adoptive parents

A social workers plea to potentialy adoptive parents explains that adoptive parenting is hard work.

But these issues became “too much for the family to handle,” so they send their daughter back into the child welfare system. Let me tell you something here: Adopting a child is not adopting a pet. A child is not a puppy from a rescue shelter and you take it home to see how it adapts to your environment or if it bites the other puppies or kitties and if the situation doesn’t work out, you can just take it back. When you adopt a child, that child becomes yours. That child is a part of your family. You can’t just “return” a child like a Wal-Mart purchase or a puppy that chewed the leg of your grandmother’s rocking chair.

If you had two biological children and one of them started displaying violence, threatening the life of their other biological sibling, constantly running away, or destroying your house, you would be hard pressed to convince me that you would disown your child and terminate your legal parental rights as their biological parent. You might remove the child from the other children and take the child to a more secure, structured environment like a residential treatment facility to address their mental health issues, and keep the other family members safe. But I highly doubt that you would give your child up and turn them over to the child welfare system.

Yet, for too many people, if your child is adopted and displayed these issues, it’s a different story. There is something so sick and disturbing about that, it makes me want to vomit.

A letter to my local protesters describes the experince of working in an abortion clinic in an anti abortion culture.

8. Because of you, when I leave the clinic, I look both ways exiting the door.

9. Because of you, when I leave or arrive at the clinic, I speedily get into the false safety of the building or my vehicle.

10. Because of you, when I drive home, I check my rear view window to see if I’m being followed.

11. Our doors are a little tighter. Our windows shut harder. Our curtains drawn darker.

12. Because of you, we can’t have normal glass. We have bullet proof glass.

13. Because of you, we have panic buttons.

14. Because of you, I may get a home security system. And I live in a very nice little neighborhood with no other need for a home security system.

15. I really think I hate you.

16. I want to spit on you when I see a woman weep (who was raped by her father; or found out her wanted pregnancy has anencephaly; or who just got her lights shut off because she can’t pay any bills, let alone keep another baby; who can die for our country in battle, but is about to get court marshalled if her country finds out she’s pregnant; or who slept with the wrong guy on the wrong day and realized she really wants to finish school and make something of herself; or who might even be your daughter or sister or niece or granddaughter) after listening to you scream at her, judge her, beg her not to have an abortion. FUCK you for hurting her.

God Doesn’t Do Adoption, Part 2 is one of the best refutations of christian adoption rhetoric I’ve ever read.

So yes. Paul says “adoption” right there in the Bible. He actually uses it a couple of times, but if one examines the text as written in the original Greek, one begins to understand that Paul didn’t mean “adoption” like the modern world means “adoption. ” His original Greek word huiothesia meant something else entirely.

The original Greek word in this scripture (and the others where Paul was translated as saying “adoption”) is huiothesia, derived from the huios (“a son”) and thesis (“a placing”), so literally the placing of/as a son. (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985).

The “placing as a son” imagery was something Paul and his readers of Galatia would have been entirely familiar with (Mitchell, 1993; Zanker, 1988). Basically, it was a ceremony that occurred within the Roman culture in which a male child of a citizen achieved the status of manhood. Prior to the ceremony, a son was considered to have the status of a slave in his father’s house (The Story of Civilization, Vol. 3: Caesar and Christ, 1972, p. 57), even though he had the potential to inherit his father’s wealth. The “placing as a son” ceremony occurred around a boy’s teen years, when his father determined it was time for him to pass from being a child (and under the absolute power of his father) into adulthood.


My partner for the interview project was Meghann who writes over at: (I don’t know why I can’t link this properly) I had to ask her a list of questions then post the answers to my blog and she had to do the same for me. For a list of the other participants and links to their interviews over at Interview Project – March 2010. I do want to say thank you to Meghann who agreed to be partnered with me, because I think a lot of adoptive parents would have found that too challenging and declined.

here is the interview.

Do you believe that your adopted children will have fewer issues because of being in an open adoption?

Fewer issues…no. I think they might have different issues, because they won’t have to wonder about the answers to the questions that would be a mystery if their adoption were closed—but then, they might possibly have more issues. By that I mean that, for instance, knowing why they were placed doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t have issues about having been placed, but also they might have other issues to contend with in dealing with the answer to the question “Why?” So maybe “more issues” isn’t quite right—just that they’ll have more information to try to process all at once (rather than in a closed adoption where, say, having to deal with their feelings about having been placed when they are young & then having to deal with the answers to their questions later, when they are older & in reunion).

I *hope* that they’ll have an easier time dealing with whatever issues they have because of their open adoption, and because everyone in their life is open *about* adoption—I hope that we (all of the adults involved) will succeed in creating a safe environment for them to explore their feelings, and that because they will have a relationship with their mother they’ll be able to talk to her when they need to, talk to us when they need to, talk to other people in their lives when that’s helpful to them, and because they’ll know it’s OK to talk about their feelings & thoughts about their adoption & whatever issues they might be dealing with, that being in an open adoption will help them in that way.

Do your children’s adoptions include all of their natural family or just their Mother?

Right now their adoptions include just their mother. I hope (and their mother does as well) that in the future their siblings & other family will be included, but so far that hasn’t been possible.

What criticisms have you heard about open adoption and do you think there is any validity to any of those?

The most common criticism I’ve heard is that it confuses children as to the roles of the different parents in their lives—this is the one that comes up quite a bit when people ask me about my children’s adoption. I’ve read a number of times on Web sites and forums that are opposed to adoption that because open adoption agreements can be ignored with impunity by adoptive parents, open adoption is nothing more than a marketing tool the adoption industry uses to convince mothers to place their children. (A less harsh version of this criticism is the [I think very good] advice I have often seen given to expectant mothers who are considering placing that they should make their decision as if their child’s adoption would be closed, because there is often no recourse if the adoptive parents choose to close it.) And a friend of mine (an adult adoptee) has told me that she disagrees with our open adoption because she feels we are making the decision for our children to have contact with their mother & that this decision should be left to them to make for themselves when they are older. Those are the ones that come to mind; I’m sure there are others that I’ll think of after I’ve sent this to you & wish I’d remembered while I was writing this.

I think this criticism all has some validity, but I don’t think it’s necessarily an illustration of how open adoption *is*, but of how it *can* be. I can imagine, for instance, that in an open adoption where all the adults aren’t on the same page about their own roles in the child’s life, or where the adults see the situation as a sort of power struggle, that could be confusing to the children involved; but the fact that it can be confusing under those circumstances doesn’t mean it is always confusing. I hate to admit that there is some validity to the second one, but while I don’t agree that open adoption is “nothing more than a marketing tool” (because I know so many people who are truly committed to their children’s open adoptions), I know that there *are* adoptive parents who don’t live up to the promises they made, just because they don’t have to—and I can see how the fact that this is even possible could make it appear to be just a gimmick. And I know there *are* agencies and attorneys who promote it as a panacea, knowing that it isn’t. The last one, I struggle with—the friend who made that comment is someone whose opinion I value highly, in part *because* it is contrary to most other opinions I’ve heard & so it makes me think—I can see her point, but I also think that, while we are building a relationship with their mother now, at the end of the day the choice about what kind of relationship my children want to have with their mother as they grow up and when they become adults will be theirs.

How many adults from open adoptions have you read the experiences of? What were their ages when they wrote? What did you learn from them?

Most of what I’ve read about the experiences of adult adoptees has been in online forums, and even more than that, I’ve learned from talking to friends in my day-to-day life who are adopted. I don’t know (online or in person) very many adults who grew up in open adoptions; the handful I do know range in age from their early twenties into their mid-thirties. (Until recently I haven’t been a big blog reader; I’ve always preferred the sort of conversational interaction on forums to reading blogs. Yours is actually the first blog I’ve read written by an adult who grew up in an open adoption.) And hands down, the most important thing I’ve learned so far about open adoption, I learned from them: That simply being in an open adoption isn’t good enough. Everyone involved—especially the adoptive parents—has to be all in; they can’t be in it half-heartedly, out of some sense of obligation or some misguided idea that they’re doing anyone a favor. You can’t do something that’s *that* important in your child’s life half-heartedly, because they’ll *know*. I’ve also learned that just being involved in an open adoption doesn’t necessarily mean that adoptive parents are entirely comfortable with adoption—and I wonder if this isn’t an artifact of the time periods we’re talking about, because 20 or 30 years ago adoption still wasn’t something that was talked about much, if kids had issues related to their adoptions they were told they were “ungrateful” or worse, etc., and as far as I can tell, simply being involved in open adoption didn’t adoptive parents immune from these attitudes.

Do you seek out information about the experience of adoptees, or only that of other adoptive or natural parents?

I try to find out as much as I can from as many people as I can. (I’m like that with everything.) As far as adoption experiences are concerned…I figure every adoptive parent’s experience is unique, and certainly there are things I can learn from other adoptive parents, but at the end of the day their experience is going to be different from mine. Every adoptee’s experience is unique as well, but I think reading about different people’s experiences & how they view them (and why they view them that way) gives me an insight into the different ways my own children might view their own experiences someday.

I have also read a lot on Web sites and forums that are against adoption. I honestly had no idea anyone was against adoption until I started thinking about adopting—I guess I just hadn’t really given it much thought. I read quite a bit early on from those sites, and reading about the experiences of people who didn’t see adoption as all sunshine and roses was really eye-opening, and it had a tremendous impact on my understanding of adoption.

In one of your blog posts you write “”Success in open adoption means the contact agreement is irrelevant; contact happens because everyone wants it, not because it is prescribed in a legal agreement.” So what happens if you or your partner decides you don’t want it?

I can’t imagine a circumstance in which we would decide we didn’t want contact, but hypothetically speaking—I guess it wouldn’t matter what we wanted, because our open adoption is legally binding & enforceable by the courts. And if we didn’t live in a state that allowed legally enforceable open adoption agreements, I think we would still have a moral obligation to live up to our agreement.

That said, in the context of the original quote—I wouldn’t consider such an open adoption to be a “success,” though—I think a successful open adoption means that everyone is fully invested in it & that no one is doing it only because they “have to.” I think a half-hearted open adoption is probably better than no openness at all, but I’m not sure how much better, because the children involved would have to pick up on the fact that something isn’t “right” & that would have to have a negative impact on them.

Have you any thoughts about the power dynamics between the different sets of parents in open adoption?

This is a tough question for me to answer, because I can only speak from my own experience & I’ve never thought of our relationship with our children’s mother in those terms. I know such dynamics exist in open adoption; I’ve read discussions on support forums where first mothers ask for advice on how to approach concerns with their children’s adoptive parents because they fear that if they upset the adoptive parents they might cut off contact. And I also know of circumstances where adoptive parents *have* gone on a sort of power trip because they were unhappy with something their child’s first mother did or said. So clearly there is a power imbalance there, and I think it is something that can be addressed in the way open adoption is done—for instance, if open adoption agreements were legally binding across the board, adoptive parents couldn’t cut off contact with their children’s first parents in that way—but I suppose it can never really become balanced.

I recently read a statement in doing research for a blog entry a really concise description of the purpose of open adoption: in part, it is “to maintain and celebrate the adopted child’s connections with all the important people in his or her life.” I guess I hope—or I wish? Because it seems too much to hope sometimes when I read some of the things I do & see that what I think of as “old” attitudes are still really entrenched in a lot of people—that if adoptive parents always approached open adoption with that purpose in mind, there wouldn’t *be* a power dynamic to be concerned with; perhaps the dynamic would still exist, but the party with the power wouldn’t ever consider abusing it.

Do you think open adoption should be mandatory and legally binding, why or why not?

Legally binding, absolutely. I think…I wish I didn’t have to think it should be legally binding, but I’ve heard enough stories about adoptive parents who agreed to open adoptions & then cut off contact later on that I think it needs to be. I think there are circumstances in which it would be in the child’s best interest to close an adoption temporarily—if there are issues that would impact the child’s safety & well being (physically or emotionally)—but those rare circumstances could be addressed in court. It bothers me that in states where open adoption isn’t legally enforceable, hopeful adoptive parents can promise the sun and the moon before they adopt & then take it all away on a whim if they’re so inclined.

Mandatory…I’m not sure. Some mothers who place their children don’t want open adoptions, and I feel really strongly that the entire decision, including openness, needs to be on the first mother’s terms, at least initially. I think it might not be a bad idea to make *some* contact mandatory—say, requiring adoptive parents to send updates to the agency or attorney regardless of whether the child’s first mother wants contact, so that later on if she decides she wants contact the information is available to her; and perhaps requiring first mothers to keep current contact information with the agency or attorney so that the child can more easily reconnect later on, but I’m not sure how that would work, and I think it still doesn’t address the issue of the child—open adoption is supposed to be about the child. I don’t know how to reconcile my feeling that you can’t (or shouldn’t) force a mother to place on terms she’s not comfortable with and my belief that open adoption really is in the best interests of the child. And I can’t seem to come up with a solution to this one.

One thing that I think is as important, if not more so, than making open adoption legally binding and/or mandatory is somehow making education—real, effective education that addresses open adoption as in the child’s best interest and *really* gets hopeful adoptive parents to understand its importance—mandatory. This comes from my own experience: The agency we worked with requires hopeful adoptive parents to agree to some amount of contact (I’m going by memory here, but I believe the minimum requirement was being willing to meet the child’s first mother and also send photos and updates to the agency on a particular schedule regardless of whether there was ongoing contact between the first parents and the adoptive parents). This was fine—by the time we contacted the agency we already knew we wanted what I guess would be called a semi-open adoption; we weren’t sure we were “comfortable” with ongoing personal contact, but we were OK with sending letters & photos & whatnot. Then we attended the agency’s required classes, and we learned about open adoption, and we got to talk to adoptees and adoptive parents and first mothers in open adoptions—and at some point we “got it.” We were made to understand, first, how important a child’s connection with his or her first family is and how important it is to be invested in maintaining that connection, and, second, that it wasn’t about us, or what we were comfortable with. And I think getting hopeful adoptive parents to understand these things is important.

Did you ever think about supporting your children’s Mother so she could parent them rather than adopting them yourself?

This is another hard question for me to answer, because I’m finding it hard to answer the way I want to without giving up more details about their mother’s personal circumstances than I’m comfortable giving. So forgive me if this is a little vague… Anyway, I don’t think this would have occurred to me, because the determining factor in her decision to place them wasn’t something we could have changed. She didn’t choose to place them for material reasons, or lack of support, or because she didn’t think she was capable of parenting them; had she chosen to parent, there would have been ramifications that impacted all of her kids (she has other children she is parenting) in a way that was unacceptable to her, and nothing we could have offered in terms of support would have changed that.

I’ve probably made this question harder than it has to be, because I’ve tried to think of it in terms of different definitions of “support.” For instance, could I have said to her, “I know you want to avoid this consequence that you think will not be good for your kids, but maybe it wouldn’t be negative after all; maybe being with you would trump that negative impact”? And I guess I could have, but when I first spoke to her—when she told me her reason for choosing to place J—she had spent the better part of a year thinking about things & deciding what she thought was in the best interest of all her kids. Somehow, my saying, in effect, “I know you *think* this is what is best for your kids, but I’ve thought about it for five minutes & here’s what I think” seems…patronizing, I guess.

I also tried to think about this question in more hypothetical terms—if D’s reason for choosing to place her daughter had been different, if it had been a circumstance that our support (material, emotional, or otherwise) *could* have changed, would I have thought about that. And I really can’t answer that question in any satisfactory way. If her reason had been that she didn’t think she could afford to support another child, for instance, we wouldn’t have been in a position to financially support another family, but we could have made sure that she had explored all of the resources available to her that might make it possible for her to afford it. I like to think I would have done this, but it’s easy to say hypothetically what you *would* have done in a situation when you’re looking at it in hindsight. So even though I’ve been thinking about this question for the last week I feel like I’m not really answering it satisfactorily.

In one of your posts you write “Our relationship with JellyBean’s first mother hasn’t yet progressed to a place where spending family time together near the holidays or whether to buy gifts for siblings or what sort of card to send have been anything but theoretical concerns—“ How much face to face contact between your children and their Mother do you think is appropriate? How much do you currently have?

Answering your last question first—for the time being we’ve been leaving the amount of face-to-face contact up to their mother. Initially we wanted J’s adoption to be more open than her mother did, so I’m very conscious of not wanting to be too “pushy” about face-to-face contact. Our “official” agreement calls for one visit per year, but she and I have talked about wanting to visit more often than that. We had a visit planned early last fall but D was unable to make it, so J has seen her only once since she was placed with us. (At the time I wrote the post you’re quoting, our son wasn’t born yet; he hasn’t seen his mother since he was placed with us.)

As far as how much face-to-face contact I think is appropriate…however much they want. Obviously because our children are so small, right now the adults are making that determination, but eventually it will be up to them and their mother to figure out how much face-to-face contact they all want.

It’s probably been noted by those reading this blog that I am not a big fan of adoptive parents, any adoptive parents, anywhere, I don’t think adoption can ever be redeemed, can ever be made ethical. And far too often adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents come across as entitled, privilege blind eejits, they really do. But every so often I come across an adoptive parent blog that doesn’t make me want to hurl, or even more than this makes me think that their children might have a fighting chance of having their issues acknowledged and supported. They are few and far between but those I’ve noticed so far are This Woman’s Work, Production, Not Reproduction,
Adoption Talk
and O Solo Mama. You know what they have in common? They all have adult adoptees on their blog roll. (well okay This Woman’s Work doesn’t have a blog roll but it does have a google reader widget in which she regularly shares adult adoptees words) They all read and listen to what adult adoptees have to say about their experiences of being adopted, they are open to learning from adult adoptees, they don’t think they know the adoptee experience better than the people who lived it.

It really disturbs me the amount of adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents who have no adult adoptees blogrolled and clearly are not reading or listening to anything we have to say.

I stumbled across this blog post and the sheer cluelessness of the adoptive parents gobsmacked me so I left a blunt message saying:

“That poor child does not look happy. And just so you know, most adoptees hate the term “gotcha day””

The comment wasn’t published but later that day I got an email from the blogger saying:

You decided to write this on my blog: “That poor child does not look happy. And just so you know, most adoptees hate the term “gotcha day””
I want to hear why you think “gotcha” is such a bad thing?
BTW – I somehow doubt that you speak for “most adoptees”.

so I, being the helpfull adoptee I am sent a reply back

I don’t speak FOR any adoptee but myself, I do however, talk to, listen to and read other adult adoptees so I know how a lot of them feel, which, I imagine, is more than you do.

as to the gotcha day thing, I suggest you read the comments on these posts

also these

and finally received this outstandingly patronising piece of condescension

I want you to know that I looked at those websites.

If you knew us, or at least read the rest of the blog, you would know that we plan to celebrate his birthday, not his gotcha day, and we don’t plan to ignore the fact that he’s adopted – it’ll be pretty obvious. Your imagination is incorrect in the fact that we do keep up with lots of adoptees, and are friends with some. We’ve read books about adoptees as bitter as some of those on these sites, and we’ve even met a few. we plan to learn from the families that have done adoption well.

Your anger is obvious, and I pray that you’ll find rest and peace in Jesus. He heals the broken hearted, and sets people free from bondage.
As for your inexcusable rudeness and harsh judgment toward me and my family – I forgive you.
You should know, however, that before I met Jesus, I was a very spiteful and angry person. He changed all of that.

Firstly i didn’t say anything about whether they were going to celebrate “gotcha” day or not, my point was the label is horrible. Nor did I suggest they were going to ignore the fact he was adopted. Where did that idea even come from?

Once again adoptees who don’t agree with adoptive parents assessment of situations are labeled bitter and surely weather an adoption has been done “well” or not should be up to the adoptee to judge? And why not listen to adoptees who had bad adoptions so you can learn what not to do? Like for instance not wantonly destroying a culturally specific keepsake because it does not fit in with your worldview.

And then the enormous assumptions about my spiritual affiliations. The way people behave often has nothing to do with their spiritual beliefs. Some of the nicest most genuine people I have ever met have not been Christians, almost all of the people who have seriously damaged and traumatised me were Christians. Also just because I don’t feel the need to splurge my Christianity all over this blog doesn’t mean I am not a christian. Just because I am angry about injustice does not mean I am not a christian. There’s nothing unchristian about anger. Jesus got angry. My faith is a private thing between me, my religious community, and God. I don’t feel it’s generally at all appropriate to bring it up on a blog that has nothing to do with religion. And if I wasn’t a Christian this kind of patronisation sure wouldn’t make me want to be one.

73adoptee has an interesting post about these people also

I’ve seen several posts around the adoptee blog sphere lately about the way we as adoptees interact with other members of the adoption community

Most of it was i think triggered of by this post over at Grown in my heart.

I’ve got a lot of respect for adoptees who spend time and effort informing and educating adoptive parents about all the issues with adoption but it’s not something I am willing to do, I’m not here for that. I don’t care if adoptive and prospective adoptive parents think I am “angry” “bitter” “ungrateful.” I’m not here to educate or placate adoptive parents. Those that don’t want to listen to me would find an excuse even if I was as accommodating and acquiescing to the way they think a “good adoptee” should behave as I could be. Those who want to learn from me will learn anyway despite and sometimes because of my rage and pain and anger.

I don’t consider myself as part of the adoption community, I have no loyalty, no obligations to the adoption community. I am also not part of an adoption triad. Even if i believed such a concept was valid I wouldn’t be, one parent is dead, one is missing and two I am estranged from. I am part of the adoptee community and that is my first loyalty. I don’t think the adoptee community and the adoption community can actually meet in the middle, adoption is always about the commodification of children and when those children grow up why should they be expected to make common cause with their oppressors?

The whole “you are too emotional/overreacting/bitter..I know x type of people who don’t feel like you” is a way for privileged people to protect their own interests while silencing the less privileged people. If they can paint us as “broken” rather than society as broken then they don’t have to try and change or fix anything, they can just pretend we are anomalies and the children that they have acquired are never going to have the issues that we have.

So I’m going to just say what I say, with my anger, my ingratitude my “bitterness” (though actually that’s one thing I’m not however much adoptive parents try to paint me with it.) Adoptive parents don’t have a right to be tiptoed around so their feelings don’t get hurt, I spent my formative years doing that, I’m through with it.

I recently came across another blog entry on the so called merits of positive adoption language. I left a comment directing the author of the blog to this piece of writing. She didn’t post my comment but she did send me an email.

Thank you for your comment on our adoption blog. I am not sure if you are the author of the article you referred me to, or if you are a member of the antiadoption group. I know that some adoptees have not have good experiences, and I am sorry if you are one of those people. This article was obviously written by a person with a lot of anger about his/her own adoption.

I could see how some of what I think is “positive” adoption language could be hurtful to someone who was partially raised by their biological parents before being adopted and may feel strong loyalty to them.

I don’t think this article pertains to most international adoptions, and definitely not to my daughter’s adoption. Most children orphaned in China are orphaned at birth. Obviously, many of those birth parents probably wanted to raise their child but couldn’t because of the one child policy or because of low income and potentially expensive requirements of a child’s special need. I know that our daughter was left at birth. She never knew her birth mother and most likely never will. I would love for them to meet some day as I know my daughter will always have a hole in heart for this women and her biological father, but I am the women who has chosen to love and raise her, and I am her mother, parent, adoptive mother…..whatever you want to call me.

I think the list I provided is very helpful for adoptions like ours, and is meant in the best interest of my child, not me. I can stand being offended, but I don’t want her ears to hear comments about me not being her “real mom.” I am the realest mom she has.

Thank you, Kelly

It irks me as it always does that the assumption is made that I am not worth listening to because I must have had a bad adoptee experience because I am anti adoption. There’s a whole bundle of assumptions there, firstly why does objecting to “positive adoption language” mean I have had a bad experience? And secondly so what if i did have a bad experience? Are adoptees who had bad experiences not worth listening to? Those of you reading this who think that the only adoptees who want adoption reform or who are anti adoption have had bad adoption experiences and are not worth listening to because of this might want to read these two posts: You must have had a bad life… and The Value of the Abused Voice

I don’t see what being raised partly by my original parents or not has to do with anything I have no loyalty to my first parents but that doesn’t mean I don’t think of them, as well as my adoptive parents, as my real parents

The third paragraph uses nonsensical double speak and flags up the selfishness of adopters. If your child has a mother in China who is still living she is not and never was an orphan. If adopters really cared about the children they adopt and their families, instead of adopting they would pay the second child fine which would enable the families to stay together (The fine is income based so the poorest families who are overwhelmingly the ones that have to give their children up, have the smallest fines.)

It seems to me that this adoptive parent isn’t bothering to read any of the excellent blogs or books written by Transracial adoptees and then she will be surprised at the issue her adopted child will be dealing with as she gets older. From what I understand trans racial adoptees have more identity issues to deal with, not less, than domestic adoptees and using language that is designed to placate adopters rather than support adoptees is not going to help her with those issues.

I was discussing the post and the email with some of my fellow adoptees and one of them responded to this part of the blog post:

It is common for people to make comments to adoptive parents and their children that are rude, invasive or just accidentally hurtful.


This is so true. People often make really hurtful remarks about my adoption. People often tell me that my “real” parents are the ones who adopted me, and don’t let me hold the beauty of having 4 “real” parents. It is hurtful to be still seen as a child, and not recognized that my voice as an adult, and an adoptee (who IS adopted…cause it’s an awesomely hard life-long experience for me) is just as valid as those who actually had a say in the terms of the adoption. I’d like to think people labelling me as “angry” or “anti-adoption” are simply being accidentally hurtful, but sometimes I can’t help but believe they are just being rude.

Which just says it perfectly. “positive adoption language” is and will always be about the adopters and not the adoptees, nobody cares about how adoptees feel over the language used

I stumbles across a comment that mssc54 (an adoptive father) left on a post over at the Love in Asia blog that contained the paragraph:

Incidentally, I think biology includes more than DNA. I think biology also includes manerisms, quirks, speach patterns, etc. Birth Parents only includes the DNA. Our little boy and girl have developed some of our traits and although they possess none of our DNA they do exhibit some of our biological traits.

I’m sorry did you fail biology? DNA isn’t something you pick up by osmosis. One hundred percent of a child’s DNA comes from its biological parents, there is no way of changing that. Now absolutely children are influenced by the environment they grow up in and the people they grow up around but that’s not biology it’s nurture.

Too often adoptees get told that genetics don’t matter that blood isn’t thicker than water, that nurture is supreme and nature is irrelevant,
but those of us who have grown up and are in reunion know this is ridiculous. Yes we do pick up mannerisms from our adoptive parents, of course, but we also already have mannerisms that were wired in from birth. When my adopted brother is with his bio brothers, who he did not grow up with, you can’t tell who is talking unless you are looking at them their speech patterns, inflections and language use are so similar. How can that be anything other than genetics?

My sister and I, who didn’t grow up together, like and dislike the same food, are attracted to the same people, laugh at the same things, our brains think in the same pattern, how can that be anything other than genetic?

When adopted children are told by their adopted parents either overtly or subtly, that blood doesn’t matter, that DNA doesn’t matter they often feel a bundle of complex negative feelings. Blood matters to us, we want to know where we come from, who we look like, who we are like.

This rhetoric can also make adoptees feel guilty that they are not enough like their adoptive family, they feel guilty for not being able to fit in when often the reason they can’t fit in is because they have genetic traits, thought patterns or aptitudes that none of their adoptive family have.

Growing up without someone who mirrors you genetically is incredibly lonely and unanchoring for a lot of adoptees and adoptive parents should be acknowledging that to themselves and their adopted children. They should be acknowledging that there are positive aspects of our personalities that are genetic, that did come from our first parents, that we are not blank slates,they should be celebrating differences between family members, not be trying to force their adopted children into the shape they assume their biological children would have come in.

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