Thursday, July 14, 2011

Quotes from Adult Adoptees

Excerpted from the blog post, "What's the point?" by Mei-Ling at her blog, Exile of Xingnan:

Because yes, “the desire of a woman wanting to be a parent overrides the validity of a woman who can’t support her child.” Because everyone is selfish in adoption, and no one does anything solely for charity (much like the real world). I’m not saying their selfishness is wrong – I’m saying it’s seen as more valid than those who do not get what they want. If people want to adopt, unless they don’t pass the requirements their desire for adopting won’t be any less. They will still adopt, and it will be seen as more valid than those who are left behind, those families of origin who want their families.

That’s the point. There is no balance. There is no change. All the cycle does is continue.

That’s why I’m starting to think adoptive parent allies wouldn’t work.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Use your privilege, I won't be a kid forever"

For any last minute takers, Dr. John Raible, an adult adoptee and adoptive parent, is doing a webinar, "Adoptees as parents," hosted by the group, Adoptees Have Answers. Here's his own description of the webinar that will take place tomorrow:

I promise you, this presentation will be thought-provoking, if not controversial. I will share my latest thinking about the sometimes tense relations between adoptees and parents, and the advantages of being a parent AS an adoptee. I’ll also be discussing strategies for how parents can take on ally behaviors from a social justice perspective. And I’ll address how we adoptees need allies, and why they are so hard to find. Together we will explore: Can parents really be allies to their adopted children? What is an ally anyway?

Sounds like fun, huh? So if you haven’t already registered, now is the time! Click here.

I give up: "Disaster Highlights Plight of Japanese Orphans"

Disaster Highlights Plight of Japanese Orphans

Honestly, there are times I just want to choke and give up.

It's all so stinkin' complicated, and my brain and heart just feel like they're going to explode when I read articles like the one above.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Family or care? I want to explore this question.

Please chime in on this discussion with your perspective, particularly if you grew up in foster care/institutional setting, are an adoptee, and/or work/have worked in a social work or institutional setting. It's a worthy & complex discussion that demands insight from all parties involved. I, myself, am very interested to hear what you all have to say regarding Margie's question.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New adoption law puts family preservation first

"National Assembly passes law reform bill reflecting the voices of adoptees, birth parents and single moms"

To read what Jane Jeong Trenka, TRACK President; Tammy Ko Robinson, Professor, Hanyang University; Kim Stoker, ASK Representative wrote in response to the new adoption legislation in Korea, click here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oh when the saints come marching in...

(I actually wrote this in 2010, about a year ago, but never published it...since I'm low on time these days, I decided what the heck, I'll go ahead with it...for those of you who might have noticed, I accidentally published it a couple days ago under the original date...)

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Adoptive Parents who work as allies to adoptees.

I appreciate those who are willing to admit to and face the harder realities of adoption. I appreciate AP's who educate not only themselves but others about the pitfalls and flaws. I am glad for those who are not too timid to speak up on behalf of adoptees.

And yet, as I surf the adoption community blogosphere, something that stands out to me repeatedly is how much attention and focus are given to Adoptive Parents. Not only is there a high volume of traffic on these blogs, but they're the ones to whom other adoptive parents turn, always the ones presenting and speaking at adoption conferences and the like, always the ones whose two cents are valued like gold...

And to a certain degree, rightfully so.

But what bothers me is not that adoptive parent blogs thrive in massive numbers or that adoptive parents are presenting and speaking at conferences--but that adult adoptees are not equally represented.

It's not about jealousy, folks. Please. It's about that ever-present imbalance, neglect, ignorance--whatever you want to call it--that favors, turns to, addresses, focuses on the Adoptive Parent over the Adoptee.

I know a lot of great adoptive parents. Their level and depth of understanding and insight comfort and inspire me.

But they are not my voice. They are not the ones I want representing me as an adult adoptee. I want to represent me. I want other adult adoptees to represent me, to represent themselves.

Of course, AP's know what it's like to be an adoptive parent. But Adoptive Parents will never know what it's like to be an Adoptee (unless, of course, they happen to an adoptee who has also adopted...).

When it comes to how adoption affects the adopted person, when it comes to the adoptee psyche and experience, when it comes to what life is like as an adoptee on a daily basis--in school, at work, in the grocery store, out at a restaurant, etc.--Adoptive Parents are not the experts. They're simply not the ones with the expertise who should be educating each other on what adoptee life is like, about the realities of adoption, and its effects on the adopted person.

Not that they can't learn and therefore, become allies to adoptees and to a certain degree advocate and educate. But the fact that adoptive parents are the ones tapped on the shoulder when it comes to educating others or speaking to others or addressing the media's questions, etc., etc. just makes me more than a little frustrated.

And it's not like this subject hasn't been addressed before. I'm not the first to recognize it or blog about it.

But when the heck is it going to CHANGE?

When will adult adoptees finally be recognized as the voices to which to listen? When will adult adoptees finally be the primary educators when it comes to the adoption experience. When will adoptive parents take the back seat and stop driving the vehicle?

Why is it so maddeningly difficult to make our voices, as adult adoptees, not only heard, but established, and not as some cutesy, tear-jerker speaker, but as a valid, serious, primary expert on the adoptee experience?

It doesn't matter what we do--whether we get angry or get nice, whether we scream or we cry, whether we speak softly or harshly--we're still patronized, not taken seriously, treated like children, heard but not listened to, acknowledged but only in a superficial, condescending way--like patting a child on the head and saying, "There, there, now..."

I'm so stinkin' tired of always trying to get out of the shadows. I'm so tired of trying to prove that our voices are valid, are worthy, are necessary.

It makes me want to stab my eyes out. Okay, sorry, that's a bit extreme.

But, seriously.

Those AP's who happen to stumble upon or read an adult adoptee blog once or twice every month or so are lauded as progressive--patting themselves on the backs.

Puh-lease. Give me a break.

I don't mean to sound like an insensitive jerk. But I'm just feeling so fed up these days, and weary...

But I'll keep chuggin' and pluggin' because my dang relentless nature won't let me do otherwise....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Why tracking living kin is ethically necessary

From the blog, Rileys in Uganda, Keren Riley shares in her post, "For Little Hearts to Heal," about two siblings who had been removed from their mother and placed in institutional care for 15 months even though their father and grandmother are alive and desperately requested to care for them, but simply lacked the resources to retrieve them. (Please read the original post for the full context):

...the children's father visited the "orphanage" to see his children for the first time in 15 months and then he visited again today bringing along the children's Grandmother...I spent quite a lot of time with these two children in the early days and witnessed countless Western visitors wanting to adopt the little boy who always had a smile on his face. I would always tell them that he had a sibling and that would usually quickly turn them off the idea. Thank goodness nobody adopted them...

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt over the last few months is that not all children in "orphanages" are orphans, that they weren't all abused and unwanted. There are many examples of miscarriages of justice going on in the "orphanage" business and unfortunately, business is what it often is. If only "orphanages" started tracing these children's families and finding birth parents/extended family members who were given the chance to look after them and love them, then the landscape of institutional care would look very different here.

How can you say that these children's families don't want them, if nobody is even looking for them or giving them the chance?