Saturday, April 9, 2011

I am getting off the bandwagon

So, some may have noticed I've had a bit of a different tone recently.

Why?

I'm tired. The will and energy to put up niceties are waning, and I'm realizing that pandering and readjusting to suit the delicate internal balance of certain adoptive parents is self-defeating and has honestly begun to feel disingenuous.

I'm all about being respectful and open to others, but softening my voice to try to protect and win adoptive parents over has gotten me nowhere but in a hole where I feel suppressed and suffocated.

I am not here to serve adoptive parents' needs to feel validated that they are good people and are doing the right thing. I don't mind answering questions or having a civil, sincere, caring discussion, but I do mind being patronized and treated as though I'm a pathological idiot or as someone to be conquered or silenced or as that poor little adopted girl, we'll pretend to listen to so she feels better. I'm an adult, people. I'm a woman, not a girl. I'm closer to 40 than 30, which makes me "middle-aged"--so maybe that's a part of my shifting tone, also. I'm done with all the song and dance.

As a fellow adoptee commented, "The 'goal' is harm reduction on the adoptee, not protection of adoptive parent's feelings. It's like some of these AP's need to feel *loved* more than we do. The more you minimize/ignore the real issues, the more you'll produce problematic adult-adoptee's like me. It doesn't take a statistician." (Thank you, Scotched.)

I want Adoptive Parents to understand. I want them to open their hearts and minds to adoptees like myself and others that may offer a more critical and analytical, even emotional account of our adoption experiences. But I shouldn't feel as though I have to change my pitch in order for them to hear me. And I shouldn't feel like I have to spare their feelings at the cost of honesty. And honestly, that's how things feel these days--not only at my blog but throughout the blogosphere. The adult adoptees to which AP's are willing to listen are often of a certain tone. I'm not discounting such adoptees, but rather questioning why this is so.

How will AP's ever "get it," if they will only listen to those adoptees they deem as "healthy?" And how will AP's ever "get it" if adoptees like myself are not true to the truth of our experiences and feelings--even if that means alienating some?

Although I want unity and cooperation within the adoption community, such is false if concessions are made that betray the truth of the realities and complexities of adoptees and their forgotten mothers and families--and yes, that truth includes rage and disdain and resentment and bitterness at times--unfortunately, still treated as taboo emotions.

I'm not on a rampage, but I am getting off the bandwagon.

It's time to truly speak my mind, for the sake of not losing it, and for the sake of the truth and those who live it.

10 comments:

The adopted ones said...

I do agree with you that we tend to gingerly pick our way through the creation of a post so that an AP that needs that tone may actually hear the words written.

I like your new tone...I have always thought you must have a brilliant sarcastic wit buried deep inside...and if I am right I am waiting for more...

Ann said...

I'm an AP and I embrace the new tone! How am I, as an AP, supposed to be able to listen to -- and HEAR -- what my children will be experiencing, struggling with, and feeling in their lives if I can't even be open to listening to an adult adoptee to whom I have no emotional attachment? I don't want the rainbows and puppies. I want to know what's coming down the pike. Every word spoken by folks like you I pretend is coming out of my children's mouths in 10, 20, 30+ years (mine are of preschool age, so we're only getting started). I want to be present, I want them to feel comfortable sharing these things with me, if they want to (it's not about me; I will provide them with plenty of adult allies out there and they can choose to open up to whomever they feel is the best fit). Keep it up and bring it on! If it prickles, then that lets me know there's something that *I* need to work on. I am very grateful for your blog, and others like it.

Linda said...

I have had countless emails from people telling me that if I were nicer, more people would listen to me- that my message gets lost because of my sarcasm and "ugly tone".

My response has always been the same, give or take a few creatively placed expletives.

I tried nice. I tried being respectful. I carefully crafted my words my entire life to try to get people to understand. That approach never really worked for me. I got a few pats on the head and some condescending responses which left me wondering if I should feel grateful or infuriated.

I put away my internal edit button. I was silenced for too long. I cared about everyone else's feelings my whole life, and no one cared about mine.

It's not our job to make ap's feel good. That's what the industry is for. There are plenty of pro-adoption blogs out there. If they want pandering and praise, visit the NCFA or cafe mom.

If they want the ugly truth and want to see the results of how ap entitlement and dismissing adoptee trauma affects an adoptee, Im their girl.

FWIW, You are respectful, even with your new tone, and I have never felt you were pandering to ap's. If you were doing that, I would not read your blog.

Anonymous said...

most of "these ap's" are medicated for depression..numb..they don't want emotion....i love emotion...it is how God made us.....to feel....my 4 year old adopted son told me last night he doesn't love me....i said good...i am grateful he can tell me his truth in this moment......it hurts me but it hurts him more.....let whatever you have inside out!! and i agree with linda...you have always been respectful.

keri

HollyMarie said...

Do it. Be yourself; be true. :)

Melissa said...

@ Adopted Ones-- "I do agree with you that we tend to gingerly pick our way through the creation of a post..." Yes, and I'm simply exhausted. It feels good to throw off the yoke.

@ Ann-- "How am I, as an AP, supposed to be able to listen to -- and HEAR -- what my children will be experiencing, struggling with, and feeling in their lives if I can't even be open to listening to an adult adoptee to whom I have no emotional attachment?...Every word spoken by folks like you I pretend is coming out of my children's mouths in 10, 20, 30+ years..."

Thank you. Finally, an adoptive parent willing and not afraid to outright acknowledge that we as adult adoptees collectively represent who your children might grow up to be...

@ Linda-- Honestly--I don't mean this in a sycophantic way--you inspire me. Seriously. Your blog is so empowering and validating for an adoptee like me...who also "was silenced for too long. I cared about everyone else's feelings my whole life, and no one cared about mine."

I still care but I'm just so sick of apologizing for the truth and for being treated as though my experiences don't matter or are simply cute little anomalous anecdotes...


@ Keri--

"my 4 year old adopted son told me last night he doesn't love me....i said good...i am grateful he can tell me his truth in this moment......it hurts me but it hurts him more...."

An adoptive parent who gets the complexities and acknowledges the hurt but doesn't make it all about herself. *sigh of relief*

shauna said...

I am an AP and I would rather hear it straight anyway. So, thank you. And, really, closer to 40 than 30 makes us middle aged? Damn. :-)

Amanda said...

You're right. It bothers me when APs come to Adult Adoptee blogs and get upset about the tone or content or whatever else because it's not inclusive enough or validating enough to APs.

Adopton already IS about Adoptive Parents. Magazines, huge popular blogs, countless books....adoptees are seldom heard from, are frequently left out AND are only included when we can package our voices in a way that others want to hear....

but wait...isn't adoption SUPPOSED to be about the children?

We were once those children whom adoption is supposed to be about. You'd think people would want to listen, regardless of how it's presented. If people only want to hear what validates the opinions they already have, what will they learn?

It never ceases to amaze me when there are APs who want adoptees to have identical opinions to APs about adoption. Adoptees do not share the same role, experience, or perspective in the constellation as the Adoptive Parents do....how does it even make sense to expect that our opinions should be the same as theirs or that ours would be any less valid?

OK off my soapbox. I am just as irritated about this as you are lol.

Not Just A Birth Mom said...

"I'm all about being respectful and open to others, but softening my voice to try to protect and win adoptive parents over has gotten me nowhere but in a hole where I feel suppressed and suffocated."
That makes two of us. I was so tired of always having to watch what I say so that I didn't "offend" adoptive parents. Now I kinda don't give a damn. I've realized that I'd rather offend all the adoptive parents in the world than offend an adoptee. Besides, my sons adoptive parents and I have a great relationship- why should I care about the opinions of those who have no connection to me other than my blog?
I'm glad you are doing what you want to do now, and I look forward to reading more! You are awesome!

Reena said...

Hi Melissa,

I am completely all ears with the new tone! As Ann said, I want an idea of what is coming down the pike in the nest 10+ years with my now preschool age kids.

Honestly, I don't think the tone matters too much either way. If aparents are going to be open to listening to Adoptees, then they will be so regardless of the tone with which it is presented.

I appreciate several different Adoptee blogs on which I do not comment. There have been many times I have read a post on Linda's blog and wanted to slap myself-- but I get her sarcasm and humor.

As Ann said, if it prickles then I need to look into what it is about 'ME!' that makes it prickle.