20 Things #4

3. Your existence is justified.

Some would have you believe that your existence is only justified on this Earth as an adoptee. If you hadn’t been adopted you would be nothing but a Dickensian waif thrown into a orphanage and ultimately destined for a life on the street begging, selling oranges from a cart, or engaged in the rough trades.

Don’t believe it.

They tell you, and in truth themselves, these things in order to justify their own actions as adoptors, perpetuate stereotypes, and/ or make brownie points with Jesus. The fact of the matter is, if they hadn’t adopted you, someone else would have. There are, and have been waiting lists for children, since time immemorial. Why do you think perspective adoptive parents bitch so much about the wait? It’s because you were a commodity in demand.

The bleak images that many within the adoption industry seek to promote at every opportunity are for the most part a complete fabrication. The worlds of Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre, and Little Orphan Annie, just don’t exist. There are no work houses, no foreboding buildings filled with rascals that break into “It’s A Hard Knock Life” while scrubbing the floor, and no being put into service. The fact is, if you were adoptable, somebody would have adopted you. Hell, citing the examples above everything would have at least been interesting even if you hadn’t been adopted.

Your existence is also not justified by the need that you fill in your adoptive parents lives. You are not here only to fulfill their expectations. You ave the absolute right to the life you chose to live. As we have already established, your adoptive parents were lucky to get you, were granted the opportunity to raise a child, and took the child that was available. They should expect nothing more than that. They have plenty of cute pictures to show off, just leave it at that.

You did not escape a fate worse than death because your parents adopted you. You could have ended up in a variety of situations. Better, worse, or most likely very similar to the one you grew up in. This is something you had absolutely nothing to do with. You were not even a legal party to your own adoption. This very fact speaks volumes of how much you were truly considered in the process.

You aren’t here as a poster child for the adoption industry either. You are in no way obligated, a. to tell everyone you meet that you were adopted or, b. spout warm fuzzies about your experience if your adoption becomes the topic of discussion. The adoption industry employs many people to do just that, let them do the work for you. It is not your responsibility to make everyone in the world feel good about adoption. If you were to be a cheerleader, you would have come with a pleated skirt and pom-poms.

Many people decided your fate. All motivated by their own perceptions, prejudices, and agendas, none of which you have to justify. Considering that some of these agendas were in direct conflict with each other makes for an impossible task anyway. You are not Superman, please try to keep in mind he is also fictional when thinking about your role in these matters.

Your existence is justified because you are here. You are living a life, effecting the outcome of other lives just by being present. You cannot be expected to be able to adjust your every thought and move to other expectations. The fact is most people’s perception of you doesn’t have to have everything to do with your being adopted. You do have some control over this.

20 Things #3

2. You and Jesus really don’t have all that much in common.

Have you been told that you were at the center of some God initiated conspiracy to be placed with your adoptive parents? That maybe your a-folks couldn’t have children of their own for a reason? That another woman found herself in a difficult situation just so you could be adopted? That folks at social services or an agency fulfilled the role of angels his scenario? You are not alone, this is a common piece of adoption mythology. It also makes about as much sense as them telling you they found you under a cabbage leaf.

There were real and distinctly ungodly forces working in order to get you adopted. These included agencies, advertising, and the state court system. None of these are directly overseen by any supreme being.

Your parents may have prayed for a child, but only if you subscribe to the adage that God helps those that help themselves, can you even begin to connect the adoption process with anything like the divine. There is some precedent in Christian tradition for children being granted for reasons of God’s choosing, but these almost always involve incest, immaculate conception, or old ladies producing children to be savior’s playmates. So unless you, or your bestest buddy, are doing the twist on the surface of the swimming pool, I think we can count that out.

Even if the agency involved with your adoption was connected with a church, it was by no means a case of the hand of God working to bring you to your destination. It’s just too problematic to work out which God inspired agency had the right bead on God’s true work. The big two in adoption, the Catholics and the Later Day Saints, can’t even agree on what their main man Jesus was up to for several years, I doubt they would agree that any child that would come into the other’s possession had much potential for eternal blessing.

The very thought that God would go to such round about means as adoption requires to bring your parents a child is just silly. Think about it, as nice people as your a-parents might be, what have they done to justify these lengths? Just wanting a child really doesn’t fly with God. Those on record that have been divinely granted children have gone through a whole hell of a lot either previous to receiving their miracles, or very soon thereafter. Driving you to soccer practice, allowing you to take up the trombone in the fifth grade, or even surviving your teenage rebellion, just doesn’t rate.

On the same note what about you? If you are truly a gift from God, what have you done? Divine status has it’s responsibilities and expectations. Unless you are the new Messiah or part of his crew, that pretty much leaves you out. If you think you might be the new Messiah, at this point I should probably suggest you do a bit more serious reading than this, on psychological issues. If you do not at this point have any ascribed miracles, bilocations, or feel the need to lead a political and social movement redefining an established religion, I feel that we can move on.

20 Things

Continuing my flow, you know, we’re still on #1

1. There is no I in adoption.

Still not convinced? What about when they actually got you home?  It was surely about you then, wasn’t it?  No, not really.

Sure there are about 50 photo albums full of pictures of you before you were two-years-old and your a-parents have about a million stories from that time, but this is really where a lot of the problems start.  During this time when you were dependent, compliant for the most part, and could not talk, your a-parents started to assign you a lot of qualities that you just don’t posses.  If you a-dad was an accountant, they became convinced that you would be good with numbers, if your a-mom was an artist, they assumed you would be able to draw. Your a-parents weren’t evil in trying to assign you those traits, it is natural to wish that what are seen as good things are shared, but none of this was based in any kind of reality for you.  Your inherit traits came from your natural family, they may or may not have matched with theirs.  But in being able to fulfill your role as a baby by eating, sleeping, crying, and goo-gooing they assumed that you would continue to fulfill their ambitions.

So when is adoption about the adoptee?  Certainly not during childhood.  The I in adoption gets lost in striving to make a-parents proud and the insistence that the adoptee be grateful.  Being grateful for what? Essentially being saved from the self that they would be without the intervention of the agencies, the adoptive parents and society as a whole.

The I is definitely missing in adulthood.   Adoption is supposed to be a thing that we are over, a non-event, a curious fact at best.  When you say I am adopted, it is expected to be followed by a tribute to those that saved you from who you could have been.  A thank you for the absence of the I.  The thing that was never really about you, that fulfilled everybody else’s needs is to have made you never realize that the I was ever there at all.

I’m working on it folks….

20 Things Adoptees Should Know

There are what seems to be millions of guidebooks out there to help folks deal with almost any circumstance that comes up in life. Hundreds of authors will help you out with what happens when you get cancer to interacting with your personal computer. Dummies are told how do to everything from motorcycle riding and bar-b-queing to handling divorces and a death in the family. There is a “What To Expect” book from conception to college. If you are looking into adoption everything from the first paperwork, to home study, to choosing an agency, to raising the child once you get it, with special emphasis of the joys of raising that child, are written of to a degree one would already have grandchildren by the time they got through it all. But one experience is sadly ignored in this pile of advice, the adoptee themselves.

If you head out to your local bookstore, the adoption section is big, but nothing is really by, for, and about,adoptees. Sure you’ll find a few books about, or even by, adoptees, mostly detailing their search and reunion, with special attention paid to there undying gratitude to their adoptive parents, and if it’s a big enough store, you may find a few scholarly tomes on the effects of adoption on adoptees. But none of these really fill a need that I feel is out there. The need for a real guide book for dealing with the fact that you were adopted. Regular day to day stuff, a survival guide, if you will.

I’m not certain I’m the person to write this, but I’m going to give it a shot. If it hasn’t been done before, there isn’t anything to judge too harshly against. I’m going to use a listing format. It’s easy, and gives me some time to come up with stuff in installments. So here goes..

20 Things Adoptees Should Know

1. There is no I in adoption.

That’s right, no I. But you say it’s right there between the t and the o, technically yes, but practically no. If the I was really there, one might think that adoption is about you, the adoptee. It is not. Adoption is about a whole lot of things, none of which are really you.

Adoption is about a need being filled. It’s not really your need. But you might say, “I needed a home.” Yes you did, but that was secondary, somebody out there needed a baby, and you happened to be available. The circumstances that lead up to your availability, and even the fact that it was you who was available, are secondary to the transaction that took place. After all if it wasn’t you, don’t you think the next baby in line would have sufficed? It is about the getting a baby, really any baby, that is at the time available to the prospective adoptive parents. You weren’t special, they didn’t choose you, there is not a baby store where they pick out the cutest one, your adoptive parents took what was given them.

Most frequently the need for a baby stems from fertility issues. That as absolutely nothing to do with you. You are the product of a distinct lack of fertility issues, in most cases. You had not a thing to do with your adoptive mother’s fibroids, or adoptive father’s low sperm count. You are not the reason they delayed childbearing or shelled out thousands of dollars for failed fertility treatments. You weren’t even conceived when this all reared it head. You were simply the cure of last resort.

At some point it was decided if they could not have a child of their own, they would adopt. You are not a child of their own, you are second choice. They settled. That is about their decision, not you. Again you were the one available when their number came up.

Some adopt because they want to save a child in need. Sure you may have been a child in need but this isn’t about you either. They weren’t thinking of you specifically, they were thinking of a conceptual child. An essentially faceless child. You just happened to be the charity project available at the time. If there had been a more needy child up for grabs, they could have just as easily picked them up.

Even those that adopt just for the fact they want to share their love with a child didn’t really have you in mind. They just wanted a child, an available child.

More to come, I have a job here you know, stay tuned.