Adopted in the UK

The life of a UK adoptee

Posts Tagged ‘Headology

Lurching around

with 3 comments

I’ve started writing this post because while I was reading Vicki-lynn’s post about Why the Unknown will Never be Enough for Adoptees, I felt a massive lurch within my body as the impact of her first couple of paragraphs hit me. Yes, it was physical, and yes, it was jolting, and yes, that’s why I’m here typing this now, based on the theory that if I start typing about it now, I might actually get the post out that I’d want to be getting out later. At least now it’s started I don’t have to write any introductions when I can think of how to word what I’m trying to describe.

Having gone back to the post to look again, it was very definitely the second paragraph that produced the lurch, although I’m not sure whether it would’ve worked the same without the first paragraph being there to set the tone. That being said, this is the second paragraph, because it’s this that gave me the lurch.

To finally touch the ground of your ancestors is healing. To stand before the graves of your great grandparents completes the circle of life. To learn fly fishing from your grandfather whose prominent nose you inherited, and look into the laughing brown eyes of your grandmother is a priceless joy.

Being a Brit. born and bred, I generally have less mileage to cover to do things like touching the ground of my ancestors, however, I am pretty much slap bang in the middle of the two directions. Maternal line is Portsmouth/round these parts (I think, could be Plymouth; definitely one of them two naval places, no pun intended), and paternal line’s Scot. As with all the rest of my life, I’m balancing precariously in the middle, being dragged in both directions.

If I want to do any visiting of maternal side direction, I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing it on my own – at least the research part, because while the siblings ‘know’ the history, I’m thinking they’re likely to be far more like the cousin mentioned in Vicki-lynn’s post. It’s not like I can ask me mom, either now, since I walked out on her on Mothers’ Day. As for the rest of the family, I’ve met a couple of cousins, ‘n’ that’s it. One cousin I ‘met’ by virtue of being in the same year at college with her, and it wasn’t until long after I’d partied ’cause the loud-mouth had left that I found out I was related to her. Then again, finding out she was one of us does also explain why I didn’t like her, ’cause there’s not many of us ‘cept me bruv ‘n’ nephews that do seem likeable on the maternal side (which isn’t to say I don’t love my sis very very much, ’cause I do, but that doesn’t mean I have to like her too – just ask Daughter :p). The other cousin I met when he lived in the place bro moved into after ’cause it’s only up the road from here, however, haven’t seen him in a couple of years since he skanked off to live with his missus ‘n’ new baby. He did say we’d still see him, but we haven’t. I’ve got three maternal aunts, none of which’ve shown any interest in wanting to get to know me.

Paternal side I can probably get far more information easily simply by asking family on FB – which isn’t to imply that many of them seem all that bothered by my existence either though. My sis has declared that I’ll never be one of them to her, which while yes, it does bite, amuses me since her efforts at pretending I don’t exist are obviously not going very well if she’s been posting about me on Twitter. My bro did, eventually, deign to meet me last year, after much nagging, but I’m guessing from his lack of any real contact that I obviously didn’t make much of a very good impression on him (which no doubt our sis will be delighted to read :p). I did, as with the post this one’s based on, get to meet my paternal nan, and would very much like to meet her again too. This is proving difficult though, despite the fact that she only lives around the corner from dad, who doesn’t even live ten miles away. If I’m gonna go to see my nan, then I’m going to need my dad there because unlike all the rest of her grandkids who grew up knowing her, I can’t understand a damn word she says ’cause I have trouble understanding the Scot accent she has. It’s sad really ’cause I’m losing out on all this time when I could be going to get to know her, but I need to go with my dad, and even just turning up and finding him in is a challenge, let alone getting him up ‘n’ out again so’s we can go around the corner. I’ve also met one of my paternal cousins, who only lives five minutes away in the car. Been round there a few times, however, it kind of fell off when I wasn’t sure if I was really welcome there still or not. Yes, I can ask, I know, but that’d involve putting myself in a place to be outrightly rejected, as well as insisting that she say something either positive or negative, when she may be quite happy that I haven’t said anything about not going around there. It is saddening however, when my bro drives half way down the country to visit them, yet doesn’t even text a hello. Yes, I know I could say something about that too, but would you really wanna find out if people’re not interested in you when you’re aching to be around them and learn them and get to know them because you’ve already missed out on knowing them for so long?

I know I’m gobby on most things, but this post’s the closest I’ve got to saying anything about any of this other than in snippets with people close enough to talk about such stuff with. I’ve had to say something somewhere though because I know damn well it’s been eating me up, no matter how much I try to just ignore it and carry on, but it’s like I said in a previous post, Adoption Blogging – It gets complicated.

Actually, from today it could be getting even more complicated too, due on whole to the continued influence of MaggieT. Had she not died today, I wouldn’t be hivering hovering batting around FB not knowing quite which way to turn. Y’see, adad worked for the National Coal Board back before it (the NCB) got shredded by MrsT, and so I’ve spent over quarter of a decade intensely disliking the Lady because that’s the way the crumbs fell. However, dearest darling daddy dear (bdad, iow) was a para, and so was on the other side getting all the sweetness and light from her, and so had I grown up knowing him (either instead or as well) then my whole approach to day could have already been decided and settled, but nope, instead I’m torn. I’m already torn by those friends declaring I should be unfriending them if I’m in either of the above camps (like/hate her), but also because I have no idea which way to turn because I don’t want to be alienating anyone, let alone my dad whom I love very very much (there was a post a while back on one of the adoptee blogs about an adoptee who’s a quivering wreck daddy’s girl at heart, but I haven’t been able to find it again since I read it, but if you know the one I’m on about, that’s the same as I am). Thus far, I’ve played it what I HOPE is at least relatively safe by not particularly openly celebrating, but I have linkied a few ding-dongs in a single post.

See, how complicated adoption makes absolutely everything?!

Of course, compounding absolutely everything else that’s already been delved into is my overly maniacal mind, which likes to tease me with snippets, suggesting things like that not only is pbro ‘n’ cousin apathetic towards me now they’ve met me (which I *think* is supposed to be better than outright rejection, but at least with outright rejection, I know it’s there and I’m not left wondering and pondering like I’ve spent so much of my life doing up until reunion anyway), but that they actively dislike me, and instead of just (for example) unfriending me on FB (with any ensuing drama that such things may create within the family (not that I expect it would, I’m the outsider, after all, not them <sigh>)), they’ve decided to instead be as visibly happy to be around each other (five minutes down the road from me, despite pbro living hundredish miles away) in an effort to rub in just how excluded I am. This actually cropped up as a sort of real issue last year, too. I turned 40 on my birthday last year, and it would’ve been nice had someone said happy birthday to me – especially if it’d been my dad – but no-one did. To be honest, I wasn’t too knocked by it because (a) I don’t do FB happy birthdays or anything like that ’cause I’m crap at dates and would hate to miss someone important’s birthday, so it’s easier to do no-ones; and (b) they hadn’t even known about my existence for a whole three years by then and so can mostly be forgiven for not knowing when my birthday is, especially since I haven’t got it set to show on FB so they don’t even get a reminder from there. It would’ve been nice to at least hear from my dad though, but no. Of course, when one of my (not-as-yet-mentioned-in-this-blog) other cousins had her 40th birthday a few days later, there were tons upon tons of celebratory congratulations from all over the family. At that point, I finally lost it, and decided I’d GOT TO say SOMETHING to my dad. It took a while, not least because he’s not always in when I call over (’cause I do sporadic visits since I’m over that way a fair bit anyway), but eventually we were in the same room at the same time and having previously broached the subject in a PM on FB to him, we got to talk, and he got to tell me how daft I was being and that I’m not excluded. But still there’s all these family functions that I don’t get invited to. But I’m not excluded. And so with the crap my head churns out, today’s post from my cousin sharing a pic of my dad stood cheerfully alongside Thatcher before I’d worked out how to phrase anything similar, and obviously shared by both my bro ‘n’ dad, has again kicked my head into over-drive because it’s already being torn ’cause of growing up in the other extreme.

<takes a deep breath>

I’d write more, I think, if I carried on, but I think I should probably stop now ’cause at least this post works as just the one topic; adoption reunion, and how it carries on the tearing us apart that adoption did to us in the first place.

Written by 7rin

Mon, 8 April, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Posted in Blog

Tagged with ,

I did it! I made a difference! Again!

with one comment

This post not only launched an awesome thread of its own, but also spawned a side-thread that yielded startling results too.

Part of the way down this second thread, I suddenly throw in…

Make A Show Of Yourselves was the page that had startled me with it’s adoption advocative language.

Immediately though, understanding entirely the point I was raising, Amanda was on to it …

And that, my friends, is another concrete achievement, because it’s the way we use the language that impacts adoptees far more than, for example, Sir Martin Narey appears to concede.

Written by 7rin

Mon, 18 March, 2013 at 12:08 pm

I did it! I made a difference!

with one comment

It takes time and luck to get things moving in the right direction, but today I had my first ever real tangible “success”.

One of the things I know helps adoptees is having other adoptees to talk to. It’s part of the reason I make so many “places” for us, or to direct us towards. When I saw Amanda’s post, I couldn’t not make the suggestion.

That the following Twit was posted very shortly after makes all the fighting I’ve done worthwile, because one of the hardest things about getting support groups together IRL is having an appropriate physical location to do it in, but I’ve managed to help make it available to at least some of us.

This IS a success.

Of course, now it’s up to the adoptees to take up the offer and get themselves there.

Still thrilled I managed to help make it happen though. Am incredibly chuffed. :D

But still we need more offers like this. More awareness of adoptees, and not just of adoption.

Adoption Blogging – It gets complicated

with 4 comments

I have, despite my seeming protestations to the contrary on Twitter, been putting off writing somewhat deliberately. Not that I’m particularly convinced I have my writing head back on now, but I need to get a post out about the dangers of blogging for the adoptee, ’cause without it, I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna be able to write another damn thing.

Which reads far more dramatic than intended.

So, these dangers then? Well they’re probably not just limited to adoptee bloggers, to tell the truth. They’re the usual issues of how much of our personal life do we put into our blogging life? However, the adoptee blogger hasn’t just got the usual amount of family members to navigate, but can have double the amount. Being an adoptee in reunion means that not only do I have to balance protecting my afam from any potential fallout my online activities might have, but I also need to add in balancing both mat and pat bfams too. This gets even more precarious when so many in the families are also online residents. How much do you say? How do you phrase what you say? Admittedly, this should also be general thoughts when blogging even anonymously, as care is needed to cater to ones audience, but for the adoptee trying to navigate the waters of reunion, the results can be catastrophic on a deeply personal level.

Yet if I don’t reveal these issues – issues that are a direct result of my adoptee status – then who will? Certainly the likes of BAAF and Pact and Adoption UK don’t care about the issues faced by adoptees who are beyond their sell by date, as evidenced by their blocking of me across a wide range of mass social media for raising such problems. Sir Martin Narey, thankfully, has showed far more fortitude in putting up with me (potentially helped by the limited amount of characters I have available to whine at him in one go with :p), yet squares my blog away firmly in the realm of a bad/rare/unusual experience. I’m not having a bad/rare/unusual experience though. I’m having a perfectly normal reunion, to go along with my perfectly normal adoption. Not a bit of it has been in any way exceptional to any Rules(tm) I’ve encountered. My story echoes many of those found in the blogroll listed at the side, yet TPTB still think adoption is a panacea. While I don’t think my voice alone will be enough to engender the changes needed to the current adoption system in the UK (nor even anywhere else in the world, for that matter </optimist@heart>), I hope that being one of the collective voices helps us get heard eventually.

So I wind up having to share details of how my reunion is going, because if I don’t, I can’t write on reunion without missing massive chunks out. Yet how much do I say? How much do I reveal? More to the point, how do I reveal? After all, this is the Internet, and it’s par for the course to link to things that are being used as an example, but to do so links these people that I’m discussing to me in ways that they may not want linking. So where is the line drawn? How do I avoid over-stepping it so much that I don’t bring my own reunion crumbling down in flames of hatred – or do I even try to avoid it? Do I instead stick to skinning away to the bare bones of an issue in order that I can both clearly explain that which is a problematic area, hoping that others find the knowledge helpful, even though it may cost me dearly to share that knowledge?

A precarious path to tread, exacerbated by the fact that BECAUSE I have been “blessed” by “the joy of adoption”, I barely know these people, and so barely know what their reaction to such postings are likely to be. Yet until I meet them more and interact with them more, I won’t be able to learn how much is enough, nor how much is too much, until I go there and make the post that either does or doesn’t result in recriminations – and even then I may not know as they may not encounter the post for some time. This is why it’s taking me so much effort to write. Trying to get a post out and written is no longer just a battle to get my head working enough to write in the first place, but there’s also this minefield of potential future trauma and angst to navigate, too.

Written by 7rin

Wed, 2 January, 2013 at 7:09 am

Posted in Explanations

Tagged with ,

{3 of 30} Wasting Away

with 2 comments

Less than a week in, and already I’m a fail – it’s the 4th already, yet I’m only on the third post.

One of the main issues I’ve covered in this blog in the past (in general, not just this month) is my battle to get some form of adoptee-appropriate therapy (see the post-adoption support tag for some examples). Indeed, one of the biggest criticisms I’ve got against adoption as it stands for UK adoptees today is that, aside from the irrevocability of it all, while there’s this insane drive to create more of us, it seems as if nothing is being done to help those of us that have already been created. It’s not even compulsory for any of the authorities to provide adoptee-specific counselling once an adoptee hits 18, yet it is not until far into adulthood that many adoptees even realise that some (many, often) of the issues they’re dealing with are related to the impact that adoption has upon the psyche.

Quoting Nancy Verrier’s essay:

The coping mechanisms the adoptee believed would keep him safe while growing up are not very helpful in adult relationships. They are just that: coping skills, not true personality. Each adoptee is a unique individual, yet those coping skills are quite predictable. Gradually replacing coping skills with the true self should be a goal.

However, all the self-help books in the world can not help the adult who wants to be able to claw back some semblance of humanity over coping skills if that adult can not see which of their behaviours are true personality, and which are simply coping mechanisms borne of the devastating loss of ones own genealogical everything. This is why adult adoptees are at least as in need of trained, adoptee-specific psychological assistance as those adoptees who have not yet reached that magical cut-off point of 18 years of age, yet we get nothing.

We get nothing, and are expected to be grateful for our loss.

This fails to make sense, especially considering that had we stayed with our genealogical progenitors and been abused by them (’cause all adoptees’d be abused if they stayed with their b’rents, doncha know :p), then we would have no problem accessing appropriate psychological interventions as adults – as my own brother has demonstrated by his repeated ease of obtaining counselling. Yet adoptees can not undertake just any old counselling. The adoptee requires adoptee-specialists who don’t come out with idiotic and DANGEROUS questions such as “but aren’t you grateful?” like I got asked by the Chase Wellbeing counsellor that was the last person I got access to (back in ~May 2010). Yet this specialist help is not available – or, at least, not available without paying extortionate charges. Yet still the government continues to create more of us – with tomorrow being the first day of National Adoption Week 2012 (which I refuse point-blank to link to, since they refuse to print anything this “Adoption Champion” has written (it’s true, I am, I have the pack ‘n’ get e-mailed each year)).

This is cruel and abusive treatment, surely?

Written by 7rin

Sun, 4 November, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Big Shiny Adoption

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Before I respond, I’d just like to clarify that as well as being an adoptee, I’m also a massive Joss fan, and a Lokean too. As such, there’s only one part of this article that I’d like to criticise…

{quote}
All joking aside, adoption is an awesome thing. It brings children to families who perhaps cannot have children of their own … and it brings families to those children who … don’t have one
{/quote}

So sayeth Arse-bot, over at Big Shiny Robot.

Unfortunately – especially in America – adoption is no longer about providing children with families. Unfortunately – especially in America – adoption is far more about providing adults with children.
Unfortunately – especially in America – adoption is nothing more than BIG BUSINESS.

The Finances

“The National Council for Adoption: Mothers, Money, Marketing, and Madness” parts One & Two goes into minute detail about how much PROFIT is made by so-called adoption “charities” from their trade in human life.

Additionally, Babies for Sale provides a PRICE LIST showing how a child that is not a ‘healthy white freshly-squeezed womb-wet’ can cost far far less – what with the disabled or the traumatised or the non-whites not even being as high as second-choice on the wannabe-parenting dream scale.

Finally on the theme of cost, this thread is a bunch of adoptees discussing how much each of them cost – along with the impact that such knowledge has had upon their lives.

Everyday Discrimination

Sadly, the truth of the matter is that adoptees in much of America are much maligned by their own Government – to the point that they are legally and lawfully discriminated against.

Got a (fake) birth certificate filed over a year after birth? Tough luck if you want anything like a passport or a driving licence then, because many adoptees are now finding that they are now ineligible to be provided with such things due to rules introduced in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks. Same goes for applying for jobs that require some forms of identification. I know adoptees who have experienced all these forms of discrimination directly.

Even if you’re not one of the adoptees suffering from discrimination that way, should you actually wish to get at YOUR OWN factual (as opposed to “amended”) birth certificate – sorry, but unless you’re in one of the few states that allow adoptees access to such things (six of them I think, though it may now be eight), then you’re pretty much out of luck. Even if you can (possibly) get at it, chances are that – unlike the other 98% of the population, you may actually have to go to court and beg and plead with the judge/s you’re petitioning in order to get what most of the rest of the population can walk into an office and get handed over the counter with almost no fuss at all.

Adoption Records by State is a useful list of lengths adoptees have to go to to get at something given willy-nilly to the rest of the population (since don’t forget, these laws also affect those who have been adopted by step-parents too – not just those of us who weren’t even good enough for our own families to want to bother with).

Of course, this also affects international adoptees in ways that are even more devastating, with some being deported back to their original countries

The Emotional Costs

Being adopted, contrary to popular belief, is not “wonderful”.

Adoptees face a multitude of psychological issues that the non-adopted rarely experience. However, being such a vast subject, I’ll resort to saying please visit the link included for further details.

Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful” – The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBE

Finally, for a far more coherent rebuttal of the quoted text than anything I’ve managed to throw together yet, please go read Amanda’s post, “The Opposite of Adoption“. In fact, if you’re AT ALL interested in adoption and its effect on the adopted, then please go and read lots of posts in Amanda’s exceedingly articulate blog.



 

ETA: Tue 15 May 2012 @ 02:42

I’ve mentioned in one of these The Avengers posts, the wealth of other articles and blogs on the subject. Unfortunately, I’ve been having a hard time tracking down all the ones I thought I had read. Thus this ETA section of this post will be dedicated to linking to articles and blogposts on the subject, sometimes (though not always) from adoptees themselves. Feel free to nominate any posts that you feel worthy of inclusion, should I have missed it. I may not add them all, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be suggested.

May 06
Disney, Adoption and The Avengers… by Doug7856
… with alex9179’s reply being my favourite explanation of the scene yet.

May 10
Some in the Adoption Community Angered by ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’ by Arse-bot

May 11
Was ‘Avengers’ joke cruel to adoption community? by msnbc.com Entertainment (has link to msnbc.com Entertainment website post on the issue)

‘Avengers’ Joke Does Impact Kids Waiting For Adoption by Beth Robinson

May 14

Why I Found “The Avengers” Line Offensive by Amanda

My thoughts on the “he’s adopted” line from the Avengers/I’m an angry adoptee by kostvollmers

NCFA is not the “Expert” on Adoption Issues by Susan P

May 16
That ‘He’s Adopted’ One-Liner in ‘The Avengers’? Not Funny. by Jessica Cromwell

May 17
An Angry Adoptee Fangirl Responds To Avengers Adoption Joke by Triona Guidry

The Avengers attack on adopted children is mean and unfunny by Andrea Poe

In an article proving how spot-on the original complaints are, Natalie Zutter goes to great lengths in demonstrating her own lack of lack of comprehension.

May 18
Avengers: He’s Adopted Joke Creating Controversy by Scott Johnson

May 20
Another “The Avengers” Interpretation: Your not a “Real” Member of your Family by Amanda

May 21
Stigmas About Adoption Remain, and Hurt Families by Abbie Goldberg

May 29
I Belly-Laughed all the Way Through the Avengers by Earth Stains

ETA: Wed 05 September 2012 @ 00:04

He’s adopted – Thor (Avengers) Facebook page

===========================================

Not about the controversy, but where I got the link to Tom Hiddleston’s article: A little homework for you…

Also not directly related, but something I found while ‘liking’ EB’s Team Loki (Tom Hiddleston) fan page: How to tell Loki that he’s adopted.

Written by 7rin

Sat, 12 May, 2012 at 9:03 pm

All joking aside …

with 3 comments

{quote}
All joking aside, adoption is an awesome thing.
{/quote}

So sayeth Arse-bot, over at Big Shiny Robot.

The comment has, of course, really really annoyed me – but not just because it’s yet again someone who has no experience of what it’s like to be adopted telling everyone the complete opposite of what it’s actually like to be adopted.

No.

Much more important is the fact that the final paragraph – the one that begins with the that heinous, quoted phrase – is the only thing marring an otherwise accurate account of some of the recent bitching from some within the adoption community about Joss‘s new film, ‘The Avengers‘.

Now I know what you’re all wondering – how could anyone in their right minds bitch about anything Joss has ever given to us?

Were it only adoptees complaining, I would point out that actually, many of us aren’t in our right minds – not least thanks to the pressures applied through socialisation upon the adoptee to ‘become’ this other person that is not the product of their own biological parentage. Of course, by making such a statement, I too would likely be slammed by some of the adoption community for daring to feed into the stigma already faced by adoptees – so it’s probably a good job that not many people read this blog. ;)

It’s not just from the adoptees though. One of the links included within this post – Rage Against the Minivan – is an adopters blog. It is also the first blog I encountered issuing complaints against The Avengers.

So why are there so many complaints?

I think probably the most important part of the answer is that – due to wads and wads of abuse directed at adoptees – many involved with adoption have become over-sensitised to what may or may not be an actual insult.

Unfortunately, adoptism, like tallism and fatism and gingerism is one of the last bastions of insult. In a world where being racist and sexist and disablist is frowned upon, there is a shortage of candidates for the butt of jokes, and since so many people believe the hype about adoption being all rainbow-farting unicorns, being adopted is one of the fastest growing jokes. Of course, should people – especially those who are adopted – dare to speak out about such negative stereotyping, they are almost inevitably chastised, and reminded that adoptees should be “grateful” that they weren’t aborted/thrown out with the waste/left languishing in an orphanage/etc.

Great, eh.

Problem is, these jokes that adoptees grow up hearing, are a part of the socialisation that we experience. From these jokes, we begin to learn from an early age that we are second best, the booby prize, and almost certainly doomed to become either a serial killer, or some other form of insane-off-the-rails mess. It matters not whether we love being adopted, or hate being adopted, or even don’t really care about being adopted – all the time we are the “final resort”, the “last chance”, or perhaps even the “cure for infertility”.



 
In other stuff: It’s taken me almost a whole day to write this one post, which clearly indicates that my head is still not working as well as I would like. It also means that this post, like many others I attempt to write, has become almost as lost as I have been in recent years – thus I’m quitting now (just this post, not bloggin’ as a whole), while I’m still at least vaguely ahead and have produced something vaguely coherent.

I started writing it, not just in answer to Arse-bot’s article, but because I wanted to say something on here about the petition anyway. It just so happens that many of the points I was going to make were far more credibly covered by Arse-bot, and so instead, I ended up heading somewhere else.

Of course, being Lokean and a lover of Joss also gives me an alternative perspective on this than many of those who’ve complained about The Avengers, but it looks like that’s a post or another day. For now, I’m off back over to Arse-bot’s article to attempt to construct a coherent response to that bloody annoying quote that I started this post off with.

Written by 7rin

Sat, 12 May, 2012 at 6:54 pm

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