I made the mistake recently of writing off a fellow adoptee.
I belong to a few adoptee groups on facebook and every now and then someone makes a comment that is so blatantly anti-adoption and bitter that it makes me wince. Usually, when I hear that kind of talk I just ignore it. Instinctively, I know that is not my experience so I just shut it off.
Luckily, another adoptee asked for clarification and the response peaked my interest. The adoptee said; “I adore my parents, but I hate adoption.” She then went on to explain why she hates the institution of adoption. It was her slant that adoption ignores the rights of the adoptee and often denies the adoptee certain rights that everyone else takes for granted; their original birth certificate, their medical history, and their feelings just to name a few.
The birth certificate and medical history are easy to understand. The last claim I had to think about. Had I been denied my own feelings? After looking into this further I was able to relate to what she was saying.
Several months ago, I was exploring my feelings of rejection that I felt were a result of being adopted. I had responded to a question on an adoption social network and I was explaining that as an adoptee, I could not escape the fact that my mother gave me away. I understood why she did it but in the end she gave me away and that did result in some rejection issues I have.
The responses I got from some adoptive mothers was shocking. Several tried to convince me that I shouldn’t concentrate on what I don’t have but should instead concentrate on the sacrifice of the family that took me in. The more I tried to defend my position the more I got accused of being a bitter and ungrateful adoptee that should be glad that I was taken in and “saved.”
Eventually, I dropped out of the debate on the site because no one was going to win. Thinking back to that conversation, I understood what my fellow adoptee was saying. There are times when as an adoptee you feel like your existence is not in your control. Things that are easily seen as “YOURS,” adoptees have to fight for, and when they do they are labeled as bitter. When labeled as bitter, just like I did, many will just turn them off.
As I continue to grow and learn about myself and what it means to be an adult adoptee, I see things I never saw before. When I was younger, I didn’t know the system and laws around adoption so these issues never bothered me. Now that I do, I do get frustrated and mad that unattached law makers can deny me certain things. Even more disturbing, is when I am feeling a certain way and someone tells me I have no right to be angry, and I should be grateful because, like a dog at the pound, I was rescued.
I’ve learned that I can be pissed off about some of the unintended results of adoption and that has nothing to do with my family who I adore.