Whose “Stigma”? Bet you can guess!

Got your secret decoder rings, Kids? (I mean your Universal Translator phrase.) The spiky urchin is reading an article called “For National Adoption Month, let’s help remove stigma.” It starts out by telling the story of Little Stevie Jobs. (Seems he had “an open adoption.” Let me tell you, I had no idea.)

The late Steve Jobs was the product of an open adoption. He was taunted by other children, and he was tormented by the notion that he was unwanted and that his birth parents gave him away….They all [foster children] deserve to land in an adoptive family as Jobs did, where his parents instilled in him the notion that he was wanted, and that they specifically chose him for their forever family.

This is a confusing paragraph. It wants to say adoption saved Little Stevie and made him happy, but it says he was first adopted, then taunted and tormented despite his family’s best efforts to help him feel better. Then it says this is the happy ending all children deserve. That smells pretty contradictory, dunnit? And that “chosen” crap? And “forever family,” a phrase formerly reserved for rescue pets? These are Big Clues.
So guess who it hurts, the national tragedy of one hundred thousand USAian kids waiting for homes? Just guess.
Yeah, it’s the PAPs.
See, the stigma of adoption was not what happened when Steve Jobs and you and I got mocked on the playground and whispered about at family reunions at all. Adoption stigma isn’t what makes first mothers reluctant to tell anyone they relinquished. No, the actual stigma attached to adoption is that some states refuse to allow gay couples to adopt.

An urchin could puke.

I am all for gay rights. It sucks that, in most places, gay people who want to adopt have to do it as singles, because they’re not considered “fit” to marry or raise kids. It sucks, and it’s wrong bey0nd wrong. It isn’t GAY adoption that bothers me. It’s gay ADOPTION, because it’s done in all the same screwed-up ways other adoptions are.

But that’s “the stigma in adoption”? Bullshit. Stigma is

  • Adoptees being deported–because their parents didn’t bother to secure American citizenship for them and aren’t about to do it now.
  • Children being returned like shoddy merchandise while the public rushes to defend the returner.
  • Talking to someone who doesn’t know I’m adopted and hearing them mention that many serial killers were adopted children.
  • Hearing for the millionth time the notion that those kids just can’t be trusted because they’re all messed up when you get them, no matter how young.
  • Adoptees trying to get passports and failing because their fake records aren’t in order.
  • The way we’re all seen as terribly spoiled–the way some people say “I wish I were adopted” in the same shitty tone they use to say “Well, I wish I were black”” when they learn affirmative action exists.

That’s adoption stigma.

This article does mention, at the end, in a bit of a rush, that kids just happen to do better in families than foster homes. But it’s really about the PAPs. And isn’t Novmber 15th a little late to go flogging the adopted corpse of Steve Jobs?

Every child does deserves one, as Steve Jobs knew so well.

As Steve Jobs knew so well when he, I dunno, retreated to his room to cry after being taunted at school all day. Isn’t it bee yoo tee ful?!?! And isn’t it beautiful when cowards, instead of demanding their rights (to which they are, I repeat, perfectly entitled), grovel for them by hiding behind a group with even less power than they have? By cooing “Itto chiwdwen get hurt if I don’t get what I want”?

Look, people, APs, PAPs–I know you have pain. I know some of you really wanted your own kids. I know some of you have been through Hell and back and still don’t have kids. I know you go through a hundred kinds of suffering most people don’t, because you deal with things they don’t have to. Do I appropriate your pain for myself and my causes and my desires and my ends? I fucking well do not.

Attention PAPs: Keep your grimy paws off adoption pain, trauma, stigma. I have to live it on a level at which APs don’t, because it’s my only identity. And I didn’t pile this big extra helping of stress and trauma on my own plate.

If you want to help with adoption stigma, the first step is to shut up and listen to adoptees, the ones who are the most stigmatized and the poorest-equipped to do anything about it. If you don’t want to help, the first and only step is to shut the fuck up. My adoption experience, stigma included, is something I can honestly call one hundred per cent mine. And I know exactly where it came from. As an adoptee, I can’t say that about very many things.



Filed under Those Wacky PAPs, What It's Like, WTF?!

2 responses to “Whose “Stigma”? Bet you can guess!

  1. Right!!!!! Why is gay marriage being confused with gay adoption? Two quite separate areas.
    Stigma our old friend, if you want to help don’t adopt, help keep families together instead.

  2. Amen. But they don’t want to help; they want kids. And if more people came out and said so, we could have an honest discussion. But we have to mix it up with philanthropy and Jesus and gay rights and everything else, all because we don’t want to look at what’s really happening, Sigh.

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