The Pretender

Regarding my previous post on “grafting” because obviously there is some misunderstanding-

I get that Paul is trying to make his children feel a part of something bigger than themselves, part of the family in a deeper, more meaningful way. I’m not questioning his motives here. What I am saying is that what he proposes (regardless of intention) doesn’t work. You can say something flowery and pretty it up all you want to but that doesn’t make it reality. Regardless of how much you WANT it to be true.

Take my adoptive grandmother for instance. She died before I was adopted. I never had the opportunity to meet her and thus do not have any emotional connection to her other than the fact that she is my amom’s mother. From what I’ve been told she was a pretty amazing woman. I honor and respect her memory but the fact remains that I have no blood connection to her what so ever. No matter how much I may “want to” I can’t own that blood connection.

I am not suggesting here that an adoptee can’t be made to feel that they are a part of their adoptive family unit. My brother is my brother, my dad my dad etc… What I AM saying is that the buck stops at pretending we share DNA because we don’t. I am NOT part of their family tree and never will be. The FACT IS my true heritage is and always will be growing on the branch of another tree. The same is true for my children and their children and so on.

Look, all we want, all we have ever wanted, is for society to allow us to stop pretending and simply tell it like it IS. This grafting business is a prime example of the lengths adoptees are expected to go to to fit in. We are tired of being shape shifters and fixers, of burying our feelings for the sake of others. We are tired of trying to be something we’re not. Mostly we are tired of being ignored by the bulk of society when we continually tell you how damaging and absolutely exhausting it is having to live in the land of make believe.

Maybe you can try and understand why so many of us are less than cordial when we talk about it. This uphill climb we are forced to make to simply be who we are would make anybody testy.

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8 Comments

Filed under Adoptee Family, Adoptive Family, Natural Family

8 responses to “The Pretender

  1. angelle2

    My dear son proudly told me that in college he did a family tree with his afamily. He bought into that connection hook line and sinker and I am grateful he had a good life.

    But he is like me and mine. And my grand daughter has my eyes and hands. She is a mini me which is such a sweet surprise. And my grandson is a dead ringer for my brother – blond hair, blue eyes and olive skin. I hope that this generation of children will know MY family tree one day. I believe they will.

  2. Angel I hope they have the opportunity to know their roots as well. I agree with you that obviously your son’s true genetic history grows on your tree and always will regardless of how he sees things.

    I would like to share an observation about your comment that maybe you might think about when talking with your son. Language is a powerful thing. The language that Paul used had a negative effect on me (even though I knew his motives were sincere) because it wasn’t true. I know that what you were trying to convey was simple differentiation between his biological and adoptive parts but I want to tell you that language like “me and mine” can be huge trigger words for an adoptee as well. It suggests ownership.

    One thing that being adopted has taught me is that as parents we are all simply stewards. The perverse social perspective that any human being can be owned by another is one of the reasons our records are still sealed. No human being can be owned by another regardless of biology or legal document.

    Maybe this is just an over sensitive perspective on my part but let me try and explain where I’m coming from. First, I am a person who was transferred from one family unit to another obviously without any personal input. Second, my adoptive mother used the “me and mine” analogy with me on numerous occasions saying such things as “remember you are MINE” as I worked my way through the rough waters of search and reunion. Third, my natural mother actually told me she does not view me as part of her “me and mine” clan. I am not “allowed” in. As though her denial of OWNERSHIP somehow erases the truth of my mere existence on her family tree. Not so.

    For all of these reasons and a million more the whole “me and mine” thing makes me cringe.

    Still, I appreciate your comment and again agree with you whole heartedly about your son’s family tree.

  3. angelle2

    Sorry for the terminology! It seems that every little thing is blown out of proportion in adoption, doesn’t it?

    Me and mine referred to physical attributes, not ownership. I would NEVER, EVER overstep the afamily bond. My son sees us all as one day being “one family” and I hope we are working toward that goal.

    In fact he thinks that I am reticent on many occasions. That is the part of me not wanting to overstep “boundaries” whatever that may mean.

    Thanks, I will keep in mind what you have said.

  4. I knew what you meant and there is no reason to apologize at all. I just thought it was worth mentioning.

    I’m very happy to hear your reunion is going so well! I wish you and your son continued success in the building of your relationship.

  5. “as parents we are all simply stewards”
    This is the most important thing I’ve learned as a parent, too. But this isn’t how the world teaches us to see — it’s a completely different kind of responsibility . . .

  6. Abebech I would say there are plenty of things the world teaches us are “right” even when it completely goes against both common senses and nature. Sadly it seems the vast majority willingly and actively participate in the charade without one single thought to consequence. I think this stupidity is driven by either fear or laziness, not sure which. Maybe both.

  7. Kippa

    I’m sure Paul truly believes he is being reassuring, but it seems to me that, by offering up this flawed and misleading analogy as an answer, the person he’s most anxious to reassure is himself.
    It was a serious question, and serious questions deserve serious and respectful answers.
    Not pap.

    (Not really to any particular point, but it has just occurred to me that ‘graft’, used as a noun, can also mean the dishonest use of power and influence to gain advantage)

  8. Certainly seems fitting here Kippa.

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