camps and they do have labels, and they do not allow for a variety of individual experience, but insist that all or most adoptees and natural parents feel as they do, or are "in denial" from the anti side or "bitter, troubled and angry" from the "adoption is wonderful" side.

    Pointing this out is not what makes it so, but rather the philosophies behind both extremes. Every person's individual experience is their own, good or bad. Feelings just are, they are not right or wrong.Nobody can tell someone else how they should feel. What is wrong is generalizing one's own experience to cover "all" and insisting that it is the norm, that all adoption is a gift from God, or that all adoption is evil.

    As to labels, if a person insists over and over that adoption should be abolished, they are anti-adoption, whether they like the label or not. Yes, they can change their mind, grow and mature and move on, but until they do, the label fits. Same on the other end for those who insist adoption is the most wonderful thing, no problems, and everyone should do it, or that people who want a child are entitled to one no matter what. Some people call them rainbow farters, which I think fits them as well.

  25. For sure I've seen that happen Margie. There are people like that. Who won't acknowledge that anything is broken or bad, they say, "well, that may be true about THOSE adoptive parents but my little Johnny will be just fine because I love him just the right amount so he'll never think about his bio parents, that adopted person must just be crazy. How do I know this? Well, god told me of course". Yup, seen that. These people won't be changing their tune for anything, in my opinion.

    But I also see people just waiting for a little slip up by a decent person, working hard to bring change, to pounce on. You've experienced it yourself. In fact, I just noticed a little somrthing this morning on Angry Amom about using the term triad. It was a minor reaction last I'd saw, but, it was on the petty side given the subject matter.

    Good info gets lost in the fray all the time it seems to me.

  26. "I think perhaps part of it comes from our collective unwillingness to say that adoption is broken."

    If the system wasn't broken, there would be no need for it to exist because there would be nothing wrong in order to require that system. The system is a solution to an already shitty situation.

    And the system is the answer to how adoptive families are created.

    That has to be the most screwed up irony for quite a few adoptees.

  27. I don't know that *all* APs are blameless, but mine are. They did the best they could with the knowledge they had at the time. They love me unconditionally, helped me grow into a person I can be proud to be, listened to me (mostly), encouraged me to follow my dreams, supported me in my search, welcomed my brother into our family and commiserated with me when things went badly. I couldn't have been more fortunate in my roll of the aparent dice.

    I only feel comfortable speaking for myself, though. I have many adoptee friends who were sadly used and abused by their aparents. IMO, those APs have plenty to answer for.

  28. "I have many adoptee friends who were sadly used and abused by their aparents. IMO, those APs have plenty to answer for."

    You got that right ms.marginalia. Couldn't have said that better myself.

  29. This is a good post and a lot of good discussion it is much needed.

    The fact is that there a lot of children in foster care in this country and they need permanent homes and the kind of stability that you did have growing up.

    There will always be people who give birth to children that they can’t or wont take care of them and when all else fails, adoption needs to be an option for those children.

    There are good people in this world who truly want to help children, they may not be perfect, but they are willing to try. We as adults who have been through the system need to speak in a voice they can hear.

    There is a lot of pain and anger involved in adoption and the foster care system. we must be able to maintain some sense of civility and common sense if we want to influence positive change for those who are coming up after us.

  30. Agreeing that some adoptive parents have a lot to answer for, including my son's adoptive mother. Neither my experience with adoption nor my son's were good ones. I am not basing my views on adoption only on my personal experience which has been a horror. But I know many good adoptive parents, not the ones with their head in the sand about adoption needing fixing, and know there are difficult circumstances where it is better for a child to be raised by parents who are not blood relatives.

    Yes, common sense and civility are needed if we are to get anyone to listen and actually influence positive change, and calling for adoption to be abolished is not going to accomplish that. People by and large are turned off and stop listening to our legitimate complaints.

  31. "common sense and civility are needed if we are to get anyone to listen and actually influence positive change, and calling for adoption to be abolished is not going to accomplish that."

    Awesome...thanks Sunday and Maryanne.

  32. This REALLY upsets me. Adoptive parents are HEROES in my book. "No adoption is ethical?" Has this person ever met a long time foster child? So what does this person think should happen to orphaned children? Should they remain orphans for life? Languish in institutions? THAT would be unethical!

    Some people are so ignorant. Adoptive parents are just like regular people. There will be good ones and bad ones. Adoptive parents make mistakes just like regular parents. Genes do not make a family. Love and commitment make a family.

  33. "But I also see people just waiting for a little slip up by a decent person, working hard to bring change, to pounce on."

    Oh, yeah, been there, done that, and got the t-shirt!! LOL!!

    "If the system wasn't broken, there would be no need for it to exist because there would be nothing wrong in order to require that system. The system is a solution to an already shitty situation."

    Absolutely. Until we (meaning "we the citizens of the world") have come to a place in which every child is welcomed by its parents and community, we will have to deal with a sad reality. Fixing adoption while it's around doesn't preclude working on the things that would prevent it. In my mind they actually go hand in hand: Work to prevent unplanned pregnancy, work to help parents parent, and work to make adoption as ethical and just as possible when it's necessary and warranted.

    Of course, nowadays we derail immediately on the definition of when adoption is necessary and warranted, so that's an area that needs a lot of work ASAP.

  34. "Adoptive parents are HEROES in my book."

    We-ell, going on that train of thought - shouldn't standards be set higher for them than biological parents?

  35. Thank you Campbell, for weighing in. I think people forget that there are a whole lot of different perspectives out there. While I'm glad nobody really pounced on your for speaking up, it's a tiny bit disappointing that nobody acknowledged it either.

    Mei Ling, to answer your question, no. Standards should be set higher period, for all the kinds of parents that exist in this day and age.

  36. Thanks for clarifying what you meant. I've been spending this year reading and learning about all the different points of view. I think I've changed my point a view a bunch of times because of it. I just like helping people uncover the truth and find the people they've been prevented from knowing. So I want to change the laws that conceal information from people. At first I just wanted to abolish adoption. But again it was only so that one group of people could not control what information another group of people could have. I'm learning a lot.
    I have a little robinhood syndrom maybe, I like giving people the info that's been hidden from them, like telling them the name they were given at birth, because it belongs to them. I'd like to change the law so that everyone would just deserve to know, this was your name this was the person that gave birth to you. Stupid robin hood syndrom my thighs look fat in these green tights.


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