Sunday, April 10, 2011

Uh-oh, I'm an angry adoptee!

I'm so sick of the mantra that tells me, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, you have your losses, but c'mon, ultimately, adoption is wonderful! It saves children from orphanages, and it saved you and gave you a great life. So, c'mon, stop with the doom and gloom and admit the glories of adoption!"

Why am I supposed to rejoice over being adopted? Why does the fact that I have a great life discount and make negligible the pain and grief I experience? (And get a clue, people, the pain and grief never end, okay? Please, please, please, get that through your happy, cheery skulls. Please.)

Yes, I am blessed. I have a beautiful son, a wonderful husband, overall a great family (or families)--a really awesome life. That's one side of the inifinitely-sided adoptee experience. I also have a really sad, awfully complicated life with families that are divided and built upon loss, tragedy, and grief.

Why is it so inconceivable that I could love the life I have but hate how that life came to me? (ie, via adoption)

For those who focus solely on adoption "saving orphans from orphanages." You miss the point.

I get to keep my son because, why? Because I have the full support of not only my family, but of my society, culture, and if I needed it, even my government (well, I know some of that is being somewhat threatened, but that's not the focus of this blog).

My Omma--she didn't have any of that. She didn't have the support of her family and neither of her society nor culture, and, puh, certainly, not of her government. That's why orphanages exist--because she was not only too poor and alone, but she was also too taboo.

So, please, get out of my face with your reasoning that international adoption fixes things. It only adds to the problem. It has kept Korea from taking on responsibility for its people for decades. It maintains a status quo that is detrimental to not only families but to entire societies and nations.

I understand that adoption will happen. But it happens way too much, and internationally, it should never have to happen. It's the result of laziness on the part of a nation and its people and government. It's the result of ignorance and arrogance on the part of those who propagate it. Orphanages and international adoption are too easy. And for those of you who think they're the best and only options. Please.

Talk to me once you've actually done the research. And don't quote the orphan stats to me before you understand how those stats are obtained and what they actually include (or exclude, for that matter).

I'm not even as versed and educated on all the details as some of my peers, but that's just the thing--it doesn't take much to know enough to know that international adoption is broken and flawed.

I'm sure I'll hear it for all this. But just as what I've now ranted, it won't be anything I haven't heard before and won't hear again.

Just had to get that off my chest...again, but this time I'm mad. In fact, yes, I'm ANGRY. I'm an angry adoptee. Watch out, people. I'm dangerous. I'm a threat. My pain and grief, my anger and hurt are eve-veel and unhealthy and pathological and scary and toxic. I am poisonous to listen to and should be deleted at once. I'm such a blemish on the representation of adoption's beautiful face, and we must add a disclaimer that I am not the "norm" and that I am to be pitied and patted.

That's just crapilicious, people. Sure is. And I'll eat it right up.*

*And for those of you who are reading my blog for the first time or have only read it superficially, please refer to this post--before you assume to know me and leave a scathing comment about how I must hate my family or must be a miserable excuse for a human being--to spare yourselves from making an "a**" out of "u and me." Thank you.


Jen said...

I just found your blog and think it is wonderful. Your perspective is imperative and will greatly inform my parenting. Keep on writing and being you!

Anonymous said...

Melissa - hugs - sometimes it makes me want to scream too.

All the "praise the / save the" rhetoric drives me batty...but somehow I can't avoid it - like watching a train wreck. The debacle that is happening in Ethiopia right now hurts as some still deny deny deny that any wrong adoptions are happening and have been happening for years...just continue wanting to know when "their" baby is going to come home.

And some of those people still have no clue what the orphan definition is, which is laughable as everyone could be deemed an orphan according to the state department at some point in their lives - for me I could identify many points and parts of the definition can be based on others assumptions of capabilities.

"A child may be considered an orphan for any of several reasons, including the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents; if a surviving parent or unwed mother is unable to properly care for the child, among other reasons as specified by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The term "orphan" is also used in non-Hague adoption cases."

Anonymous said...

one of the best bits of knowledge i have gained from "angry adoptees" that every adoptee feels loss.....when i brought my daughter she grew up in our house...i was so thankful she wasn't the violent RAD child the agencies scare you with....she was quiet and self contained...i thought and assumed it was all her wasn't until i began reading blogs like yours that i had a breakthrough with myself as an adoptive parent and with her....she was now at an age where she could verbalize she missed her china mommy...that she hated me for taking her away from china..she could speak to me about this pain she had bottled up inside since birth.....that quiet daughter is now my non-stop always talking beautiful little flower....but even though she has blossomed i know she still hurts sometimes....and the hurt will never go away.....i cringe when fellow adoptive parents tell me their child never brings up losing their first family....that their adopted child is fine.....because i was that mom....and now i know differently...what if i would have waited for my daughter to come to me with her pain?...what if i continued to assume it was all personality?..that scares the hell out of me for her....i would have failed her miserably!!!......she is only 6 and just recently could tell me how she doesn't like it when i talk adoption with others in front of her or her adopted brave she is!!!! so thank and other adoptees have saved her from my unenlightened parenting....


Real Daughter said...

Anyone who isn't angry about all they lost through adoption has no soul.

Keri, thank you for acknowledging your daughter's bravery. She is a brave little girl. Most of us never dare to speak our truth at that tender young age. Your daughter rocks!

birthmothertalks said...

Hugs to you!!I don't know your pain but I do know the pain of not being allowed to be my child's mother because there wasn't any support from my family

Haley said...

Melissa, I am an AP who counts your voice as absolutely invaluable and necessary for me to hear and keep hearing. I am glad you are finally in a place to speak out, tell the truth, and be real. What's the point of listening to adoptees if they are just playing the propaganda game you mention in a previous post? Keep it real and keep it coming!

Von said...

One of the best posts you've ever done and you've done a few!!! Every word the truth, so listen up people and get real.

Von said...

Try this

Amanda Woolston said...

We'll be angry together :-)

When people call me an "angry adoptee" I now just simply say "if you're not angry, you're not paying attention."

Loss, poverty, stigma, taboo, women, children, and family rights injustices....aren't those things people SHOULD be angry about?

You go girl ((hugs))

Anonymous said...

As an outsider (meaning non-Korean) it seems that Korean women need a serious liberation movement. Single mothers were absolutely compelled into giving up their own children before there was a movement for women's (and their children's) rights in the U.S. I read a study recently that gave gender equality ratings to countries around the world and South Korea had by far the worst equality ranking of all the rich countries. Only recently has sex selection abortion declined in South Korea. And the South Korean government's "solution" to international adoption is to promote domestic adoption. Domestic adoptions in South Korea are disrupted or dissolved 66% of the time; 2/3rds of the children are returned to state care!!! (Probably because of opposition to adoption from the would-be grandparents.) What does this do to the children?! South Korea cannot claim poverty for not supporting it's children. If single motherhood is incompatible with "tradition," then that tradition needs to change. Exploitation of women and children in the name of "tradition" is still exploitation.

Anonymous said...

i love this (and you) so much i could just cry.

Von said...

Amanda what a great retort!

girl4708 said...

Being pathologized as an angry adoptee has been a bizarre experience.

At first I was soooo careful about others' feelings and perceptions, and then I saw that they didn't seem to give me the same consideration.

And then I had to ask myself, am I angry? Well, maybe I am. Why shouldn't I be? Wouldn't they be angry in the same situation?

And then I claimed anger as my own and people were scared.

And then I tried to turn it into a positive use of my righteous energies. I added "righteous" in front of "angry."

Well you know what? It didn't break me like people thought it would. And, despite the tragedies I've found peace.

And you know what else? You can be beautiful AND angry. You can be at peace and STILL be righteous. You can disagree with the whole patriarchal, women-exploiting, self-serving, identity-destroying, baby-coveting, white supremacist, hypocritical, profiteering, charlatan, entitled and patronizing world and YES have brains too.

Our purpose for being adopted might have once been to validate our adopters' world view and self image, but our purpose for being today is beyond them and their wants and their desires

It's time for you and your family and your family's future. Be true to your own voice and let the chips fall where they may, because our truth is the only thing nobody can take away from us.

Reena said...

The most likely reason my daughters were in the position to be adopted is because their family lives in a country where the government oppresses its citizenry to such an extent that basic family planning decisions cannot be made by the parents.

More specifically, women have an even lesser voice.

This truth angers me and the looks I often get from people when I talk about it also angers me.

As Amanda said, this is a reality that people should be angry about!

The Byrd's Nest said...

I won't pretend to be able to know how you feel Melissa...that would be just silly. BUT my little ones have anger...lots of anger and I grieve along side of them. Their losses are big and my heart breaks for them and for you. So (((hugs))) my dear friend. I tell my girls all the time that it's okay to be have every right to be angry.

Michelle said...

Cheering here. Excellent post.

Mila said...

@ girl 4708- "...because our truth is the only thing nobody can take away from us..."

You know that's right, yo.

@ Linda & Keri- "Your daughter rocks!"

I second that.

@ Anonymous- "South Korea cannot claim poverty for not supporting it's children. If single motherhood is incompatible with 'tradition,' then that tradition needs to change."

Can I get an amen! Right on point. Yes, yes, yes.

@ Amanda- "Loss, poverty, stigma, taboo, women, children, and family rights injustices....aren't those things people SHOULD be angry about?"

Can I get another amen, yo!

@ Sona- Well, then, we can cry together...and then let's go kick down the walls together! ;)

Yoli said...

Very well said.

Anonymous said...

Bravo! Adoptee's can have wonderful lives, and still feel ripped off! We are expected to be thankful for being thrown into a world where we can not 'mirror' ourselves to anyone who is a genetic match. Searching for your 'own kind' is one of the most basic instincts, and adoptees are expected to spend their lives saying a polite 'thank you' for the stealing of it all.