[Originally written on 4.19.2010]
This past weekend, I visited with an adoptive parent group and a group of mentors about my adoption experience. I was very refreshed by their openness and their willingness to listen. It is uplifting and consoling to know that their are people out there who want to get it, who are willing to open their minds and hearts to take the time to educate themselves. High five.
When I encounter parents and others who are so willing to make efforts to learn and to understand, it also makes me question why there still remain so many parents and people in general who refuse to do the same. It's comparable to, say, the well-known fact that driving while drunk is incredibly hazardous and potentially fatal not only for the drunk driver but for those on the road with him or her--but people, against their better judgement, still choose to drive drunk anyway. Despite the statistics, people make the choice every day to get in a car while intoxicated. They choose to ignore the very real and known facts and consequences of doing so.
We're all human, and we've all made poor decisions, even when presented with sound knowledge that such a decision might result in harmful or detrimental consequences to ourselves and those around us. Yet the idea is that we hopefully learn enough from such mistakes to begin to humble ourselves in order to listen, even when we'd rather not, because we know that someone else might have wisdom that we do not.
I know I can sound like a broken record, but I repeat myself hoping that those who might doubt the insight that adult adoptees offer will eventually begin to listen.
I think part of the reason I have such a hard time when I encounter adoptive parents who do not acknowledge the losses of being adopted and all the grief and pain that inherently accompany such losses is that I take it personally.
I take it personally, because it’s as though their refusal to acknowledge the reality of the trauma their child has experienced is a refusal to acknowledge the truth of the experience of all the adult adoptees that have been brave enough and vulnerable enough to shed light upon the otherwise neglected hardships of being adopted.
It’s almost as though these people are calling me, and my fellow adoptees, liars.
And it’s not as though I didn’t once think like some of these adoptive parents or the general public. If you had spoken with my fifteen year old self, or even a few years later had a conversation with my twenty-five year old self, you would have walked away thinking that I had no desire whatsoever to know my biological parents, and even more so that being adopted had caused me no harm or issue.
Despite what you may think, I did not always think the way that I do now. And the way I think now is not because I’m an apple that went rotten.