Assembling Self

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Adoptee Facepalms


There are times I seriously do this when hearing people talk about adoption and adoptees.  So, I want to address some remarks about being adopted that often make adoptees not only cringe, but writhe in sheer frustration.  Most of these comments are innocently stated but also mimic the propaganda that has been spewed by the adoption industry, agencies, and social workers for decades, brainwashing the general public into the belief system about adoption that is so staunchly held in place in this country.  Adoptees, now grown up, are speaking out to dispel these myths and false beliefs and replace them with the truth.

If any of my friends recognize themselves in any of the below statements please know I truly appreciate the years you have listened to my adoption soapbox and I know you have done your very best to understand my plight in life being adopted.  In fact recently my adoptee “lite” husband remarked “I wish I was an anonymous person” after a particularly hurtful family “feud”.  I sat in shock while my head nearly rotated off my shoulders trying to grasp his statement.   I've been with him for 10 years and he has been by my side through years of searching, publishing my adoption poetry book, having his coworkers listen in when I did radio and public speaking on adoption, he has even participated in an adoption rights rally with me.  And yet  still, people often forget the importance of the knowledge of who you are and where you come from.  Only when it has been lost can you truly understand the depths of it.

You should be grateful you were adopted and not aborted, left in a dumpster, neglected/abused instead.  Why should this apply only to adoptees?  Shouldn't nonadopted people be grateful for the same thing?  I'm certain a good amount of adoptees are thankful for their adoptive families but not grateful for the issues that adoption brings to the family table, or the lack of rights they have to access information about their family roots. 

I wish I had been adopted.  As if this is some instant cure for being born into a dysfunctional family.  ALL families are dysfunctional in some capacity including adoptive families.  Adoption does not allow you to escape abuse, neglect and take you to a special land of love, teddy bears, and unicorns.  There are no magic carpet rides to a better world.  Every adoption is different just as every family is different and adoption does not solve all family problems

Your are better off being raised by two parents than by a single parent.  This stems from the fallacy that all relinquishing parents are impoverished and unable to care for their children.  My biological parents were not poor.  My biological mother stated in her non-id letter to the adoption court her parents were business leaders in the community and still are.   It was the shame and stigma of pregnancy out of wedlock that separates families, along with the belief that "stuff" gives children a better life.  The rates of divorce apply to adoptive parents too and quickly a two parent family can change into single parenthood and struggles financially.   Children need love first and foremost.   Adoption does not always guarantee a child that either. 

I feel adopted too because I didn't fit into my family.  I hear this OFTEN and it is frustrating.  I always come back with "Were you taken from your biological family?" "Do you know who your parents are?" "Was your identity taken by the state and sealed and your birth certificate is now government property?” Yeah...not even close.

You won't ever have to feel the loss of your parents dying.  WRONG I feel that loss every day because they were taken from me at birth.  Children who lose a parent young before they have memory of them mourn that loss and are allowed to do so.  Why shouldn't adoptees?  I'm not saying one is harder or easier than the other just saying that loss is loss no matter what form it comes in.

You are being disrespectful to your adoptive parents by searching.  Why? Children of divorce are allowed to have two families and aren't forced to chose between the two by good parents why should adoptees have to?  Why is the genealogy fervor today widely practiced and recognized not only denied but also frowned upon for adoptees?  Lastly, why should adoptees continually be held to different standards in life that other nonadopted persons?  Rhetorical there.

Be careful what you wish for if you search it could turn out really badly.  Sure it could but that is life and that should be my right to chose it.  The truth I believe is always better than the unknown or the myths and mysteries adoptees are often required to live with, along with the falsification of records.  Truth and closure are healthy avenues to pursue as was encouraged by a marriage counselor I had years ago,who was also an adoptive mother well versed professionally and personally with her own adopted daughter.

Your parents gave you away why would you want to find them?  Once again, to hold MY truths in my own two hands.  Many families are separated for reasons that can change over time.  Divorce, illness, poverty, and addictions, are often temporary situations.  Adoption is a permanent solution to what can change in family situations and often quickly.  Many relinquishing parents still believe giving up their children will give them a better life, not because they are not wanted.  My adoptive brother has never desired to search.  That is his right just as searching should be mine.  Neither are wrong they are just different emotions.

You need to get over adoption.  You never get over being adopted.  It is something you live with for your life. How you react to it yes, you are responsible for.  That is why so many of us have joined ranks with adoption activism, reform, and education, to bring awareness to the issues and change the lives of other adoptees and the system of adoption itself.  It often is a healthy tool for coping and healing.   Facilitating change for others is empowering and helps take one from victim to survivor.

You are obsessed with adoption.  YES! Yes I am!  As I stated above people are unaware for the most part of the realities of adoption. The blatant illegalities, fraud, and corruption that adoption is wrought with have long been covered up and swept under the rug, along with adoptee's rights.  Adoption is a booming multi-billion dollar per year industry that has for far too long been allowed to function without any strict regulation.  The time has come to bring adoption into the 20th century and radically change the system to do away with the archaic and discriminatory laws that govern only adoptees.

If you have read this far again, I thank you.


  1. Well said! Great post...I nodded YES the whole way through. I just blogged a bit about my biggest pet peeve statement people make...where you hear the ambiguous "Your parents loved you so much they gave you away"...which to me is when I shake my head...huh?, hear the "record scratch" and the music stops, as it makes no sense and teaches the wrong lesson. Thanks for writing this! xo Two

  2. Thank you! There was so much more I could say as you stated how do you wrap your head around being loved by parents who gave you up and walked away? Another Face Palm! I end up doing the blank "blink blink" of cartoon characters trying to absorb the misunderstood facts about being adopted. :)

  3. While I know there are many 'bad' outcomes of searches...I dare anyone to read THE GIRLS WHO WENT AWAY, and question those of us born in the 50's, 60's, and 70's as to why we are searching when we were 'given away'. To all the mothers who had children TAKEN AWAY; Hand on! We are still looking! Thanks KBB, good writing as always.

  4. This is a great post. I'd love to offer it to a friend who gives adoption trainings.

    People really do say hurtful things even though they mean well. I was just talking with someone yesterday who spent some time in another country, connected to adoption. She said that, in that country, people would say or ask whatever they wanted, and it was socially acceptable; but it was also socially acceptable to decline to answer. In the US, there's really a societal expectations of answering questions, which makes us feel uncomfortable or rude when we want to let someone know that what they've asked or said isn't really their business. I hadn't thought of that before; but it might be helpful to know that, in some places, "I like you, but I'm not going to respond to that thing you just said" is a socially acceptable response. Nice post :)

  5. A thoughtful and beautifully written article. I just provided a link to this on my DNA Testing Adviser Facebook Page.

  6. Thanks! I started using my hands to face palm instead of pulling hair out of my head LOL.

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  8. Addison my writing is always free to share and forward as long as it remains credited to me and remains in original form. Thanks again!

  9. Well said...I will post and hope some of those lacking in understanding will take the time to read...maybe it will help..thx

  10. Thank you for this post! I have these facepalms often.