Friday, March 26, 2010

Why adoption hurts (Part 3): a List

Part 1 and Part 2, I discussed somewhat extensively and in more detail regarding "Why adoption hurts." As I continue to ponder this subject, my thoughts are coming together more thoroughly and at least with somewhat more lucidity.

I continue this series of posts on "Why adoption hurts" with the following pseudo-list for easier reference. Hopefully due to its attempted concision (well, at least in comparison to Part 1 and Part 2), this will offer more clarity, coherence and understanding as to "Why adoption hurts":

Adoption hurts because it involves a person being tragically separated from his or her original family.

Adoption hurts because--despite the aforementioned trauma--the general public expects the adopted person to adjust without experiencing the emotional, social, and familial consequences of such a loss.

Adoption hurts because when the adopted person does demonstrate or express difficulty due to the trauma of the loss, his or her family and friends often do not acknowledge or accept the reality of the adopted person's pain.

Adoption hurts because it removes a person from his or her original language, culture, and people and displaces the person into a foreign language, culture, and people from whom the person differs drastically in physical appearance.

Adoption hurts because, although the adopted person may be able to adapt and assimilate within the new culture and language, the adopted person will never be able to assimilate physically due to the obvious differences in physical appearance from the people in the assimilating country.

Adoption hurts because others tend to underestimate and dismiss the profound effects that the aforementioned differences in physical appearance exact upon the adopted person's experience of life and identity.

Adoption hurts because the adopted person often experiences discrimination, prejudice, racism, bigotry due to these physical differences in appearance.

Adoption hurts because when the adopted person experiences the aforementioned instances of prejudice and bigotry, he or she does not have a family of similar appearance to which he or she can turn for validation and identification of these physical differences.

Adoption hurts because although the adopted person may try to turn to those whom he or she does resemble in appearance for validation and belonging, the adopted person may often feel rejected or marginalized due to the inability to relate to the language and culture of these albeit physically similar, but nonetheless, culturally and linguistically exclusive individuals.

Adoption hurts because although the adopted person resembles certain people physically, he or she may experience ridicule and ostracism from those whom she or he resembles physically due to the adopted person's general lack of knowledge of the pertaining culture and language.

Adoption hurts because the adopted person experiences discrimination and prejudice not only from the people in the adopting country, but also from the people from whom the adopted person came.

Hence, adoption hurts because the adopted person often feels consigned to an awful state of in-between due to the rejection experienced from both groups to which the adopted person relates but is not fully accepted.

Adoption hurts because the experience of loss is compounded by the aforementioned rejection and marginalization by both the pertaining peoples and cultures.

Adoption hurts because so many consider all of the above hogwash.


Anonymous said...

this is all so very true.

Mila said...

missinpiece, thanks for stopping by and for taking a moment to comment.

David said...

Thank you for your honest thoughts on this topic. As a parent of adopted children it is a great reminder to listen to those that have been in those shoes and to not forget how hard it is going to be.

Mila said...

David, thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and for being willing to consider the difficult complexities of the adoptee experience.

If you haven't already, the blog, The Missing Piece: Thoughts of a Black Adoptee ( it so happens that the blogger left a comment on this particular post--is an excellent one to read...

Unknown said...

Melissa- When my father passed away at the end of last year I was surrounded by support. I don't know how I would have walked through a minute of grief without that support.

To think of a mother who loses her child through adoption not receiving support- or a child who loses their mother not receiving that support is horrible.

To think of the loss itself never being acknowledged at all- excruciating.

Your last line resonates deeply.

Mila said...

Diane, thank you for sharing your own experiences to understand and relate...

I am so sorry for your loss. I absolutely dread the day that my Dad will no longer be here with me. Truly, my heart goes out to you.

Denise said...

Melissa, I am an adoptive Mom of a 4 year old from China and I appreciate you writing about topics that are difficult for me to read. I think that I was clueless when we first adopted our daughter as to what she was going to feel like growing up in a white world (we live in the south). I also admit that I have tried not to go to adult adoptee websites for fear of getting "slammed" for doing what I felt was God's calling for us. I guess what I know I need to do now is educate myself on how to best prepare our daughter to face her past...and to not ever diminish her feelings of loss. Thank you for your honesty and I promise to be back...I may really need your advice in a few years...

Mila said...

Denise, thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. I know it can be hard being an adoptive parent at times, especially in the adult adoptee world. But I appreciate your willingness to push through and open yourself up to learning more. Your daughter will benefit greatly.

As an adoptee myself, all I hope for is that people will open themselves up to be willing to acknowledge that adoption is not a perfect solution, that it involves deep wounds and loss that cannot be magically swept away.

We never talked much about how adoption affected me in my family, and it really did have detrimental effects on me as I entered adolescence and adulthood. We're talking more about it now, but it certainly would have helped me and meant so much to me if we could have begun the conversation when I was a child...

I'm definitely here to support you. I promise I won't ever bash you (although I will of course always be sincere and honest). :) I strive to treat others with the same patience, respect, gentleness and understanding that I long for others to show me.

Thanks, again, for stopping by, and and thank you again for being willing to expose yourself to adult adoptee blogs. It's a world full of various perspectives and experiences, and although they may not always agree, they all are in need of recognition and consideration. Feel free to email me any time.