Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Do people know...?

I started writing this post about a month ago but then decided I didn't want to put what I was thinking out there. You see, I thought I made a friend through this crazy interweb thing, someone who I didn't agree with but who seemed to respect my point of view and would at least listen and admit that she hadn't thought of things "that way", from an adoptee's perspective. And then she disappeared. So when I started this post, it was going to be a question of do people know that disappearing without an explanation triggers all sorts of abandonment issues for adoptees? But then I kind of got over it. Figured that if she didn't want to be friends then it was probably for the best anyway.

So instead I want to ask, do people know what the definition of a support group is? I am a member of a fabulous adoptee-centric forum where we can all just vent whatever frustrations we have and know that our fellow adoptees will get it. Every now and then, someone will join and ask if any of us have any positive stories and they usually tell us that they feel sorry for us and are terribly sad that we feel the way we do and refer to us as anti-adoption. First of all, it seems to me that looking for positive stories about adoption on a support forum that advocates for change in its' title is pretty bloody stupid. I would not, for example, go to and expect to see stories of potential adoptive parents helping a mother keep her child instead of doing everything in their power to get their greedy, drool-covered little hands on it - it is just not the demographic of the place. I know this because I have read posts there and have observed the pro-adoption leanings. I would never ask their membership, "Don't you have anything NEGATIVE to say about adoption?" That would be rude.

I especially take issue with these questions on our forum because there are so few places where adoptees feel that they can be totally honest about how they really feel. We are usually pandering to someone - our family, our friends, our colleagues, society - and generally do not feel safe to be speak truthfully. On the rare occasions when we do speak up, people tend to dismiss us as having a bad experience, being angry and bitter or worse, UNGRATEFUL!!! So I am very protective of our little piece of the net and I get tired of having to justify what we say and how we feel to people who don't even know us.

Even more infuriating is when the attitude comes from an adoptive parent. Our membership includes adoptees, natural mothers and a very few adoptive parents. Those who are not adoptees but would like to gain knowledge from our perspective are welcome to stay with the proviso that pro-adoption rhetoric will not be tolerated and that our adoptee members will not edit themselves for anyones' sake as it is first and foremost a support forum for adoptees. Just like the pro-adoption boards would ban me if I showed my really, truly, true colours regarding adoption, adopters looking for validation on our board are summarily slapped down. Most don't like it and crawl away with their tail between their legs, never to be heard from again. It's usually for the best.

There are those who might say that we should take the time to educate, open the eyes of the ignorant to our truth of adoption. Bollocks to that. Our forum is our place. We are not there to be observed like wildlife in its' natural habitat, poked and prodded until we admit that we hate our adoptive parents and that's why we hate adoption. We are there to support each other. So, if one day you stumble upon an adoptee support forum and cannot find a single post singing the praises of adoption, just take a moment to think before you hit post on that question "Why is everyone so negative?"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Unhappy? No, just adopted.

My recent interaction with a new adoptoland friend got me thinking about something that seems to come up all too often. Whenever I talk about my feelings about being adopted, more often than not it is interpreted as me being an unhappy person, that I am generally angry and bitter. This is not the case. I am a reasonably happy person. I have a lovely little family, my hubby and gorgeous son, both of whom I could not possibly love more. I was reunited with my natural mother and my half brother and half sister over 10 years ago and I have a wonderful relationship with them. My nieces are all beautiful and are fantastic cousins to my lovely boy. I love my adoptive family for all that I complain about some members of it - who doesn't complain about their family, right? I have a comfortable life and a lovely home in this lucky country of ours.

So why do people assume that I am unhappy? Because sometimes being adopted does make me sad and angry and frustrated. When I respond to something adoption related, of course I will talk about that sadness and anger. That is my experience of being adopted - it makes me sad that I did not grow up with my natural Mum and my sister and brother, it makes me angry that the only reason she couldn't keep me was society's attitudes towards single mothers in 1972. It makes me sad that my natural mother was deeply affected by giving me up. It makes me angry that my fellow adoptees in the USA don't have access to their original birth certificates and genetic heritage. It makes me sad and angry that people use adoption to get a child at all costs when adoption was always meant to be about the best interests of a child.

Let me put it this way - there are things in everyone's lives that they are not particularly happy with - it could be their appearance, it could be a trauma of some kind, it could be an illness that they live with. Just because that one thing in their life makes them unhappy sometimes, does not mean that they are an unhappy person. Adoptees seem to be the only people who are told that the thing in their life that makes them sad means that they are just a miserable person. No-one would tell an amputee who was saying that not having a leg was difficult sometimes that they were just unhappy, would they? No, because that would make you a monster. So please, don't dismiss an adoptee's emotional loss the same way.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Money, money, money...

I have just read an article at - Blog Hop: Dollars and $ense of Family Building -  about the financial costs of adoption to adoptive parents. Strangely, at the top of the page, it says "This project started with a debate that I facilitated for the Open Adoption Examiner about potential adoptive parents using billboards to connect with expectant parents considering adoption. One of the viewpoints came from first mother Claudia Corrigan D'Arcy, who wrote: I have too many adult adoptee friends that scoff and joke at their adoption paperwork where they see how much their folks "paid" and speak about what they "cost." But beneath the joking, there is pain that they were looked at as a product and used in transactions." Cue the strangeness when the article then goes on to ask adoptive parents and infertile people to blog about the amount of money they spent on infertility treatments and/ or adopting a child.
So, where exactly does the aforementioned adoptee fit into this discussion? Those of us who feel like a commodity, like nothing more than an accessory for our adoptive parents, are once again forgotten. It seems odd to start a discussion like this and not include those of us with the dollar signs printed on our foreheads, the ones who can tell you how it really feels to find out what we cost, the ones who experience the emotional cost of your financial burden. Here's a clue, there is no good time, no good age, no good way to tell a child how much they "cost" you. If there are dollar amounts on adoption paperwork, well, that cannot be helped and adoptees are entitled to see all of the paperwork that has guided the direction of their existence. But as far as telling a child "It cost us "this much" to conceive/ get you", just... don't... do it!!!! You will just be burdening a child with something that is neither their fault nor their problem. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Inappropriate pity parties.

You know what shits me? When one of my adoptee friends posts something on their blog or on their Facebook page about how much their birthmother sucks and then gets inundated with birthmothers throwing a pity party for themselves. We know, we know, we've heard it all before - the baby scoop era was a terrible time, women were coerced, women were powerless, blah, friggin' blah. I swear I am not making light of the horrible things that happened to SOME mothers, what I am saying is that a) not ALL mothers were coerced into giving up their children, at least some did it willingly and considered the whole process like having a cancer removed, a cancer they never want to see again. And b) it is every adoptees' right to feel angry and sad about the fact that, regardless of the circumstances, what they experienced was abandonment by their mother.
It isn't that I don't feel pity for these women who lost their children; I personally know some who were chained to beds and drugged to the eyeballs and told they couldn't leave the hospital until they signed the papers. What annoys me is when they blatantly ignore the experience of an adoptee so that they can tell the world once again all the terrible things that were done to them. Those terrible things are irrelevant to my friend whose mother willingly abandoned her and then two more babies after her. They are irrelevant to all of my friends who have been rejected by their natural mothers in their adulthood, who have been told that they were nothing but a mistake who should have stayed buried, that they should have been an abortion. They are irrelevant to my friends whose mothers have denied even being their mothers despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Reading over this I know it comes off as pretty harsh but I'm finding it hard to care right now. I love my adoptee friends; they are my true tribe. And when someone comes along and tells them that their mother  treats them like they are less than nothing because SHE is damaged, it makes me want to scream. I do not deny that mothers who give up or lose their babies to adoption are damaged by it but so are the adopted people, the ones' her were completely powerless children in the scenario. And throwing yourself a pity and blame-shifting party on my friends blogs and Facebook pages is not... fucking... cool!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother's Day

Well, Mother's Day is this weekend and as a reunited adoptee, it is a rather loaded day. Thankfully, when I became a mother 2 1/2 years ago, it allowed me to make Mother's Day about me. Last year, we were so broke that even a greeting card was out of the question so I didn't send anything to my amum, thought I'd just call her on the day. She called me on the Friday and told me she was divorcing me for not sending her a card - my lack of attention was compounded by the fact that none of her 3 sons sent anything either. We all foolishly assumed that she would be adult and mature enough to not be a bitch about it. Only my eldest abrother and I copped shit for it - middle abrother, aka Golden Boy, was let off the hook by virtue of being her favourite and younger brother was let off by virtue of being a fuck up all year round. So the 2 children who do actually call her regularly and have the supposedly best relationship with her are the ones that scored the shitty guilt trip - awesome! She didn't answer the phone on Mother's Day and had made a big deal that if a card hadn't arrived before the day it didn't count so I needn't bother sending the card that my son and I had been making when she called.
For those who don't know, several years into my reunion I had a minor breakdown. I went into therapy for it and made the mistake of sharing my feelings about it all with my amother. Being the narcissist that she is, she made it all about her, told me I didn't have issues because of adoption, that it was all about her divorcing my adad when I was 12. It got to the point where she was calling me every day to tell me one more reason she had to divorce adad - the reality is that she had an affair and ended up leaving adad for that man after adad paid for her to have a facelift and boob job. I ended up doing what she has done on many occasions, I wrote her a letter to tell her I couldn't cope with her while I dealt with all this stuff, that I just needed a little bit of space. She wrote a letter back telling me to have a nice life with my new family. We didn't speak for 3 years. The only reason I did get in touch with her again was because I got pregnant.
So I think that little break was really healthy for me because when she had her Mother's Day meltdown last year, I just figured well, at least I won't have to talk to her for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, my eldest abrother went into full damage control mode, made his daughters sit down and make cards for her and sent them on the Friday and then called her every day until she finally picked up the phone. I used to be that person. In years gone by, I probably would have turned up on her doorstep with gifts and flowers and apologies. It was actually a wonderful revelation to realise that she doesn't have that control over me anymore.
So this year, as I sent cards to her from me and my son, I wondered if she would blindly enjoy them, preen over what a wonderful mother she must be to receive such lovely cards, or will she realise that they are simply a pre-emptive strike to ensure that there is no repeat performance of last years tantrum? I would say probably the former. And what she will never know is that I spent Mother's Day last year and will be spending Mother's Day this year with my natural mum, the mother who loves me unconditionally, who would never lay a guilt trip on me and the mother who I can be totally myself around.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Adoptive Breast Feeding

A controversial topic, adoptive breast feeding is considered to be a beautiful bonding experience by those who adopt and disgusting child abuse by many adoptees and natural mothers. My experience of it is this. My adoptive mother likes to tell me the story of how she was so clucky after bringing me home that she started lactating. She tried to breast feed me but I rejected her attempts as I was 7 weeks old and had only been given a bottle, and possibly because I didn't know what to do with this strangers breast. She once said jokingly that it hurt her feelings that I rejected her and that I should apologise to her. It took everything in my being to not scream at her that I thought it was unbelievably sick to try and breast feed me and that it wasn't my fucking fault that I didn't know what to do with her tit. But I didn't say any of that because I am a good little adoptling. I did not apologise but I did say "I probably didn't know what the hell to do with it, I mean, I even had trouble getting my son to latch, it's not that easy."
I have just read a post about an adoptive mother who forced her 20 month old adoptee to breast feed. She started by giving him bottles of her pumped breast milk but the poor little boy was so traumatised by his experience and being in a strange house that he would not let them cuddle him. He was not sleeping, when he did he would wake often and cry. She started sleeping next to him, doing skin to skin contact, co-bathing and putting her nipple in his mouth while he slept. He eventually submitted to all of this and started feeding from her. The comments on this blog varied from "Disgusting" to "what a wonderful way to bond and what a lovely thing to do for the child." Personally, I vote disgusting.
For those of you reading this wondering what my problem is, I want you to think of it this way - if a complete stranger picked up a 20 month old child and tried to cram her breast into the child's mouth insisting that breast milk was good for the child would that be wrong? Yes, it would. This is what the child is experiencing; they are not aware that a piece of paper with adoption decree written on it means that this woman is legally their mother. All they know is that a strange lady is putting her breast in their mouth. Some of the techniques described in the blog would be questionable even if a natural mother did them with a child at that age. I also wonder how people would feel about an adoptive father using skin to skin contact and co-bathing to bond with his adopted 20 month old son or daughter. What happens in 20 years when this child is an adult in therapy repeating the memory that this woman that he did not know got naked with him and shoved her breast in his mouth while he slept?
Adoptive breast feeding is not about giving the child the best start in the world, it is about the adoptive mother wanting to feel like a mother. Breast milk contains specific proteins and antibodies for the biological child. The lactation drugs that many adoptive mothers use are known to cause depression and some that are used to induce lactation are used to treat schizophrenia - no research has been done on what that does to the child who is consuming it. There are other ways to get to know your adopted child, other ways to make them feel safe, adoptive breast feeding is just not necessary and I sincerely wish that "adoption specialists" would stop encouraging it.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ten Years On.

I was reunited with my natural mother, my half brother and half sister ten years ago. I have a lovely relationship with all of them and see them more often than I see my adoptive family. I find that spending time with them is easy and I don't feel the need to put on a face or behave a particular way. And yet I still feel the occasional twinge of "do they really like me?" and "am i just an unwanted hassle?" My nmum and I had our reunion on New Years Eve so we planned to have a 10th anniversary dinner. That afternoon, nmum called me and cancelled because she and her hubby were really sick with food poisoning. We left it that she would call me to reschedule. She still hasn't. We have emailed and texted a couple of times. A few weeks ago, my 2 year old son got hold of my mobile phone and called her and we laughed and said we should catch up soon. We still haven't.
I hope she is just busy, I hope I haven't done anything to annoy or upset her, but I just don't know. I get so tired of all this shit, so tired of wondering if I have said or done something, so tired of watching my p's and q's with my amum. so tired of being adopted. Before my reunion, I really didn't think that much about being adopted, but now that I know my natural family, it's like I can't not think about it. I really do wish that it had never happened.