Deal With It

What are you doing? Don't you see your actions betray your claims of love? How can you love yet not defend? Why is the joy not a good thing? Why aren't you happy for those who are happy, the ones you claim to love? Why isn't there a sense of relief in simply knowing? There would be if you truly cared in the first place. Can you not see how your behaviour makes it seem like it's all about you?

I'd rather know the truth. My truth may be easier, knowing my adoption was wanted. I don't know how I'd feel if it were the opposite but I know I'd be angry at being made to feel guilty for being ok. If it's really about your long lost child, them being ok would be a good thing. Be honest, it's the pain of being left behind. The pain of knowing it didn't have to be you as mom for things to work out.

What is so wrong with being happy to be alive? To be grateful the roll of the dice came up a winner? A roll of the dice that was thrown on an innocent child's behalf.

Why can't you see how hurtful it could be to dismiss another's reality? To make it about you, to be closed-minded, to stubbornly stick to a script when there isn't one.

You can have your pain and loss. It's obvious, it makes sense. Why must you be blinded by it? Conjure up evil where there is none, exaggerate and make false comparisons. Aren't the real issues enough? Aren't the actual injustices horrific enough for you?

Listen, and learn. Respect and admire. Speak for yourself and allow others to do the same.

There are babies and children who are unwanted. They deserve families. They deserve to have a chance. Be honest with yourself so you can be honest with others.

Why must you set people up for failure? Mislead, misinform. Do you not realize in doing so you grant people the freedom to blame the innocent? To point fingers at their child instead of themselves? Do you realize you're setting other up people's unkept children for disappointment by saying their mothers think daily about them and would give anything to know them? That mothers who reject their adult children are a rarity? That unkept children are the same as the kept children? It's not true for everyone.

You're perpetuating what you claim to be against, the marginalization of unwanted children. It obviously wasn't enough that you wanted your child, if you did. Too many others in your life did not, for whatever reason.

And so your now adult child is fine. You won't believe it though. If they love their parents, this is a bad thing for you. You secretly feel good if they had bad parents. If they say that they had good parents, they are not to be believed. They must be afraid to say otherwise. If they had bad parents and still don't like you, again it's everyone else's fault. It couldn't possibly be you and the things you say and do.

How disappointing it must be to not like the adult your child became, but really, not all that uncommon. You're no different than your children's parents whom you detest. In fact, you may even be worse. It's comical how you blame each other, each using the other as an excuse for the disappointment you feel in this adult you all claim to love but who will never measure up, will never fill the void you are unable to fill yourself. Our kids don't exist to build us up, make us whole, kiss our boo-boos. It's supposed to be the other way around.

Biology doesn't matter, unless you are disappointed in the kid you got. Nurture doesn't matter, unless you are disappointed in the kid you created.

You want to support adoptee rights? How about also supporting the right to be ok? The right to be whatever we are, as children and adults. Honour the experience without using it as an excuse to label, to dismiss, to predict, to assume. To insult.

Is your adult child that you didn't raise not good enough for you? Maybe you should look at yourself. Maybe you should look at those who have managed to develop relationships and instead of envying them and dismissing them, learn from them.

My deepest sympathies to all adoptees who search and find nasty, bitter, biological parents who are not happy for you if you made it through ok. My deepest sympathies to all adoptees who got stuck with crappy adoptive parents who aren't happy for you if you searched and found decent, good, biological parents. My deepest sympathies to all parents, biological or adoptive, who have narcissistic, self-absorbed, bitchy adult kids who take advantage and refuse to see how fortunate they are.

Although it angers you to your core that I say it, many of us adoptees are ok.

Deal with it.


  1. So true!!! So at the heart of why it isn't working for so many. Linking if I may please.Von

  2. I don't know. If this is about the latest FMF post, I don't agree with your reading of it at all. I was in agreement with Lorraine and agree that for someone to come onto their birth mother's blog, read a post she wrote about how family reunions are another reminder and illustration of all she has lost by not raising her daughter, and respond solely about how great her family and their reunions are (meaning exclusively adoptive) is extremely tone deaf, at best.

    I don't think anyone owes their parent a specific way of thinking about their adoption or of defining their family, but that does not give them a license to be cruel or hurtful, however inadvertently.

    I have been thinking about adoption discourse a lot lately, as I'm trying to create an off-line group that balances respecting every adoptees' experience as their own with providing space for adoptees to explore issues/feelings that aren't welcome in mainstream adoption-discourse (which is overwhelmingly positive - I think the internet is distorted because it is such a small closed community, but it still is not an uniformly critical space*).

    So, I do think that adoptees who did have a positive experience do have a responsibility to step back and let people who didn't have that space for discussion, to work out their thoughts, etc. This doesn't give license to others to denigrate adoptees who do feel positively or silence those who don't agree BAMN, and that is were I think the online adoption community, as much as it is one, falls down spectacularly.

    * pretty much only allows pro-adoption adoptees or at least those willing to keep any criticisms of adoptive parents and the adoption industry to themselves.

  3. I hope my boys join you in the "are ok" ranks, all life considered, one day. Today they are. They prefer us (who they remember and know) to what came before. That could change, I know, and we're planning on finding their first family while they're still young. But it helps to read that some of you who were adopted "are ok." As simple as that sounds.

  4. Bravo! Great post that says a great deal of what needs to be said. Dawn, we are not talking about, but about the blogs of adoption reform people, like FMF, which are increasingly hostile to any point of view but their own, that adoption is evil, most adoptees damaged, most birthmothers grieving and eager to meet their surrendered children. Oh yeah, and all biological families full of mystical bonds and human kindness, as opposed to adoptive families who are all dysfunctional.

    Someone having a different experience or a different take on the same experience from yourself is not an insult. I did not see anyone commenting on FMF that everyone should be happy with their adoption or feel as they do. I did see people vilified and censored for daring to be honest about their own experience.

  5. a dawn:
    I did also write about my thoughts on my birthmother's reunion, but Lorraine declined to post it.

    I felt great at the first family reunion with my birth mother. It was a wonderful 10 days. The trip to Ecuador was very expensive, and my birthmom footed the bill. This crossed a personal boundary, and I felt guilty about it. Nevertheless, I accepted her offer, mostly to spend time with her, but I will admit it was partly to get a free trip to South America. One of Jane's daughters was resentful about me going to her family reunion. She confronted me about it, felt I was taking advantage of Jane. So I had to deal with that on top of my own guilt about the money.

    My adoptive parents and one adoptive brother were also mad at me for going to Ecuador. They had planned a family reunion in California later in the summer. I found out about it too late and couldn't find any cheap flights, and so I told my parents we wouldn't be going to CA because I couldn't afford it. At this point a lot of backbiting commenced in my adoptive family. My brother quit talking to me for a time, and my mom was very stressed every time we communicated. I got some weird letters from her, telling me how Jane intimidated her. Finally, my a-mom came out with the real issue: "You could afford to go to her reunion, but you won't come to ours." I explained that Jane was paying for me to go to Ecuador, and this only made everyone more mad. My husband was also a little bit jealous that I was going to South America and he wasn't.

    Adoptees are supposed to get love from two sets of families. But in my case, I got two sets of families pissed off at me.

    Once we got to South America, I had a wonderful time. I brought my oldest daughter (10 years) and a nursing baby. Because of the baby I didn't do some of the activities with the others, but I did enough, and Jane and others would take turns watching him for me. My daughter and I hung out with Jane's daughter Lucy the most, and she is an upbeat, peppy person who is a lot of fun. My daughter and I have also kept loosely in touch with one of Jane's nieces and her family, because she had a daughter the same age as mine and they played on the beach in Ecuador.

    Fast forward to Jane's family reunion 3 years later in New Orleans. The evening I arrived with my husband and children I was asked to become involved in a conflict between some members of Jane's extended family. I gave an honest opinion, and offered all my support. My behavior was not as Jane expected, and this caused a rift, which grew more intense with time.

    I have not attended any of Jane's reunions since New Orleans because I want to avoid conflict and think it's a bad idea to pull me into extended family issues. It hurts Jane.

  6. I can appreciate what dawn is saying for the most part, but, the line that I most definitely disagree with is:
    "So, I do think that adoptees who did have a positive experience do have a responsibility to step back and let people who didn't have that space for discussion, to work out their thoughts, etc."

    No adoptee should have to be silent about their experience good or bad, it's about listening to each other's experiences and respecting them.
    A good experience shouldn't be ignored, nor should a bad expereince be dismissed.

  7. "You could afford to go to her reunion, but you won't come to ours". Ahh I could totally see my mom saying exactly that and can also imagine the fallout in telling the trip was paid for. What a difficult situation to have been put in Megan.

  8. This is an awesome post with many thought-provoking points to ponder. For openers, my initial reading brought to mind the proverbial adage that Misery Loves Company. This seems to be the only plausible explanation as to why many of the same people continue to demean, ridicule and dismiss others with opposing perspectives and differing experiences over and over again. As Campbell noted, they profess love, but betray that very love by their deeds. Rather than finding joy in the happiness of others, they prefer to stamp it out. Ironically then, it’s not the joy but the misery that becomes the unifying thread.
    I would also disagree that those with positive adoptive experiences need to take a step back. All voices should be valued to an equal degree. None should be denigrated. As a firstmom, I have personally benefited more from hearing from adoptees who have had positive adoption experiences. This is why voices like Megan’s and Campell’s are so important in the adoption community. Since adoption isn’t going to disappear anytime soon, today’s young adoptees could benefit from possible mentoring from adoptees like Megan and Campbell. What I find most striking is the fact that for them adoption seems to be a part of their life whereas for so many others online, life seems to be a part of adoption.

  9. Megan, you don't have to justify yourself to me. I probabbly shouldn't have commented on other's personal relationships/blog posts. I also thought Lorraine's reference to not posting relationship comments was just to me telling her her blog needs to be better moderated.

    I agree that no one should be disrespected or ignored, but I do think that adoptees with a good experience have more of a responsibility to make sure other voices are heard and respected.

    Adoption discourse, overall, is weighted in the favor with those with positive experiences, so not only that they are usually the only ones whose voices are heard and validated, their voices are the ones adoptive parents pick out to justify not only their adoption but to ignore any possible adoption-related issues, and their voices are used to silence more critical or negative adoptees. Outside of a small, closed loop of blogs, adoptees with a more critical or negative outlook don't have the ability to really drive mainstream adoption discourse or silence anyone beyond an individual level.

    So I guess the tl;dr is that yes, every adoptee's voice should be equal, but given the pro-adoption slant of mainstream discourse, they aren't and positive adoptees, especially in support spaces, who refuse to recognize that dynamic do come across really poorly.

    My only point in bringing up is that rigidly-enforced groupthink and sanctioned misbehavior is not at all a feature unique to or necessarily endemic to anti/reform/negative adoption spaces (I'm not even sure it's unique to adoption spaces).

  10. Gail, I'm really not sure what benefit promoting positive adoptees only as mentors is supposed to accomplish. As someone who has grown up as an adoptee, I can say that positive adoptees are already the only acceptable model for young adoptees and forcing a mentoring relationship like that would be no help or even harmful to someone who is ambivalent or unhappy with their adoption.

  11. Dawn, in fairness to Gail she said "could benefit from possible mentoring" which is nothing like saying promoting "only" positive adoptees as mentors or "forcing" a mentoring relationship like that. In making your point, which I do understand, you've kind of misrepresented what she actually said.

    As I said though, I do understand your point that for some people the only model available is of an all positive experience which would not be helpful in the slightest to a young adoptee that's struggling, that it could in fact contribute to them feeling like there is something wrong with them that they are struggling.

  12. A Dawn said"My only point in bringing up is that rigidly-enforced groupthink and sanctioned misbehavior is not at all a feature unique to or necessarily endemic to anti/reform/negative adoption spaces (I'm not even sure it's unique to adoption spaces). "

    No, it is not unique to adoption sites, but unfortunate wherever it happens. I think it vital that adoption reform sites NOT mirror happy dappy pro-adoption sites with "rigidly enforced groupthink", which is what I fear is happening. You seem to have missed that neither Campbell nor Megan were telling anyone else how to feel, nor preventing them from expressing negative experiences with adoption. If everyone's experience is not validated, it is just another, opposite "groupthink" cult, not a forum for open and honest expression.

    I had a lousy adoption experience as a birthmother. But I do not feel that someone else having had a positive experience and telling about it in any way negates mine, insults me, nor threatens me. My experience is mine, and theirs is their own, and as long as they are not saying I should feel as they do, everything is fine. Somebody honestly expressing a different feeling or experience should not be a threat to those mature enough to see beyond their own needs and story.

    We in adoption reform cannot control what the whole world thinks and says about adoption. What we can control is our own space, and leave it a place for honest expression and debate, not a virtual gated community.

    The general view of adoption is not all that positive anyhow, lots and lots of ambivalence from all quarters. Adoption makes people uncomfortable by challenging beliefs about family, and not just those who are anti-adoption. Adoptive parents who are insecure have developed "positive adoption language" to try to shield themselves from any negativity about adoption, and to be seen as "normal". Of course it does not work, because people in general are no more attuned to that than to the negative language of the anti-adoption groups and blogs.

    Nobody has a duty to shut up and not tell their own story so that others with a bad experience can tell theirs. The world does not work that way. Unless all are free to speak about themselves, we are just creating another collection of secrets, lies, and more things about adoption that are unspeakable. Neither banning positive views nor banning negative ones is the answer, because from either side all you get is a skewed half-story.

  13. I don't think I was misrepresenting Gail's point at all. She explicitly states this "As a firstmom, I have personally benefited more from hearing from adoptees who have had positive adoption experiences" right before she states that those positive voices (her only mention of negative/critical voices is of the abusive ones) should be possible mentors.


    I am not telling anyone that they cannot speak ever or saying that positive adoptees tell people how to feel; I am saying that positive adoptees already have many more available venues to speak their experiences and that they need to cognizant of that and the way their experiences are much more validated in the majority of adoption spaces. Yes, the culture isn't unambiguously pro-adoption, but that doesn't translate to validation, much less an audience, for critical/negative adoption voices. In my experience, the only space that even allows for negative or critical statements about adoption, adoptive parents, the industry, etc. has been a handful of online reform blogs and forums (and it's a shame that such abusive behavior is tolerated, because I could really use such a space) and to complain about the few negative/critical spaces that don't provide space for adoptees' positive voice/experience when ignoring all the ones that do is, at best, not going to win you any friends or goodwill from other adoption reformers.

  14. We'll have to agree to disagree on what Gail was trying to say, and that's fine by me.

    I totally agree with you that finding a place that allows civil discussion on the negative in adoption is difficult. It seems to be one extreme or the other. At the risk of offending the other, and hopefully I don't, the places that provide space for a more moderate or positive perspective have a tendency, in my experience, to be quite religious, something I'm personally not comfortable with as I'm not of the opinion anyone's god has anything to do with adoption.

    O Solo Mama blog was a space where I felt able to learn, ask questions, and welcome to contribute and I do miss it.

    I'm well aware I've not won any friends or goodwill from other adoption reformers and that too is fine by me. Any "complaining" I've done has for the most part been when I feel that I as an adoptee have been misrepresented and denied the opportunity to say so or that I or another person has been mistreated, misrepresented or maligned. I've owned and apologized for mistakes (although it kills me to do so) and rarely censor anyone on my blog. If I do, it's only because I won't tolerate abusive behavior, even though in an attempt to be open and honest, in the past I did allow a few abusive comments toward myself. Not anymore.

    I know people can discuss and disagree respectfully because I have people I do it with all the time by email. I hope you can find the space that you say you could really use. For what it's worth, you're welcome here anytime.

  15. "I know I'd be angry at being made to feel guilty for being ok."
    That really resonates with me.


  16. A Dawn, seconding Campbell that you do not have to always agree here, just be decent and don't attack. Opinions of all sorts are welcome from what I have seen.

    The problem of where people can express themselves is that there are places that are all and only positive, and others that are all and only negative, and neither knows what to do with the ambiguity of real life. Most people's experiences with adoption have some good and some bad, certainly that is true of Campbell, and me, and others I know. The all-positive places that are shills for adoption agencies or clueless adoptive parents are no more suited to intelligent discussion than the "abolish adoption" sites and blogs.

  17. Dawn, I hope this adds some clarity to my comment. I started reading adoption blogs in the fall of 2008 in order to refine and shape my own belief system about adoption in general. I am not pro-adoption and my experience as a bio mother was terrible. I am much more in favor of babies being kept with their mothers and/or fathers whenever possible. So I shied away from the blogs with a religious twist or a gift theme. I was also equally uncomfortable with blogs dealing with adoption being this horrific event that wounds babies for life and causes irreversible psychological damage. The fit for me turned out to be blogs where the discourse was civil, divergent views were accepted and encouraged, and where I felt welcome. I enjoyed hearing from adoptees who had positive adoptive experiences and I don’t mean like in “ wow I’m glad I was adopted,” but rather “I was adopted and I’m okay with it.” Conversations with these people helped me sort out what issues/problems lean more toward being “adoption issues” versus “regular issues” that non-adoptees have as well. With that being said, I started thinking about mentoring as a possible way to help other adoptees. For me, I was specifically thinking about teenagers I have in class who have talked about being adopted and I wished at the time I could do more to help them than I did. I thought it might be nice if there were some mentoring resources available to help them with questions/concerns etc. that arise and I was thinking that a characteristic of a good mentor would be someone with a balanced perspective which is probably better than saying a positive adoption experience because someone could have a lousy adoption experience and be a good mentor. And forcing a mentoring relationship is never acceptable. Hope this clears things up a bit. Thanks for inquiring.

  18. “. . . and positive adoptees, especially in support spaces, who refuse to recognize that dynamic do come across really poorly.”

    Come across poorly to whom? On the contrary, those “support spaces” are usually not billed as such, are totally public, and are read by people with a variety of views. Usually the only common thread is that the blogger and community of readers is interested in and supportive of adoption reform. I know readers who have checked with the blog owners before about posting and they have usually been welcome initially.

    a-Dawn also brought up something that reminds me of an old post by this person -
    - who said that those with a decent adoption experience are “privileged” in the same way that other privileged groups (men, whites) are privileged . . . privilege being generally understood as something society confers on you and which you do not earn. Similar to a-dawn, this poster claimed that there were plenty of places to drag your Happy Adoption Dance to, such as and that the privileged ones should make a point of stepping back more often.

    I think there are a couple of issues here—first one being my point above. Just because someone had a decent adoption does not mean that they are not thinking critically about adoption as an institution or are not interested in reforming it. It doesn't follow, then (using a-Dawn's or Fugitivus's reasoning), that this group of people has many more “venues” to go to. They are at home in the venues they have chosen. The issue is, whether other people will tolerate them.

    Second, by definition, no adoptee is a privileged member of the triad. All adoptees, no matter how adjusted (and that is another story) have had something taken away from them, were deprived of something that was their entitlement. Even if there were legitimate reasons why the parent surrendered, that does not take away from the fact that adoptees have to live with the fallout of other people's choices. They should never have to apologize to anyone about how they view their adoption.

    Third, while adoption is a given in one sense, it is also a lifelong process influenced by how each person chooses to deal with it. Success at dealing with insensitive a-relatives, reluctant n-relatives or negotiating two families is not about “privilege” but about attitude, maturity, and skill. We've all seen trainwrecks of reunions laid out in excruciating detail on the blogosphere. When push comes to shove, the blogger or commenter simply blames adoption and takes no responsibility for the fallout, whether first mother or adoptee. In no other area of life can people simply blame an instituion for their own failure to get along. Perhaps it follows that the “happy” or “satisfied” people should also shut up and be embarrassed about their “privilege.” I guess this is why we don't hear too much about those happy reunions online yet we all know they exist and what they have in common is people realizing that there is no perfection, only people trying their best, which is what it seems like Megan and Campbell were trying to say on FMF, no more, no less.

  19. I do appreciate that most are trying to hear me out even though we are disagreement. I think some of the impasse may be because I am also drawing on a lot of off-line experiences as an adoptee and with adoption-related groups, but I really don't feel comfortable pulling examples from other people's experiences/actions, especially from support groups.

    @Gail, thank you for clarifying. I do agree that possible mentoring by okay/accepting/balancing/? adoptees who have a variety of experiences can be helpful.

  20. I think the conflict here is not about whether the first mother is angry the adoptee's life wasn't ruined by not having been raised by the, but the idea that any mother can be switched with another, any mother can do an adequate parenting job and it has no consequence in the long run.

    May not have phrased that correctly. Tried commenting twice earlier but my Internet has been a lag-athon all day on my end, comments didn't go through.

  21. I think it's hard for all of us to accept that our experience is not everyone's experience. I only hope that someday my children will say that they survived adoption and turned out ok.

  22. Mei Ling, I can't correct that typo for you, just address it in a comment.

  23. Mei Ling wrote: "the idea that any mother can be switched with another, any mother can do an adequate parenting job and it has no consequence in the long run."

    I do not think this is what Campbell was saying or what any thinking person in adoption reform believes. Some mothers, both adoptive and natural, do a terrible parenting job. Most are adequate, some are great. No, parents are not interchangeable with no consequence for the child in the long run. Nobody is saying that.

    Adoption always has consequences in the long run for the adoptee. As you know there is much more to it than just switching mothers, there are the secrets, the sealed records, the loss of extended family connections and the loss of culture and language in international adoption. There is the pain of being abandoned. Surrender is never without consequence.

    I do believe that in infancy and early childhood being raised by a caring, loving mother who is not biologically related does not matter, but it can matter greatly as the adoptee matures and the scope of the loss is understood.

  24. *but the idea that any mother can be switched with another mother

    @ Campbell: Blogspot doesn't allow admin blogger to edit the comments? Really? I'm surprised at that.

    @ anon: Okay... well then...

    How does this: "I do believe that in infancy and early childhood being raised by a caring, loving mother who is not biologically related does not matter"

    Tie into this: "Adoption always has consequences in the long run for the adoptee."

  25. Mei Ling, I can't even copy a comment unless I post it first. Now, that could be *I* can't but blogger can and I'm just technologically challenged.

  26. Mei Ling. It does not matter to the baby in early childhood who is raising her as long as that person is loving, caring, and consistent. What has been proven to matter and damage infants is neglect, abuse, constantly changing and uninvolved caregivers, and a lack of touching and emotional warmth. Biological mother is not the only person who can meet the needs of an infant.

    It DOES matter later, "in the long run", as all the losses of adoption become apparent to the growing adoptee. That should not be too hard to understand.

  27. "It DOES matter later, "in the long run", as all the losses of adoption become apparent to the growing adoptee."

    And the "long run" is the overall consequence of having an adequate mother, whether biological or adoptive, switched during early infancy years.

    I mean, we're saying "Well, it's really not all that bad, because more than one caregiver can supply a baby's needs" and then we say "As this baby grows older into a child, the losses become more apparent."

    Why wouldn't it be more beneficial to eliminate the possibility of loss to begin with? Why not work to prevent something that may manifest itself in the long run?

    It's like saying "Yeah, an older child will have to come to terms with adoption loss and its consequences" and then going "But since in early infancy adequate care can be given by someone other than the biological mother, it's not really that big of a deal."

  28. ""It does not matter to the baby in early childhood who is raising her as long as that person is loving, caring, and consistent."

    So you don't believe that babies can differentiate between their mothers and strangers at all?

    Or if you do, that it doesn't make any sort of profound difference? It doesn't matter to the baby but it matters to the child? So why not prevent it from having to matter to the child?

    Why not just make mothers & babies interchangeable? After all, children are resilient, are they not?

  29. Mei Ling, you have stopped making any sense at all. Yes, it would be better if all mothers could keep and raise their babies, but some cannot or will not. This does not make all mothers and babies interchangeable. But to you it does, so there is nothing further to say.

  30. "After all, children are resilient, are they not?"

    Just because babies are resilient, it doesn't follow that mothers are switchable. Even if babies do adapt to a new caregiver fairly quickly (standard attachment theory says most do), that is just the beginning of a long process of understanding what it means to be adopted.

    "Why not just make mothers & babies interchangeable?"

    But who would do that and why? To what end? It's a straw man argument. I don't know anyone who thinks we should switch everyone around for the hell of it, or that it could happen without profound effects.

  31. How does that I say not make any sense?

    You said this: "It does not matter to the baby in early childhood who is raising her as long as that person is loving, caring, and consistent."

    Tell me how that doesn't imply mothers & babies are interchangeable in some way.

    "Yes, it would be better if all mothers could keep and raise their babies, but some cannot or will not. This does not make all mothers and babies interchangeable."

    That's a paradox. It's not interchangeable, but in another aspect it is, because the care itself is categorized as being adequate, and no amount of discussion of "long-term" consequences is enough to dissuade people otherwise.

    Also, back to my original question: If any mother can provide the same adequate care for the baby borne of another women, then is there really any consequence of adoption?

  32. P.S. Sorry about the mis-typing. Spotted it right after I hit the comment button. Makes me look like an idiot. >.>

    "Yes, it would be better if all mothers could keep and raise their babies, but some cannot or will not. This does not make all mothers and babies interchangeable."

    Perhaps I should phrase it this way: If the fact/theory of one mother providing adequate amount of care is the same as the child's biological mother's ability to provide the same care (eg. some mothers who give up children have more children afterwards) *does not* mean mothers are interchangeable, then what consequence is there, if any?

  33. Mei Ling, you should get on that plane to Taiwan and try to find the life you want and stop torturing the language with propositions that no one can argue or answer. All anyone can do in any situation in life is to try to come to terms with pain and disappointment and move into the next chapter of living and growing. Endlessly asserting that adoption should "not be" or that nothing can make up for the fact that your adoption occurred is a closed loop of content that's been played too many times already and doesn't go anywhere.

  34. Well, evidently, someone's been following my blog. I'm doing what I want to do.

    Also, way to evade the question.

  35. The question has not been avoided in the slightest. The question has been answered a million times. As far as the infant is concerned, the care is fine because infants do not have the capacity to do the kind of deep thinking, judgment and discrimination that children, preteens and teens can do. Therefore, they cannot appreciate the issues inherent in adoption. When psychologists talk about infants adapting they are confining themselves to the kind of care that infants need and their resilience in accepting a new caregiver. That has nothing to do with how adoption may be viewed as children grow in awareness. Nor does it have anything to do with how a growing child will view the new caregivers. Some will view them as mom and dad; others will always view them as very poor substitutes. But babies can do neither.

    Only human awareness that makes for human experiences. Infants don't have much, at least not the kind that's going to clue them into what adoption means. That comes much later.

  36. I think a huge issue in both the posts Campbell was originally responding to and the resulting discussion here is the implication that it HAS to be one extreme or the other.

    That either adoption irreparably damages infants and the adult adoptees they will become and they will never manage to heal and lead fully fulfilling lives OR the biological mother (and father? does he matter?) is completely irrelevant and separation from the family of origin has no consequence in the slightest.

    Real life is simply not that absolute.

    It's possible to suffer a loss AND find a place of genuine comfort in one's current situation.

    It's possible for a childhood or infancy situation to be less than optimal AND for the child/adult to go on to feel okay about their lives.

    Will everyone? Of course not, and I'm not arguing that everyone should... just that it's possible for some individuals.

    And yet when the topic is adoption, it seems like all of a sudden only the most permanent abject grief or intractable ongoing trauma are seen as evidence of any emotion or experience at all.

    It seems like perpetual suffering is taken as evidence of love, and the absence of suffering is taken as indifference. I just don't think that's a realistic way to look at human emotion.

    The fact someone doesn't feel permanently damaged, or the fact that they can recover from a loss, does NOT mean they didn't experience a loss at the time.

    The fact the vast majority of humanity has to deal with situations that are not what they would have chosen, and most eventually recover, does NOT mean we shouldn't prevent suffering where we can.

    I really wish we could move past a discussion paradigm where only the most extreme expressions of emotion are acknowledged as real emotion. I wish we could move past a paradigm where lack of these extreme expressions is taken as apathy, or experiences not stated in the strongest terms are treated as irrelevant.

    The loss of a parent can matter without being the permanent defining characteristic of one's emotional life.

    I think where this discussion tends to go in circles is the failure to acknowledge that for many people, reality falls into middle ground, so arguing the two extremes back and forth isn't really going to get us anywhere.


  37. Mei Ling wrote:Also, way to evade the question.

    As the other anon noted, the question has been answered again and again. No evasion. In fact several people have shown great patience in trying to explain. You just did not like the answer.

  38. Nice to see you Z. Normally I do not leave out the fathers but at the scene of this crime, there wasn't a dude in sight. For the most part, I just don't think most guys act this way.

  39. Thanks, Campbell. Yeah, I'm not blaming you for not mentioning fathers - sorry if it came off that way. I should have elaborated more on that point if I was going to bring it up at all.

    The comment was more directed toward adoption discourse in general, which seems to be very "mother mother mother" oriented. (To be fair, the adoptive side is generally equally guilty of this, in a slightly different way.)

    While neonates definitely have unique relationship with the mother who carried and birthed them, once we're discussing a point past, say, weaning - and even into adulthood - it is very strange to me that the discussion STILL goes on as though the adoptee sprang full blown from the mother's forehead or something.

    Rarely is the second parent even acknowledged unless it somehow furthers the goals of a mother to do so.

    So yeah, that wasn't directed at you. Sorry if it seemed that way. It was more a frustration with this type of discussion in general.


  40. Z, no apology necessary. I totally agree that the importance or role of fathers is far too often left out when it comes to parenting and I think the devaluing of them contributes greatly to any reluctance on their part to be involved.

    I hear ya and am with you.

  41. Z, you hit on the core of the problem in trying to discuss any of this calmly. Basically you have the choice of the two extremes; adoption by itself causes irrepparable damage to all adoptees(those who do not feel damaged are in denial) or adoption causes no pain or damage to anyone and is a wonderful and sacred institution. Try to hold to the middle ground where most of us actually live is not allowed.

    Question any of it as a universal, Primal Wound, PTSD, now Personality Disorders have been added to the list, and it is assumed you think adoption is perfect, that adoptees or first mothers have no problems or grief or pain, and that you are a traitor to The Cause.
    It does not matter how many times you try to explain that this is not so, that of course there is a lot of pain in adoption for many people, that you have suffered pain yourself, and they refuse to hear that or discuss it from that point of view. Either you buy the whole package or you are attacked.

  42. There is so much pain and so much wisdom in this post. While I cannot totally relate to the adoptee experience, I really appreciate a lot of what is written here. I especially love these sentences:

    "Biology doesn't matter, unless you are disappointed in the kid you got. Nurture doesn't matter, unless you are disappointed in the kid you created."

    This could not be more true.


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