It's tough to reveal one's life adopted for open display, and it's tougher putting yourself out there into an activist role in effort to faciliate change within the system. People are going to judge you, and label you, and offend you with their uneducated opinions. It comes with the territory. So does emotional and physical exhaustion and wanting at many points to quit along the way. So today for NAAM and NaBloPoMo (and you know your an adoptee if you know what those mean) I'm going to relay some of what adoptees encounter telling their stories, and being involved in adoption reform.
Adoption has such a wonderful public image. One of creating love filled forever families and giving children without homes a lasting place to grow up in the care of those who desperately want them. The PR for adoption has been done well for a very long time, mostly because the groups and people doing it are those who profit from it. And believe me when I say, there has been plenty of money to promote adoption. What they don't want you to hear besides their profit margins is the harsh reality adoption is based on. The fact is a child has lost its family of origin. And, the fact when adoptees grow up they may or may not have any recourse, or right, to information about their biological family or to obtain their original birth certificate. We won't go into open adoption, or that being the answer to issues in adoption, at this point. I will in a later blog because I have plenty to say about it and the problems with it.
After thirteen years doing what I could when I could in adoption reform I've pretty much heard and seen it all. I don't get startled or overly angry about much. I get miffed and my feathers ruffled that's not unusual. I get frustrated at closed minds and prejudiced notions based on inaccurate information, or someone who has an uncle whose cousin has a friend who is an adoptee and they are just "fine". Once again, it comes with being out there in the trenches breaking down barriers of secrets, lies, and corruption, and attempting to replace them with truth, honesty, and what is RIGHT.
So out there in the public spotlight and eye adoptees and adoption reformers have to endure insults, being scoffed at, and disbelieved. I've been called names, called crazy, and a hypochondriac for "imagining" the health issues I inherited even though half the medical information from biological family is filled with numerous hereditary diseases, and who knows what is in the other half. But today, for the very first time I heard that " Adoptees are not normal thinking people."
And the anger ensued, my stomach rolled over, and I felt nauseous. Then as I cooled down I began to think, and finally to chuckle. And this was the image that came to mind.
'Cause if you're going to be able to deal with working in the world of adoption reform you're going to have to bring your sense of humor and a BIG thick skin. I began to imagine a skit like the one in "Young Frankenstein" where this creature/adoptee is brought back to life from their previous one by Dr. Frankenstein aka NCFA/adoption agencies. But, adoptees/monsters were given abnormal brains. And, that's pretty much what people think of all unhappy adoptees who are not thankful for the people who took them in, or the fact that someone wanted them, or they were not aborted, or left in a dumpster to die, or insert any adoption myth people buy into.
No wonder so many adoptees go back into hiding after being so harshly judged by so many people with so many misconceptions and beliefs about them and their life being adopted. No wonder there are private support groups for hundreds of adoptees searching and struggling who share behind closed doors and away from the scrutiny of others. I've known adoptees who won't speak about adoption except to other adoptees and adoptees who have bowed out of adoption reform and activism due to this and it's sad. Adoption is such a misunderstood subject and we are here to educate and change that. I have seen so much progress in the last thirteen years, perhaps slow progress, but it is progress none the less. The admiration and respect I have for adoptees who put their lives, experiences, and emotions out there for others to see is immeasurable.
Sometimes all I can do is what I can do from my computer at home. When I feel like it's not enough and I'm not making a dent I think of the story of "The Tortoise and the Hare". We all get burn out at points in time and have to bow out temporarily until we can rest and refuel. But, we'll keep plugging away at it. We'll endure the horrific accusations, the taunting insinuations, and the false allegations, as we carry OUR torch of truths to the finish line.
I try to encourage and support adoptees who are new to adoption search, issues, and adoption reformers and lend what knowledge and experience I have, just as I glean and learn from those wiser and more seasoned than I am. It's SUCH an outstanding great group of people. And we are TOUGH! Abnormal, or not