I had the good fortune to participate in a fiction writing workshop with a famous writer of short fiction and novels today. I had submitted a piece that addressed adoption in a sideways, maybe magical-realist way. The famous author asked me why I had written it and, when I replied that I’m adopted, asked me to tell my adoption story. She wasn’t picking on me–she had used this technique with other participants already, asking them why they wrote their stories and then suggesting they write the story of what really happened instead.
Folks, my adoption story is boring. It’s the classic Baby Scoop Era story everyone thinks of when they think of adoption. I warned her about that and told her the story, ending with “…so they got me when I was two months old and I’ve never known anything else.”
The famous author let a beat go by before adding “And you love them very much.” And although she had said some harsh things about my writing during the workshop, that was the only moment at which I felt angry at her. Rather than saying, “Yes, I love them very much,” like a good puppy, and rather than saying what I thought, I settled for this: “That’s the part I think goes without saying in adoption stories.”
Yes, famous author, I love my parents very much. Why is that never assumed with adopted people? Why, about us and us alone, does it always have to be said?