Assembling Self

Saturday, December 6, 2014

"The War On National Adoption Awareness Month" otherwise known as #flipthescript

“You’ll get over it…” It’s the clich├ęs that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don’t get over it because ‘it” is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?” ~Jeanette Winterson "Written on the Body"

If I told you I lost my mother at birth the usual reaction is one of sympathy.  If I told you I was adopted the usual reaction is "WONDERFUL".  It is the same thing.  ~Adoptees

You took away my family.
You took away my home.
You erased away my history now most of it is gone.
What gives to you the right to do this injustice unto me?
How can you be so blinded?
How is it you can’t see?
You’re stealing from the innocent are you so unaware?
You’re playing God with all our lives did you think we wouldn’t care?
Who gave to you the authority to decide how we should live?
Who granted you this power?
It was not theirs to give.
You treat us as possessions, we are not yours to own.
How did you get the notion you can tell me where is home?
Do not dictate to me about how I should live my life.
Or who I can call mother, then take away my rights.
The answers to life’s questions you say I need not know.
You’re asking the impossible the questions only grow.
What it is I am asking for is for you to understand.
Until I have the answers I can not know who it is I am!

The angry adoptees are at it again!  Ruining the feel good wonderful promotion of adoption during National Adoption month!  I woke up this morning to a blog about “The War on National Adoption Awareness Month” from an adoptive parent with all kinds of adoptive parent responses as usual commenting on adoptees speaking so ugly about adoption through the #flipthescript campaign.  Ummm yeah, and here is more of why we are. 

I wrote the above poem about fifteen years ago and although geared toward the system of adoption and the archaic policies, laws, and adoption procedures, it can apply to those who continually dismiss adoptees and focus on what adoptive parents have to say instead.  I do get how people don’t get it, the whole ultimate reality of adoption.  The underbelly, the dark side, the reality adoptees speak of is hard to hear.  I know most people are missing the point in what adoptees are saying.  The point IS that adoption is based on loss and that loss for adoptees is usually undermined, ignored, and dismissed.

If we were promoting a "War on divorce" we would be widely supported.  Both adoption and divorce are the severing of families permanently (and many times rebuilding through step families as in adoptive families) but of course adoption is celebrated because the focus is always on the win-win for the adoptive family and never about the demise of an original family.  If you first acknowledge and recognize the magnitude of loss adoptees suffer THEN you can help them rebuild their lives into something more positive."  Yet again, people are not hearing the voices of experience, those of adoptees.

And then there was THIS part of the blog that TRULY makes it evident that adoptive parents and others aren’t listening or really hearing what adoptees are saying.

“I’ve heard an adoptee who was adopted from another country say her family was waiting for her back in “her country.” Where was her family when she was in the orphanage?”

Again, adoption permanently attempting to sever the ties of an adoptee’s biological family without recourse and discounting the fact that they will ALWAYS have another family be they absent, or across the world, dead, whatever the case or scenario might be they exist!  Even IN an orphanage adoptees still have a family “back there”.  Generations of them in fact!  Descendants and into the future, adoptees do not deserve to be expected to not want to know about, hear about, or reconnect with their families of origin.

The pain and loss divorced children, orphaned children, or abandoned/neglected children experience is widely recognized and often children are counseled to help them over come these traumas.  Adoptees experiences via adoption are mostly discounted and trivialized.  We as adoptees are criticized, ridiculed, called perpetual victims for voicing our emotions, feelings, and pain adoption has caused us. The hypocrisy that exists in adoption is blatant to adoptees and the rest of the world writes us off and white washes all of it and repaints it as a lack of gratitude.

I always have wondered about the two weeks before I was adopted, where I was, who I was with, what kind of care I received.  In 2000 at an AAC conference I heard a older nurse speak about how adopted children were taken at birth and isolated in the hospital from the other babies.  Hospital staff could not get them to stop crying and it was regular procedure to give them drugs to tranquilize them.  I tear up to this day thinking about how horrific that whole scenario is.  Now of course open adoption is promoted and children are placed immediately and yet again that original loss is dismissed.

I never deal in absolutes because life is not black and white nor is adoption totally good or totally bad.  There are always going to be children in need of good homes, however adoption should always be a last resort but more than often it is not.  Even adoption from foster care systems often siblings are separated, names are legally changed, and original family members are lost to one another forever.  Our system of adoption in this country resorts to adoption first instead of family preservation and support. 

One of the greatest experiences for me ever was an AAC conference in 2000 with hundreds of adoptees in attendance. After five days I didn't want to leave it felt like "home" amongst so many that completely and immediately understood me, how I felt, without a word or explanation.  I knew then it was never “my issues” with adoption, is IS the issue of adoption itself.

Until the time the voices of those who truly experience adoption firsthand is heard first and not last, adoptees will continue to suffer from the long term ramifications of the judgment that haunts them in the “real” world of the nonadopted.

“From childhood's hour I have not been. As others were, I have not seen. As others saw, I could not awaken. My heart to joy at the same tone. And all I loved, I loved alone.” ~Edgar Allan Poe