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–
Husband: I SAID I LOVE YOU.
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.