Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Adoption: The Movie

A new movie about being adopted appears to be right on, to judge from the trailer below and the other short clips you can watch at You Tube. It does seem to get at issues that adoptees rarely want to talk about becasue they are too painful, but sit there just below the surface.





And here's another heart breaker, about the adopted person not looking like their parents:


and last but not least...it's all we as first mothers know about adoption and yes, it won't be comforting to watch, but at least our feelings of yearning are validated by the other side: how the adopted person feels about being adopted. Although I probably won't be able to spring the $60 for the film, so I may never see it in its entirety, it looks to be a valuable tool in getting the message out: Adoption is always painful.



As I am in frequent contact with acquaintances who have adopted from China (five and counting), I wonder how many of them are able to want to understand what it is like to be adopted. I'm sure that the subtle message can not help but be: we saved you from a terrible life back in your world, aren't you a lucky girl? One of the girls is being raised back in Shanhai by her adoptive mother, Emily Prager; and at least one of the other mothers is somehow very bothered by that. The mere mention of Emily's name upsets her. --lorraine


29 comments :

  1. Oh my. I wasn't going to leave a comment because some might find it offensive, but I secretly wish my daughter would allow herself to feel that heartache, that deep pain. I know she grew up in a family where any talk about adoption was...if not verboten, then discouraged; it was never stated that plainly, but my daughter just knew. And so she's pissed. At me. Because how can she possibly be pissed at the woman who raised her? God, Adoption SUCKS.

    The ninth anniversary of my reunion is days away, and I've purposely kept myself as busy as possible--movies, zumba class, drum circle, cooking and baking, reading--to distract myself from date that I wish could be joyous for my daughter and me. Instead, like everything else when it comes to adoption, it's going to be bittersweet.

    And yet another chapter to my adoption dramedy...the sister, the niece, and the daughter apparently have created a cozy little Gossip Girl/Mean Girls/Heathers sort of group via e-mail. I feel like I'm back in high school where the popular girls would walk past me and look right through me, as though I wasn't there. It's not their loss, or my loss, it's OUR loss.

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  2. I have the film and I found it extremely well done but almost unbearable to watch at the same time. I'm very mixed over the companion educational DVD; I think I understand the intention behind it but there were still parts that unsettled me.

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  3. Anyone know who made this movie and why? I have not watched it yet so can't really comment but am suspicious of anything that says "all" adoptees are in pain.

    Linda,maybe your daughter has no "heartache or deep pain." It always irks me when people accuse others of being "in denial" when they can't really know the other person's inner thoughts.

    Not all adoptees are in pain, and why would you wish it on her if she is not? Something written on a public blog is not a "secret wish." Anything put on the internet can be tracked down by one determined to do so, and some things pop up on google for all to see that you would not think would be the case. Maybe some of your daughter's anger at you is due to comments like this, and the one about her having cancer? You sound very angry at her; it goes both ways.

    I speak from experience; having made a critical comment on a blog I thought the person I mentioned would never see, and she did because google picked it up. This was just political not personal, but I am very careful what I say always mindful any of my sons might see it someday.

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  4. I commend the author of this film and other transnational adoptees who have writen and spoken about the experience.

    At the same time, I am troubled that the message in this film seems to be that adoptive parents need to be more sensitive, need to discuss adoption more, and so on.

    The real solution -- help needy children and their families in their own countries -- appears to be downplayed or ignored altogether.

    My friend who adopted three boys from abroad responds to the adoptive mother guilt stuff as the adoptive mother did in the clip: "I did what I could and that was better than letting them starve in India or Brazil." As the situation was presented to her, I think she is right.

    Angry adoptee films can do some good if they convince people not to adopt. "How sharper than a serpent's tooth to have a thankless child."

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  5. It makes me very proud of these adoptee's that they did speak out.

    They also are letting the people that adopted them know how they feel EVEN if those who have adopted them won't or don't talk about adoption.

    I think that is the hardest thing for ANY adoptee to do. They are willing to risk to let others know how they feel about adoption.

    Although, the pain is irrelevant, when it comes to adoption, because its not about pain its about the happiness adoption creates. No matter who it hurts, mothers, babies or families it is about tearing apart a family to rebuild another.


    I do think the point was lost too on how painful it is to be adopted, whether it from a foreign country or adopted here. Those who adopt aren't on a mission to support any mother and her baby. Or even an orphanage. THEY WANT A BABY!

    Adoption is not about helping, its about helping oneself to someone else's child. In turn, those who adopt try to make it seem like they are so benevolent, so loving and caring, which they maybe, but why not help hundreds, instead of one?

    Its all about having one of their "own"

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  6. I personally don't have any problem believing that all adoptees feel a loss to some degree or another. In fact I find it hard to believe they don't.
    But on the other hand, I don't accept that that necessarily amounts to anguish (i.e, 'heartache, deep pain'.)
    I think that, on one level, one has an obligation to take people at their word while on another level retaining one's own skepticism.

    I DO have problems with wishing one's own feelings onto someone else, and agree that that desire, once expressed on a public blog. is no longer a 'secret wish'.
    It has become explicit.

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  7. Personally, the only way I can accept that not ALL adoptees feel a loss is to believe that some human infants, those born to relinquishing mothers are wired different than those born in more ideal situations.

    Of course I would reject the notion that adoptees are somehow sub-or-Uber human as insulting. We are just like all the other babies, we need our moms. When this need goes unmet it creates a host coping mechanisms, many of them rather ugly.

    I would like to think that Linda is simply wishing that her daughter acknowledge her real feelings vs. being defensive and inauthentic.

    In my experience and observations adoptee pain is there, whether or not it is acknowledged and is responsible for a lot of people doing messed up things instead of confronting it.

    Of course some people feel things very deeply, some people can articulate the strangeness, some can not. Some people like my abrother claim to be happy as clams and only want to promote adoption while functioning much below his potential and being emotionally stilted.

    It is complicated, but I find suggesting that some adoptees might not feel pain is akin to saying, not all children mind being orphaned, some are just fine with their parents dying.

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  8. Joy, you and I are coming at this from a very different set of assumptions about human development and infant cognition, hence our very different conclusions.

    To clarify; like Kippa I do believe that all adoptees have suffered a loss, especially under the sealed records system where they are unable to get any information. Some are affected by this real loss more than others.

    I do not believe in the Primal Wound or that the natural mother is irreplaceable as caretaker to the infant, nor that the human brain is capable of retaining memories from the prenatal and neonatal period that affect the adult psychologically. Theories that posit this fall in the realm of pseudoscience, and the jury is still very much out on these theories, much as some in adoption reform view them as gospel and accepted facts.

    Yes, adoptees become aware that they have lost their original parents and heritage at some point,
    probably when they begin to understand what adoption means,but how they react to this varies greatly. To some it is a tragedy and source of great pain, to others it is just a curiousity or fact of their life that they do not invest much emotion in. Many do indeed suffer heartache and deep pain, others do not.

    Different strokes for different folks. I still say we have to take what individual adoptees say at face value and respect that, not make blanket pronouncements about the inner feelings of a whole group of diverse individuals.

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  9. I agree with Mairaine on this one.

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  10. If you don't accept the Primal Wound theory Mairiane, do you accept the work of child development specialists?

    Can you find any child development books that don't mention adoption and see parents as replaceable via your hard-science approach.


    Really, I find your point of view to be very self-serving and dismissive to the point of being insulting.

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  11. Not believing in Primal Wound theory is neither self-serving nor insulting. It isn't personal, it is an opinion about a theory. Nothing against you if you chose to place your faith in it. But it something that needs to be taken on faith, not something that has been proven to be objectively true.

    I prefer hard science to unsupported pseudo-scientific theories. Biological parents as caregivers are replaceable, both in animal and human terms. Which is not to say that loss of natural parents and adoption does not cause pain once the adopted person is aware of what they have lost.

    What I question is the idea that the newborn is both aware of the loss, and retains a memory that damages them for life, no matter how well they have been cared for by adoptive parents or other caretakers from birth on.

    All kinds of theories have been promulgated over the years by child development experts, and many of them have proved to be wrong. I suggest you read "For Her Own Good: 150 years of Expert Advice to Women" by Barbara Ehrenreich. Child care theories come and go. I find Primal Wound a flawed theory based on sloppy science. Your views may differ.

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  12. Personally, I just can't stand the title. I know she uses the term in context in the book, but as a title it sounds vaguely hysterical. Echoes of Arthur Janov's Primal scream. Or visions of Munch's screamer. I'm sure the publishers knew exactly what they were doing when they decided upon it. As a title it's a sure-seller.
    I'm not crazy about the 'Understanding THE Adoptee' part either.

    And, really, do all adoptees have to be either 'good' or 'bad' ?

    That said, Verrier strikes me as an intelligent, sincere and sympathetic person who presents her theory not as gospel, but hypothesis.
    I do recognize relinquishment as a huge loss for the child, but I'm not convinced by the theory that separation inflicts a *permanent and immutable wound* on the self, certainly not in all cases. I think that's pushing the argument too far.

    So I'll continue to keep an open mind, thank you, until more is known.

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  13. You misrepresent my opinion when you tell me that believing in the Primal Wound is NOT the be all end all.

    I have never professed that, I do think it was valuable in the context in which it was published.


    I come to my conclusions not only from personal experience, but also through a lot of reading mostly of child development books but also psychobiology, the most influential book "A General Theory of Love" doesn't even mention the word adoption. Observations of children, adopted and nonadopted, plus numerous conversations with all sorts of adoptees.

    For whatever reason adoptees tend not to clam up around me, even when in real life I don't reveal my adoption status even to them. Because I don't, I can sit there and listen to someone tell me about their own adoption without feeling the need to disclose my personal story.

    The grief of an adoptee is not only disenfranchised but often ridiculed esp. as children, while of course not all adoptees are, the vast majority that I have spoken with are, taunts like, "your own mother didn't want you!" deeply impact the individuals those children become.

    I know even as a young adult being told by a mentor that I was so lucky to be adopted because "not everyone is willing to take in a stranger's child you know" and how that shut my mouth.

    I do find your attitude self-serving as you really don't know, have no personal experience, although I am sure you can understand the muting quality shame can carry with it. You are in fact working to disenfranchise the grief more. It neatly lets you believe that perhaps you child escaped unscathed.

    While I can agree that the experience is not immutable, I don't feel Verrier did either, resulting in her companion book, "let's get over it at home" or whatever she called it, I never read it, so I am not sure. There is a point in which the mutability is a moot point to me. Sure it matters in re: my future, but too much of my past has already happened to have me look at adoption without a serious pause and distrust.

    To suggest that I am fuzzy-headed and taken in by a book based on antecdotal evidence a "soft-science" which all psychology is anyway at this point, is insulting.

    I will look into the book you reccommend but the title seems to be indiciative of a book aimed at women about childrearing not in fact a book about child development, which of course would miss the mark completely, ignore it even.

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  14. I am not sure what you are getting at or why you are so angry and insulted about this. I certainly am not trying to "disenfranchise the grief" of you or anyone, whatever that means.

    If you say you feel deep grief as an adoptee, I respect and believe that.You have every right to express your personal grief and pain and it should not be dismissed. And no, my child did not escape unscathed, nor am I saying or implying he did. You have no idea what my son or I have suffered. Nor am I trying to evade my responsibility for my part in his surrender. There is more than enough regret and remorse there.

    I have also heard from many adoptees over the years, and what I have heard varies a lot. The fact that not all suffered because of their adoption in no way invalidates the feelings of those like you and many others who did and do suffer.

    I do not think we disagree at all that adoption as it exists today causes many adoptees much suffering. What we do not agree about is the root cause of the suffering.

    Yes, psychology is indeed soft science, and there is a great deal of garbage and nonsense under the label of psychology, especially the self-help, pop genre. Some of it is helpful, some of it is not to be trusted. The soft sciences leave a lot of room for hype, bullshit and the pushing of personal agendas and prejudices of all sorts.

    Nancy Verrier is a nice, bright woman, and I think a sympathetic counselor. That does not make her theory true, universal, or valid.

    Nor is my disagreeing with her theory an attempt to silence, shame or discredit you or anyone else who chooses to believe in it.

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  15. No, I don't think Verrier was suggesting that the harm of being separated from the mother is immutable either.
    But I do think that a lot of people have inferred that. Partly because of the sensationalist appeal of the title
    'Primal wound' is too easy.
    It's like a buzzword.

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  16. Right. In her second book Verrier did try to explain how adoptees could go "beyond the Primal Wound" in their interactions with others, and not use it as an excuse for every sort of failure or bad behavior. I also agree that the title is awful, and there is more nuance in Verrier's work than that title implies.

    My disagreement is not so much with Nancy Verrier, whom I know and like, but with some of the ideas that feed into Primal Wound theory like the beliefs of the Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology, http://www.birthpsychology.com/

    This group and some of its members say that a bad birth experience leads to criminal and violent behavior, as does circumcision; in fact that all the ills of wars, violence etc are due to prenatal and birth trauma! Some of them argue consciousness from the moment of conception and before, and that baby souls choose whom they are born to! None of this is science, it is more in the realm of science fiction or religion.

    None of this, nor primal wound theory, are needed to assert that many, maybe most adoptees suffer various sorts of pain and grief because of being surrendered, further exacerbated by silence, secrets and lies. The words of adopted people are testimony to the fact that our adoption system ill serves them and does not work. No woo woo science needed. It only clouds the picture.

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  17. I think that by the time terms like 'primal wound' and (in the case of David Kirschner 'adopted child syndrome') become buzzwords, their meaning has been altered way beyond what was intended by their originators. Sometimes the misinterpretation is deliberate, sometimes not.

    For instance, it seems to me that by 'primal wound' Verrier means the damage that the child experiences when there's a break in the bonding process caused by the loss of the mother.
    Which is simple, profound and easily understood.

    But the term 'primal wound' carries other much more confusing and complex connotations than that. For instance, the word 'primal', means, among other things, 'cardinal', 'fundamental', 'central' and 'having existed from the beginning', all of which conspire to give the impression that the individual who has had this experience is built on shaky foundations and is damaged at the core. In other words, not to be taken seriously.

    Which I think is mistaken, reductive, harmful and not what Verrier intended.
    I believe the label does adopted people - and Verrier's hypothesis - a disservice.

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  18. Oh, look.
    It's been co-opted:
    http://www.amazon.com/Primal-Wound-Transpersonal-Philosophy-Psychology/dp/0791432947

    I guess that's what happens with catch-phrases.

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  19. "I am not sure what you are getting at or why you are so angry and insulted about this. I certainly am not trying to "disenfranchise the grief" of you or anyone, whatever that means. "


    For a woman who takes people at their words, you just pushed angry into my mouth.


    Why I am insulted?

    Because you have just invalidated the fight of my life, that my loss is worth recognizing.

    Just as you deny that adoptees feel a loss, you wouldn't use those same words for children whose mother's died. Children with dead mothers also have varied experiences, but the loss is a given.

    In your view, only those of us willing to be pathologized, only SOME of us feel the loss of our moms, our dads, our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, history, ancestry, et al.

    Only the ones of us doing it wrong.


    Even though most of us seem to be doing it "wrong" maybe those 20% are worth the waste of us 80%.

    Maybe it is worth keeping this practice/belief system alive.


    I too would hate to admit that all adoptees feel loss, I am sure some infants have no connection with their mother, or their own DNA, I mean I am sure there are those that can renegotiate, /sarcasm.

    Self-serving? For you Mairiane, yes in spades.

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  20. Joy, you completely misread what I said. Do I deny that many adoptees, maybe even all adoptees, feel the loss of their parents, grandparents, ancestors, true name, heritage, etc etc.? NO!!!

    The only thing I deny is that they feel that loss as NEWBORN INFANTS! Infants are not yet capable of knowing what they lost,nor of forming permanent memories. IF they are cared for by loving and consistent caretakers, be they relatives or not, they can adjust and thrive.

    They may temporarily know by smell or some sense that their natural mother is not the one caring for them, but eventually they acclimate to their adoptive mother, or whomever cares for them. And yes, I think this is true for infants whose mothers have died as well. Infants can adjust and thrive, but eventually they grow up, and realize what they have lost. Adoptive parents cannot and do not permanently replace the loss of heritage. Love is not enough. Only the full truth begins to fill the hole in the heart that many adoptees feel. Adoptees do suffer a real loss. Being adopted is not the same as being raised by natural parents.

    The only place that my view differs from yours is in when cognition of loss occurs. For you it is at birth, for me it comes later when the child realizes what has been lost, age about 4-7. I have never denied that adoptees suffer a loss. I would never deny your pain at that loss.

    I believe that your loss, the loss of all adoptees of their family and heritage, is real and profound. I believe it causes great pain for many. For others the pain is less, or denied, but the loss is still real whether the adoptee acknowledges it or not.

    Please read this carefully before you go off again accusing me of things I do not believe and never said.

    I am not "self-serving" and I am not your enemy. Primal Wound theory is not the only way of explaining adoptee loss.

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  21. I don't think you are my enemy, again with the words in my mouth.

    I did read what you said, obviously you did not read what I said. I am not championing "Primal Wound" as a work. I only have a dim memory. I do not dismiss it, nor do I carry it as a mantle.


    To suggest that a human infant doesn't recognize his/her mother flies in the face of all that is known today, all the antecdotal experiences of all mothers I know and dismisses what my labor coach taught me over 18 years ago.

    I suggest you go into a parenting forum where they have mothers and people who are expert on child development. Don't mention adoption, just say that you believe that newborns are blank slates and don't expereince loss from their mother, if she wants to take a holiday right after birth the nurses in the maternity ward are more than adequate caregivers and that is all the infant needs.


    Also, because I did read carefully, you said, you would be suspicious of anything that said "all" adoptees are in pain, nothing of the newborn.


    I don't think you are my enemy, I am not even angry, I just do think your points of view are self-serving, and in such a way to diminish what adoptees experience. Again, I can totally see why you would want to do that, and am sure I mimimize other things when it suits me.

    After all, we are human. All people have a great capacity for being self-serving, the magic of humans is that we can sometimes transcend that.

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  22. We appear to be speaking a different language. You are not angry??? Gee, you sure do sound that way. Maybe you are angry at your own birthmother and taking it out on me?

    I still do not see where I am self-serving by not buying some fringe ideas about child development. I did not say that infants do not in some way recognize their mother soon after birth. I did not say anything about leaving a child with nurses in the hospital to "go on a holiday." That is your scenario. I did not say nor do I believe that infants are blank slates; in fact I believe they are born with a distinct personality. I have raised and nursed three children, natural childbirth with the last two,nursed all for at least 2 years. I deeply regret I did not have that experience with my first child. I did the childbirth classes too, carried my babies everywhere with me, the whole thing.

    My disagreeing with you does not "diminish the adoptee experience". If you think your personal experience qualifies you to speak for all adoptees, I do take issue with that. I would not presume to speak for all birthmothers, even though I am one.

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  23. I don't have a birthmother, I have a mother for one. No, I am not working out issues with her with you, if I want to say something to my mother I can phone her anytime, being that we already talked 3 or 4 times this weekend, am not needing to.


    "Anyone know who made this movie and why? I have not watched it yet so can't really comment but am suspicious of anything that says "all" adoptees are in pain."


    This is what you said that I object to, you keep putting words and agendas into my mouth which is very curious to me. I am hardly unclear. Even your comment is a bit disingenuous, the way you word it, there are two conclusions to make, a. adoptees are in pain, b. adoptees are not in pain. No one is that simple not even an adoptee.

    Pain is not a state I am in. I sometimes experience pain in relation to the loss of my mother, the burden of an identity that is not natural to me, all of those things. The way I experience it, is more profound than some, and less profound than others.

    I also experience a lot of other things to, and sometimes adoption isn't part of my experience at all.


    Your reaction to the film, to defend the notion that adoption is sometimes not harmful to the child, is self-serving. Repeating myself because you can't seem to hear me, although I feel I understand you quite well, your story is just changing. Would you say that a child's mother dying does not always mean the child is in pain?

    Children react differently, yes, but if someone made a film about orphaned children, would you be so dismissive as to say, "well not all children mind their mothers dying" ? Because that is how dismissive you were.

    That doesn't mean I am angry, it doesn't mean that I think you are a terrible person, that is all your stuff. It means quite literally that I think you were dismissive.

    Again, all this b.s. about how I think I speak for all adoptees, why? You say you take people for their word, than take me for mine. I don't speak for all adoptees. I speak, quite clearly and comfortably for me. Your feeling of unease is your own, I am quite comfortable.

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  24. For the last time, it does not serve me in any way not to believe that all adoptees suffer terrible grief and irreparable damage from birth onward. There is a difference between the objective fact that every surrender and adoption involves a loss, and how the adoptee perceives the impact of that loss on her life.

    I know some of what my son suffered in a home with a mother who was mentally ill and abusive, and a father who was ineffectual and died fairly young. Before that, my son was in foster care which I later learned was less than ideal, because I would not sign a surrender at birth.

    I am horrified at what the adoption system did to me, and my child. I am also horrified at my responsibility for what happened to my child because I was not brave enough to fight back and keep him. Mea Culpa. The buck stops here. In no way do I deny that my son suffered, or that I was at least partially the cause of his suffering.

    How is that self-serving?

    I am tired of picking out words, but you have veered back and forth between speaking for yourself and speaking for all adoptees. Anyone reading this exchange can see that. I do not know how it feels to be an adoptee, but I have heard from those that are adoptees that some have suffered greatly, like you, and some are not much bothered by their adoptive status. Some want to search, some do not. Different people respond to the same situation differently.

    The fact that all do not perceive the loss of heritage and family
    the same way in no way invalidates the grief of those who do find it painful and a major factor in their lives.

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  25. Mairaine:

    I totally believe that adoption harmed you and your son. I am deeply sorry for that.


    I told you straight away that I found your comment dismissive, it was.


    Whether or not you can accept that is how it sounded to my ears is your own concern.

    I know at times on my blog, I have receive private emails from people, natural mothers, 2 in fact, that basically said, "when are you going to stop punishing your mother?" as they knew my mother reads my blog. I have also gotten lots of posts that totally support my point of view.

    I had a choice when those people emailed me, to a. dismiss them as being angry/unknowing/unaware/self-centered/speaking for all mothers who relinquished or b. to think, which I did, "hey this might be some good information for me, perhaps I should look at this"

    I chose B.

    It didn't happen over night, but it happened, I made myself open to it, because really, why not?

    You instead of considering the idea that adoptees may or may not, hear you as being insulting and dismissive came up with a whole host of character defects for me, and an agenda.

    Now you have engaged "anyone" well I happen to know a couple of anyones who don't agree with you. I find that a very disempowered way to speak. I started off with 'personally' and never veered from that.

    I can speak for myself, I don't need to create a host of supporting characters to back me up.

    I found your verbage to be dismissive, insulting and judgmental. I don't agree with it or your judgments.

    You don't have to accept my point of view. At the same time, your refusal to accept that my point of view is a possibility does not validate what defects you have described to me, including bringing my own mother and anyone into this.

    Really, I expect more from you than that, because I do think you are fundamentally a good egg, which is a high compliment in my world.

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  26. and p.s. my mom reads here, and she would be one of my anyones who backs me up.

    So you cannot say that my real disagreement is with her. We are very close, we adore each other.

    Besides, disagreements are just disagreements, it doesn't have to be a blood bath, a dousha. It is people raising awareness, which is a good thing.

    Peace Out.

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  27. Joy and Mairiane-- Wow... I think it's a failure of communication here. i.e. Each of you are picking up on trigger words, but failing to see the other's trigger words. I used to be guilty of that too...

    Mairiane... Trigger words for adoptees usually are anything to do with stating what their opinion is for them. There is a LONG and grief-filled history of adoptees being overwritten by their parents. Thus I think this is what Joy is trying to point out to you. I think she's pointing out blanket statements about adoptees as a group is often a harrowing experience that one should not cross. Also the blanket statements about personal beliefs of how an adoptee grows up from a Science POV... while you state you read that, my general research does not support this. I think it's *safer* here to say everyone is an individual and have different experiences. Sometimes those echo from childhood and sometimes people learn to get over them. It depends on that singular person... equating it with science first often doesn't honor the feelings of the adoptee you're talking to. Honor the feelings of the adoptee before you go and talk about science... it helps the adoptee usually not feel like an object...

    Joy I think Mairiane means well, but hasn't learned how to communicate with adoptees and not push trigger buttons yet... I totally, as an adoptee can see where your opinions are coming from, but it's kind of ignorance on Mairiane's part on how to communicate with adoptees that is making her say things she probably doesn't mean. i.e. the affect of her words are different. In these cases, I try to educate people on how to speak to me so I don't feel offended...
    ***
    Jane-- I have to warn you that the words you used are hurtful... and I don't think that you thought them through, nor have you thought through adoption that much. I'm not sure if you are an adoptee or adoptive parent, but I have the feeling from your comments that you don't really understand the perspective of anyone on the adopted part of the triad.

    Don't get me wrong, I respect your opinions on this matter, but I think it warrants some discussion.

    First and foremost if you talk to the majority of adoptive families who have adopted and have children in their teens, the majority of adoptive parents will be insulted by your words. Why should their children be grateful to them for adopting them? Didn't they want to create a family? And by saying they only adopted to "rescue" their children, I know the majority of them would have a hard time with this assessment. Adoption is a two way street. It's the child adopting the family and the family adopting the child. I know no words in English are sufficient to express this and it has many short comings... but Adoption is first and foremost a two way street. The adoptee gains the adoptive parent's culture, language, etc. And so does the adoptive parents gain the child's. I know many adoptive parents who have said they thought it was one way and then realized it was two ways after the adoption. And I know many parents who thought it was one way and then denied it was two ways and didn't understand why the adoptee was upset at them. The *majority* of the well-adjusted so-called "non-angry" adoptees are from families where the parents woke up and realized that adoption was a two-way street. Where the adoptees had open communication with their parents, and as you state, woke up and tried harder. This is the general leaning towards adoption today and adoption agencies are more and more supporting this approach to adoption.

    Adoption is about creating families. Not about rescuing children from poor families. It's about trying to give children individual attention they would not get in orphanages. It's also about being aware about the world and community around you, about identity, about culture, and about bending societies ideals. It's also about being aware that while you are adopting a child, you are adopting a history and culture with them. Adoption is not a straight issue like it's often portrayed in the media. It's not a sob-fest. It's got its joys, anger, sorrows and pain. And one should honor those emotions as they come up.

    I don't think because someone is poor they *have* to give up their children.... rather, I think adoption serves to make one aware that poverty is a poor excuse for adoption and perhaps what we need to do is change adoption so it's not about adopting poor children but adopting children who really need to be adopted because they truly are orphans, because their family really aren't mentally able to take care of them, or the parents are sick. I don't think adoption should be about taking stolen children, "rescuing children" from third world countries, taking children from single mothers because the culture/society looks down upon single mothers who could possibly raise their own children, or deceiving these third world countries that their children will have a better life in these "richer" countries. Adoption should be about creating families and giving children homes who really need them and becoming socially aware so we all can work to make adoption a better institution for all those involved. Including attacking the media for their super-poor portrayals of adoption.

    And Just because they come from some place other than the US doesn't mean they are poor or starving, but I'm sure the adoption agencies love to sell that image, which I entirely don't endorse.

    And calling "angry" adoptees only good for "stopping" adoption is a really poor understanding of what the film was trying to accomplish. If angry means "making a social difference" and trying to make other people aware of the past wrongs, then I accept your title. Because while the "angry" black man whose ancestors were slaves, and while the "angry" woman who was without voting rights, and the "angry" Asians who get upset at being called racial slurs all stood up and said something, they made a difference in this world to make it better for the next generation. If you think expressing opinions about what is wrong with the adoption system as it is today and trying to make changes to it and expressing those opinions is "angry" then I hope you really think that all African Americans should still be slaves. Women should not get to vote or hold a job, and Asians deserve to have slurs launched against them... because those people you watched in that film were activists... they were speaking from their own experiences to try to make tomorrow a little brighter... so I hope you stop labeling them as "angry" adoptees. What's a non-angry adoptee then? "perfect?"

    BTW, Adoptee.... And I do speak to Adoptive parents on a regular basis. And it is true that they would feel hurt if you have notions of the idea they "rescued" their children. You may not have used those words, but the wording indicated it strongly.

    I hope no one gets their notions of adoption from Angelina Jolie... Seriously, that woman has some issues...

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  28. Hello. I realize that I am commenting on this pretty late, but I wanted to say something.

    I am an adoptee and an adoptive mother.

    I'm not sure why in so many adoptee circles now, the goal seems to be to incite some sort of pain upon adoptees, as if happiness is a sign that we are vapid and lack self-awareness. The only pain I am on the receiving end of is that which is bestowed upon me by fellow adoptees, trying to make me feel guilty for genuinely loving my family, the family who raised me and made me who I am, who supported me, who KNEW me. Instead, I should be beholden to someone who carried me for 9 months, and then, after two weeks with her, was so neglected that I was apprehended. And no, when I say she was negligent, I don't mean "poor". I mean negligent. She left me in the house ALONE, hungry, wet and frightened, at two weeks old, to go and party. I was found after a neighbour called and complained about the crying that had been going on for 7 hours. That wasn't her only transgression, but it was the reason I was first apprehended. The reasons I was not returned to her were many. In Canada, where I am, the goal is always to reunite after a child has been apprehended, but in our case, it was just too dangerous a situation.

    I am in favour of adoptee rights, such as access to records, and so are my parents. My parents went through HELL to make sure that I had all of my original information. They always told me it was mine, and I was entitled to it, period. I am also in favour of adoptees being allowed to love their families, and be satisfied with their lives, rather than having to spend their life apologizing and vindicating someone else's dissatisfaction.

    Also, as a sidenote, my mother vehemently protested if anyone ever implied that I should be grateful. I can't tell you how many times she became quite defensive at stupid comments, and made it her goal to ensure that they understood that I didn't ask to be adopted; rather, she and my father sought me, chose me, loved me. I do the same for my son. Having adopted through CFS, people say INCREDIBLY stupid things sometimes.

    I'm sorry to all of the adoptees and first mothers who feel that adoption has been a horrific force in their lives. All I know is that I am proud to have been adopted by two of the greatest people on the planet. I can't speak to your feelings on the subject. I am sad that you are sad, but I cannot share your pain.

    My mother always was very kind when discussing my first mother, by saying that she loved me as much as she could, and that there were probably a lot of things going on in her life at that time which affected her relationship with me. Talk about her was always very positive, and we lit a candle for her every Mother's Day. We would have welcomed contact, but she made it clear that she wanted to be left alone. At this point, all I know is that she is incarcerated. When I was young, my parents attempted to make contact also. I was doing well, and since they were bursting with pride for me, they wanted to be able to invite her to share some of that. My family always hoped that we would have an open situation, but it never materialized, and my birthmom made it clear that she wasn't interested. Since it went through CFS, she simply made herself scarce, at which point, CFS stopped keeping track of her.

    Please don't try to inflict your pain on others. I agree that all members of the triad, as well as the general public, need to be more sensitive and open to adoptee issues, but that does not mean that I have to spend my life unhappy simply because I am told I should be.

    Respectfully,

    Happy Adoptee

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  29. I so agree with Happy Adoptee. I for one think the Primal Wound is rubbish. I have a wonderful family and I always have. I've always been free to talk about anything I wanted to pertaining to my adoption and bio family. I just really didn't care to- I'm happy and so glad to be part of the family that I grew up in. I would not change a thing. There are lots of us Happy Adoptees out there.

    ReplyDelete

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