adoptedwriter: (Swallowtail Butterfly)
[personal profile] adoptedwriter
It's probably not a secret that I am in the home stretch of writing a sequel memoir about being adopted. The first book was about growing up as an adopted kid in the "Baby-Scoop Era" of closed, secretive adoptions. This current book is about life as an adopted adult in the work place, as a parent and friend. It ties up loose ends from the first story and enlightens readers to the fact that as adopted people, the stigma and shame can do away, but the status never does, and it permeates into our careers, our parenting, marriages and friendships.

In order to write this memoir, I have leaned heavily on my personal experiences and research done by observing conversations that go down on adoptee websites and Facebook groups in which I participate. The best experts on adoption are not social workers and psychologists but instead are actual adopted people, their birth and adoptive parents, but mostly the adoptees themselves.

Unbeknownst to me, when I started down this path, there was/is a lot of bitterness and anger out there about being adopted. (This is worse than I ever felt, and I absolutely HATED it as a kid.) Some adopted people had miserable experiences growing up due to not being their parents' biological child. Others had OK experiences but just feel bad and annoyed that adoption had to happen in the first place. Also there are many who feel that, regardless of having a "good" or "bad" growing up experience, thanks to adoption, they feel irritated by some of the language and assumptions tossed around in the adoption community by the non-adopted folks who do "not get it" but appear to have authority on the matter.(I can relate to this part a lot as an educator by seeing who is and has been dictating teaching practices my whole career.)

One example is Simone Biles, the USA Olympic gymnast in 2016, who was technically adopted by her biological grandparents. Sports announcer, Al Trautwig, who has no connection to the adoption world, referred inaccurately to her parents as "not her real parents", or something to that effect. This caused quite a disturbance in the adoptee force last summer. Some adoptees would argue that her biological grandparents who raised, educated and provided for her are her parents. By law this is true. Others would cling to the notion that her mother who gave birth to her but was unable to care for her is the "real" mother. There's some truth to that as well.

Adoptees are a challenging bunch to satisfy in these matters.

I have learned to keep my mouth shut as a result of the great sensitivity of the Word Police who try to dictate the language of adoption websites and social media groups. I listen. I read. I learn. Then I go off and write.

I have my own opinions, which mostly fall somewhere in the middle regarding most of these arguments. If adopted adults want more rights, recognition and credibility in society, the bickering and divisiveness needs to stop now.

As adults, we are no longer adopted "children", and the states' laws need to reflect this regarding opened records. At the same time, if adoptees continue to argue and over-react due the terms "birth mother/father" as opposed to "natural" or "biological", their bigger want and need will be ignored while they waste time quarreling. (Having all states open their adoption records when adoptees become adults.)

Unfortunately, there are some adoptee/ birth/first/bio/natural parent groups that want it all, and they want it now. I don't think state government works that way.

In the meantime, I know my personal situation and stance best. I lay low on the interest group pages and sites, watch and assimilate. If I don't feel free to speak my mind I will save it for "the book".

Date: 2017-02-08 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am so impressed by your personal mission and your books!

Here's something anecdotal that I've never brought up to you, but it fits in with this post. When I was young, late teens, early twenties, I was deeply involved with the hardcore punk/goth scene. One thing that began to be very apparent to me was that a huge majority of those lost children were adoptees. Runaways or kicked out or foster kids who had originally been adopted....

Fast forward to my thirties when I worked with a year-long Jungian art-based transformation workshop. Out of the six classes I taught in, again, a vast majority of those seeking counsel and transformation brought their adopted stories to the table as their original wounding. Either as an adoptee or a mother who adopted out her child.

Date: 2017-02-08 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Wow! Amazing but it's a common thread.

Date: 2017-02-09 08:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If there's any comfort in this, Al Trautwig is noted for saying some pretty stupid stuff in his commentary, especially when it gets far afield of the actual sport he's supposed to be describing. Here in NYC we get more than enough of him because he is on both the New York Knicks basketball and New York Rangers hockey games, sometimes during the games themselves but usually on pre and post game coverage and intermissions.

Clearly the problem when it comes to adoption is that not all adoptees nor their parents, be they biological or adoptive, will see their circumstances in the same way. So there will never be any uniformity when it comes to this. Trying to dictate some "standard" is nonsense because it's as different as the personalities of the people involved. It's a Rubik's Cube you can never solve the same way, twice.

Patience and working towards helping people who need it really seems to be the way to go for all. Here's hoping.

Date: 2017-02-09 12:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree! Thanks for reading!

Date: 2017-02-10 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As always, your entry is informative and thought-provoking. I hope the second book goes well.

Date: 2017-02-11 10:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks! I'm close to finishing. 😀

Date: 2017-02-11 12:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I thought you were probably at work on a second book. :)

This seems to be a much thornier area than the ideal, though I hope most adoptees still feel happier for having been part of a new family than remaining unadopted. It doesn't always work out as well as planned, but so much of life is like that.

Date: 2017-02-11 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
True. My personal trigger factor is relatively low. So many adoptees have so much angst and hate for what happened. They focus on more loss than gain. There's a balance that's hard for many to achieve.

Date: 2017-02-11 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That is quite an insight .... I didn't know as much. I have two cousins who have been adopted into the family .. and I hope they don't feel so much pain and confusion because we love them to bits and can't think of them as anything but family.


Date: 2017-02-11 10:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's not you or the family. Adoptees internalize stuff. Maybe more than they should but it goes with the territory of being adopted even under the best of circumstances.

Date: 2017-02-12 01:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was such a well written piece.

I think with so many different circumstances surrounding any adoption, it's got to be nearly impossible to come up with a set list of words to be used.

Date: 2017-02-12 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Indeed! Thanks!

Date: 2017-02-13 07:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've only known a couple adopted kids, and they indeed had problems I hadn't known existed, and I love having my eyes opened to that fact. I mean, I don't like that they had problems of course, but it opens up an entirely new side of life that non-adoptees don't know about. I appreciate your working to communicate that as well!

Date: 2017-02-13 01:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks so much! That's my goal!

Date: 2017-02-13 01:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was very insightful and I like the way you convey your thoughts about adoption (it's always a mix of information along with feelings/ emotional connect) I am sure the book will be a great read. Good luck :)

Date: 2017-02-13 03:45 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-02-14 04:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have learned so much from you! Your entries are well thought out and wonderfully executed. Here again, I have learned and been impressed. Brava!

Date: 2017-02-14 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks so much!

Date: 2017-02-15 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As another adoptee, I guess I never really had any particular issues about it as an adult, except for some medical history forms on which I had to note that I didn't know the history (with few exceptions) as I was adopted.

I understand sealing adoption records; it's as much to protect the person who put the child up for adoption, as it is to protect the children themselves. If Jane Doe doesn't want it known that she had a child out of wedlock, then it shouldn't fall to anyone else to deny her anonymity, assuming she's even still alive. It's a tough subject either way.

Date: 2017-02-15 09:43 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-02-15 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love Simone Biles. She dealt with that situation so nonchalantly "All I have to say is that my parents are my parents and that's it". Then it came out she's on ADHD meds and she was very mature and proud that she could manage her issues to become the best possible gymnast.

Date: 2017-02-15 09:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
SImone has class.

Date: 2017-02-16 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've followed your blog since the beginning but admittedly I have not read your book yet. I need to remedy that. I applaud you for bringing these issues out in the open. Hugs my friend!

Date: 2017-02-16 04:21 pm (UTC)
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