Monthly Archives: April 2014

“his life story”

I’ve almost done a “search terms post” here a dozen times, because I get some very strange ones. (I think it’s because I cuss a lot.) This one caught my attention for a different reason, though:

“why wont my adopted son believe his life story”

(I’ll be making some assumptions as I try to answer this question. I’ll do my best to recognize them and point them out when I do.)

Mr. or Ms. Search Term User:

I’m guessing by “his life story” you mean “the story of how your son got into your family.” (That’s interesting, because it’s usually non-adoptees who tell adoptees we need to call our adoption a one-time, safely-in-the-past event instead of our “life story.” But never mind.)

I’ll assume that your son was adopted at a very young age; otherwise he’d remember his own story. So, look: Why should he believe “his life story”? “His life story” is bullshit. No matter how much you know, no matter what you tell him, if you leave out the important part everyone leaves out, his life story is bullshit. He doesn’t believe it because it isn’t true. I’ll get back to the important part.

Meanwhile, if his adoption resembles mine (closed), he doesn’t have much of a story in the first place. He has a very vague story with no details and zero evidence to back it up. Why should he take anyone’s word for anything? He can’t even prove he was born. Non-adopted people have details: Their mothers were in labor for X hours at Y hospital, etc. Their birth certificates don’t lie.

What little your son has of his story is probably not what he wants to hear. The story I got was “Your parents weren’t married, so she couldn’t keep you: The End.” True, but only a fraction of the story, and a not very satisfying one. I didn’t want to know why I was given up; there are many reasons society provides for a woman to give up her child if someone else wants that child. I wanted to know why I wasn’t kept. There’s a difference. Maybe your son doesn’t believe “his life story” because it’s incomplete and doesn’t tell him anything worth knowing.

Maybe your son’s story, no matter how much of it you know and/or he knows, makes him sad. Again, assuming this is a closed/sealed records infant adoption, that should be easy to understand. A boy very possibly doesn’t want to be reminded no name was passed down to him for him to pass down in turn (not one that reflects reality, anyway). I think that matters to boys and men a lot. I’ve never met a female adoptee who rejected the reclaiming of the word “bastard” as vehemently as some male adoptees I’ve met do. Men don’t get raised, as women do, to expect to surrender their names when they get married anyway.

Of course, bloodlines and names are important to everyone. An adoptee’s story is the story of not having these things, of not belonging to one’s own people. Nobody wants to believe they’re that outcast. Perhaps your son doesn’t believe “his life story” because it says nothing good about him or where and whom he came from.

Maybe “his life story” is something that has never been your son’s to tell because everyone knows it. (Maybe he doesn’t look like you, so everyone can tell he’s adopted.) Maybe it’s easier for him to believe something he makes up. (And really, when one’s birth certificate is a falsehood, maybe one feels entitled to any number of imaginary parents and their stories. Why not? If he has to act in your play in order to earn your love, why shouldn’t he write his own script and expect others to go along with it?) Maybe your son doesn’t believe “his life story” because inventing his own helps him feel powerful, if only just a little. Maybe he feels that, from now on, if anyone is going to tell lies about him and his life, it’s going to be him. Not believing “his life story” may be his one way of feeling in control of his life.

I keep putting “his life story” in quotes for a reason: it isn’t his. He doesn’t even get to be its main character. Adoption stories start when Someone/s Want/s A Baby Very Much, or when a woman Makes a Loving Choice. They end when the Someone/s get/s A Baby. Other people’s stories start when they are born (or perhaps when their parents meet) and end when they die. Your son doesn’t believe it because it’s not “his story:” it’s yours, and, to a lesser extent, his first parents’.

I’ll ask again: Why should your son believe, if “his life story” resembles mine (you know, the one about the Someone/s Who Wanted a Baby Very Much and the Woman Who Made a Loving Choice)? I’m pretty sure he has senses and a brain and friends whose parents displayed their love by keeping them, not getting rid of them. The whole world tells him his story is a lie. That’s because, in ninety-odd per cent of the cases, the story about the Someone/s and the Woman is bullshit.

Almost all of us adopted as infants have the same real, true “life story.” It’s a story about a person or people who wanted a baby and had enough status and/or money to buy one, and a *woman who had a baby but not enough money or status to keep it. That’s the important part everybody leaves out, because nobody wants to be any character in that “life story.” One is either a victim, a purchaser of human flesh, or a purchased product. It’s a sucky, stupid, evil story that should be prevented from happening to anyone whenever possible: The End.

In short, Sir or Ms., if my assumptions hold, your son doesn’t believe “his life story” because it isn’t true, it’s incomplete, it tells him nothing worth knowing, he didn’t ask to be in it, it isn’t his story, and it isn’t even about him, let alone “his life.”



*Yes, I’m sure some few women wanted-really-wanted to undergo nine months of life-altering, perhaps life-threatening pregnancy only to give the baby away, but I’ve never met one. We have fewer adoptions now because there’s less pressure on single women to relinquish. Absent any pressure at all, adoption as we know it would surely be vanishingly rare.

And even if one is the exception, who wants to have come from people who would willingly bring a child into the world for the purpose of giving it away? Nobody, not really, not deep down. Nobody.



Filed under AdoptoLand, General Ignoramitude