What answer would be good enough?

As a PAP, I frequent many adoption-related forums, chat groups, blogs, etc. From the PAP POV, I enjoy reading stories from been-there-done-that adoptive parents and getting insight into how they raise their children; what does and does not work; etc. I have never been a parent before so I find these insights from those in the trenches to be invaluable.

Every now and then I come across a comment or a question or a musing from an adoptive parent or PAP that wishes to know more about the experience of being an adoptee (considering they are raising one) and so off they go to scour the internet determined to soak up some wisdoms from adult adoptees.

But… they are often quite shocked at what they find: anger, pain, isolation, confusion, frustration and a gammut of other emotions that tend to breed in a situation that is not natural… yet these well-intentioned PAP’s and AP’s obviously just assumed that having a family that loved them would override any feelings of abandonment, loss, grief or being treated like a “forever child” in the eyes of the government.

So what are we left with? The assumptions are these adoptees are bonkers, buckets of crazy, self pitying and other derogatory and dismissive adjectives that are so much easier and comfy to latch onto than examining why they may feel this way in the first place.

A typical question might be: “Why do you hate adoption so much?”

But what I have sadly found is while the question may have been asked in earnest (at least initially), I remain unconvinced that any answer (short of, I loves me some adoption) would have been good enough.

1st adoptee offers very valid reasons for disliking adoption: loss of identity, genetic mirroring, feelings of abandonment, etc… but then follows it up with but I love my adoptive parents.” The consensus becomes “well, she is a brat who is completely self absorbed and thinks the world owes her something… I sure feel sorry for her parents.”

2nd adoptee states the same good reasons, plus adds on that her parents wouldn’t allow her to talk about her adoption or first mom or ignored her losses and used emotional manipulation to keep adoptee for searching for her roots. The consensus then becomes “well, it’s not adoption you should be mad at; your parent’s made mistakes and you’d feel differently about adoption if they had been more open.”

3rd adoptee states all-of-the-above, plus reveals the sad fact that she was abused by her adoptive parents. “WELL, you hate adoption because you were abused… you had very bad parents… so it’s not adoption that failed you, it was your parents.”

4th adoptee says that she isn’t buying this whole primal wound theory, has always felt like she belonged in her adoptive family. They are her REAL parents and she has no  interest in searching for her original family. The consensus: “This is a young lady who’s going places; she was raised right and looks at the positive in life instead of being mired in self pity over things she can’t change.”

Mind you, not all conversations are like this, but I believe they are the majority and it leaves me thinking that if an adoptee states that adoption has not been the land of milk and honey that it supposedly promised, then what explanation for their feelings would be seen as valid?

Feel isolated or abandoned or not a part of the adoptive family = self pitying who doesn’t know how could she has it = I will make sure MY child doesn’t feel this way.

Parents ignored my questions about my first family = bad parenting = I will ALWAYS be open to my child’s questions so she will not feel this way.

Abuse = evil parents who should never have been allowed to be parents = I will NEVER abuse my child so she has NO reason to be angry over being adopted.

All followed with standard disclaimers: “You don’t speak for all adoptees. Many are just fine. My ex-boyfriend’s scuba instructor was adopted and he’s in a good place. Adoption is different now you know…”

I guess my point is why bother asking the question if you have no real desire to hear the answer: unless of course they are all like adoptee #4.

Everyone has their experiences, which I think makes all advice and thoughts immediately valid as we are the experts of our own lives. I have thoughts based on my life and choices and while others may not agree with my views, they are still mine and valid for my life.

I think AP’s and PAP’s SHOULD be asking questions but they should also be prepared to hear the answers and not waste time looking for other reasons as to why they feel the way they do.

They just told you why.

If it keeps you up at night, I suggest you spend more time trying to understand your desperation to change the feelings of strangers.

Like many AP’s have said: “My child doesn’t feel this way…”

Are you sure?

November 18, 2009 at 1:58 am 24 comments

“I’m not no racist… I let blacks use my bathroom and everything…”

Perhaps I should have called this: “Douche Bags in Positions of Power.”

After reading this article it makes me wonder about his stance on adopting transracially. I mean, it’s clearly myopic to think that all couples will only be having biological children. You’d think in order to ensure “the races don’t mix” he’d ask the couples if they have any plans to adopt or would even consider adopting… and if so, would they try and adopt outside of their own race. I wonder if he’d refuse to marry them on the grounds they’d be raising “one of those… ewwwwww.”

And what if you are biracial and wish to marry? Are you just screwed? Cause you know you are not completely white or black or indian or asian. No worries, a life of quiet solitude is just as fulfilling.

DOUCHE!!!!

w.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/15/interracial-couple-denied_n_322784.html

NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”

Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said.

Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

“There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” Bardwell said. “I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”

If he did an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.

“I try to treat everyone equally,” he said.

Bardwell estimates that he has refused to marry about four couples during his career, all in the past 2 1/2 years.

Beth Humphrey, 30, and 32-year-old Terence McKay, both of Hammond, say they will consult the U.S. Justice Department about filing a discrimination complaint.

Humphrey, an account manager for a marketing firm, said she and McKay, a welder, just returned to Louisiana. She is white and he is black. She plans to enroll in the University of New Orleans to pursue a masters degree in minority politics.

“That was one thing that made this so unbelievable,” she said. “It’s not something you expect in this day and age.”

Humphrey said she called Bardwell on Oct. 6 to inquire about getting a marriage license signed. She says Bardwell’s wife told her that Bardwell will not sign marriage licenses for interracial couples. Bardwell suggested the couple go to another justice of the peace in the parish who agreed to marry them.

“We are looking forward to having children,” Humphrey said. “And all our friends and co-workers have been very supportive. Except for this, we’re typical happy newlyweds.”

“It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009,” said American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzmann. She said the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 “that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry.”

The ACLU sent a letter to the Louisiana Judiciary Committee, which oversees the state justices of the peace, asking them to investigate Bardwell and recommending “the most severe sanctions available, because such blatant bigotry poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the administration of justice.”

“He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it,” Schwartzmann said.

According to the clerk of court’s office, application for a marriage license must be made three days before the ceremony because there is a 72-hour waiting period. The applicants are asked if they have previously been married. If so, they must show how the marriage ended, such as divorce.

Other than that, all they need is a birth certificate and Social Security card.

The license fee is $35, and the license must be signed by a Louisiana minister, justice of the peace or judge. The original is returned to the clerk’s office.

“I’ve been a justice of the peace for 34 years and I don’t think I’ve mistreated anybody,” Bardwell said. “I’ve made some mistakes, but you have to. I didn’t tell this couple they couldn’t get married. I just told them I wouldn’t do it.”

October 16, 2009 at 4:47 am 6 comments

You just cannot make this stuff up!

I get back from my absolutely fabulous Dominican vacation and a girlfriend is practically falling all over herself to tell me a story.

Side note: whenever anyone hears anything remotely related to adoption, I am immediately tracked down and told about it… almost as if I might know the people in question. You know, how all adoptive parents or pap’s or adoptees or first moms must know each other.

Anyhoo, back to the story:

Girlfriend sees gorgeous little Chinese girl in Zellers (Like Target for you Americans) with her white parents. Again, I should note that when anyone sees Chinese girls (regardless of whether or not they are adopted), friends and family become immediately entranced and tell me all the ways they imagine that she could mine.

Well… girlfriend cannot help herself and goes up to mom and comments on daughter’s beauty to which the mom of course smiles and says thank you. Little girl is about 4 and girlfriend tells the mom all about her friend (me) who is also adopting from China and preceeds to tell mom about the long wait and blah, blah.

Mom (looking confused): That’s nice but my daughter isn’t adopted.

Friend (also confused) and apologizes thinking that maybe the man that was with them at Zellers wasn’t the dad or he was the step dad or whatever.

Little girl (claps her hands): I was born in China, right daddy?

Mom was uncomfortable and motions for dad to take little girl away to look at jewellery or something.

Mom (upset): We don’t announce to strangers that she is adopted.

Friend: I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to upset anybody, it’s just my friend…

Mom: It’s okay. Yes, she’s adopted but for now we think it’s best that we keep things simple  and not dwell on it.

Friend: (Not getting it). But she knows she was born in China…

Mom: Well yes. We told her that the reason she doesn’t look like us is because she was born in China. If you are born in China, you look Chinese. We can add in the adopted part later.

I asked my friend if she was bullshitting me with this as there’s just no way anyone could think they could get away with this.

True story,” she said. “I swear on my Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream.”

Swear on her beloved ice cream? Yep, she means business.

October 14, 2009 at 2:19 am 19 comments

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!!!

Things I am thankful for:

1. My family – they are crazy, vulgar, overwhelming, funny, generous and loving.

2. My husband – who loves me unconditionally, makes me laugh like no one else and is my own personal Batman… oh and he’s crazy hot 🙂

3. My friends – I have a very small circle of folks that I consider friends and they are wonderful and supportive and appreciate my warped sense of humour.

4. My talents. My humour. My quirks. My dysfunctions. I have grown to appreciate my “unusualness.”

5. The Internet – The conversations. The debates. The advice. The answers. I honestly do not understand how our parents ever knew how to be parents without the internet. And adoptive parenting… well, all I can say is that speaking to AP’s, PAP’s, first moms and adoptees has all been invaluable.

6. Free will – Until you have seen how other countries operate, you really don’t have any clue what a blessing free will is and how fortunate we are to be able to exercise it.

7. Life – I wasn’t always thrilled to be here and at one time I never expected to live past 23. Dark days. Dark days. But it is possible to come out the other side and realize that you really are stronger than you ever gave yourself credit for.

And a multitude of other things that make life one crazy, tumultuous, exciting ride.

Oh and of course I am thankful people take the time to read my ramblings 🙂

October 13, 2009 at 1:09 am 4 comments

I’ll have a Pina Colada for you!!!!!

Mad Hatter and I are heading to the sunny beaches of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for a week.

Well, sunny-ish – as it is the rainy season.

But who cares, I love the rain… and I love that it is 35 C.

And I love that I don’t have to cook or clean or work or go to meetings.

And I can plan my day around when we are eating next.

I loves me some of that :))))

October 2, 2009 at 4:52 pm 3 comments

This just in: “You’re going against God’s will by trying to parent a child.”

This tasty morsel arrived just 5 minutes ago. Followed by “It’s un Christian to go against his will and adopt. You’re a hypocrite.”

Huh?

I think I am going to ask Santa to send certain folk a dictionary and “Reading for Dummies.”

I don’t believe in God… but douche bags… well, I know for a fact they exist.

September 18, 2009 at 4:05 am 9 comments

I barely know you but tell me everything…

There is something about outing yourself as a PAP that seems to signal a green light for one and all (from close family and friends to co-workers to mild acquaintgances to virtual strangers) to flash the 20,000-watt bulb in your eyes, strap you to a chair and start the interrogation.

I am a pretty open person, and always have been, so I have little problem with sharing details of my life and choices with those I care about. And our life-altering decision to adopt (and specifically to adopt from China) was no different. With precious little prodding I spilled our plans and good reasons and thoughts and fears and dreams and anxiety about every little step… all met with equal enthusiasm. They asked poignant questions (some I expected; some I didn’t), but at the end, they accepted our reasons with perfect aplumb and jumped on board the adoption train.

I thought that would be it. Our explanations over.

How very naive.

People I barely knew started carpet bombing me with brochures about the latest fertility treatments and advances in acupuncture and a male co-worker who I may have said 5 words to in 4 years asked me if I’d had my hormones checked. Um, thanks.

There is something about adopting and/or infertility that makes people believe (even if they are virtual strangers) they have the right to ask you whatever they like, whenever they like and you better believe they expect an answer… and if you don’t offer one up… well you’re a jerk with something to hide or you’re ashamed or you’re defensive.

But the things is, they are not asking me anything about adopting or the process or about China at all: they are asking me for my physical workup, questioning my sex life and wondering if my diet Coke addiction might be part of the problem.

My friends and family know the score; they pretty much know everything there is to know about me. But what I share is a choice. My issues lay with people who say hi to you in the halls but forget your last name, yet think they have a right to question your life or choices and if I’ve given doggy style the proper chance.

It would never occur to me to ask a pregnant woman (that I barely knew) how many times they did it and what positions and did she ever have her tubes checked for scarring or did she ever have an abortion (which was asked of me).

With adoption or infertility, the boundaries seem to dissipate and people who should know better suddenly lose all sense. I often just stare when I am asked these questions because they knock me back. I try and see something in their eyes that says “I have no idea what I’m doing but I thought these questions might show I am being supportive.” But no, what I actually see is a world of entitlement. They see nothing wrong with asking me about STD’s or “what’s your husband’s sperm count?” They feel they have a right to an answer.

Why?

E doesn’t really care. He changes the subject or makes a joke or if he’s really irritated he’ll tell them it’s none of their business but I really want to know why? Is it just that infertility and/or adoption is still so out of the norm that people need their curiousity satisfied lest they explode?

If someone takes a different path than you and the majority of the population, does that automatically mean it’s open season on their lives?

One of the inquisitor’s is preggers. I think I just may go up to her and demand to see the results of her next internal and if the winning position was spoon or maybe the reverse cowgirl.

September 18, 2009 at 3:24 am Leave a comment

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