Told a male friend, Ken, about both my amazing connection with someone who could be my daughter, a Confidential Intermediary in a Midwestern state (We'll call her Ceil), and my newly-found granddaughter, Lisa, and how they have enriched my life.
Ken relates how a friend in grade school who was adopted was taunted by other kids, how they were mean--Oh, you're adopted! etc. I say that I hope that particular nastiness was more of a thing of the past than today, but it probably still pops up. Kids can be unbelievably cruel.
Ken, who is sixty-something, says that his friend was told the "Chosen Baby" story and we talk about how the image of a roomful of bassinets with babies for the taking is totally unreal. (I emailed Ceil about the conversation, and here is our back-and-forth discussion:
Ceil: That really is a ridiculous spin, isn't it? How on earth did it manage to play so well in Peoria...and the rest of the country?
Siting next to Ken was Joanne, who knew that Lisa had previously said: Not interested. Joanne is thrilled for me...and then adds:
I have a lot of friends who have adopted....(She does, more than me. She has more friends with more money who are somewhat younger than me--and thus in the pool of adoptive parents which grew by their demand--and therefore, more adopted kids. I know some of them only peripherally.) And Joanne adds: They are all having so many problems with their kids, and they say:
Why didn't somebody tell me when I was adopting?Ceil: If "somebody" means someone from the agency: Because then you might not have forked over those tens of thousands of dollars.
If "somebody" means another adoptive parent or an adoptee: Because you didn't bother to reach out to them in order to fully educate yourself beforehand. Surely you wouldn't expect a used car dealer to tell you the truth about any issues with the "merchandise," so couldn't possibly think that agency personnel would tell you anything that might kill the deal.
At that point, we are talking, hmmm 15-20 years ago, when there was already a body of literature...and I'm thinking, you mean the baby brokers are supposed to tell you that there are unforseen problems...you will have trouble dealing with?
One of Joanne's close friends adopted an child from Alaska or the far North of Canada and he was, or is still, a heroin addict. The amother was able to find his First Father...same story, apparently. Admittedly, I don't know much about this case.
Ceil: There is some evidence to suggest that there may be an inheritable genetic predisposition to addiction....
Me: I tend to stay away from Joanne's adoptive-parent pals when she and her husband have big parties, even though Joanne tells me that want to talk to me...but at the party they, in fact, do not seek me out. I would be receptive, but suggest we not have a serious talk there and then. However, I'm not looking for adopt-talk at a social event! I want to party too! I want an adoption-free evening! I want simply to enjoy myself, talk about movies, books, politics, Survivor, gossip, whatever.
Ceil: But of course! Sure, they'll tell Joanne that they would love to be able to talk with a knowledgeable, insightful FirstMother, to get her perspective...when there's no immediate risk of that occurring. Put them in a situation where an honest and enlightening conversation might actually take place, and suddenly they are not so interested. The truth is... they are voicing a polite social lie.
Plenty of people secretly buy into the "less than" stereotype of a birthmother: less moral, less responsible, less intelligent, less educated, less capable.... of anything... even while they mouth the agency line of the "loving, sacrificing birthmother." Inwardly holding onto the negative birthmother stereotype is preferable in that it makes the adopter [her word, and just used here for email shorthand,so everybody relax] so much "more than" in comparison. Not only does such an position help to assuage any anxieties about their actions or motivations, it also allows them to think that they are more moral, more responsible, more intelligent, more educated and more capable... in every way. And "more than," in this sense, means better than, too. Why would you seek the counsel of someone who is so obviously inferior to you? The myths and stereotypes in adoption are so ingrained, and too many prospective and actual adoptive parents are all too willing to drink the adoption-is-all-wonderful-and-
Me: I mentioned that some adoptive parents are having trouble/are pissed off with the census form because it asks if any of the children are adopted....
Joanne and we all agree that the parents do not want to think about that or deal with that, because, as Joanne jumps in with, "to have a child then becomes such a relief after all the trouble of 'trying' the other way....and so they want to pretend that he's their child, biologically and the past...is pfft. Gone."
More Kool-Aid, please....
Then she says that at the school for troubled and troubling kids that she and husband sent their son Micheal to for a year, and he was odd man out: He was neither from a broken home or adopted. The kids would say:
You mean you're not from a broken home or adopted? What are you doing here?Me: I once looked up the school on the internet and saw that the school emphasized their work with adoptees.....
Ceil: And yet, adoption attorneys are perfectly willing to stand before a legislative committee and say, with a straight face and an "I-know-of-what-I-speak" tone of voice, that research shows that adopted kids actually fare better than their non-adopted peers.
If the adoption industry was any further in denial about the harm they do, Egyptian babies would be the new hot sellers. They can't possibly admit the truth to the outside world, let alone themselves, because that might bring about the demise of their cash cow, and an end to their comfortable, profitable, niche employment.
This particular adoption myth makes me so fucking crabby. Not that you could tell....--lorraine
And on an unsettling note, here is a story from The New York Times about an inter-racial shooting in Cooperstown, NY that relates to both the previous post about recruiting minority women to supply babies to fill the demand, and particularly Maryanne's comment there, and the above post. Sad, and tragic. Unfortunately, racism is alive and well in America.