Children’s Lit for Grown-Ups

They try, oh how they try in Adoptoland. But they can never make it about the child, not even when they write a book intended for adopted children. The You We Adore says the same trite crap every other book for little adoptees says, and for the same reason: to make the parents happy while pretending it answers the child’s questions.

It also implies that the special, dogged, world-searching love of one’s parents must be earned:

“After searching the world for the you we adore, you opened our hearts. You’re the one we waited for.”

You picked up a hammer and pried our oyster hearts, because otherwise we surely could not have loved you–the same you we looked for and adore. If you hadn’t done that, we’d’ve shipped you right back. In AdoptoLand, we call searching the world for a child when you’re not sure you can love one Logic.

Of course the book’s real audience, APs, eat it up:

Searching for the You We Adore fills a need experienced by all adopted children in their reaching for an answer to, ‘Who am I’? -Louise Bachtold, Phd., Professor Emeritus Human Development, University of California, adoptive parent whose pants are aflame.

This book cannot tell your adopted child who s/he is. Behold:
Adopted child: Who am I?
Mommy whose name is, perhaps, Louise: You’re my beloved child.
Adopted child: I know, Mommy, but *who am I*?
Mommy Louise: We’ll read this book and find out!
Book: “You are Mommy and Daddy’s beloved child and they love you very much.”
Adopted child: I know that, Mommy. I love you too. But I want to kn–
Mommy Louise: The End! There now! Question answered! Go to sleep.
Adopted child (having received the message that his/her origins are shameful and not to be discussed): Night night, Mommy.
Mommy Louise: What a wonderful and psychologically correct book!

I remember hearing this kind of talk. It was so obviously supposed to comfort me. But it scared me, because the words, the tone, the expressions all let me know that adults were deceiving me, a little girl. They weren’t supposed to do that, and I couldn’t understand why they were. I just knew it had something to do with where I came from, which must be a place so terrible that not even adults would talk straight about it, perhaps for fear of being taken there.

On the book’s website, we get more gushing AP praise:

“This story embraces the true meaning of adoption. Beautifully written and illustrated, It will bring tears to your eyes.”-Leslie Wozniak, adoptive parent.

Not a peep from Ms, Wozniak about how your child will feel about this book, because she’s forgotten she’s even supposed to pretend it’s for children. The book is for adoptive parents. “And we got you. And you are ours. And we love you so much. The End. Oh, I’m so happy. Night night, Sweetie!”

And yes, yes that IS the true meaning of adoption: Happy grown-ups get what they want, and if the child asks questions, it must be because s/he doesn’t believe in Mommy’s and Daddy’s love.  I was always sure of my adoptive parents’ love. It was obvious, and I doted on it–except when it was put to this kind of use. If a romantic partner did this, we’d see it for the emotional blackmail it is:

Wife: Honey, what happened to that check I just deposited in our account?
Husband: I love you.
Wife: Well, but I really need to kn–
Wife: Um, I love you too.

One’s parents’ love shouldn’t be the kind of love one requires a restraining order to deal with.



Filed under Adopted And Happy!

9 responses to “Children’s Lit for Grown-Ups

  1. Davo

    Yes the real story was quite different. The obstetrician said to my aparents a baby has just been born , he may not survive but do you want him if he does (he was my mothers obsterician also). They said yes. No searching, no multiple options. I don’t have a problem with the reality but remember the emotional blackmail that surfaced every now and then.

  2. Welcome, davo! Thanks for commenting,

    Even when my reality is problematic, I prefer it to fiction.

  3. Lauri Lee

    Ha, I was a mail order baby, no out of armchair searching the world for me! And no, the APs didn’t really get a choice for a specific child (THEY DIDN’T PICK ME), the baby girl they had been ASSIGNED died so I was the rapid replacement. All my papers to make me adoptable were faked in the 3 days after the first child died, no-one cared that I had a genuine family who might (and who did) object. That’s where I came from, adoption corruption. Like to see how “they’d” make that into a palatable children’s story book.

    “Once upon a time there was a very bad man and a very bad woman, called Harry and Bertha Holt, and they conspired to take away as many beautiful babies from their mothers because they lived in a heathen non-christian country and many people were very poor. So Harry and Bertha decided to save all the little children’s heathen souls by sending them away to dysfunctional christian families in another country.

    “How the mother’s wailed and cried when they took their babies, so they had to find sneakier ways find babies souls to save. Because people were poor many parents often placed their children in orphanages to have them cared for until they found work (and while they worked) but they came back for them when they could, Harry and Bertha decided this was a good place to find poor unfortunate non-christian babies to save their sould. Parents didn’t want to leave their children in orphanages but it was better than leaving the children unattended, to their own devices, with no-one to feed them at meal times. So the bad man and the bad woman conspired to take these children too and call them all orphans, even though only some of them were true orphans, and many still had at least one parent living.

    “Your Forever Mommy and Daddy filled in an order request form for a little girl and because they were good dysfunctional christians, they got what they asked for, even though the bad man and bad woman had to look extra hard because there wasn’t so many children easy to steal anymore. They had to be quick about getting you too, because the first little girl they promised your Forever Mommy and Daddy was a dud and died (she probably languished in unhealthy Holt care having been taken from her mother at such a young age).

    “So lots of very official sounding documents were made up where they erased the names of your parents to make it look like you were an orphan, and then you were sent to your Forever Mommy and Daddy in an airplane with a temporary good-riddance passport and a very uptight escort who didn’t like you and wrote nasty things about you on the trip because you cried inconsolably. And your real Daddy wept and hit the bottle when he came back for you discovering you were gone, and all your aunts and uncles came to help him find you and they wept when you couldn’t be found. And your big brother grew up alone with a deep sadness that never left him. But we actually can’t tell you this bit of the story because that’s a BIG SECRET we hope NO-ONE will ever find out.

    “Your Forever Mommy and Daddy loved themselves so much they didn’t care to think so much about your feelings or your real parents feelings. Afterall, forever after, they GOTHCHA….

    “THE END… until you find out the truth… ”

    If the truth sucks so much, try making the world a better more ethical place rather then fortifying the lies.

  4. Oh yuk!!!!!!! I’m still reeling from a book I found in the op-shop from the ’70’s called ‘The Adopted One’ – things have only got worse in adoption’literature’

  5. @Lauri Lee, you can write calm comments and bring the snark too? AWESOME!!

  6. …(by “calm” I refer to your comment on “A Faulty Analogy Exposed,” which left me, well, kind of awed–seriously.)

  7. cb

    Yeah, I hate those adoption books that are all about the APs – did they exist in “our” day? I remember just being told the basic facts – “your bmother was unmarried” – growing up in the 60s/70s, I understood what that meant and that was really enough explanation at the time – no BS about “she loved you so much she gave you up” or “we wanted a baby so much and you were the answer to our dreams” – (I was 3rd child anyway so any desperation there was on behalf of parents was long gone).

    There are quite a few decent APs out there but it does make me think that our ancient old parents weren’t too bad when it came to our adoption stories (well I speak for myself anyway lol)

  8. From their web site you can submit comments; our comments of course don’t show up at all. I submitted a poem and asked them to illustrate it and market it:

    The author is a business marketing major, and there are at current count two bogus marketing web sites for this book. What conclusion are we to draw from this other than the fact that adoption is an economic crime, and this author and illustrator are profiting from it? Heinous and horrifying.

  9. Daniel, it’s an honor to have you comment here. I’m a DAMN! fan from day one IIRC.

    I can’t make your tinyurl work, though. Feel free to paste the poem here as a comment if you like.

    Pretty sure I quoted both bogus websites in the OP w/o grasping just how bogus they are. Thanks!

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