Monthly Archives: April 2013

So How DOES It Feel?

Another adoptee I know recently mentioned having a feeling I think all of us have had: Not wanting to be adopted, maybe for just one day, so one wouldn’t have adoption in one’s head all the time.

But one does. I typed “Some days adoption seems to take up more than all my energy even if I don’t think about it much, like a background program I can’t close.”

So I can verbalize how it feels to be adopted (to me). I really didn’t think I could. I’m going to keep trying.

Here’s how else it feels: You know the part in Catcher in the Rye where Holden’s walking and every time he steps from the curb to the street, he asks his dead brother to keep him from disappearing? Adoption feels like that to me. I don’t trust the ground to hold me up. (This is not entirely metaphor. I wish I could explain it better.)

Allie, Allie, don't let me disappear.

Allie, Allie, don’t let me disappear.

Or, as Stephen Wright put it, “You know how it feels when you’re leaning back in a chair, and you lean too far back, and you almost fall over backwards, but then you catch yourself at the last second? I feel like that all the time.”*

I think I’ll have more to say on this later. For now, how does it feel to you?

*They say we can be “hypervigilant.” I jerk awake two or three times a night  if I’m sleeping in a strange bed. (I also occasionally hit and kick my lovers in my sleep, but I dunno whether I can pin on that one on adoption. Maybe I just hog the bed as well as the hedge.

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Filed under Srsly, What It's Like

Questions I’ve Always Wanted to Ask

You’re not adopted? But you don’t look like your parents at all! What’s it like not being adopted? Are you sad because you weren’t chosen?

Knowing why you look that way and where many of the things you like and dislike about your appearance come from, being able to see these things in the people in your house and in the people you see at family reunions: What’s that like? Do you feel like a part of your family? Does having the same eyes or nose or laugh as others make you feel ordinary, not special? Do you ever think about other, unreal parents?

Is it embarrassing to fill out all the paperwork before your first visit to a new doctor? What’s that like? Did an employee ever fail to notice your “not adopted” note on the file and ask in front of everyone how you know all this family history stuff? How did it feel to be singled out like that?

Knowing your birth story, knowing how many hours your mother was in labor with you; knowing what name she gave you because it’s your name forever, knowing where your father was at the time: How does that feel? When you were young, did other children make fun of you for not being adopted? because nobody but your own parents wanted you?

When you were little, did you entertain fantasies like those Freud called the family romance? Pretend you were adopted and one day your real family would come and love you better, love you right? How did that feel? Did it fill an emptiness for you, or did it turn out there had never been any emptiness, and you were only seeking the love you had at home all along? Did you, as a child, feel sure you were adopted and announce it to your parents, only to see them  smile and roll their eyes rather than rush you to a therapist or accuse you of being disloyal to the family? What was that like?

Are you grateful you were kept? Does it make you feel special to know your parents made you right there at home, literally between them, and waited nine whole months for you and gave you their name–that you were literally created by and for them? Are you grateful you weren’t aborted? How does it feel to know you belong where you are, that at least two people made or changed their life plans, sacrificing countless unlived lives, just for you? Does it make you feel blessed like this non-adoptee I met once and this one my friend knows and this one in this magazine and this one on the internet?

If you don’t feel grateful, do you think this is because knowing so much about yourself and your heritage mean you missed out on many of life’s wonderful surprises? When your friends did their “birthparent” searches, did you feel left out? Does it make sense that this still bothers you, or do you feel you should simply get over it?

Did you ever consider searching for your might-have-been adoptive parents, for that one “looking to adopt” couple who would have provided the perfect home for you? Why? Why not? What went wrong? Are you unhappy? Were you abused? Why? Why not? Why? How does this feel?

When people find out you aren’t adopted, do they say it’s wonderful and then change the subject? Do you sense they don’t know what to say to someone whose parents didn’t even have to pass a home study? Do they accuse you of being spoiled? Do they compare you to their non-adopted relatives? Do they expect you to be an authority on all aspects and schools of thought on parturition, and to be able to explain it from the points of view of the mother, father, baby, OB/GYN, all members of the attending medical staff and any deity/ies involved or not involved? Does that bother you, or do you feel honored to be a spokesperson for parturition?

Has not having your amended birth certificate ever prevented you from obtaining either US citizenship or a passport? What was that like?

Maybe you don’t think about it, like fish don’t think about water, and that’s understandable, but have you ever tried imagining how it would really feel to be adopted?

Have you ever tried really hard to imagine it, to the point that your psyche began to feel uncomfortable in some way?

And have you then gone a little bit past that feeling, and wondered if you weren’t wrong about a thing or two?

Yes? Kinda disconcerting, wasn’t it? (Thank you for making that effort. It means a lot.)

No?

Then STOP TELLING ADOPTEES IT “WOULDN’T BOTHER YOU” IF YOU WERE ADOPTED, BECAUSE AS LONG AS YOU HAVE A LOVING FAMILY IT “DOESN’T MATTER.”

Thank you.

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Filed under AdoptoLand, General Ignoramitude, Stop Saying That, What It's Like

This is not unique. This is happening now. This requires witnesses.

I really thought I had posted this, but no. And I thought I could embed videos here, but I can’t, so you’ll have to take my word for it: You should watch this documentary about the adoption of two Ethiopian siblings. *It will fuck you up unless you have a smaller, colder heart than I do, which is not possible. You should watch it anyway. Everyone should watch it.

Mercy Mercy

 

 

*Consider this a trigger warning. If you have a soul, this film will fuck you up. If you’re adopted, and/or have adoption issues, it may well fuck you up in a very personal, debilitating way.  I still think you should watch it–maybe when you feel strong, maybe among people who truly love and care about you.

PS: Please read the comments to this post! My commentors have awesome detective skills, and they’ll find a link you can use to watch this film in some form or another. Thanks, Folks!

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Filed under Adopted And Happy!, AdoptoLand, Colonialism ROCKS!, Film, Forever Family, General Ignoramitude, It Can't Be Racist. I Didn't Use the N-word Once!, Srsly

The World Notices, Jim Bob.

When Stars Adopt, the World Notices!

But famous people really don’t get special treatment, insists a reasonably famous woman who is so important the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis found time to stymie her childbirth efforts. I don’t get it either, but it’s right there in the article, so it must be true! Just like it must be true that Madonna was able to adopt from *Malawi, a country that doesn’t do adoptions, twice, just because she’s a nice lady who loves babies, not because she’s Madonna.

“[…] I have met so many people who think you have to be so pretty and famous and go to another country to find a child,” says pretty, famous Nia Vadarlos. “Madonna and Angelina Jolie have broken so many myths about adopting from another country and I commend them for it. But there’s a way to do it here. I wanted to talk about all the ways that worked for me and show all the ways to adopt.”

“All the ways” are adopting from foster care. Waiting your turn, crazy, antiquated crap like that…? So last century. Good for you, Ms. Vardalos! I’m glad you’re so excited about foster-to-adopt you’re writing a “how-to” guide, if less excited that it’s also your adoption memoir (your daughter is eight years old!).

“I think the public has the impression that celebrities have an edge on and get breaks with everything, including adoption,” says “adoption expert” (social work proffie) Devon Brooks, who goes on NOT to dispel  this “impression” a single bit. And Ms. Vardalos can’t dispel it either. Although she did everything right, the article mentions that Vardalos admits in her book that a Hollywood lawyer recommended she buy her way to the front of the baby-waiting line.

I get it now. You don’t have to be so pretty and so famous and go so far away to get special consideration for your adoption wants. You just have to somehow know a Hollywood lawyer and be rich as hell and have no morals. Well color me shocked. Shocked! All this time I thought celebrities got paid in smiles and admiration, that people walked up to them and said “You’re so pretty. Please raise my baby.” But Ms. Vardalos is right, it had nothing at all to do with how pretty and famous she is!

Somebody better tell the Duggars! Jim Bob, who’s been a “patriarch” for so long that he expects the universe to fulfill his every whim, is sure his family’s “influence” will get him a baby from El Salvador faster than it should take. (He’s used to getting a new Mini-Jim every year, after all; why should he and his have to wait three to five years like the schmoes do?)

Their influence.

Their INFLUENCE.

Sir, you have a reality show whereon you display to the world how awesome it is to have so many kids that your kids raise your kids. Here’s your influence: Any agency worker in the USA would (or should) run screaming from your adoption application, terrified of being “the agency that gave that family yet another kid and let them name it yet another J-name.” And you know that. But you and your gigantic family do mission work of some kind in El Salvador, so you’re entitled to one baby, quick quick quick, the cameras are rolling.

I guess being the king of your own private nation can do that to a man. You think the people who watch you and notice what you do admire you and find you very Christlike and very wise, don’t you, Jim? You don’t even know you’re a freakshow.

If you get an El Salvadoran baby, and if you get it in record time, it will be because you did what Ms. Vardalos was not willing to do. I hope your viewers are paying attention: If the Duggers get a baby and get it fast, it’s not because Jesus loves them best, it’s because they did something unethical.

Notice, World. Please, please notice?

*Thanks,  PMD, and apologies to both Malawi and Mali.

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Filed under Celebri-tease, Jesus Told Me To, Tee vee, You're going to Hell for this.