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Old 09-13-2012, 05:09 AM
 
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It is unfortunate how adoptees can experience so much hostility in the world when we dare to speak out about the negative aspects of adoption. Most people will say they agree adoption is not perfect & that it is in need of reform, but there are so many who treat us as a threat when we actually go into detail about these issues, what contributes to them, or begin to share our personal experiences of adoption.

It seems a lot of people still feel shame in admitting that we are different from non-adoptive families, or that adoptees are not allowed to grieve for their lost families & lost cultures past infancy or childhood without being seen as a problem. Not only is that ridiculous considering how the brain functions & develops, but it does not foster a societal environment for young adoptees to be honest about their feelings without fear of being judged harshly.

So I thought this place could use a thread where you could share some of those experiences with these problems, since the adoptee voice seems to be overshadowed or stamped out all together in most adoption spaces.
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:53 AM
 
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Most of the discrimination I've faced as an adoptee has been in the form of ignorant comments.

"Your mom didn't really love you."
She put me up for adoption because she loves me and wanted a better life for me than she could provide.

"Your mom put you up for adoption cause you were never meant to be born."
Well I was born so now what? I'm here now.
Funny how the people who make these kinds of comments never criticize my biological father for his absence.

The other part is the stupid questions my parents have gotten. "What if she wants to go back to her real parents one day?" My adoptive parents are my real parents.

On a few occasions, I've had to prove my U.S. Citizenship because places I was applying to didn't believe that an adopted person became a naturalized citizen. My current school made me show them my passport (even though they don't this typically) when I told them I'm adopted from Russia.

My parents and family were never ashamed to admit I was different. I am so different from my family in so many ways, it would be impossible to deny. My parents and sister are all very social and people-smart, and have great business-sense and an eye for fashion. I'm more of an academic nerd and really into music. This basically sums up how we're different: on family vacations, my whole family would be into the shopping, the food, and the art museums while I carried a physics book and my reading glasses around my neck (had to switch back and forth between my distance pair) and acted as their translator because I either spoke the language already or was learning as much of it as I could. Can anyone say "nerd"?

I think probably the only way that I'm not different from my family is that I pass as biological since people tell me I look like my mom all the time. My eye doctor even tried to tell my dad and me, once, about how one of my eye problems was inherited genetically from my dad, until we gently reminded the doctor that I'm adopted. Lol.

Being different is nothing to be ashamed of. Maybe it's because even beyond being adopted, I'm used to being different as a gay and disabled person? For me it's always been something to be proud of in some situations, or something that just is in most situations. Of course people have bullied me for it and I have had to hide parts of myself when I was seeking their approval, but I have met so many amazing people who are all "different" and realize there's nothing wrong with it. To be honest, I haven't met very many adopted people in my social life, and most of the time when I do, they were adopted at birth. That said, I dated a girl once who was adopted from Russia at 3 just like me (we even had the same name, it was creepy) and part of the reason we dated was because we felt that sort of connection.

Anyway, thank you OP for creating this thread. It's true that a lot of times our voices get overshadowed by non-adoptive parents and children. Even when those voices are supportive ones, there does need to be a space for people who are adopted or have adopted, a space where we can speak for ourselves, so thank you for creating that space.

Last edited by nimchimpsky; 09-13-2012 at 06:09 AM..
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Old 09-13-2012, 06:56 AM
 
116 posts, read 85,198 times
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[SIZE=3]Here are a few comments I’ve had to endure as an adoptee found by my siblings in 1974 when I was 18. My adoptive parents never wanted me to know that I had full blood siblings and a father living just 6 miles away. I was raised an only child.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]In 1982, this was said to me as I was going into the funeral parlor to say prayers just before my adoptive father’s funeral. I was 24 and my adoptive cousin was 25; we grew up together: “Me and your other cousins decided that we don’t want you here. You OPENLY declare that you have two fathers, so that means you don’t love this father anymore.”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]From 20 years of anonymous hate mail sent to me from the same person, with no return address, writing on little slips of paper inside a white envelop: “I know why your father gave you away – because you are a rotten person.” AND ” You don’t deserve to live because of what you’ve done” AND “Your father didn’t want you” AND “Look what you are doing to your mother?” AND “Your father got rid of you because he didn’t love you.” … The writer was finally identified when, a few years after I moved in with my adoptive mother with my children in 1993 when I was seeking a divorce. The writer sent a card to my adoptive mother. I recognized the handwriting, saw that it was one of my adoptive uncles, and took over 30 anonymous letters to the police. He was arrested in 1996. We went to court. I could have sent him to jail but his lawyer begged me to have mercy on a 75 year old man. Reluctantly, I did not send him to jail. I was granted an Order of Protection for either 6 months or a year. When it was lifted, Uncle John came over to the house, made pig noises at me, and did the same thing to me at the funeral of his sister.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]When I was on the radio with adoptee and author Katrina Maxtone-Graham who wrote “An Adopted Woman” (1983) and we were speaking on adoptees’ rights to their true birth certificates and their rights to search for and reunite with their natural parents, an irate adoptee called in and said, “You people make me sick! Any dog can give birth! My REAL parents are the ones who raised me! How dare you insult my parents by doing what you’re doing!” That adoptee was drinking the cool-aid.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]All this hate directed toward me and all I did was answer a phone call when my sister called me to reunite our family separated for 18 years when I was given up for adoption after our mother died.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3][/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]I'll post more...[/SIZE]
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Old 09-13-2012, 06:59 AM
 
116 posts, read 85,198 times
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[SIZE=3]One year after being found by siblings I never knew, at age 19, I began writing Letters to the Editor of our local newspaper. When home on a break from college, I brought 3 Letters to the Editor that I wrote in the small city in which I attended college. So, by age 19, I had written 4 small pieces about adoptees’ right to know. My parents and I went to visit my (adoptive) mother’s sister, my aunt. She had read the local newspaper article, and I showed her the other three. After she read them, she said, “I think your mother would rather you write about something else.”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]Around this same time, I visited a social worker who had knowledge of my year-old reunion. Keep in mind this was 1975. When I showed her my writings, she said, “I think your words are rather caustic”. Little did she know that I would continue to write Letters to the Editor, and paid articles, and be the subject of written interviews, and be on the radio and TV, and speak at the Lincoln Memorial, and present at adoption conferences, right up to the present day. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]Why are adoptees’ voices seen by others as being “caustic”?[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]No, I am not grateful for being adopted. Yet, that is what everyone says. I visited an old neighbor in a nursing home a few years ago. She said, “But your parents took you in? You mean to say that you aren’t grateful they did so? But they gave you a good home!”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]My answer, “I don’t think being raised an only child for 18 years, then learning that the parents I loved and trusted, were liars. They deliberately kept my siblings from me. And, I already had a home and a family. I didn't need a new one.”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]Then the old lady said, “But they couldn’t tell you! How were they supposed to tell you when your adoption was secret? They did this for your own good”.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]I said it’s child abuse.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]Then, there are strangers who make terrible comments about “So you’ve had a reunion with your biological mother! How nice! But you know, she doesn’t deserve your attention, she gave you up, and your adoptive parents did so much for you…”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]This was said AFTER I had just said that I had a reunion with my siblings and my father. So I had to explain that, no, my mother was not “an unwed mother”, she was married for 10 years and had four other older children, gave birth to me, and died three months later.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]“Oh, well, I’m sorry to hear that! But why would you want to have anything to do with your father? He gave you away! A man like that --- how could you want him in your life?”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]What did my natural father and siblings think of my writings? “Stop living in the past! It’s over and done with so you don’t need to be concentrating on adoption so much. Do something else. Adoption is your thing, it’s not ours.”[/SIZE]
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:01 AM
 
116 posts, read 85,198 times
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I really don't know why my posts show up with all the extra codes. I'm writing in Word, then use Copy and Paste to post here.
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:01 AM
 
10,452 posts, read 10,596,155 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaykee View Post
Here are a few comments I’ve had to endure as an adoptee found by my siblings in 1974 when I was 18. My adoptive parents never wanted me to know that I had full blood siblings and a father living just 6 miles away. I was raised an only child.
In 1982, this was said to me as I was going into the funeral parlor to say prayers just before my adoptive father’s funeral. I was 24 and my adoptive cousin was 25; we grew up together: “Me and your other cousins decided that we don’t want you here. You OPENLY declare that you have two fathers, so that means you don’t love this father anymore.”
From 20 years of anonymous hate mail sent to me from the same person, with no return address, writing on little slips of paper inside a white envelop: “I know why your father gave you away – because you are a rotten person.” AND ” You don’t deserve to live because of what you’ve done” AND “Your father didn’t want you” AND “Look what you are doing to your mother?” AND “Your father got rid of you because he didn’t love you.” … The writer was finally identified when, a few years after I moved in with my adoptive mother with my children in 1993 when I was seeking a divorce. The writer sent a card to my adoptive mother. I recognized the handwriting, saw that it was one of my adoptive uncles, and took over 30 anonymous letters to the police. He was arrested in 1996. We went to court. I could have sent him to jail but his lawyer begged me to have mercy on a 75 year old man. Reluctantly, I did not send him to jail. I was granted an Order of Protection for either 6 months or a year. When it was lifted, Uncle John came over to the house, made pig noises at me, and did the same thing to me at the funeral of his sister.

When I was on the radio with adoptee and author Katrina Maxtone-Graham who wrote “An Adopted Woman” (1983) and we were speaking on adoptees’ rights to their true birth certificates and their rights to search for and reunite with their natural parents, an irate adoptee called in and said, “You people make me sick! Any dog can give birth! My REAL parents are the ones who raised me! How dare you insult my parents by doing what you’re doing!” That adoptee was drinking the cool-aid.
All this hate directed toward me and all I did was answer a phone call when my sister called me to reunite our family separated for 18 years when I was given up for adoption after our mother died.
I'll post more...
Reformatted for readability.

The part I bolded is AWFUL. I'm so sorry to hear that. I'm glad your uncle was at least identified.

Last edited by nimchimpsky; 09-13-2012 at 07:09 AM..
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:04 AM
 
10,452 posts, read 10,596,155 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaykee View Post
One year after being found by siblings I never knew, at age 19, I began writing Letters to the Editor of our local newspaper. When home on a break from college, I brought 3 Letters to the Editor that I wrote in the small city in which I attended college. So, by age 19, I had written 4 small pieces about adoptees’ right to know. My parents and I went to visit my (adoptive) mother’s sister, my aunt. She had read the local newspaper article, and I showed her the other three. After she read them, she said, “I think your mother would rather you write about something else.”
Around this same time, I visited a social worker who had knowledge of my year-old reunion. Keep in mind this was 1975. When I showed her my writings, she said, “I think your words are rather caustic”. Little did she know that I would continue to write Letters to the Editor, and paid articles, and be the subject of written interviews, and be on the radio and TV, and speak at the Lincoln Memorial, and present at adoption conferences, right up to the present day.
Why are adoptees’ voices seen by others as being “caustic”?

No, I am not grateful for being adopted. Yet, that is what everyone says. I visited an old neighbor in a nursing home a few years ago. She said, “But your parents took you in? You mean to say that you aren’t grateful they did so? But they gave you a good home!”
My answer, “I don’t think being raised an only child for 18 years, then learning that the parents I loved and trusted, were liars. They deliberately kept my siblings from me. And, I already had a home and a family. I didn't need a new one.”
Then the old lady said, “But they couldn’t tell you! How were they supposed to tell you when your adoption was secret? They did this for your own good”.
I said it’s child abuse.
Then, there are strangers who make terrible comments about “So you’ve had a reunion with your biological mother! How nice! But you know, she doesn’t deserve your attention, she gave you up, and your adoptive parents did so much for you…”
This was said AFTER I had just said that I had a reunion with my siblings and my father. So I had to explain that, no, my mother was not “an unwed mother”, she was married for 10 years and had four other older children, gave birth to me, and died three months later.
“Oh, well, I’m sorry to hear that! But why would you want to have anything to do with your father? He gave you away! A man like that --- how could you want him in your life?”
What did my natural father and siblings think of my writings? “Stop living in the past! It’s over and done with so you don’t need to be concentrating on adoption so much. Do something else. Adoption is your thing, it’s not ours.”
All I can say is...don't ever let anyone tell you how to feel. You have a right to feel the way you do, period.

Our voices are seen as caustic because that's how oppression works. When anyone is trying to oppress another person's opinions and beliefs, the oppressed opinions and beliefs always seem caustic, because the truth has a way of pointing out to people the parts of themselves they don't want to see. Non-adoptive parents and children who don't want to hear or understand us do not realize that when they shout their opinions over ours, and try to speak for us, they oppress us. When we voice our own opinions, we are basically shining a bright light in their eyes where they have a blind spot. They do not see the part of themselves that we are pointing out to them--their fears and prejudices around adoption--and they are not ready to see it, because if they could see what they were doing, they wouldn't be doing it. And of course when you shine a bright light in someone's eye, their immediate reaction is to shut their eyes closed and put their hands over their eyes and pretend like the light isn't there. But of course the light is still there. Your uncle, by sending those letters, was basically just trying to block out the light that is your truth and your feelings because he wasn't ready to face his OWN issues.

In my experience, the people that have the biggest issue with adoption are people who do not love themselves, and people who fear abandonment, because adoption is the ultimate test of overcoming abandonment and replacing it with unconditional love. People who do not love themselves abandon themselves and as a result, because the concept of love over abandonment does not exist in their internal world, they cannot conceive of it in their external world. They don't understand how another human being could love someone so much to take in an abandoned child, especially because to love someone else unconditionally, you have to love yourself first. Adoptees like you and me are living, breathing, reminders of what they have not learned how to do inside themselves, which is to love themselves unconditionally, because no one deserves to be abandoned, not even themselves, by themselves. The worst kind of abandonment is self-abandoment because it sends the outside world the message "I deserve to be abandoned", but when you love yourself you send the outside world the message "I deserve to be loved". And because deep down inside they feel unlovable, the scared child inside themselves who feels unlovable feels the need to put us down. The best antidote to these kind of people in my experience is to just remind them that they are lovable AND loved, not just through words, but through actions.

Maybe they won't even hear your words or your actions now, but maybe somewhere down the line they will. In any case, you cannot take on their issues, like your uncle's, and have to just let people face their own blind spots in their own time. In the meantime all you can do is your own part by protecting yourself by loving them but not accepting their abusive behavior.

Last edited by nimchimpsky; 09-13-2012 at 07:31 AM..
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:06 AM
 
116 posts, read 85,198 times
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[SIZE=3]And then there were the boyfriends. When I was 21 in 1977, my boyfriend introduced me to his parents. When I shook his father’s hand, he said, “So, Joe tells me you are adopted. I can tell you right now that you are not fit to marry my son. You come from bad blood. We don’t want any of that in our family. After all, you’ll turn out to be just like your mother! Birds of a feather flock together.”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]Really now? I had been dating his son for two years in college. We were talking about getting married. If I was going to turn out to be something he didn’t want his son to marry, then what did he think of his son? Again, not only was the stigma of illegitimacy there, the message that was heard was “you’re adopted” and then the assumption was that I was illegitimate. The truth of my conception and birth and reunion did not matter. What mattered was the assumption that I was tainted and inferior to someone who was born to married parents. People kept missing the part in my story in which I said my parents were married and was born legitimately. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]And that makes me feel as though I am offending my adoptee comrades when I point this out. I also feel I am insulting my friends who are mothers (and fathers) who lost their children to adoption.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]Another boyfriend, now this was in 2006, he was 59 and I was 48, upon learning that I was adopted, he said, “No one has two sets of parents! That’s ridiculous! And you say your father gave you away? No real man would do such a thing!”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]A few weeks later, he said, “What’s a 14 year old doing, getting herself pregnant!”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]A few weeks after that, he said, “What do you mean you are against sperm donation? I know two couples who used donor sperm to have their kids. The REAL parents are the ones who raise the kid!”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]This is what he said to me when he broke up with me: “Why can’t you be a scientist? You write about families. I write about science. How many adoptees are there anyway? 2% of the population? That’s not enough to worry about! I don’t understand your life and I never will!”[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]Shall I tell you that this man was lead engineer of a team of 16 who designed engines for rockets that keep satellites in orbit? Oh, the Mars project that landed recently, you guessed it, he was in on the rocket engine designs as the project began ten years ago. So, even a man with a PhD in physics cannot understand adoption.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]Yet, me as an adopted person, a reunited adopted person, an adoption activist, is subjected to these and other comments on a daily basis.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]"Oh, you just had a bad experience" is another one. Tell me, please, just what exactly is a "good experience" when public perception of adoptees is biased and uninformed as to the true nature of adoption?[/SIZE]
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:10 AM
 
116 posts, read 85,198 times
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[SIZE=3]These are a few of the comments said to me over the past decades from social workers, as well as textbook coverage, or lack of textbook coverage, and my observations:[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]* “You’re going to an adoption conference? Adoption records are sealed! You can’t have them!” 1980[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]- A scolding from a staff social worker in a group home. The adoption conference was for my understanding of myself, not for work. However, I had been working as a youth aide and had recently gained the trust of a 16-year-old boy. He robbed a woman after he found out the father who raised him was not his father named on his birth certificate. Social Work focuses on the criminal act itself and behavior modification. The underlying problem—deception by parents—is not addressed, nor is it being corrected.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]* “Infertility clinics destroy all records on sperm donors within five years.” 1985[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]- Statement made by a social worker employed at an infertility clinic. She said that destroying records protects the sperm donor and recipient parents. The needs of the donor-conceived are ignored. Not only are they cut off from any normal relationships with their father and his relatives, but donor-conceived people are intentionally denied knowledge of medical family history. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]* “You suffer from genealogical bewilderment. This is just a human-interest story.” 1990[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]- Said to me by a long-time friend after he read the short-story autobiography I wrote. This friend happened to be the Dean of Social Work of a predominant university. The article he dismissed was published six months later in a British Social Work Journal and one year after that in a Dutch anthology of adoption articles. Even a Dean can parrot back textbook terminology without having true awareness of the complex problems created by adoption. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]* “After you get your birthmother to talk with you, never, ever, ever talk about the father! Talk about the pool, the house in the suburbs, the education you can provide, but never talk about your baby’s father!” 1993[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]- What a private adoption attorney said at her workshop, “Advertising to Adopt.” She now works at an open-adoption agency with social workers who don’t bat an eyelash when they sell the idea of adoption to vulnerable pregnant girls and women by talking them into giving their babies over to un-enforceable, non-binding, open-adoptions with sealed and falsified birth records. To clinch the deal—to get the baby—the women in authority (social workers and this attorney) must appear to be trustworthy. They must be persuasive. A pregnant woman is not the pre-adoptive parents’ birthmother, nor is she pregnant with the pre-adoptive parents’ baby. She is pregnant with her own baby. A pregnant woman does not become a "birthmother" until her baby is given up for adoption.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]* Observation on Social Work Textbooks, 1995-1999: [/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]There was not one single paragraph on adoptees, or parents who lose their children to adoption, in any social work textbook used for the Bachelor program that I completed. Several pages were devoted to infertility clinics and adoption agencies for services provided to infertile people and adopting parents. The effects of poverty, mental health issues, cultural differences, interpersonal relationships, how to be a front line social worker or a program developer were main topics of study.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]- What was overlooked was the point that poverty, lack of choices, and lack of support leads parents to either choosing relinquishment on their own because this is what they have heard in society, or they were coerced into relinquishing their children to adoption. (Coercion of poverty-stricken and frightened pregnant women to give up their babies still goes on today). Coursework stressed the ‘needs’ of pre-adoptive parents, the ‘needs’ of the infertile, and the ‘needs’ of non-infertile people who want a child without the hassle of including the other genetic parent in the life of the child. The needs of the donor-conceived, traditional adoptees, and natural parents have been conveniently overlooked by the helping professions of Social Work, Psychiatry, and Psychology. There is also the unspoken problem created by the infertility industry that encourages payment for gametes—selling gametes is tantamount to selling children. Giving away gametes without thinking of the consequences for the offspring created is tantamount to child abandonment.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]* “You want to deprive me of my self-determination. If I want an anonymous sperm donor so that I can have a baby, that’s my choice!” 1997[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]- What a social work student said to me in class when I pointed out the rights of the donor-conceived to self-determination are violated by anonymous gamete donation.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]* “The children were removed due to abuse and their parents’ rights will be terminated. The children will be freed for adoption, the sooner, the better.” 1997[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]- Freeing children fills quotas for adoption agencies without acknowledging the detrimental effects of separation trauma on parents and their children.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]* “This is a very thoughtful and sophisticated paper. It is well researched and well written. You have a great deal of knowledge about this. Your paper was interesting and thought provoking and opens up new awareness for social work intervention.” 1997[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]- Professor’s notes on my paper, The Individual’s Right to Procreate vs. The Unexplored Long-Term Consequences of Reproductive Technologies. Interventive Methods I, 1997[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]Though the professor’s comments were encouraging, I’m afraid not much has changed.[/SIZE]
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:28 AM
 
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