Monthly Archives: June 2014

Adoption is Terrifying

I’m starting this video a full minute in because I care about my readers. You’re welcome.

Nevertheless, I am very, very sorry, and I hope you can forgive me. I’m not doing it just to bring your attention to this hideous book-song-thing, although it is hideous.

I’m doing it to bring your attention to the banal terror of adoption. Watch the kids when the camera goes over to them around twenty seconds in. Now read the lyrics. Now try to convince yourself this work and this performance is intended to assure children their new parents love them unconditionally and want them to be happy.

Try very, very, very hard to make your face look as if that is what you believe as you listen to this song.

Now imagine realizing, before you’ve even hit puberty, that your life depends on this performance, and that the people who demand it of you are not only dead serious, but will exercise control over you until you’re eighteen…if you’re lucky. Because if you disappoint them, you could be out of their house and in the hands of a pedophile tomorrow.

Imagine your mom wrote the song your life depends on.

Imagine knowing very well that getting old enough to know better does not absolve your from honoring this narcisist bullshit your life depends on as if it were unconditional love. Imagine you barely have the power to mock it in the dark.

Imagine your life depends on this stupid fucking song and dance. For many adoptees, it does…literally. For many more of us, childhood only felt that way.

 

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Filed under Adopted And Happy!, AdoptoLand, Film, Forever Family, What It's Like

Holy Bowel Movement

Or, I don’t give a damn what my adopted son doesn’t tell me, because I already know how he feels.

In my baby book there was a space for my new mom and dad to write their thoughts on adopting me. They both used the phrase “angel sent from Heaven.” I couldn’t look at it without squirming. I couldn’t look at it without crying. Who would give away an angel? It was one of those things that made me feel growing up that I could never merit the love I received, that I had to be better than everyone else at everything, and immediately. Otherwise I was an utter failure, and something terrible would happen to me.

Why wouldn’t I believe that was possible? It had already happened once. Anyway everyone knows angels don’t leave footprints.

The book doesn’t exist anymore. Neither do my original baby footprints. When I was around seventeen years old and a few years away from doing anything close to coming to terms with having been adopted, I threw the book away. The gap between the me my parents saw and the me I felt I was had become too broad to tolerate.

It could have been a lot worse, though. I could have been adopted by a flaming maniac who thought I was only a demi-angel because my mother was both an angel and shit to be flushed away. Here is an A’Mom comment on a blog post entitled “What Your Adopted Child Won’t Tell You,” which is not a bad post at all:

God chose a special angel (his bm name) to help carry him to make me his mommy. His day is celebrated as the day i could breath again as his mommy and he loves it. Not all adoptees feel like this. I know my son doesn’t. I also knowone day he will want more info and thats why i keep track as best as i can so when he is mature enough and over 18 ( her request). God chose me he made the miracle that is my son. It was me that was chosen for that blessing.

In the first place, Lady, I wouldn’t call your mother shit, certainly not if I expected people to believe she’s an aiiiiin jullll. In the second place, this comment is so self centered I almost feel compelled to break out my stills of The Monarch again. Shit Woman made ME his mommy! His day is about ME! My adoptee loves MY day about him because who wouldn’t love helping ME celebrate ME! God chose ME ME MINE MINE ME!

Also, so dramatic. Couldn’t breathe until she had a baby? Then…whence the “again”? (Maybe she’d already had one, but her diaphragm stopped moving the moment it arrived? If so, did she stop breathing a few breaths after adopting, too?) Doesn’t matter, and you know why:

It’s because God chose her. Literally. Out of the other seven billion people on Planet Earth, he found her and her alone good enough to raise this kid. The bowel movement? Screw her, god chose for her. And the fact that this lady got the baby had nothing to do with the fact that this lady had the money and the patience and the time and the lawyer and whatever else it takes to coerce a woman or girl or bowel movement out of a baby these days. Nope. Goddidit!

Hey, Lady? Maybe your son will feel some or all of the things about adoption the post lists; maybe he won’t. You’ll never know, because if he does, he won’t dare tell you. Even if he did, you wouldn’t know, because I see no evidence your son’s feelings will ever be of any importance to you. You’re more concerned with denial, and that stuff takes a lot of energy.

I’m adding something here, both in interest of fairness and as a warning.

This angel comment reads like the work of someone who was happy because s/he had just adopted–same context as my parents’ “angel” words.

My parents never called me an angel to my face. They didn’t raise me with the idea. I simply found it in the book when I was old enough to read it and took it as some standard I was meant to be meeting–a thing that was written twice and never (as far as I can recall) said aloud. All these decades later, I haven’t forgotten it.

Kids listen. Kids read. Kids take their parents’ words as gospel. If you call a child an angel to his/her face, the child might react the way I did. Or the child might believe you. Why would Mommy lie, after all? And angels are better than people, aren’t they? Angels deserve special treatment. Either way, you might be setting up your kid for some unnecessary hard knocks in life, especially if that kid is going to feel different all his/her life as it is.

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Filed under AdoptoLand, General Ignoramitude, Stop Saying That

This Rumpled My Spines

What a novel way of being told to be grateful.

Who exactly is this supposed to make feel better, now?

Who exactly is this supposed to make feel better, now?

I don’t know what a “whiny, self-righteous, blame-shifting…First Mother” is. I’m sure that, as with any other group of people (like Senators or PAPs), some first mothers do fall into that category. But sue me if I suspect this phrase is synonymous with “first mothers who makes P/APs uncomfortable.”

This graphic bugs me for a lot of reasons. In the first place, it seems a bit…violent. Is it necessary to use the word “bullet,” a crime scene victim outline with tire treads on it, and a blood-dripping font for the “professional victim” concept? Doesn’t that work against the designer’s point by making such first mothers seem too much like actual victims? Doesn’t it suggest someone wishes they would just die and get the fuck out of the way if they can’t shut up? Maybe it’s just me, but if I wanted to picture a professional victim, I’d look for something like a funny/exaggerated picture of someone crying. In fact, if you image search “professional victim,” some funny and appropriate things come up, like this:

Do-You-Have-a-Victim-Mentality-at-Work

Why not that instead?

Secondly, it’s presented as being aimed at adoptees. “I hope you feel the way I want you to feel about these obviously horrible people,” it says. Why? Because Good Adoptees feel the way their APs want them to feel about being adopted, and that way is, of course, grateful. We are to read this and run right off to Mom and Dad saying “Gosh, Mom and Dad, I might have been raised by one of those ca RAY zay people on the internet! Thank you so much for adopting me away from that professional victim! You’re the best mom and dad ever!” I see no other message here for adoptees at all.

I’ve seen P/AP blogs that made my blood run cold, made me terrified for their children, made me want to call CPS. Should I be thankful I dodged those bullets? The graphic doesn’t say, so I guess not. I’m simply supposed to be glad I’m adopted, because some first mothers who blog are professional victims and adoptive parents are necessarily superior to them (which is easy, because it doesn’t take much virtue to be better than a professional victim, absolutely none of who ever adopt).

The third thing that bothers me is the implication that giving up a child for adoption should be no big deal, something only a “professional victim” would see as a negative event in her life. Can’t she just shut up and move on? Can’t she just be glad someone bailed her out of trouble? I mean, relinquishing a childĀ  have a bad effect on a woman? Don’t be silly. She was Like That before and the miserable creature will be Like That until the day she dies. That secondary infertility they documented in some relinquishing mothers? Either imaginary or a product of the women’s being so self-righteous and whiny that their ovaries stopped working because even they knew such creatures shouldn’t be mothers.

Your first mother has to have been fucked up beyond repair no matter what, because some APs need this. She would have ruined you had she kept you because that’s what some APs need to believe. Her crimes? Why, no doubt they include thinking the same things about your APs they think about her: that they aren’t raising you as she would have. How dare she. And how dare she “shift blame” when everyone knows adoption is never coerced anymore? Economics? Social pressure? Gaping rents in a societal safety net? Pre-birth matching? Trickery at pregnancy crisis centers? All stuff I made up just now. Horrible women like your first mother dump babies all the time, which is why adoption is so easy and fast and cheap! …Right?

Of course if someone worthy of keeping a baby were to lose a baby, through its death or miscarriage or kidnapping, or were to want a baby and never get one at all, that would be different. That woman would merit sympathy and counseling. She would be understandably traumatized, probably for the rest of her life. First mothers aren’t supposed to be real women with real feelings. When they act like they are, some people get really angry, because some women must be better than other women in order for any adoption to happen.

Now, the graphic doesn’t say all first mothers are broken, wretched monsters who would have ruined any child they encountered, only certain ones. And how can we tell a first mother is this sort of creature? She blogs, and in a way P/APs don’t like. In other words, she refuses to keep her trap shut, which is the only decent thing she can do in the eyes of the world. Because if she is not “self-righteous, whiny, blame-shifting,” she is the opposite: the woman who follows orders to “act like nothing ever happened” and “get on with life.” And does that make her good? No! It makes her a heartless monster from whom a child should have been removed, of course. What makes her good is her shutting up and disappearing.

Here’s a fourth thing that bothers me: the notion that the “whiny, self-righteous” first mother isn’t anyone’s mother at all, and never was. Because we don’t talk about people’s mothers that way, at least not to their faces. When a couple divorces, if they have any human decency, they don’t trash-talk the other parent to their kids. They don’t do this because they know a child identifies with the other parent, is literally composed, fifty per cent, of the other parent. To insult someone’s mother is to insult them. Worse, it’s to insult them for what they essentially are, something they never had control over and cannot change.

And that’s mean. It hurts. It’s not what people who love each other do to each other on purpose, let alone on Twitter. I wouldn’t talk about your mother that way. Maybe APs need to learn a little gratitude, because without that horrible woman, they wouldn’t be parents at all. But no. Instead, some of them apparently they wait for the wonderful day when their adoptee will say “Gosh, I sure dodged a bullet!” because that’s when they will know they have Won, even though they obviously “won” when they adoption finalized and they became a family. So whence the insecurity? Could it be that we know adoption is not the ideal, win/win/win solution it’s made out to be?

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Filed under Adopted And Happy!, AdoptoLand, Misognyny, The Adoption Process Moral Pedestal