You Don’t Know How It Feels

The snurchin has a white-hot hate-on for people who say things like this:

Many people who are not adopted have abandonment issues and identity issues. One can’t be sure they wouldn’t have had those same issues had they remained with their original family. People have issues.

And people pluck these issues out of thin air. They’re certainly not formed by the experiences and emotions they actually have and feel. Ask any psychiatrist! Babies do very little but lie there considering whether they’ll choose abandonment or addictions or a borderline personality or what, all on their own.

And sure, everyone has the same issues adopted people have. That’s why every group, not just adoptees, is overrepresented in juvenile facilities and mental hospitals. It all makes perfect sense. Only it doesn’t, of course, because if all groups were overrepresented, there’d be no concept of overrepresentation.

From a different person, bolding mine:

I was raised in a family that would appear to be the archetypal nuclear family. There were four children, my mother was at home, we suffered no losses or upheavals in our idyllic suburban lives. Despite all that, I have never felt close to my mother (whom I resemble strongly), and I have always felt that I was never understood by my parents or siblings and that I really didn’t “belong” in the family. Unfortunately, I can’t blame any of these things on adoption, and therefore must just chalk them up to the human condition, my own personal DNA, or perhaps the fact that we all suffer from a primal wound.

“Unfortunately”?

[sputter, flail]

“UNFORTUNATELY”?!

With that one word, you’ve proven how little you understand about how being adopted feels and how uninterested you really are in knowing how it feels. It’s one of the most callous things I think I’ve ever read. “Nobody understands me. I wish I had been handed over to strangers so I’d never know who I am or where I came from or why my first family wasn’t raising me. I wouldn’t just feel like I didn’t belong, I’d know it in the core of my being. That would make life and Thanksgiving dinners so much easier!” What are you, eight years old?

Truly: Shame on you.

There’s more from that last person. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn she’s an a’parent:

I’m sure that many adopted children struggle with their identities, and I hope that I will be able to help my adopted son to understand his life story and to feel positive about himself. I hope I will be able to listen to his feelings and tell him about his birth family without interference from my own emotions.

However, I also hope that I won’t blame all his problems and all our problems on the fact that he’s adopted. As we go through our inevitable mother/son battles and his predictably stormy adolescence, I hope I will respond as his mother, not as the one who created his problems by taking him into my home.

Spare  me, Lady. Plenty of parents who didn’t adopt don’t want to be the ones who caused all their kid’s problems. Your issues are probably invented, and if they aren’t, they have nothing to do with the reality that you adopted.

Really, you never felt you fit in? Well big godsdamned deal: you and every other kept child ever, so STFU asnd GTFO: you did and do belong and your feelings were a silly thing little children go through. If you chose to hold onto them into adulthood, that’s on you. Cry me Lake Erie, you whiner.

That was rude, dismissive and hurtful of me, wasn’t it? So cut it out. I mean, do you go around claiming everyone’s pain for yourself? Do you tell people of other races you know how it feels? amputees? the homeless? the opposite sex? I’ll bet you don’t. I’ll bet you only pick on adoptees because we have the nerve to occasionally say things that make you uncomfortable when we are supposed to shut up and be grateful. I don’t know why society doesn’t insist YOU shut up and be grateful you got to raise someone else’s child every single time you presume to speak about how adoptive parenting feels.

“I woke up in between/a memory and a dream…Think of me what you will;/I’ve got a little space to fill, /so let’s get to the point….You don’t know how it feels to be me.”


					
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32 Comments

Filed under Stop Saying That, What It's Like

32 responses to “You Don’t Know How It Feels

  1. “I was raised in a family that would appear to be the archetypal nuclear family. There were four children, my mother was at home, we suffered no losses or upheavals in our idyllic suburban lives. Despite all that, I have never felt close to my mother (whom I resemble strongly), and I have always felt that I was never understood by my parents or siblings and that I really didn’t “belong” in the family. Unfortunately, I can’t blame any of these things on adoption, and therefore must just chalk them up to the human condition, my own personal DNA, or perhaps the fact that we all suffer from a primal wound.”
    Hmmm!!!! For someone with such a very ‘normal’ upbringing and family there sure are some problems for this reader which suggests all was not as it seemed.There are always reasons for feelings of not belonging for non-adoptees, none of them generally the ones suggested.Perhaps it would have been wise to sort them out before inflicting the outcome on adoptees.

  2. Oh adopto-snark. I try and get over it all the time, but nothing works. My own daughter tells me I’m lucky, but I just can’t see it.

    • Your daughter tells you you’re lucky to be adopted…? I’m not sure I understand your comment, but even I would never actually tell someone who came to me with his/her suffering that s/he should get over it and feel lucky, no matter what their situation was.

  3. Romany

    “Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful” – The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBE

    I think that says it all.

  4. Christina

    So, she thinks if she could blame these things on adoption she would be fortunate? Her reasoning is just mind boggling.
    I’m not surpried she’s an AP, not one bit…

  5. “However, I also hope that I won’t blame all his problems and all our problems on the fact that he’s adopted.”

    No, the adopter won’t blame her son’s problems on the fact he is adopted, she will blame them on his original family, most likely on his mother who did something “wrong” while pregnant with him, like not eating enough broccoli or playing enough Mozart. After all, if he had HER genes, he wouldn’t have any problems!

    I am living out this scenario right now….if I had kept my daughter and she had chosen the path she is on, I would be blamed because I had KEPT her. However, since I made the “loving” (gag) decision to relinquish her for adoption and she is now on the chosen path she is on, the culture/her family STILL blame me because I am her biological mother. After all, *their* biological children are practically perfect and therefore, the difference must be her in her genes.

    *sigh* Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

  6. cat

    Your parents never understood you, you felt like an “outsider” and suffered whatever the hell you call a “primal” wound. Bet you blame your life’s shortcomings on your parents too. You’re an idiot. You have absolutely no idea what it’s like to be abandonded at birth (although it seems you wish you had). You don’t know what it’s like to go to family functions being the ONLY ONE who looks nothing like everyone else. You don’t know what it’s like to wake up on the morning of your birthday and wonder if the Mother you never met is thinking (or not) thinking of you. You don’t know what it’s like to go to a doctors appointment hand have no idea whether cancer runs in your biological genes.
    But yes, I do have feelings for people who are NOT adoptees who suffer from abandonment issues with their biological parents and offer this tidbit of advice: See a psychologist. Unleash your rage and resentment towards your parents in therapy but don’t you EVER compare yourself with someone who was abandoned at birth. Work on finding some peace within yourself and family instead of putting down the few people on this planet that would give their entire life and fortune to find a set of biological parents that would have (perhaps) given them a “normal upbringing”.

  7. Stephanie

    “No, the adopter won’t blame her son’s problems on the fact he is adopted, she will blame them on his original family, most likely on his mother who did something “wrong” while pregnant with him, like not eating enough broccoli or playing enough Mozart. After all, if he had HER genes, he wouldn’t have any problems!”

    LOL!! I can just hear my son’s adopter saying all this and more, on a regular basis because she’s just so self righteous and perfect and all…She has her adoptoraptor buddies hovering all over my son as I am writing this, no doubt touting the joys and wonders of adoption, just in case he may choose to have one thought that was his and his alone, (you know that may not be all rainbows and sunshine adoption is soooo wuunnnerrrful.)

    Damned if we do, damned if we don’t is right on. Damn them is more like it.

    • Isn’t it funny how you’re “giving them the greatest gift anyone could ever give”…and once they receive it, they have the nerve to complain about the gift’s “flaws”?

      • Stephanie

        Yes, it absolutely is. I have thought this very thing so many times. They had me elevated to sainthood status when they were courting me for my infant, now I am downright evil, dehumanized and was not even good enough for a “hello” after I found my son when he was of age. Funny how it works that way, huh?

  8. Love this post! What I feel like saying to that commenter is, “I know that sucks how we can’t just like buy people?”

    Unbelievable how people speak to us, the very people who are charged with our well-being and then they cry when we refuse to be their pivot-girl. unbelievable.

  9. OH also, love the Petty song, hearing him sing, “let’s get to the point, let’s roll another joint” made me strangely very cheerful as I got ready for work.

  10. lol, I actually don’t smoke pot, I mean I will I have nothing against it, just can’t really make the effort to, just the thought made me happy. 🙂

  11. Lauri Lee

    I have been thinking about the word ADOPT and some implications of the word so I started looking at dictionaries and thesauruses and this thesaurus entry was interesting in the broad range of synonyms for the word, the implications surrounding the word when it isn’t specifically about raising children:

    adopt
    verb
    1 we adopted Sasha in 1996: take as one’s child, be adoptive parents to, take in, take care of. ANTONYMS abandon.
    2 they adopted local customs: espouse, take on/up, embrace, assume; appropriate, arrogate. ANTONYMS abandon, reject.
    3 the people adopted him as their patron saint: choose, select, pick, vote for, elect, settle on, decide on, opt for; name, nominate, appoint. ANTONYMS reject.

    The antonyms are just downright depressing and no wonder we have messed up associations about ourselves when we think back on the opposite action that we are told lead to our adoptions.

    However, it’s the words “assume”, “appropriate”, and “arrogate” that struck me as they are what we seem to be up against with the attitudes of some adoptive parents and some other members of society. I certainly feel like these words apply to my adoption experience.

    Must APs assume, appropriate and arrogate our adoption/abandonment emotions when they assume, appropriate (or arrogate) our growing up lives (from our first families)? How have they not grasped that appropriation without permission is a violation?

    In a dictionary definition it has the note: USAGE See usage at ADAPT

    And when I go to ADAPT it has this:

    adapt |əˈdapt|
    verb [ trans. ]
    make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify : [ trans. ] hospitals have had to be adapted for modern medical practice | the policies can be adapted to suit individual needs and requirements | [as adj. ] ( adapted) mink are well adapted to hunting prey.
    • [ intrans. ] become adjusted to new conditions : a large organization can be slow to adapt to change
    • alter (a text) to make it suitable for filming, broadcasting, or the stage : the miniseries was adapted from Wouk’s novel.
    DERIVATIVES
    adaptive |-tiv| adjective
    ORIGIN late Middle English : from French adapter, from Latin adaptare, from ad- ‘to’ + aptare (from aptus ‘fit’ ).
    USAGE Avoid confusing adapt with adopt. Trouble sometimes arises because in : adapting to new conditions, an animal or plant can be said to : adopt something, e.g., a new color or behavior pattern.

    I think some people have problems avoiding confusing adopt with adapt. I think some APs feel that we should be made suitable for a new purpose and be modified by name and identity and that we must be the ones to become adjusted to our new conditions rather than them do some adjusting to make us more at home. I certainly would have liked my APs to be more like my parents/family in terms of personality, talent and taste, I think they should have done more to adapt to me! But most people would consider this an unreasonable expectation on my part but a reasonable expectation that I should adapt to being “their child” and “put my grateful face on”.

    Language seems to be sending us messages that we should adapt and be assumed, appropriated and our feelings arrogated to avoid the antonyms. Hell, they are all “A” words… [“Don’t use the A word around me!” “But which one?”]

    • “…some APs feel that we should be made suitable for a new purpose and be modified by name and identity and that we must be the ones to become adjusted to our new conditions rather than them do some adjusting to make us more at home.”

      “Some”? I remember when the transracial APs of America asked John Raible what they could do to make things easier on their kids if there were no people of color in their neighborhoods. “Move,” he suggested. And oh, how they hollered and protested and threw grown-uppy tantrums. Them? Move? But that would be inconvenient and they’d be uncomfortable away from all they’d ever known!

      I think he’s said he found one set of a’parents up for doing what would be best for their kid, who had already, of course, moved for them. ONE.

      • Lauri Lee

        Yeah, “some” was a little soft-cock of me, but I’m practicing the language of non-aggressive non-blanket statement diplomacy because when I talk to “some” of those with differing opinions I don’t want to discredit myself by sounding like an angry adoptee who has issues with being assumed arrogated and trafficked… who am I kidding… I’m still trying to ad- ‘to’ + aptare (from aptus ‘fit’ ) for credibility…

      • Lauri Lee

        ““Move,” he suggested. And oh, how they hollered and protested and threw grown-uppy tantrums. Them? Move? But that would be inconvenient and they’d be uncomfortable away from all they’d ever known!”

        But I’m sure “some” of these same parents would be willing to move to be in a better school zone for their children. No appreciable comfort zone shift, and it’s all for the kids of course… What a value trump, education over psychological comfort.

  12. Great comment Laurie Lee but heck!!Never forget we are only blank slates!

    • Lauri Lee

      Damn, I’m a blank slate? My a-parent scribbled one fucked up mess all over me! Why am I so rational and sane compared to them? Maybe I’m composed of some awesome genes? Nah, in The Rules of Adoption Credit Giving, never attribute positive things to genetic origin, the credit must be taken by the APs, but if it’s negative, there must have been some bad genes involved.

  13. Mei-Ling

    “One can’t be sure they wouldn’t have had those same issues had they remained with their original family. People have issues.”

    Speaking as a transracial adoptee, I *can* be damned sure I would have had ONE set of parents, ONE language, and ONE heritage.

    I’m also sure I wouldn’t have been told to be grateful my mother hadn’t chosen to abandon me and/or leave me in a dumpster.

    Also, just because “everyone” has issues (and not just adoptees) doesn’t make adoptees’ issues less valid. Why is that so hard for people to understand?

    An example:

    Me: I really wish I could speak Chinese. If I hadn’t been adopted I would have been able to learn the language naturally.
    Some AP: You do realize even some Chinese-born (and NOT Chinese-raised) children can’t speak the language right? And that those who have immigrant parents from China can’t necessarily speak the language either?

    Great, some Chinese-born children can’t speak the language, and some children with immigrant parents never learned to speak Chinese either. OK, that makes me feel less lonely, but that doesn’t take away the pain/inadequacy of knowing *I* can’t speak Chinese.

    Now apply that to every counter-response about adoptee issues, where just because “everyone else” encounters that issue, means that apparently, you’re not supposed to feel bad about it. Because it still hurts, it’s still an issue, and knowing some other person on this planet is encountering the exact same issue does NOT take the pain it causes for the adoptee.

    Why is that so hard to understand, I don’t get.

  14. Mei-Ling

    Meant to add, did this adoptive parent e-mail you, or are the italicized pieces from a previous comment I missed?

  15. cb

    Mei-Ling – if you google some of the words from the email, you will find where they are from. I note the same person starts off her comment by talking about “logic”, something she is clearly lacking lol.

  16. cb

    Btw you hit the nail on the head here, Mei Ling:
    “Now apply that to every counter-response about adoptee issues, where just because “everyone else” encounters that issue, means that apparently, you’re not supposed to feel bad about it. Because it still hurts, it’s still an issue, and knowing some other person on this planet is encountering the exact same issue does NOT take the pain it causes for the adoptee.

    Why is that so hard to understand, I don’t get”

  17. “I don’t know why society doesn’t insist YOU shut up and be grateful you got to raise someone else’s child every single time you presume to speak about how adoptive parenting feels” This is a gem, T. Laurel Sulfate, this is it in a nutshell. AP’s should tattoo this on our foreheads. When will ap’s get that there is ZERO room for complaints, or whining, and in fact zero INTEREST in how WE feel. We’re the clear and only winners here, so smarten up, stfu, be respectful and grateful and acknowledge the shittiness of the whole deal and the part we play/ed in it and how we are now benefitting from it, and then do your damndest to do right by your kid. Period.

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