November is full of Good Adoptees, the cheerleaders for adoption who DARE to STAND UP and parrot the dominant public narrative about adoption as if we couldn’t get that story everywhere and anywhen. Blessing, gift, real parents, better life, blah blah blah. It’s old hat, and it makes it tough to blog in November because one feels one has written about it a million times. So today I want to point out that I think men and women tend to talk about the blessing of adoption differently.
For one thing, fewer men than women search. My a’bro has told me more than once that he is not interested in knowing where he came from, and that his first mother was a “military slut.” He does not seem to take into account that, unlike mine, his parents were married at the time of his conception and birth. He also doesn’t take into account that, if what his non-ID info says is true, his mother wanted to give him the sweet, sweet gift and blessing of adoption from day one, but his father chose to hold up the process for months not because he wanted to keep his son, but because he wanted to hurt his wife.
I think men often blame women for the evil that men do, and I think male adoptees are no different in this. As evidence, I offer a furious male comment on an article about a good, happy, bestest-ever adoptee who had the gall to find out where she came from even though he, himself did the same damned thing.
Please read the article. It is written by an adoptee so fawning and so Good she even starts with “I’ve always known I was adopted,” as if not having one’s parents lie to one about one’s identity all one’s life is evidence of having The Best APs Ever. Having experienced basic human decency (and a thing experts have been telling APs to do for at least fifty years now) is a low bar, but a Good Adoptee makes sure to congratulate his/her parents for clearing it. So far, so good, probably even in the mind of Furious Male Commentor.
The Very Good Adoptee who wrote the article admits to wondering about her birth family growing up, which is a crime Furious Male Commentor cannot forgive. I say he thinks wondering is her crime because he can’t take her to task for searching: He did that too (but for Virtuous Reasons, as we’ll see).
As it turned out, Good Adoptee’s first father was a hero. She couldn’t find out much about her first mother, so she met her father’s family, which made her feel awkward, especially after her paternal grandparents stopped contacting her. But she was thrilled to meet her half-sisters later on. And she discovered her father regretted relinquishing her and that he had written her a letter saying so. And then she typed the sentences that apparently sent Furious Male Commentor over the edge:
At times, I wanted to push my adoptive parents away. I was so upset about not knowing my birth father.
Never mind that she followed it up with But looking back, meeting my birth family has strengthened my bond with the parents who raised me. She has the gall to end her article with I love having Deena [her father’s widow, not her mother] and my sisters in my life. I’m still coming to grips with the fact that I’ll never know Tom. But because of my ongoing relationship with his widow and daughters, I do feel close to him. She feels close to her dead father. She had feelings and she has feelings. And that means she must be punished by Furious Male Commentor, who says
I too was an adopted only child. I am offended FOR her adoptive parents. I never cared about my bio family. I never had “fantasies” of a heartfelt, tearful reunion with the bio fam.
(Funny, I never had fantasies of a reunion like that, either. I simply wanted to know who I came from and why I was so different from everyone around me, which questions my loyal adopted self did not even ask until I was over twenty.)
I love my adoptive parents
Can’t love your APs and care about your own DNA dont’cha’know, even though searching has been acceptable, even expected, for decades now. This is so sad. It’s so old and so stale, and I read it and I see a dog standing on its hind legs so someone will give it another treat, I swear I do. Look, unless you say differently, the entire world will assume you love your adoptive parents. Because they’re your Real Parents, right? Right. Then why are you punching air?
and feel as though hoping for something more or better or famous is horribly disrespectful
Read it again. That is not what the author of the article says she did.
to the people who took me in,
“took me in.” I was in a cardboard box in a gutter, I swear, not in the loving arms of a selfless woman who made a beautiful choice for me.
NOT LIKE THAT SLUT who cared enough to give me away
and gave me a million
A MILLION. ONE THOUSAND THOUSAND OPPORTUNITIES
opportunities that, otherwise, I’d not have gotten.
I’ve read many missives like this, and am disgusted by them when I do. My adoptive parents were tough, hard people,
but I am better for it. I would not trade them for my bio parents if I could.
You know what? Given what little I know about my biological family, I wouldn’t make that trade either. And nowhere does the author of the article say she would make that trade. Yet she and I still searched: AND SO DID YOU, you hypocrite. How dare you take this woman to task?
I found my maternal bio family when I got married merely because I wanted to find my medical history because m[y] wife and I wanted to have a child.
“Medical history” was my excuse, too, once upon a time. Guess what? I still don’t have it.
My bio mom had committed suicide several years prior. The rest of her family was nice, but vastly different than me. We met, and we’ve not spoken since. I wish them the best, but we’ll never speak again. My adoptive family is my family.
In other words, your experience was similar to the author’s: You searched, and you found one dead parent, one live parent, and a family you didn’t fit into. This apparently resulted in your feeling closer to your adoptive family–you know, kinda like the author felt when she said “meeting my birth family has strengthened my bond with the parents who raised me.” HOW DARE SHE?!?! How DARE that ungrateful–
I ended up with the family that wanted me, and could handle the burden of a child.
“The burden of a child.” Please tell me you haven’t reproduced. Please?
Every time I see a 16-year-old girl with an infant, I am bummed that she
Oh, now we get to it. Now we get to the misogyny inherent in the system. Come and see the misogyny inherent in the system!
(Look, I don’t think every male adoptee who insists he wants to know nothing NOTHING about That Woman is a sexist oaf, just the majority of them. It’s funny, because if that slut hadn’t spread her legs, you wouldn’t exist…and I suspect that’s what angers you so, the fact that a mere “teenage whore” might once have had complete power over the fate of you, a MAN!)
cannot see the value of adoption. Give the child the best, strongest opportunity to be successful.
Which is anywhere but with you, you slut.
Blood “family” be dammed.
Responsibilities of men who have unprotected sex be damned. SLUT SLUT SLUT SLUT SLUT why wasn’t my daddy a hero? why didn’t he write me a letter? Why?
Give the child the best environment in which to flourish, and young welfare Moms
CONCEIVING CHILDREN PARTHENOGENETICALLY AND LYING ON YOUR ASS EATING BON BONS YOU SLUT
cannot provide it. Love the child enough to adopt them out. Closed adoption.
You gave me away and I want to punish you for that forever, no matter how much it might hurt me–but of course it doesn’t hurt me because I am a man and I have no feelings about my first mother at all. None. Couldn’t care less. That’s why I looked for you.
Let them succeed. Don’t be selfish.
Try to convince me otherwise.
I wouldn’t dream of it, Sir. Lower your manly fists, please.
You know what, Furious Male Commentor? I would love to have discovered that one of my parents was an actual national hero (or even someone whose inclination, talents and temperament resembled mine in some way). And a letter saying s/he regretted giving me up would be a precious artifact to me. I wish very much that I had been born in a time and a place wherein open records were available. Unlike you, I care about these things, and I have feelings about them.
Yet I am not angry at my first parents or at this young woman. You are. Try to convince me otherwise.