On Words, and How They Mean Things.

A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Hating the institution of adoption AIIG/CP* is not the same as hating life, one’s family, America, kittens, Jesus, or ice cream. If, when discussing adoption, you find yourself confused about this, the giveaway is that only one of the words in the above list is “adoption” whereas the other words are not. Thank you.

To continue a theme from yesterday’s post, every time a spiky urchin (or anyone else!) suggests that adoption is rough on an adoptee, or that corruption in adoption is rampant, or that the horror stories about women popping up out of nowhere years later and getting their kids back are just that, someone eventually says it:

“I’m sorry you had such a bad adoption experience.”

Pfft. In the first place, you’re not sorry at all; you’re simply trying to shift the conversation from what’s wrong with adoption, which according to you is nothing, to what’s wrong with me–and, since I’m a product of adoption, you’re arguing against yourself. In the second place, if I had “a bad adoption experience” (whatever that means), that story would be mine to share or not share, and I would certainly not talk to every sanctimonious prick who thinks Adoption Is Booful And Cannot Be Improved about it.

*I’m sick of typing out “as it is generally/currently practiced.”

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10 Comments

Filed under Stop Saying That, What It's Like

10 responses to “On Words, and How They Mean Things.

  1. I do not understand clinging to that meme when there is nothing to back it up and more to support the fallacy.

  2. Oh, I understand it perfectly: It’s a derailing tactic. It’s supposed to make me stop arguing and defend myself and my family instead. It doesn’t work on me anymore, but it took me years to get to that point.

  3. Paris

    Thank you for the PSA. I didn’t need it, but Gucci knows many people in adoptoland need to be reminded.

  4. And thank you for reading and commenting!

  5. Von

    Thanks for the post, so very true.Designed to disempower, a put down and a way to try to put us back in our place as victims, so hard to get it to work right these days!

  6. Pingback: Things DO CHANGE « Joy’s Division

  7. Mei Ling, I usually say something like “But we’re not talking about my experience.” I used to stop arguing long enough to say my experience was good, but I’m not doing that anymore. It really confuses’em when you don’t take the bait.

    • Mei-Ling

      Doesn’t that lead in to “You’re right, we’re not talking about your experience, so don’t claim to know what my child will feel”?

  8. Ah, OK, I misunderstood. People throw that one out at me like a land mine no matter what aspect of adoption we’re discussing.

    But if we were talking about things that *required* me to use my own experience as a template, I would say something like, “My parents love me and they always did what they thought was best for me. I take these things as given for any family under discussion unless I’m told differently.” Then I could get back to saying that in spite of having loving parents, adoption blah blah blah, and in this, my experience is typical of my many others I’ve met.

    Good point, though–that’s the other use for this phrase, the one especially for a’parents/PAPs. The first is a simple “Shut up and talk about what I want you to talk about,” which could come from anyone. But the second meaning is “You make me uncomfortable, and I’m sorry I asked you about adoption. I need to know my child will not turn out like you. Since it cannot be thought that adoption can have any effects on my child that are not one hundred per cent Good, you must be the way you are for some other reason. I’ll blame crappy parents, because I am not a crappy parent. I am now free to accept any of your advice I find palatable while discarding the parts I don’t like. And I can continue to feel good about my parenting because it was extremely open minded and good of me to talk to you about this in the first place.”

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