A Faulty Analogy Exposed

It’s a busy day, and the subject of adoption-as-amputation came up in Blogland recently; so here’s a snarky retort from the snurchin’s Y!A days:

Adoption defender: […] I’d also like to point out that children who stay in their biological family didn’t ask to be in that family either. There are good things and bad things to a biological family and an adoptive family. Just like everything else in the world has pros and cons, adoption does too.

Snurchin: And I’d like to point out that people who are born with four whole limbs didn’t ask for those healthy arms and legs either. There are good things and bad things about being able to stand and grasp and hug and write. Those limbs have their pros and cons, just like prostheses do.

(I’ll compose a real post again soon, I promise….)

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7 Comments

Filed under Stop Saying That

7 responses to “A Faulty Analogy Exposed

  1. Lauri Lee

    I read somewhere that it evidently unPC of me to refer to my first parents as my “real” parents. And as much as I feel that my adoptive parents are real in every way that anyone you attach (or don’t attach) to and feel things for and place expectations on, they technically are the impostors. They could be interchanged with any number of potential adoptive parents at the time of my adoption and would have fulfilled the role in more or less similar and yet diverse ways.

    My real parents are the indispensable ones, without whom I would not exist, it is their DNA that composes every cell of my body. Whether they were (or would have been) good or bad parents is about as relevant as whether the impostors were good or bad parents, they are still my real parents, and the impostors are still the impostors.

    Whether I choose to like the real ones over the impostors or vice-versa, or just to assign different values on them, is really up to me and has nothing to do with whether adoption is a good or a bad thing. The bad thing is, I was bonded to my biological parents and that was severed and that pain was never acknowledged, and the impostors conveyed the notion that they were better than the real thing for simply being there. As long as notions like this persist, there is something rotten in the state of adoption.

    As far as I’m concerned, I am my DNA, my emotional life and life is what has happened to that DNA, and part of that picture is that I was severed from an emotional attachment that connected me to the continuum of my DNA and how variants of this manifested in individuals that we call relatives. People we can see ourselves in relative to ourselves.

    I only see reflections of superficial behaviours in the impostors, nothing inherent.

    In my case, the impostors did a mixed job – some good, some terrible. From what I know about my real family, it would have been a mixed job as well. So surmise-able as a rough zero sum on the which was better in the job of parenting. But when you add into the equation losing biological connectedness and an inherent sense of myself, puts some negatives to my impostor parents, and some positives to my real parents. Add into the equation loss of ethnic/cultural and racial identity, more negatives to the impostor parents, and more positives for the real parents (or at least impostor parents of the same culture/race and country). But when you add into the equation wanted-ness, a part that some adoptees find polarises the positives and negatives, I come up as a zero sum again. Only this is not accurate, I was wanted for being only me by my biological family as a biological extension of themselves, and I could have been any interchangeable child presented to the impostor parents prior to them bonding to me after adoption. Also, the travesty of being wanted by my biological family and essentially stolen from them out-weighs any wanted-ness by the impostors. When you add the trauma of losing the people who you are most bonded to, it adds more negatives. I can assuredly say, my adoption weighs heavily on the negatives, especially the ethical aspect, and the very real loss suffered by my very real family (I think adoptive families have developed some really unhealthy ploys to keep adoptees from thinking in very real terms about the reality of their real family).

    This is not to say all adoptions are bad and sum this way, but I know I’m not alone in this, nor do I think the argument should be about whether adoption is a good or a bad thing. It’s more about what creates positive outcomes, and keeping the negatives to a minimum. Some of this is as simple as supporting parent(s) who want to keep their children, it takes away a lot of the unnecessary negatives. Negates adoption loss trauma. Only the impostors lose, and unfortunately adoption is all about them.

  2. @Lauri Lee, Yes, “positive adoption language” requires that you swear all fealty to your APs as the Two And Only Real True Parents. This is, of course, pure bullshit. I see myself as having four real parents. I also recognize the right of the adoptee to decide who his/her “real parents” are and aren’t, although I find the phrase itself problematic and stupid.

    Do you blog? Your comment is even-handed and well-composed, and it contains a lot of information people need to know. You don’t pull any punches, but neither will your tone put off anyone who wants to be educated.

  3. Lauri Lee

    Hi Snarkurchin –

    No I don’t blog, I just occasionally trawl around other people’s blogs and throw the odd comment in. Being on the move makes me feel like a less easy target for the critics, and I feel like adoption has slapped me enough! ;-p More to the point, I think you’ve identified it in regards to my other post on your blog, I bring out the snark as well, so I would not know which direction to take a blog, even-handed or cathartic vent? I like to have something to react to and ruminate on too, so a blank blog page for me to fill is an intimidating prospect. Also, I think the research others are producing is the material we need behind us, and I want to see more of that and I’m not producing it so at best I might regurgitate.

    Oh, excuses excuses…

    My comment was not as well formed as I wish and it’s been bothering me, I was just reacting to the sense of my own amputation and how I thought it violated my sense of real family and the rest sort of flowed. I actually believe, the concept of adoption fills a useful function for those truly without parents or relatives to care for them (as long as original identity is maintained if known), however I think there are ethical considerations that have nothing to do with positive outcomes that need to be taken into consideration first and foremost. Basically if it violates someone’s human rights, it’s wrong. Taking someones child without their consent or through coercion is wrong. Being denied knowing your own family and identity because another family wants exclusive rights to you, is wrong. If a first family is so damaging to an individual and all reasonable attempts to remedy the situation fail, then this is where working out the conditions of a positive outcome and reducing the negatives come into play. Only then.

  4. I still don’t know what tone i want to take either. Right now, it’s snotty, but I have toyed with the idea of doing a more serious blog that would educate people as well. As for this–

    “the concept of adoption fills a useful function for those truly without parents or relatives to care for them (as long as original identity is maintained if known), however I think there are ethical considerations that have nothing to do with positive outcomes that need to be taken into consideration first and foremost.”

    I agree, one hundred per cent.

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