Adopted in the UK

The life of a UK adoptee

How much do people know?

with 6 comments

The following quotey bit is the question I asked over on the AAAFC General Discussion forum (on 26 February 2012). I’m re-posting the question here because I’m fed up with so many people going on about how they knew this adoptee who was oh so happy with being adopted, etc. Unfortunately, due to AAAfC being locked down from public viewing (not a complaint, just pointing out facts), a valuable discussion that could help educate others about the issue has been lost for linking to, and so I’m asking in here, and would appreciate any feedback given.

I do wonder how many of the adoptees out there just lack the language available ’cause it’s not acknowledged by the general population (i.e. adoption fucks you up), rather than so many people being said by others to be “happy” with their adoptions.

Ok, this is that new post that sprung out of my head when I was finishing typing ^^that.

How many people know how you actually REALLY feel about adoption and all that it entails?

F’r instance, would your amom’s cousin describe you as “well our I’s adopted daughter’s turned out just fine, and isn’t at all bothered by her adoption”? Or does everyone that’s anyone know that “well, L’s daughter was adopted, but she’s entirely unhappy with the fact that it happened, and would counsel anyone contemplating the thought against it”?

Those of my families that’re on FB probably can’t help but be aware that I’m most definitely not a “happy adoptee”, given how much I post on the subject. Not sure how much the rest of my families know of my opinion on the issue. I don’t think amom’s cousin’d describe me as “happy with adoption” any more, but icbw.

I also know I’m not the only one who finds this habitual reaction to pretty much anything an adoptee says both irritating, and disempowering.

Written by 7rin

Wed, 6 February, 2013 at 4:34 am

Posted in RFD

Tagged with , ,

6 Responses

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  1. Seems my first reply was eaten up. I’ll try again!

    Those who know me IRL would probably tell you I’m a happy adoptee. I’m generally a very happy person; I enjoy living and have fun with my co-workers and love to laugh and have fun. But the thing is, I don’t talk about my adoption crap IRL. I don’t let on to the inner turmoil I’m bound to be feeling at any given moment over something I happened to read or hear or see about adoption or if a random thought about my n-parents pops into my head or I think about how much I’m missing my n-brother. I keep all that to myself, and save it for the forum or blogs. People who don’t LIVE adoption, don’t GET adoption, and most of them don’t want to.

    People in general have this romanticized idea of what adoption is and they get downright angry when that idea is challenged. Even those who have no connection to it whatsoever. It’s kind of funny, really, but the fierceness with which people will defend the “beauty” of adoption is crazy. I personally just don’t have the energy or the heart to put up with all the same old comments. You know the ones, “But what about your [adoptive] parents??” “But you could have been aborted!” “You are so bitter! You just had a bad experience!” or the ever-so-helpful, “Why can’t you just get over it and be grateful?”

    And of course there are those who will point out to you how you are wrong, because they have a friend whose second cousin is adopted and HE is happy so not all adoptees feel like you. Yes, because somewhere out there one adoptee is happy (just as you are blogging about!) that cancels out any negative feeling or emotion I might have. I guess it’s that old good always triumphs over evil or some such bullshit.


    Wed, 6 February, 2013 at 9:58 pm

  2. My friends know exactly how I feel. My a’family…. Well, on a’mom’s side, it includes a shrink who told his own kid not to adopt because those kids are all messed up. I don’t discuss adoption with anyone in the a’family.

    “People who don’t LIVE adoption, don’t GET adoption, and most of them don’t want to.”

    Amen, Lillie!!


    Fri, 8 February, 2013 at 11:01 am

  3. I’m going to go out on a limb with this comment, because I am adopted, I do love my adoptive family, and I am in a positive first-family reunion. I am seeking to find peace with my upbringing, and I’m not out to blame individuals.

    However, I feel that those who are advocating for more openness in adoption, more rights for adoptees and a general change in adoption attitutes–away from adoption and towards family preservation … WE will be the ones who are on the side of history.

    And here is where I get blunt: When you have people advocating for a change in the status quo, those in power either don’t realize there’s a problem, or try to pretend that the status quo is actually good for those who are oppressed.

    Such notions that we completely recognize are are bulls— NOW, were considered by some to be quite rational at their time, such as “There are happy slaves, you know”; “Blacks and whites both benefit from segretation–people like to be with their own kind”; “Colonialism brought economic progress, civilization and christianity to the American Indians.” I could go on, and on and on.

    What I’m saying is just because you know of one happy adoptee doesn’t make the institution of adoption okay.


    Fri, 8 February, 2013 at 11:40 am

  4. I’m very active in adoption reform. But I never talk about adoption. I will actively avoid any conversation on the subject.

    What Lillie says is insanely true: People who don’t know the first thing about adoption will defend it with veins bulging and saliva frothing. I don’t understand why. Anyone who has anything negative to say about adoption is angry and bitter and miserable. It doesn’t matter than I’m an adoptee and have LIVED it for 50 years. Nope. They know better than I do, and how dare I.

    The bottom line is that I’m not an angry person; I’m a happy person who gets angry. And I do get angry listening to the ignorant spew adoption fairy tales and rhetoric. But when it comes to this subject, trying to be heard is hard work. Adoptees who aren’t grateful and obsequious get shut down. Cognitive dissonance, maybe? Guilty consciences? I don’t know. I know it’s incredibly tiring.

    I do have a pat answer for people who start with the, “WELL, I KNOW AN ADOPTEE …” crap. I say, “For every seemingly happy adoptee you can reference, I can reference one who would much rather have been aborted than adopted. Your anecdotes are useless.” I don’t think it gets through, but it at least shuts them up nine times out of 10.

    That old quote is so, so true: “Adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.”


    Fri, 8 February, 2013 at 2:58 pm

  5. I am anti-adoption but usually don’t discuss adoption at all with the exception of discussions with close friends. I’m 64 so it’s not a question I’m asked by outsiders and anyone close knows I wasn’t a happy adoptee.
    I would say the two things that get to me most are the “bitter, crazy, angry” labels used to describe anyone immune to adoption unicornland, and “I have a friend who is an adoptee”.
    The few who ask get told what I really think, but no further discussion. In my opinion it’s useless to attempt to get them to even peek behind the fantasy.

    Nancy Rodgers

    Sun, 10 February, 2013 at 3:52 am

  6. I’d wager people don’t know much at all.

    My relatives on both sides (natural and adoptive) know that I’m not happy with the secrets they’ve kept. Only a few relatives actually give a damn.

    But ordinary people who don’t know me parrot back what they’ve heard and toss in their own opinions as if they were facts. Anything an adoptee says that challenges their uniformed opinion is discounted. Unlike all here, in most cases, I do speak up and let people know the other side of adoption. Unless I am in a social setting that is not at all conducive to the topic – such as a relaxing evening out with friends where discussing our lives is not the goal. Otherwise, I do speak up when I hear others say something that is uninformed and lead them to more enlightened facts.

    Most people are not aware of how adoptees really feel. I’ve had my share of push-back. Yet, some people actually accept the new perspective, saying, “I’ve never heard of that before”.

    It’s tiring to be constantly dispelling myths.

    I wonder how we grew to be a society in which the person who says, “I knew someone who was…” automatically trumps the person in the group who has the actual experience?

    Joan Wheeler (@forbiddenfamily)

    Wed, 13 March, 2013 at 6:40 pm

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