(TW) Sensitive Issues regarding adoption - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 20 Old 04-30-2010, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
slinden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Casterly Rock
Posts: 78
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hello,

Although I have little experience in the adoption triad, my husband and I have talked about adopting, possibly, in the future. Due to several media issues surrounding adoption recently, the subject has been on the front of my mind and I ran across a few links that really offered COMPLETELY different perspectives on adoption than I'd ever considered, written by Harriet Jacobs at Fugitivus and a guest post at Shakesville. Just thought I'd share. Does this speak at all to anyone's experiences here?

mama to Jack 5/3/09 wife to family of
slinden is offline  
#2 of 20 Old 05-01-2010, 12:52 AM
 
Sierra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,449
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Congratulations ! You have discovered one of the many paths to a more nuanced understanding of adoption, and you have done so before you've begun an adoption journey. This is good. Welcome aboard.

You will find that there are other folks here on this board who are very familiar with those perspectives. And the more you search the internet, the more you will read and find. At some point, your head may really start spinning, and though I haven't been particularly active here of late, in the past, I have found this a grounding place to sort through my changing understandings. Though this is a support forum for adoptive parents, and thus fewer voices from other parts of the triad are around, the gentle yet honest atmosphere is particularly conducive to learning. When I look back at old posts of mine, I am amazed at how much I've grown through the years.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
Sierra is offline  
#3 of 20 Old 05-01-2010, 01:10 AM
 
RedOakMomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: A little stone house
Posts: 6,913
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I only had time to read the first article tonight. It's a good one, and I agree with a lot of what she said. I also appreciate how well thought out it was.

I don't agree with everything she said, though. Or, I should say, I don't believe everything is as black and white as she portrayed it. There is grey. I don't think I believe this, for example:

Quote:
If the origin of adoption is the destruction of a family, then nothing that comes from that can be explicitly good.
It's absolute statements like that that make me cringe a little (just for the legitimacy of her arguments, which mostly I support) while reading the article.

There is a lot of challenge and ugliness in adoption. There's a lot of heartache and unfairness...especially for birthparents and adoptees. But there are also, and primarily, normal moments. Our daughter (who, granted, is only 2.5...it's not like we're pros at this) is our daughter, and we live a happy life as a family. Are these issues she discusses ones to be aware of? YES. Were we hyper-aware of them during the adoption process? YES. It changed a lot of how we approached adopting dd, and how we viewed/interacted with/judged the international program we chose.

So yes, there are heavy issues that (I believe) you have to take on. You have to acknowledge them, admit the hurt/shame/wrongness of them, and incorporate that into your mindset as an adoptive parent. And as you're raising your child, these things have to be addressed.

But please, don't scare yourself out of adopting. I believe adoption is educating yourself about these things, and acting on these things, but 99.9% of the time it's just raising your child. It's not "raising your child with the dark cloud of adoption hanging over your head." Not at all (or hasn't been for us, I shoud say).

For us, it's been more like just raising our child. With awareness. With humility. With the education and connections we need to address the difficult issues when they come up. And they do come up...even when (as we are) you're only raising a toddler. But...I don't know if this is because we've also raised special needs kids...daily life, and love, is not about the flare-ups of issues. It's about day-in, day-out life, and the bonds we have as a family. Daily life is a joy. Daily life is a blessing. I'm not afraid of the issues anymore, because dd is our daughter, and we will work through them as best we can. The joys of daily life, and the love of being her family, make those things so much less scary even as they make them so much more real.

I hope that makes sense. Kinda late here.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
RedOakMomma is offline  
#4 of 20 Old 05-01-2010, 01:19 AM
 
RedOakMomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: A little stone house
Posts: 6,913
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
One more thing I want to add...

...when you're new to adoption, or in the process of being a prospective adoptive parent, this stuff can be really scary. It's mind-boggling and overwhelming, and when you encounter these perspectives you don't have a balanced vew of any of it...just because your knowledge and experience with/of adoption is so incomplete.

When I was a PAP and first encountered viewpoints similar to these, it was very overwhelming to me. I wanted to put it in a box and say "these are just the bad experiences" or "just angry adoptees" or any number of defensive, dismissive ways of dealing with an unhappy subject. During my time as a PAP (and even now), I've been able to take on more of these viewpoints and feel less threatened as person or parent. I've filled out my knowledge of adoption-related issues, and I can see where these viewpoints fit in. It's not threatening anymore.

So (gosh I'm long-winded tonight )...if this stuff is really upsetting, just put it aside for a little while. It's okay to do that. Put it aside and read up on other adoption-related material. Read about attachment, or interracial adoption, or get the huge packet of articles about adoption from whatever agency/program you're considering. There are lots of honest, but less "harsh" books and experiences to read out there. Read the all-positive, glowy stories too. Why not?! Flesh out your knowledge. Then come back to these viewpoints, these voices, and see if you can come back and process what used to seem so upsetting and harsh. Chances are, you'll see and feel things differently.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
RedOakMomma is offline  
#5 of 20 Old 05-01-2010, 01:27 AM
 
marsupial-mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 807
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
I have a lot of strong emotional reactions to articles like the ones you linked to. Here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order:

- criticism of transracial adoption is often just as much anti-adoption as it is anti-TRA

- there is often a very strong assumption that biology is best and that families that look alike are more legitimate than families that don't look similar

- there's a trend amongst people who are neither adoptive parents, bio families, nor adoptees to feel justified in expressing criticism and condemnation of transracial or transnational adoption

- there's massive ignorance in the general population regarding adoption and foster parenting

- Whenever I see people say they don't think white parents should adopt black children, all I can think about is how my white skin matters so much to other people that it will interfere with my black son's ability to find acceptance. Just as how he will feel a sting whenever someone criticizes his black bio mom, so too will he feel a sting whenever someone criticizes his white adoptive mom and the legitimacy of his family.
marsupial-mom is offline  
#6 of 20 Old 05-01-2010, 06:17 PM
 
EFmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 8,104
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The first link doesn't do a great deal for me. It's one person's opinion, which of course, the person is entitled to have. In general, I'm not much on blogs.

I'm a great deal more interested in what the peer reviewed literature has to say about adoption.
EFmom is offline  
#7 of 20 Old 05-02-2010, 06:15 AM
 
tiffani's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,886
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I really value the perspective of the author of the first blog post you linked (Harriet Jacobs) because she obviously knows what she's talking about, has a lot of experience with adoption, and seems (aside from a few blanket statements like ROM mentioned) to get that adoption is a multi-faceted subject.

The second one, meh, not so much. I agree with a few points, but when it comes down to it, it's silly to make blanket statements against TRA -- if you deprive kids of families based on skin color/culture/heritage/etc, then you deprive kids of families, period. SO MUCH thought and consideration and research and opening of your heart and mind and understanding that this is a massive, life-long change for your family goes into TRA, but it's not inherently a bad thing. It certainly can be a bad thing, but worse than a child not having a family at all? sometimes, if a kid had ended up in an awesome foster home rather than a crappy adoptive home, yes, I think that's a better alternative, but there are just too many variables to just say "TRA is bad." I can think of several better options for a lot of kids, but TRA can be every bit as beautiful a family arrangement as anything else, and with the increased awareness that most TRA families have, the risks are decreasing all the time.

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

tiffani is offline  
#8 of 20 Old 05-05-2010, 12:08 AM
 
natashaccat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: -40 F
Posts: 3,305
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I couldn't get through the first link, too much anger for me to hear the msg...I have a beautiful FC who we will adopt if we can. Sad to think children like him will have a harder time finding homes because potential parents are scared to take a chance...yeah, lots can go wrong, but lots can go right too.

If you want meaningful info on adoption talk to IRL folks that have BTDT.
natashaccat is offline  
#9 of 20 Old 05-05-2010, 05:31 PM
 
Tigerchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Seattle Eastside
Posts: 5,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by natashaccat View Post

If you want meaningful info on adoption talk to IRL folks that have BTDT.
If you want it to be truly meaningful, though, it means that you have to expect and accept that not all those BTDT people are going to say what you want to hear.

To be honest, that article that you could not read because it pissed you off so much? Actually reflects quite a bit of my experience as a biracial adoptee and is not out of line with what some good friends who are transracial and/or international adoptees (I pass) have experienced.

Most people are only going to come into contact "irl" with focused groups from their side of the triad. Adoptees, while not super rare, not the majority of the population and many do not disclose without some reason; and many people don't feel comfortable disclosing to PAPs or even adoptive parents IF their experience is negative. I am sure I must know some birth parents face to face, but frankly I have never been disclosed to. I have attended adoptee rights meetings, but those are one part of the triad and specific subset of it.

But then again, I am not IRL to you any more than the blogger you can't read.

You can certainly only seek and find positive OR negative stories, if you wish. But to me that's not really valuable info. If you want real, valuable info IMO you seek out and solicit experiences from those that you know have an experience contrary/different from what you expect yours to be, in addition to the ones that make you feel good and confirm what you believe.

Becuase ultimately, no member of the triad has ANY control over what the others feel. My parents didn't get to pick my personality, and they probably didn't expect or choose how they would react to their expectations being so off. As the adoptee, I had no voice in the matter whatsoever, and I was incapable of healing their grief. My birth mother wouldn't have known how my adoptive parents would care for me. She also wouldn't have realistically known if she could have "done better". Really, who does? The agency workers were not psychic to the best of my knowledge and once the legal papers are signed they have no power or responsibility.

I do think it's really important for people to get that the adoption experience is continual. It might be continually positive, barely noticeale, continually negative, or most likely a bounce and combo of all of those and more. Whenver you talk to someone, no matter who they and what they feel--that is a snapshot. You don't know and neither do they where they will be in a year. Next month. 25 years from now.
Tigerchild is offline  
#10 of 20 Old 05-05-2010, 05:58 PM
 
Sierra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,449
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by natashaccat View Post
I couldn't get through the first link, too much anger for me to hear the msg
It's interesting because that particular post didn't seem angry to me (though I have to admit that clicking on a blog just to be flipped off by a picture is mildly off-putting LOL).

...or were you saying the post made you too angry to read?? I might have misunderstood.

Anyway, Tigerchild has some good points.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
Sierra is offline  
#11 of 20 Old 05-05-2010, 08:51 PM
 
Tigerchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Seattle Eastside
Posts: 5,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hmmm, yes...I was not reading clearly. I thought the article made the reader angry, not that the reader couldn't read the article because she felt the author was too angry.

Though...to be honest, I think a lot of people shove off their own negative feelings or their resistance to hearing negative experiences/thoughts onto other people by accusing them of being "angry".

I also didn't interpret the article as particularly angry, though she did drop some language and then there's the blog pic.

I have my own biases in this regard though--for years and years and years if I tried to say anything that wasn't waxing poetic about the beauty of all adoption, that was very offensive to people esp. since I was an adoptee, so I've worn the "angry adoptee" label many a time when in fact I was merely sharing some less than assumptive happy ending views.
Tigerchild is offline  
#12 of 20 Old 05-05-2010, 10:02 PM
 
christophersmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: NC
Posts: 413
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I glanced through the article and thorugh the comments. I came upon this:
Quote:
I get it now, though. This was about me wanting a third child. For the money spent on one international adoption and the subsequent parenting of that child, I could enable multiple children to stay with their birth families. The time spent on parenting over the next few decades could be spent on advocacy instead — helping to eradicate the conditions that necessitate these adoptions in the first place.

It hurts, losing the opportunity to love another child, but far more children would end up with families than just the one I would have been able to adopt.
I am sorry but this is naive I think. Yes, some parents can parent with proper resources and some can't. Our DD's mom cannot parent, she loves her with all her heart but she cannot parent even with resources. Even with support of a group home and SW's she can't and would never be able to. So, what to do then? What else could be done? I am just so happy that I can tell DD that her mother loved her with all her heart and if she wants to meet her later we can try.

Carly, mama to DS C (5th grade), DD Miss M (07/09, fostered 1/10, adopted 08/10), and Little Miss C (11/10, fostered 01/11, adopted 11/12). Foster Son, Mr. A, age 11 placed 10/13.
My angel babies , ~01/08~ (twins), ~09/08~, and ~01/09~.

christophersmom is offline  
#13 of 20 Old 05-05-2010, 10:40 PM
 
RedOakMomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: A little stone house
Posts: 6,913
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It's only naive if you assume the author was talking about ALL adoptions. I don't think you can assume he/she was talking about ALL adoptions. I mean, of course there are reasons beyond economics and cultural reform that would result in a child needing a new family, or a person choosing not to parent, but is that the case for the majority of the world's orphans? Even a child who is orphaned because their parents died of disease, or natural disaster, etc.--you could easily argue that these are preventable with the right economic and social assistance. Or international or domestic children who are "orphaned" because of abuse, neglect, etc...could those children and families have been helped by better programs, greater social support, greater access to help and resources? Isn't that mostly economic?

Quote:
For the money spent on one international adoption and the subsequent parenting of that child, I could enable multiple children to stay with their birth families.
There is truth in the idea. The money any of us spend on internation adoption *could* go toward a different purpose, and it's common sense that many children would be staying with their families if families had enough money to provide for their children, or if families had the support programs needed to overcome societal/personal challenges.

Adopting dd took several tens of thousands of dollars. The money we give to help families and children stay together each year only adds up to several hundreds of dollars. There's an imbalance there. And yeah...we adopted dd because we wanted a child...not because I wanted to save an orphan. If the intention is to "save" orphans, then I agree that the most productive path for all the money we spent would have been better used elsewhere...for what we spent on adoption of ONE child could quite possibly have "saved" (ick..don't even like using the word ) many or even dozens of children from losing their parents or their families.

Could my money have directly prevented dd from being placed in an orphanage? No. But if someone five years ago, or two years ago, or ten years ago had donated money (or worked toward certain causes in her home country), then it IS possible that she would have stayed with her mother. In this particular case, we're dealing with some pretty entrenched social beliefs that went against a mom keeping her child, but it's not unreasonable to see that, with hard work, that exact situation might go differently for a similar mother and child a decade or two down the road.

I think that same logic applies to a lot of children in domestic adoption, or foster-care adoption as well. No, as adoptive parents we probably couldn't have prevented the adoption circumstances of this ONE child, but with effort we could probably change the course of several future families' choices. We could prevent the need for adoption of many children.

There will always be children that need to be adopted for legitimate reasons, and children that need to be adopted because the world and circumstances suck sometimes. In both cases those children deserve families, no doubt. But it's not naive to say that, if helping/saving children is the reason for spending $30K, then there are more productive ways of helping children that DON'T involve adopting one.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
RedOakMomma is offline  
#14 of 20 Old 05-06-2010, 05:47 AM
 
tiffani's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,886
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I find that I learn the most from the more negative adoption stories/blogs/articles, etc. I am so thankful that adoptees do have forums where they can speak out about the less than rosy experiences, because that's where we learn and grow and move forward. That said, I didn't see the first blog as being angry either... maybe frustrated, but not angry... I thought it was a pretty realistic view.

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

tiffani is offline  
#15 of 20 Old 05-06-2010, 07:35 AM
 
Polliwog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,090
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
RedOakMomma, I just read your siggie. When is your new little one due?

(Sorry to take this thread off topic.)
Polliwog is online now  
#16 of 20 Old 05-06-2010, 09:33 AM
 
RedOakMomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: A little stone house
Posts: 6,913
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
(whispering in a side conversation, so as not to distract)...September. Baby girl.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
RedOakMomma is offline  
#17 of 20 Old 05-08-2010, 01:37 AM
 
lyra1977's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: KC Metro Area
Posts: 88
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree with a lot of the first article (Harriet). I think that one of the biggest things I've learned from adopting is compassion for birth parents. I talked the talk (compassion-wise) when I was a PAP but these days I feel it intensely. I grieve for Evie's birth parents when we get together (we have an open adoption) and I see the mingled pride and regret in their eyes. They are wonderful people and would have been loving parents to Evie except that their lives are completely screwed up and society has failed to help them. It breaks my heart, and I'm at once desperately in love with my little girl and desperately sad for her first parents. It's a difficult dichotomy to live inside of. It would be much easier to dismiss them, ignore them, stereotype them, etc. It's only going to get more difficult and poignant as Evie gets older, and I'm coming to terms with that.

Karen , wife x 11 years to J and SAHM to Evie 9-19-08
lyra1977 is offline  
#18 of 20 Old 05-13-2010, 11:38 PM
 
CI Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 796
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm weighing in here as an adoptee & want to state for utmost clarity at the outset that I'm speaking from my own experience but have no wish to speak for anyone else's.

I didn't read HJ's blog post all the way through, but I skimmed it. Had I had a blog when I was in my 20s, I could have easily written that post. Adoption is indeed a deeply flawed arrangement, in my experience, and I've found plenty to be angry about at various points in my life. I have sometimes thought that I've taken inventory of all my wounds, and there's no new hurt to be discovered, only to have a new gaping hole open up.

Becoming a mother myself was a re-opening of very old wounds. Literally. I believe that something about my experience as an adoptee has something to do with my long, difficult labor and eventual c-section. I'll probably never fully understand what the connection is, but I believe it's there.

But at the age of 40 I can say that my relationship to my wounds keeps evolving. I have more curiosity and compassion for myself as time goes by, and I have had occasion to thank my wounds and learn from them, not just to lick them. I have carried grief in my body since the moment I was born--from even before I was born--but at this point my grief and my wisdom are inseparable, they are draughts from the same well, and I wouldn't dispense with either, not that I have a choice.

Adoption, like all parenting, and pretty much everything else in life involving human relationships, is deeply flawed, and it's our task on this human journey to figure out how to relate to those flaws. Everything has its shadow side. Perhaps with adoption that shadow is a little more present somehow.

When we approach the shadows with fear & hatred & try to banish them & supplant them with perfectionist ideals, I think we actually give the shadows more power, distort them and warp them and make them more toxic. When treated with curiosity & respect & compassion, we can integrate those shadows into the whole fabric of our experience.

Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

CI Mama is offline  
#19 of 20 Old 05-14-2010, 06:08 AM
 
tiffani's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,886
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
That was beautiful, CI Mama, thank you for sharing it.

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

tiffani is offline  
#20 of 20 Old 05-15-2010, 12:33 PM
 
marsupial-mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 807
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Quote:
For the money spent on one international adoption and the subsequent parenting of that child, I could enable multiple children to stay with their birth families. The time spent on parenting over the next few decades could be spent on advocacy instead — helping to eradicate the conditions that necessitate these adoptions in the first place.
This comment (and similar comments made elsewhere) wrongly assumes
that biological families are better than families created in other ways. This simply isn't true. Throughout history, there's plenty of evidence that good parenting can be done by people who are not biological relatives.

This comment wrongly assumes that all biological parents *want* their children. Children are abandoned everyday and it's not just because of lack of resources. Some people just aren't cut out to be parents. Or some situations simply can't be "fixed" by throwing money at them (deceased parents, bio mom who was raped and doesn't want child, severe and prolonged drug addiction that has incapacitated the bio parent, etc.)

It wrongly assumes that adoptive parents are qualified and interested in advocacy that perpetuates the myth that biology is best.

This comment wrongly assumes that all adoption costs money. In some cases, adopting a child costs the same - or less - than giving birth to a child yourself. If anyone is going to suggest that adoptive parents ought to spend their baby money differently, that same suggestion ought to apply to biological parents as well.
marsupial-mom is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off