Of course the title of this is a little tongue & cheek--well, that is, depending on your personal perspective.
Some read the title and vigorously nod in agreement. Others read the title and feel frustration burning within. And still others react somewhere in between.
Recently, as I was corresponding with a fellow, but much younger adoptee, I realized something that might have been obvious to many of you (but was not initially to me). The upcoming generations of adoptees in some ways face an even greater pressure to submit to the "gratitude gospel of adoption."
What do I mean?
In short--"You newer generations of adoptees have so much more available to you than those who came before you, so really, you shouldn't have any major issues" or "Things are different today--adoptive parents know the realities now. Your parents have it on right this time, so you kids adopted in more recent years won't have the same issues as your predecessors."
I think today's adoptees are often viewed as the benefactors of the perceived progress in the adoption community: culture camps, heightened awareness and knowledge on the part of adoptive parents of the issues adoptees face, more acceptance and openness to the adoptees' origins and original mother and family, etc.
These factors do in fact represent a change in resources and awareness from what was available or understood when I was growing up. But, the presence of these factors does not change what will always be true--being adopted comes with deep lifelong losses and grief. And culture camps for adoptees and education courses for adoptive parents don't change that inherent truth or somehow make the hardships of being an adoptee magically nonexistent.
However, as the perceived benefactors, the newer generations are expected to, well, benefit and hence I think at times are expected to suffer less consequence and trauma. I'm not saying these changes don't benefit adoptees. I am simply stating that they are not a "cure." And their development has the potential to backfire by placing another layer of unrealistic expectation on not only adoptees, but on adoptive parents and original mothers.
The availability of camps or searches, etc. does not inevitably mitigate or counteract the pain and loss that come with being adopted. Yet, I think there can be this perception, this unspoken expectation that the newer generation of adoptees has it all and should be free of the heartache and trouble that can characterize the experience of earlier generations of adoptees like myself.
"We know so much more now than we did before..." This is true.
But what we know needs to be managed in a way that continues to acknowledge and validate adoptees--both earlier and newer generations--not to obligate or consign adoptees to more of the same.
The goal of "progress," in this case, is not the eradication of loss and grief--that's completely unreasonable--but rather a prevalent, sincere acknowledgment and understanding of the loss and grief (and the accompanying suffering and hardship) that reaches so far and so deeply that it it is viewed not as anomaly or neurosis but rather as the norm--not to allow the suffering to overtake us but that it is finally met with the compassion and acceptance that grief and pain long for and need in order to heal...
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John Raible wrote a series of entries that happens to relate to what I discussed above.