The Note

Well the response to Julie’s note was overwhelming wasn’t it? I expected some reaction, that’s why I posted it. I did not expect that level of reaction. Any time we find ourselves actually talking about the issues it’s a good thing. What has me so down these past few days is realizing what an uphill battle we face when it comes to adoption reform. How do we go about convincing those who don’t even see a problem that one DOES exist? I have been doing this adoption reform stuff in my own small way for years now and since I am a glass half full kind of person I sustain my momentum by seeing how things could be. Even though the number of commentors who “got it” far outweighed those who did not I still found myself fairly depressed by reflecting on the level of denial that still remains in this world when it comes to adoption.

I always think that some day someone (maybe even me) will say something so profound that society as a whole couldn’t help but get it. Now THAT is optimistic thinking and pretty naive if I do say so myself. In this country in particular we have a level of entitlement that far exceeded the concept of the American Dream years ago. Whenever you combine feelings of entitlement with strong emotional desire it is a recipe for disaster. Such is the case with adoption. There seems to be an epidemic of entitlement when it comes to having babies. I would love to believe that the majority of prospective adoptive parents FIRST objective in the goal to adopt is to PROVIDE A STABLE AND LOVING HOME TO A CHILD IN NEED. Please think about that statement before blowing up. I said your FIRST objective.

Of course you WANT a baby. I won’t even pretend I get how devastating it must be to desperately desire a family of one’s own and not be able to produce that dream. I have four children. I couldn’t possibly understand. I am empathetic though, as empathetic as I can be. I can hear it in your voices. I can see the sense of loss in your eyes and it breaks my heart. Here is the problem: somewhere along the line we shifted from desiring that dream to feeling entitled to it. The result was a horrifying and extremely damaging case of SUPPLY AND DEMAND. There just aren’t enough babies to supply the demand. Whenever you have a case of supply and demand you have those willing to set aside moral integrity to profit off of the backs of those emotionally fragile people that find themselves without. Anyone feeling vulnerable emotionally due to their “lack of” will be easily manipulated into ignoring the signs that something just isn’t quite right. They can be easily convinced that their actions are honorable if the end result fills their emotional needs.

There are babies that need loving homes. I would venture to say there are tons of babies that need loving homes. There just doesn’t happen to be as many BABIES needing homes as there are infertile couples wanting babies. So we create the supply by any means necessary, trying to meet the demand. This is why adoption has ceased being about providing loving homes for children in need and moved dangerously into the concept of filling the need of infertility which appears to be an ever expanding market.

Adoptees, how often do we see adoptive parents visit our blogs and leave nasty comments who have adopted children in need? Never. Foster parents who spend a lifetime opening their homes to children in need? Never. We have a friend who is the foster parent for a beautiful little girl, who also happens to be a crack baby. Although she was a newborn there wasn’t a huge rush of childless couples wanting to offer HER a stable and loving home. WHY NOT? Why not indeed. Anyone who would refute my theory of supply and demand only need answer this question for me to sway my thinking.

So what does this post have to do with my reply to the comments about Julie’s note? Well I’ll tell you. The idea of whether or not a newborn can or cannot have these feelings would probably never be agreed upon. After hearing Julies reply I happen to completely understand the concept. But that isn’t really the point here. The POINT is the world is lucky enough to have a vast number of adult adoptees screaming from the top of their lungs, TELLING the world how that newborn feels but it is falling on deaf ears. How can we prove it? We don’t need to because we ARE your newborns.

Adoption has for so long been sold to us as the concept of providing homes for children in need that we never noticed the transition from a very real need to big business-supply and demand. As an adoptee I am completely dismayed that society has the luxury of us, the REAL adoption professionals, trying to guide them straight to the answers but few are listening. Adoptees jump up and down when someone bothers to do scientific studies because we know that we are not taken seriously, but since our goal is not a pat on the back we don’t care HOW you are convinced. We know that you are far more likely to listen to a schooled professional, so we cheer the studies on. But how sad for the world. What an utter waste of time, resources and money. How often do parents say “gee, I wish I could understand what my baby was saying so I could be a good parent and provide them with what they need”! Society does in fact have the ability to understand. You’re just not listening. You’re not listening because it’s not the message you want to hear.

I almost hit delete on my blog this weekend. That is until one adoptive mother (Christine) came and said this:
I truly view blogs like this as a gift – a way for me to see into a world that I otherwise have no access to.
Certainly some of the messages are difficult for me to read, but if I don’t try, with an open heart and mind, to understand what adoptees (and birth mothers for that matter) think and feel, I’m doing a huge injustice to my son.
When we adopted, I did not expect parenting to be easy, but I was also not conscious of what adoptees and birth mothers experience. We needs blogs like this. I need blogs like this to be the best possible parent to my child – and he deserves no less.

So the blog stays and I keep going because our children deserve nothing less. They are worth the effort and any frustration I may experience when it feels like my voice is falling on deaf and entitled ears.

Advertisements

35 Comments

Filed under Adoptee Family, Adoptive Family

35 responses to “The Note

  1. Mia,

    Brilliant post! Strong and TRUE. I thought about your blog most of the weekend and the events that transpired. I also spent some time reading some threads in an adoption forum dominated by APs. It was disheartening, depressing and defeating at best.

    Your words capture my range of emotions and you’ve expressed them beautifully and powerfully. I thank you for that.

    Right now I have no words. At least no words that make sense.

    ((((Hugs, Mia)))) Your fortitude continues to inspire me.

  2. kim.kim

    I am glad you didn’t delete your blog Mia, I would miss you.

  3. Julie

    Understanding the repercussions of separation, the (far too many ) downsides of the adoptees’ experience, the abject exploitation and subsequent disposal of our mothers… these aspects, unfortunately, will not pull enough weight to effect change anytime soon (a sad commentary on capital-driven societies).

    To effect adoption reform, we have an extraordinarily powerful mindset to change. Yes, Mia, entitlement is one. We, as a nation, feel entitled to pursue a career throughout the fertile years until it’s too late, entitled to mine the don’t-have-enoughs for their offspring, entitled to perpetuate a highly profitable business even when it is damaging to 66% of the parties involved, entitled to the greatest natural resource of less fortunate countries, entitled to eradicate a child’s identity, history, and legacy, and entitled to deny – even denigrate – the experiences of the same children we claim to want to help.

    The mindet that “adoption is wonderful” is perpetuated by those who stand to profit the most – the agencies, facilitators, recruiters… every entity and middleman standing in line to make a buck off of the desperation of prospective adoptive parents.

    These people are fully aware that adoption is not wonderful, that adoption is not a “win-win” scenario. They are fully aware of the studies done on adoptees and exiled mothers. They are aware of every single issue put forth in my note “To Whom It May Concern,” and many other unfortunate issues that go along with adoption.

    They have powerful lobbies who keep the laws “adoption-friendly” and even pay major booksellers to keep the downside manuscripts off the shelves. The powers-that-be do not want this information to get out to the general public.

    These people pay recruiters hansomely to ferret out unsuspecting pregnant women. They scour the internet, lurk in grocery stores. 99 out of 100 Crisis Pregnancy Centers & Hotlines are directly connected to and funded by adoption agencies.

    They promise these mothers an “Open Adoption,” presenting it as a co-parenting arrangement only to pull the rug out from under them, encourage the adopotive parent/s to move out of state with no forwarding address, or otherwise close the adoption at their own discretion (and that, of course, was their plan from the beginning). In most states, the law provides no recourse for such bad-faith behavior.

    And everyone – involved or not – looks the other way as these people flout morality and law to get their supply through coercion, human trafficking, even unabashed refusal to comply with court orders… whatever it takes to seal the deal.

    Adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents … they are not to blame unless they choose ignorance when they know better. Adoption agencies are not going to educate them, facilitators and other adoption-related entities are not going to educate them. Educate them, and the adoption will not likely go through. That would mean no commission, no bonus, no referrals, no donations.

    Follow the money, and you will clearly see where to target the front line of adoption reform.

    Other actions may contribute to reform. Some countries have started to put their collective foot down when it comes to ethics as they realize what is befalling their precious children. Some are starting to take action within their own economies and social structures to prevent their children from falling prey to being mined thus.

    Unfortunately, taking on this target – the adoption agencies and associated entities – is a greater undertaking than we can imagine. Not only do they represent the greatest power in the adoption transaction but they have far too many friends in the government.

    There are many adoptive parents in the government, including those who have looked the other way even as their adoptive children have been procured for them through shady (at best) means. And, as I mentioned before, there are the lobbies – the NCFA being the most powerful (who present themselves as a government-sponsored authority on adoption yet are simply a collective group of adoption agencies). These represent monumental obstacles.

    What we need for reform is informed adoptive parents like Christine to join us adoptees and our mothers and families to form a more powerful collective voice, a voice that will be as loud and authoritative as the likes of the NCFA.

    I offer this statement as one who is actually not for adoption reform, but for the reform of Legal Guardianship wherein the child maintains his/her identity and has full access to his/her records and information upon emancipation. Nevertheless, I will take reform wherever I can get it.

  4. Paula I understand your frustration. The residual effect of people with entitlement issues is this: Natural parents sole purpose to the family unit becomes that of a supplier. The child is then faced with feeling something completely different than what is being expressed by their parents resulting in confusion and issues with self worth.
    Adult adoptees who try to help “entitled people” understand issues we can face will be viewed as bitter and angry exceptions to what they perceive as the norm. Therefore we “MUST have had parents who did it wrong.” THEY are not doing it wrong.
    The saddest part of all of this is that so often those who fail to hear our message end up using their children as sacrificial lambs for the preservation of ego based ideals. Sad but true. Ditch the entitlement and suddenly minds and hearts open wide. Imagine.

  5. suz

    gosh, i love julie. lol. love her words, her position, written expression.

    dont go mia. i understand the desire to do so. been fighting it myself lately. (but for somewhat different reasons). instead i have tempered myself a bit, filtered a bit more. figure i am in an rough raw patch right now.

  6. Well said Julie. Although I don’t necessarily agree that the problem lies solely upon the back of the money hungry adoption industry. To do so is to relieve AP’s of any responsibilty for their actions. They become victims of said industry and I don’t entirely buy that. When you make such a huge life altering decision you take the time to educate yourself. You don’t rely solely on the information presented to you by those who stand to profit from your decision. Unless of course you only hear what you want to hear. Unless of course you feel entitled. There has to be some accountability.

  7. “So the blog stays and I keep going because our children deserve nothing less. They are worth the effort and any frustration I may experience when it feels like my voice is falling on deaf and entitled ears.”

    Thanks for staying, Mia.

  8. Glad you are not going! I think people will always have differing opinions on these very emotional issues. I hope everyone tries to listen respectfully and with open minds to everyones’ perspectives and thoughts. That is when progress will be made. I do slightly disagree with one of your points. I do think that there are enough children in need of a home for the current “demand” it is just that the children who truly need a home are not as “desired” as say a white newborn.

    So glad you are staying. Don’t let them get you down! Some day they may actually “hear” you.

  9. Julie

    Mia,

    I completely agree with what you are saying about APs. I confess I phrased my statement so as to make them choose as they read it either to be uninformed (and I would not brag about that) or intentionally ignorant (and I would not brag about that either). And please don’t forget what I said in my response to Robert about putting myself in the APs “booties.”

    But you are absolutely right. I should have been more blunt. Because the truth is that it was my APs ignorance that caused the most damage to me. And it had to be intentional ignorance because the information was out there, if they had cared enough about me to discover it. Unfortunately they cared more about protecting themselves and their image (or maybe they just didn’t want to work that hard – like parenting was supposed to be easy?).

    Sadder still is that, through their ignorance about adoption issues, they damaged their natural son as much as they did me. Without thinking (or caring?) they stuck with the agency’s advice to drive home that I was “chosen.” In doing this, they insinuated that they got “stuck” with their son.

    A child raised by his natural parents grew up to have a boatload of adoption-related issues. So sad.

  10. Julie

    daughterof2women,

    You are so right about the number of children needing a home – outnumbers the demand – but they are not the “right” age. Shame on those who want to adopt only a fresh newborn – that, to me, makes their motives suspect.

    Even if they “saved” an infant, how many children in need did they turn their backs on in the process? And those children are STILL waiting, so please don’t tell me about “waiting families.”

  11. Thank you Suz, Kim, Wraith. Abebech you are awesome.

    (((DO2))) Of course you are absolutely correct about the kind of child entitled AP’s will choose. I don’t think it is restricted to white newborns though. I guess my point was that it is healthy infants/babies that they THINK won’t come with any “baggage” that are desired. Which is substantial proof to me that the true first desire to adopt is not at all about “saving the children”.

  12. Great point Julie! It never crossed my mind that a natural child in a home with an adoptee might feel that way. VERY cool insight!!!!!! I love lightbulbs.

    I have always detested being told I was chosen. It sort of perpetuates the concept of being best of show. This, instead of being loved with compassion, respect and most importantly- AS IS. Being chosen as the best of the lot (as the word “chosen” indicates) is a huge responsibility to live up to as a kid. Always thinking; What if I fail to live up to their expectations? What if they wake up and feel like they chose wrong?

  13. Mia,

    Gotcha! You are so right

  14. Julie

    On Being Chosen…

    The truth is that if it was a different adoptive couple that was up next at the time I was available, I would have gone to them. Hardly “chosen.”

    It’s all random.

    The only person I wanted to “choose” me was my mother.

    Yeah Best of Show. I might have been better off as a poodle… but I was a human runt.

  15. Great post Mia, and I’m sure glad you are staying.

    Great comments Julie. Do you have a blog?

  16. Mia, Please don’t go. I’ve just found you! While I enjoy reading what you have to say because it makes me feel less like an anomaly, I’m not asking you to stay for me, but for all the adoptees out there who have moms like Christine who DO have their child’s best interest in mind. (I cried when I read her comment in response to Julie’s letter.) Unlike you, I am a coward when it comes to trying to show those around me the negative sides of adoption. I don’t want to rock the boat so hard that they’ll shove me out. Yes, they’ll love me no matter what, but what happens when someone connects my “angry adoptee” blog to my adoptive mother working as a locally well-known adoption professional? I wish I could make a difference, make her “see the light”…I just don’t see that happening. Every now and then I test the waters of her receptiveness and get no where. I was a miserable baby just because,I didn’t miss my firstmom, I wasn’t grieving. (Even though I’m 28 she still knows better, right?) So, instead I have my annonymous blog and slink around the internet leaving my two cents here and there. I applaud you for your bravery and honesty. Please don’t go.

  17. Thanks (((Elizabeth))).

    Rebecca I promise you are not an anomaly. Beautifully unique but not strange or different in your feelings regarding adoption.
    I can’t go, I would miss everyone too much. ;o) Thank you for your comment.

  18. Julie

    Thanks, Elizabeth. I don’t have a blog at this time but I have been thinking about it very seriously. Seems it would be a good place for all the articles I have published “out there” on various websites.

    Also have an MSN message board (since 2001) that was VERY active but has gone dead since they took chat away and blogs started taking over.

    At one point I also had an adoption-related website but that came down a couple of years ago – too much expense in addition to my art website. I did save a lot of stuff from it that I could transfer to a blog…

    Sorry I’ve gone on about this, thinking out loud. lol And now I am going to visit you blog.

  19. Awsome post Mia – so glad you’re sticking around – I only just found you!!!!!
    Great comments also Julie.

  20. Please don’t ever think about deleting this blog. At least not until adoption has been reformed. With all of us blogging out there, word is getting out bit by bit. Those so called powerful entities are starting to quake in their boots. Let’s give it to ’em western style. WE can do this. I suspect very very soon that the adoptees, the mothers, and the fathers will soon be over powering to where they can’t do anything but listen to our roar.

  21. Ed

    As an a-parent with two young adopted sons, I have gone through most of the emotions you might think I have as years of parenting and absorbing as much as I can from minds like yours go by.

    And it is hard sometimes to accept the realities. I went into this life believing it had to be about the children, not myself, but I still fell into the defensive trap.

    But even in these early days of my own development I can tell you that what you are doing here is even more important than you already know it is. And the compassion and sincerity with which you share it brings the point home.

  22. Mia…I am glad you “hung tough” and decided not to delete your blog. Conflict and controversy every once in awhile isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just means you hit a “nerve” that resonated with some people in a different way. Without people like you to educate people like me, how would I ever know how adoptees or their mothers felt? Thanks so much for allowing us to share in your journey of understanding what happened and all the feelings that it (there is that word again “it”) evokes. I know this isn’t just a topic. It is your life. A very intimate part and I know you are taking a risk by sharing it…but believe me, I think even those who might not agree with everything will hopefully walk away thinking differently. Your blog does make people feel and think about this process which I believe is very worthwhile…and of course Mia – you are invaluable!

  23. Amy would western style include steel toed cowboy boots? ;o)

    Chez, thanks for stopping by! I look forward to reading your blog.

    LeRoy, always a pleasure reading what you have to say.

    Ed, thank you for being among the ranks of the enlightened! Your boys are fortunate indeed.

  24. Mia,

    I haven’t read the other comments or everything else that has gone before this; probably would be a good idea.

    But I will say this about that ^ (*wry smile*). I like it. And I agree with what your emailer says. We adoptive parents do need to read and hear these things to become the best possible parents to our children that we can be.

    On the practical side of things, as you know, it’s your blog. You can set the rules and tell people that if they don’t play nice they can just go home. Maybe it’s because my son is in preschool, but I’m bound to tell people to keep their hands to themselves. Now, if I start sending notes home with anyone for your parents, then you’ll know I’ve gone overboard 😉 .

    Anyways, I’m glad you’re keeping on.

  25. anonymous

    Mia,

    Please don’t ever delete your blog. You are an inspiration to us all. I am always learning from you.

  26. Mia I really need to hear what you and all your friends say here on this blog. Please don’t ever think about hitting that delete button!!! I am begging you girl – keep the faith! It IS making a difference!

  27. Mom2one I don’t know if going back and reading is a good idea or not! lol Thank You for your comment. You made me smile wide.

    Thank you so much anon.

    Cloudscome you are one in a million. I think the world of you.

  28. Ruth

    Thank you for your blog. We have been talking about adopting since before we married 10 years ago. We want to adopt because we want to provide a stable home to a child in need, we do not have infertility issues and I think this leads us to approach adoption in a different way to many. Adoption is not the ‘second’ choice for us. It is the first/equal choice. One of the things holding us back from applying is that we are concerned about the damage adoption does/may do to the child. We would be undertaking a transracial adoption. But, here’s my question – we live in a country (outside the US) where need actually does out strip demand – there are over
    250 000 children in orphanages, not to mention the 240 000 child-headed households. Is it better to leave a child in an orphanage, or to adopt into a transracial family? Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.

  29. Pam

    Ruth, I would advise adopting as many children as you can from the orphanage. Every child needs and deserves a loving home. The damage to a child living parentless in an orphanage is much greater than any damage a child will feel by being adopted. God bless you for your desire to help those less fortunate than yourself, and I hope you and your future children find lifelong delight and happiness with each other.

  30. Hi Ruth, thank you for stopping by. First I want to make it clear (to everyone) that I am not anti-adoption. I am pro-reform. There is a HUGE difference.

    Honestly I don’t feel qualified to answer your questions without adding unnecessary layers of personal opinion into the reply. That isn’t what you need, you need facts. However, I do know some really fantastic TRAs and adoptive parents of TRAs that would probably be happy to answer any questions you may have.

    Contrary to popular belief, the desire to help those less fortunate by adopting isn’t enough. When it comes to adoption we have a responsibility to be prepared to help in the way our children need us to. You asking questions shows you are willing to learn HOW to raise an adoptee in a postive and effective way. That in and of itself speaks volumes for the kind of parent you will be. Will you face challenges? Most definately. That’s just part of parenthood.

    The key to making any decision of this magnitude is making sure all of the facts are presented to us in a well rounded and informed manner, not one sided as is so often the case in adoption. ie: “all you need is love”. It makes for a great song but doesn’t quite cut it in regards to parenting.

    I would suggest you visit the links listed in my transracial adoption category. Ask Margie, she is an informed adoptive mom. Visit Sume, Harlows Monkey and Paula to try and get a feel for some of the challenges you and your child may face. There are MANY informed resources out there on the subject of international adoption and I am confident that these people will lead you in the right direction.

    Remember, ALL families have challenges. There is no such thing as a perfect family. I feel as parents we simply must do the very best we can with our eyes, our hearts and our minds wide open.

    I wish you happiness and truly appreciate your desire to learn how to be the very best parent you can be.

  31. Christine

    I almost hit delete on my blog this weekend. That is until one adoptive mother (Christine) came and said this…
    So the blog stays and I keep going because our children deserve nothing less.

    Mia, I’m both humbled and grateful that my words had an effect on this blog remaining. I know I’m not alone, that there are other adoptive parents quietly reading this and having their beliefs about adoption opened up.
    When we were in the adoption process, I did what I thought was thorough research. I was ‘educated’ by our social worker during our homestudy, and read all the books and articles on adoption that were recommended. I attended seminars presented by the adoption agency, several of which involved adoptees. The only issues that were brought up by the adoptees were about transracial adoption and the importance of maintaining the child’s culture.
    I am a skeptical person by nature, so why I accepted what was told to me without further digging is not completely clear to me. I do believe that it had to do with, as you say Mia, the desperation I felt as an infertile woman. But I also believe I was genuinely unaware that I was not being given a complete picture.
    This is exactly why blogs like this are not only useful but badly needed – to combat the sheer volume of ubiquitous materials that do not acknowledge fundamental adoption truths, and fail both the parents and child.
    Thanks for staying.
    Christine

  32. Diana

    Mia,
    I just want to say thank you to you and the others (adoptees and first moms) who work so hard to tell the truth and smack us aps in the head with it. Yeah, sometimes it hurts; its hard to process. And its hard to internalize my own part in the whole mess.

    Your voices are well spoken and clear and honest. And you are making a difference with some of us. You open our eyes daily to the realities and in the process we become the parents our children need us to be. Everyone will not hear but many will – and do.

    thank you.

  33. Wow. I am truly overwhelmed by the response from adoptive parents who have come to say they are reading! Honestly I had no idea. I feel SO much better. I feel like there is a chance for positive change and I am not just spinning my wheels. Thank you all for commenting and for contacting me! As my way of saying thank you I am going to quit picking on you for a while. lol I do thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea the incredible difference you are making.

  34. I am also coming late to this party. I am a fairly “happily adjusted” adoptee who recently found my birthmother. I would search off and on throughout the years but would always stop because it all made me feel so sad. Like not get out of my pajamas for days and just sit around and cry sad. I couldn’t explain it and I couldn’t fix it so I’d just put the search to the side and go back to being happy. I couldn’t explain why it was so hard to deal with.
    That letter describes my feelings perfectly.
    At least now I have an explanation for why I would feel just so bad.
    And, for the record, babies absolutely can think and they know their mothers with all their senses. Having two children of my own tell me that. People are kidding themselves if they think this is not true. I’m not saying that adoptive mothers can’t parent a child who is not their own and I don’t think the note says that either. It just takes time. Time to heal. Time to bond.
    That note contains information worth sharing with adoptive parents. Empathy is a good thing. Take it with a grain of salt or use it if you need it. What’s the problem here?
    Regardless Mia. Thank you for sharing The Note.
    And thank you Julie for writing it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s