What I learn from adult adoptees

NOTE: You can leave your comment at the end of the post (down where it says “Like This” and “Replies”).

It’s your turn, dear readers! I invite you to send me your answers to the following questions:

What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?

What have you learned?

How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

How does it make you a better person?

I really need to know. Reply and I will post your responses.

Also, it will be helpful to know if you wear any of these hats:

–youth adoptee

–adult adoptee

–adoptive parent

–birth parent

–brother or sister of an adoptee

–social worker in adoption/foster care

–youth in foster care

–foster parent

–another connection to adoption and foster care (please let me know what it is)

I anxiously await your responses…You don’t have to use your name, either. And thanks in advance!

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29 thoughts on “What I learn from adult adoptees

  1. What I learn from adult adoptees: Answering your questions!

    What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees?

    An amazing opporutunity to get more information on the experience of an adoptee on all issues such as adoptee issues, adoptee rights, racial identity, etc. Every experience is different but the more I can read and talk to adult adoptees the more I can relate and help my kids process their adoption and assist them in any way needed. I have people I can ask questions to, that I can connect my kids with, people who get it.

    What have you learned?

    That adoption isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. I knew there was pain and issues and coersion but I had no idea how deep and infiltrated it is with agencies etc. I read a variety of adult adoptee blogs and blogs by moms who have placed their children for adoption and linking the two views together had helped me put together a better understanding of the world of adoption and the truth of it all.


    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    Enlightened. The things that they are sharing, the things that they have gone through have given me a basis on which to help parent my children. In this day in age, having all of these resources at the tip of my fingers is an amazing gift that every adoptive parent should take advantage of. I grew up with an adopted sister and we never discussed any of these issues, feelings, experiences at all until now. We grew up not disucssing adoption and doing sometihng cultural (she’s korean) was having Mondu at Christmas time and going to Korean culture camp one week for two summers. Her experiences and discussions now are invaluable to me.

    Reading the blogs also makes me feel frustrated and sad that there is so many issues, coercion, etc. The birth certificate issue I still don’t understand. When we did our first adoption and they said we couldn’t have a copy of her original birth certificate and it was a completely open adoption I was crushed. We had full names, addresses, full disclosure so why couldn’t we see the birth certificate that had this information on it, and why did it need to be changed. I had assumed that our adoption decree would be just an addendum to her original birth certificate, through out the adoption process they didn’t tell us (until we figured it out at court) that it would list us as giving birth to her. We are blessed to have open adoptions (one very open, one less open) where our kids will know their bio families and can ask questions, and have strong bonds already formed.

    How does it make you a better person?

    Had I not figured out the realities of adoption and especially transracial adoption I wouldn’t have been able to parent my kids to the best of my abilities. To give them opportunities to discuss and work through these issues. To support them in their relationships with their biological families. To connect them with other adoptees, other transracial adoptees. And would not have understood the importance of surrounding yourself with people who look like your children and incorporating those things into your life. Culture is not a once a year event but should be your everyday normal.

    Hats I am wearing :):
    –adoptive parent
    –sister of an adoptee

    I will never be the perfect parent but I can try my hardest to help my kids process adoption, loss. Adoption is viscerally painful which is something I did not understand until we brought our children home and met their bio families. (my kids are now 3 & 4)

  2. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees?

    The good, the bad & the ugly. Glimpses into some adoptees lives (a big gift). A bigger picture, a heads-up on what my son may be thinking/feeling/needing. Much needed & valued criticisms of adoption, of a-parents (me!) and associated issues (transracial family, gender stereotyping, cultural expectations, racism, etc). Both practical & philosophical.

    What have you learned?

    That I know very little (first step) but that I can learn, I can listen, I can support (second step), that I need to step out of my comfort zone & how that might be done. What totally unconditional love means & what I can (& have to) strive to be for my child (third step). How to be a conscious & intentional a-parent (a long & erratic journey). Reinforcement that it is not about me but about my child, to take cues from him and when possible, & invited, to go where he needs me to go.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    Sad, alarmed, overwhelmed, fearful, guilty, chastened, enlightened, committed, amazed, uplifted, hopeful.

    How does it make you a better person?

    . . . understanding that I can be a better person, a better a-parent & how I might begin to do this. That it is all about my son, and how our relationship can support him on his journey. Blogs like yours give me invaluable & precious insights that otherwise I would not have. To strive to be silent & listen. To be open.

    – adoptive parent
    – cousin of two adoptees

    Thank you.

  3. As an adult adoptee or rather more a senior adoptee these days I get a great deal of information from your blog and that of other adoptees. Ideas about attitudes, what is going on in adoptionland and information about the crazy world of American adoption.I feel part of the international community of adoptees through my contacts, which has been very affirming, comforting and validating.

    I have gained support, encouragement and strength from my own blogging and have welcomed the opportunity to tell it how it is.Having the opportunities to express the authenticity of being a bastard and what that means in the current climate of adoption in my country has been welcome.In my State the apology for forced adoption will be on June 13th, worked hard for and sweated over, we adoptees have endured bullying, abuse and ridicule from the mothers of Origins and have been acknowledged, heard and validated by our Senators.It has been an amazing time of progress, a landmark for all adoptees.Having the support ogf adopteees around the world has been vital at times and often come through blog posts and comments.Facebook too has been essential..
    I have 12 adoptees in my wider family both in and out, transnational and domestic most the subject of forced adoption.

  4. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees?

    It prepares me for the criticism I will receive in the real world. It makes me more careful about promoting adoption.

    What have you learned?

    That there is lots of controversy in the adoption world. That the criticism is going to come at adoptive parents from every angle imaginable. That vocal adult adoptees are often angry. That a significant percentage of the public disapproves of transracial adoptions and they will forever criticise, inspect, and condemn my family regardless of anything I do.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    Generally it makes me depressed. I try not to read too often. I prefer to spend time with adult adoptees in real life, who tend to be more gentle and realistic.

    How does it make you a better person?

    I’m not sure that it does. I’d like to say that it opens my eyes and makes me more empathetic, but that’s not really true.

    Who am I?

    I’m a foster parent hoping to be an adoptive parent to my foster son. Our adoption will be classified as an open transracial domestic adoption through the state.

  5. I like reading your blog because you say things that are kinda harsh but true. You are putting my feelings in words. I feel I am not alone. Because now I know there is a huge adoptee community out there. Its very cool because they are speaking out for people like me and for all adoptees. Thank you for writing the truth about transracial adoption.

    From a almost adult adoptee

  6. Starting with the hats I wear, I am the partner of an adoptee and we are foster and now adoptive (through foster care) parents. We have an open and active relationship with our adopted daughter’s family, though we did not while she was in foster care with us and our visitation was limited by the courts.

    What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?

    I think of them as adding diversity to my understanding of the range of adoptee experiences so that rather than generalize from my partner (or some adoptee blogger) I’m seeing a variety of approaches and beliefs and responses to life.

    What have you learned?

    This will be hopelessly non-specific, but I like thinking of myself in relation to adoptive parents when reading, not as a contest but as a way to really evaluate what I would do and how/why/when. I also just really enjoy reading about the lives and thoughts of many of the adoptee bloggers I read.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    I mostly feel encouraged, or at least exhorted to do better, but sometimes reading about sadness and injustice makes me sad too.

    How does it make you a better person?

    I think awareness of problems in adoption have made me push harder for fairness and justice in my daughter’s specific case and in foster care/adoption/kinship care in general. Reading first parent blogs encouraged me to reach out to my partner’s first mother (her only living parent) in a way that ended up bringing the two of them to a better understanding and more positive relationship. I am a better foster/adoptive parents because of the adoptees, first parents, foster parents, adoptive parents I know through their blogs because they make me think.

  7. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees?

    As an adoptive parent I realize my daughter may be afraid to share her deepest feelings. Blogs like this one show me what she may be feeling and allows me to be open with her to empower her to realize her true feelings.

    What have you learned?

    That what my daughter most needs is honesty, openness, and understanding from me. That she needs to be told that she feels the way she does and that its okay to feel this way. That her feelings are normal and that she has the right to feel any way she wants. As a parent I want to “fix” everything, but somethings cannot be fixed but instead must be simply accepted.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    Depends on the topic and the writer. Some make me say “huh”, others make me say “huh?”, still others make me cry at the thought that my daughter may some day confront a similar situation, a few make me roll my eyes, and every once in a while I feel mad. I’m always looking at them as a peek into what my daughter may potentially feel, but reading these blogs I also recognize that different adoptees feel different things and are at different stages in their grief.

    How does it make you a better person?

    I’m not sure it makes me a better person. Sometimes reading these blogs make me feel like a really bad person. I read them for my daughter because I feel like she needs me to understand this stuff.

    Adoptive parent
    My niece is also adopted

  8. I am an adoptive parent, granddaughter of an adoptee (family adoption); cousin to more than one adoptee who was relinquished out of our family (for reasons of child abuse and neglect); sister-in-law to an adult adoptee.

    What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees?

    I read quite a few blogs written by Adult Adoptees and all are enlightening. These blogs provide me with knowledge about how they, and my children as the grow; encounter society and how society will treat them.

    What have you learned?

    I have learned how much being an adoptee shapes one’s identity and that our society still has such a long way to go in terms of not demoralizing people who are adopted. I had no idea that OBC were sealed from Adoptees, or still altered to show that the adoptive parents are the people who gave birth.

    I had not ever thought about how our current day adoption practices for newborns are still coercive and manipulative.

    I learned that open adoption agreements are not legally enforceable.

    I have learned to tune-in more to the media and its representation of different races and ethnicities, adoption, gays and lesbians, etc. and how these representations are viewed by adoptees.

    I have learned that in my position as a white adoptive parent to children of color, that it is important for me to listen to the views of others in the adoption mosaic—listen without judgment or becoming defensive and to be supportive.

    I have learned that while there are some adoptive parents who are willing to listen with an open mind and heart—it seems that many more do the opposite, which makes me cringe. I have learned where the term Adoptoraptor comes from.

    Mostly, I think I have learned to be more compassionate.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    I often feel a variety of emotions. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable because of what is being written—is there a glimmer of myself in the unpleasant situation an adoptee is writing about regarding his/her adoptive parent.

    I may feel uncomfortable because of what the Adoptees is experiencing; a hard reality that I don’t want for my children to experience, but realize that they will and the best I can do is prepare them to handle it.

    Depending on what is written, I may feel sad, angry, happy, or hopeful.

    I feel grateful to the Adoptees who blog—for opening their lives, feelings, emotions, fears, triumphants. They open themselves despite criticisms they may receive.

    How does it make you a better person?

    I think reading blogs written by adoptees makes me more compassionate in general. It enables me to view different situations from views other than that as the parent (as best as can be done from the sidelines—so to speak).

    I have learned that I cannot really understand all of the feelings an Adoptee feels about their adoption and that this is OK. What really matters is that I instill in my children that it is OK for them to feel whatever emotions they feel, their emotions are valid, and that I will always be there for them.

    I feel reading these blogs improves my ability to parent and I am grateful to all the Adoptees who open a portion of their lives by blogging.

  9. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?

    Insight

    What have you learned?

    How many in the triad feel. And what needs to be addressed in my writing on my blog American Indian Adoptees.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    Empowered and less alone.

    How does it make you a better person?

    I strive to be clear and reading helps. Not every adoptee is angry as some wrote, but it is time for the adoptee to be in the dialogue openly, angry or not. (I heard you at MIT a few years ago John – and it was by far the best presentation I heard.)

    I’m an Adult Adoptee in reunion with my natural father’s family
    Trace A. DeMeyer/Lara Hentz

  10. I feel what most of the of the adoptive parents who have responded so far have said, but I will try not to be too repetitive. My husband and I are prospective adoptive parents currently pursuing a open domestic adoption, and while we are white (or rather, I am white and he is white and Asian, but is commonly perceived as white), we are also considering transracial adoption. I am also a CASA for kids in the foster care system, and I believe strongly in the importance of keeping children with their parents if possible and if not, somewhere within their extended family of origin if at all possible.

    What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?

    A perspective that I can’t possibly have, having been raised in my family of origin. When we started contemplating adoption, I went first to adoptive parent blogs but the most interesting issues that they raised to me were those that really required an adoptee’s voice. I also started noticing that adult adoptees (particularly when they raised issues that could be perceived as critical to adoptive parents) were being vilified and demeaned for speaking about their experiences on adoptive parent blogs. I then became much more selective and wary about what I was reading, and I now tend to read adult adoptee blogs and those from first mothers who are interested in pursuing adoptee rights and reform in adoption industry practices. While some of these bloggers will certainly never approve of our pursuit of infant adoption or of a transracial adoption to boot, no matter how we do it, I find their commentary incredibly eye opening and challenging for us. We want to do this the absolute best way we can. We want to raise a child to be a confident, capable, and fully emotionally and socially integrated adult, so we owe it to them to read what people who have lived through the experience of being adopted can tell us.

    What have you learned?

    We have learned that we have a lot to learn and it will never stop. Adoption isn’t, as Jess said above, all rainbows and unicorns. It’s also not over and done, ever. This often comes as a surprise to people (like us) who were not personally touched by adoption and who didn’t question the hegemonic cultural understanding about adoption – that it is a “loving act” by prospective adoptive parents and a “willing birthmother” who are “giving” a “needy child” a home. I think reading adult adoptee blogs shattered that naive and self-serving viewpoint and forever complicated our view of it. I know it changed the way we would pursue adoption, the agency we chose, and the choices we are making about whether to accept a placement in which all other avenues other than adoption weren’t going to be exhausted.

    We learned that have to be prepared to honor and encourage our child’s own journey to discover who they are (and some of that involves understanding their family of origin) and to help them cope with the loss that is inevitable with being adopted. If we do indeed adopt transracially, we are signing on for something that will be hard and uncomfortable sometimes for both us and our child. We were wavering for a while over whether it was ethical AT ALL to consider adoption, but we’ve learned since about ways in which we can do our dead level best to ensure that our adoption is handled transparently and ethically with respect to both the family of origin and our child. We’ve also found some really important moral support for holding our ground on this issue – because it’s shockingly easy to remain naive and blind to questionable practices. We were also wavering about transracial adoption, not because we weren’t willing, but primarily because we think it’s almost always easier for a child to be raised in a community of origin if they cannot be raised in a family of origin. Your writings in particular helped us decide that we could do this, but it would be hard and meaningful work and that we must seek support and knowledge and be humble about this at all stages of our child’s life.

    I’ve also come to the conclusion, thanks to adult adoptee blogs, that I am absolutely against any kind of secrecy involving adoption. I detest that birth certificates are amended and OBCs [Original Birth Certificates] are shielded. I am going to do everything in my power to get my child’s OBC for them as soon as I can (in my state, as long as the first parents do not actively request secrecy, it will be available to me and their first parents before they are 21 and to my child when he/she turns 21) and I am fast becoming an active supporter of adoptee rights. My future child will be an adult one day and will be a citizen like all others and should not be treated by the state as if he/she is a child perpetually. Even if my child can have the OBC because I got it for them and their first family didn’t deny that right, doesn’t take away from the inherent unfairness that others could not.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    Enlightened and prepared. I am also thankful that people would be willing to put out their deepest feelings and difficulties out in public. I know they aren’t doing it for me (the potential adoptive parent), but that doesn’t lessen the contribution that it makes. It makes me really mad when I see adoptive parents or others diminish or demean adult adoptees because they don’t like what they have to say. I keep imagining my child being slapped down like that for speaking their truth and I get angry.

    But, I have to be honest – I also sometimes get defensive when I read these blogs, because there are plenty of adult adoptees who will never agree with our decision to adopt at all. For me, my defensiveness is a HUGE clue that I need to step back and examine myself. Sometimes I find that I am in the wrong – and for that I am INCREDIBLY thankful because in some cases it has changed our decisions about adoption before we started the process. Sometimes I find that this person and I are just not going to agree. I largely refrain from commenting at all on blogs where I disagree because I don’t want to be that same person who is dismissing adoptee viewpoints. I just take my lumps and move on. And I am thankful all over again that the internet provides me this glimpse into perspectives. One day it will provide my child a glimpse into those same perspectives. Maybe he or she will really disagree with us and what we did. Obviously, we hope this will not be the case. But I won’t keep my kid in “adoption fog” or try to make them see things from my perspective and I won’t try to protect myself from their feelings by squashing their expression of them. There are things that I truly disagree with my parents about, at a basic and fundamental level. These are important things, and none of us WANT to be on different sides about it. But we don’t try to emotionally blackmail each other into agreeing with me. I won’t do that to my child either, and so I want to prepare myself as much as possible for the places in which our perspectives might be different.

    How does it make you a better person?

    I don’t reading these blogs make me a better person, per se. I am just the woman I am. But I’ve long had a personal philosophy about epistemic openness (thanks, college philosophy professor), and I think THAT is key to being a better person living a well-examined life. You have to be willing to accept new information and change your mind. You have to listen to others, even when you don’t want to hear what they are saying. And the best and quickest way to do that is to surround yourself with people who challenge your easy assumptions. That challenge hurts – A LOT – sometimes. Adult adoptee blogs are the best challenge to me as I start this journey of parenthood and adoption. I appreciate them immensely. Thank you for writing one, and please know that I value it, it has challenged me and that challenge has directly affected my behavior and attitudes toward my future adoption and my future child.

  11. Pingback: Renegade in Adoption, John Raible, Wants to Hear From You! « Land of Gazillion Adoptees

  12. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?
    Catharsis. A sense of universality. Mutual aid in working through difficult experiences. Validation. Friendship. An opportunity to see adoption and what being adopted is like outside of my own experience.

    What have you learned?
    That I am not alone. That I have an opportunity to help other adult adoptees be heard.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    Ambivalent. Empowered. Validated.

    How does it make you a better person?

    I have learned a lot from other adoptees. Listening to others with a shared experience has helped me become more aware. When it comes to issues of grief, difference, and loss, it would be easy to let it consume me. Working together and for other adoptees provides me with the opportunity to turn that negative energy into a positive outlet.

    My hats?

    I am a reunited adult adoptee of monoracial, domestic, infant adoption. I am the adopted daughter of a non-traditional adoptee lite. I am the adopted granddaughter of an adult adoptee. I am the biological granddaughter of an adult adoptee. I am the niece of a surrendering mother. I am related, indirectly, by marriage by former owners and operators of a private, international adoption facilitation/matching agency.

  13. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?
    Catharsis. A sense of universality. Mutual aid in working out adoption-related issues.

    What have you learned?

    That I am not alone. That the adopted experience extends past what I feel, know, understand, and have seen.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    Ambivalent. Validated. Empowered.

    How does it make you a better person?

    Understanding how to help other people who walk in similar shoes to mine, my listening to their voices, gives me a positive outlet for negative energy. It would be easy to be consumed by grief, loss, difference, and not feeling understood. Channeling that for good makes a difference.

    My hats?

    I am a reunited adult adoptee of monoracial, private, domestic, infant, closed adoption. I am the adopted daughter of a non-traditional adoptee lite. I am the adopted granddaughter of an adult adoptee. I am the biological granddaughter of an adult adoptee. I am the niece of a surrendering mother. I am indirectly related through marriage to the former owners and operators of an intercountry adoption matching/facilitation agency.

  14. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?
    I get new points of view & ways at looking at things.

    What have you learned?

    That a lot of adoptees and others, particularly those who are new to searching, are really in the dark about what really goes on in the world of adoption. They tend to believe a lot of the stereotypes, which are not the norm.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    Sometimes sad, sometimes empowered.

    How does it make you a better person?
    I’m an open records advocate, and you really can’t make a good argument for what you want if you don’t know a lot about it.

    I am an:
    –adult adoptee
    –sister of an adoptee

  15. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?

    I am always looking for shared and different experience of other adoptees, especially when I look at issues of race and the meanings given to race and the experience of children raised within those meanings, which don’t necessarily come from parents (although they can lie dormant), but many times come from within the dominant society in which we live.

    What have you learned?

    That there are surprisingly similar experiences and some very vivid differences. Although colonization has affected all of us to one extent or another, specifically with issues of race, indigenous transracial adoption has the added bonus of marginalization within our home territory; we then are the marginalized of the marginalized. So we get to learn “who we are” from the dominant society on a daily basis with emphasis on history, only. But the similarities are striking – the expectations, our roles in the family, what we have gained – social and cultural capitals; what we have lost – an unquestioned place of belonging.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    Connected.

    How does it make you a better person?

    More informed, and able to give myself knowledge with which to start new conversations with adoptees, adoptive parents, researchers, and people working to bring families together.

    I am an adult adoptee, met my birth family nearly twenty years ago, still trying to find ways to mend the fractures that appeared in our family and our communities. I am a researcher/activist on issues dealing with American Indian transracial adoption.

  16. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees?

    Knowledge, validation, comfort, friendship

    What have you learned?

    That our boat is big and I’m not alone in it and that we are an amazing group of highly intelligent, creative, interesting, humorous, thriving & surviving people!

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    Empowered and connected


    How does it make you a better person?

    Knowledge is powerful and you need it to advocate, feel more compassionate toward others points of view and more balanced/centered

    Hat: Adult adoptee

  17. What do I get from these blogs?

    Hope and insight into the thoughts and feelings of my two children adopted internationally. My hope is knowing that the road through the grief, comprehension of her & his story and the development into the person they will become, will be long and hard but well worth the fight. The insight is knowing that all the feelings expressed, all the wondering ideas thought by the adult adoptees are going on inside my childrens minds. I cannot wait for them to express these fellings freely to me. I must start the conversation first, making it safe for them to express themselves honestly without my feelings altering theirs. With my children being complete opposites, I need to remember that my son, who is very relaxed, will be thinking these thoughts eventhough he may not express them like his older, more intense, sister. I will need to “pick his brain” even more so.
    These experiences from the adult adoptees give me a starting point to begin conversations, wether it is a repeated one or a completely new line of thinking.

    What have I learned?

    That I still have a LOT to learn.

    How do the blogs make me feel?

    Full of questions and thankful that there are people writing so I can try and have some answers.

    Do the blogs make me a better person?

    I don’t know. My children will decide my fate on that. I just want to pass.

    My hat I wear, an adoptive Mom to two wonderful children transracially adopted internationally.

  18. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees?

    An idea of how my children might feel when they are grown; a change of perspective in many respects.

    What have you learned?

    – My children’s views regarding both their famlilies, and of adoption, may change multiple times over the years; and this process is entirely theirs.
    – Adoption was my choice (and their first family’s) for my children, and not theirs for themselves. So they might see its effects and dynamics from a very different perspective.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    That depends very much on the personal style of the blogger. There is so much diversity. Mostly, it makes me feel like I need to step back and reconsider things from a different angle. In some cases, I feel deep sympathy, and other times, I feel pretty irritated. It all depends.

    How does it make you a better person?

    I do not really believe reading can make me a better person. It educates me, at best, and it gives me ideas and impulses.

    Also, it will be helpful to know if you wear any of these hats:
    I am an adoptive mother of two internationally and transracially adopted boys.

  19. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees?

    A greater understanding of the range of experiences, including and especially what is not covered by agencies and/or the media. Also a stronger sense of the issues and conversations within the global adoptee community. Though the writers of the blogs will not likely have this same feeling, since we do not generally interact and I represent a demographic that is sometimes dismissed, I feel connected to people whose blogs I follow closely.

    What have you learned?

    —The ongoing need for parents (and social workers, society, etc.) to engage in listening to the adoptee community … not just the voices that say what they want to hear, but all of them.

    —The need for adoptive parents to ally with adult adoptees who are working for improvements and to be an active ally for their children from the beginning

    —The importance of finding common ground

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    Lately I have mostly been reading blogs of adoptees who seek radical reform or elimination of adoption programs because I want to better understand those issues. These pieces are often overwhelming and numbing. That is not a criticism … usually what is expressed needs to be said. I of course feel sad for the pain and loss experienced by some writers. I feel frustrated by the polarization that continues within and across segments of the community, polarization that often gets in the way of progress. There are people in every demographic who use labels and words to shut down conversation. Sometimes, I guess, it helps to vent that way but I wish it didn’t happen so often. We need to talk to make things better.

    How does it make you a better person?

    By nature I am one who wants to understand other viewpoints and perspectives; this reading has given me specific stories and facts that allow me to be more sensitive toward others and more prepared and empathetic in my relationships with family members. I also have a clearer opinion on some of the politics and issues related to the adoption community.

    Hats:

    Adoptive parent, sister, and aunt; friend to many adoptees and family members; community organization volunteer

  20. What do I get from reading blogs by adult adoptees?

    Insight. A better understanding off a view point I have not experienced myself. An understanding how every person deals with adoption differently.

    What have I learned?

    That it is time to change the cultural views and social systems that all but force women to relinquish their children.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    I’m not sure… depends on the content. Sometimes sad, as I read stories of adults who childhoods’ were hell. Thankful to those who share their stories – good and bad – so that I can learn and hopefully be a better parent. I often share the blogs with my 12 & 14 year old children.

    How does it make you a better person?

    Anytime one has the opportunity to become more aware and learn something new they grow as a person.

    My hats:

    Birth sister to 2 older siblings who were adopted out of my family.
    Adoptive mom to 2 children from Korea

  21. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees?

    I don’t spend much time reading them…sometimes it’s nice to know that people have the same experiences as I.

    What have you learned?

    Everyone has a past…mine’s just different and that’s alright. You don’t choose the hand you were dealt but you can choose how to live the life you were given. Didn’t need a blog to tell me that though :).

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    It’s interesting to see the different reactions to being adopted. It never needed to cripple anyone, it’s just part of who we are.

    How does it make you a better person?

    Being adopted taught me to accept the hand I was dealt and make the absolute best out of it. I learned that before I knew how to color inside lines and that take on life has gotten me to where I am today. Also…being eternally grateful for all my true parents have done for me… They made me who I am today and they don’t even know it. I live my life with gratitude, humility and kindness as paramount virtues.

    Some background on myself…I was adopted from South Korea when I was 5 months old and given to an amazing loving family who gave me a tight knit family setting to grow up in. I have one brother who is my parent’s biological child. I’m currently 23 years old and am graduating this spring with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. After college I plan on traveling to Korea to teach English and discover my roots. Maybe with all this blogging talk I’ll write one of my own.

    Please email me with any more questions or surveys…I would love to participate.

  22. Overall, I learn what to do and what not to do as an adoptive parent. I definitely get different perspectives on adoption as an industry and an experience. Reading so many different experiences reinforces my belief that no two adoptions are alike. Yet I also learn that there are a few universal feelings, such as an interest (sometimes a need) to know who one looks like.

    As for how reading adoptee blogs makes me feel, I usually feel like I’ve learned something new. Sometimes, I even feel enlightened.

    I think learning in general makes one a better person. I definitely feel better off for knowing some of what my children might be thinking or feeling at different times in their lives. I think some adoptive parents want to shut out older voices, because “our kids won’t be like that” but just because you have an open adoption doesn’t mean all of the issues go away. It’s important to listen to people who have been there, done that. Maybe some of what they say (write) won’t apply, maybe it will. Either way, you’ve learned something new, and have something to think about.

  23. Hi. I hope I’m not too late to this, but I wanted to give my input 🙂

    What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?

    — I like to read what other adoptees have to say about how they view their world and circumstances. It’s only pretty recently that I’ve been actively seeking out transracial adoptee perspectives, especially from adoptees who challenge the society they were raised in and the people who raised them. When I learn about what they think, I can consider my life in a different way. As an adoptee it’s pretty hard to find any empathetic voices or representation in the mainstream, so I’m glad I found the community of adoptees online to learn from.

    What have you learned?

    — By reading blogs (and other writing, including the book Outsiders Within) by older adoptees I’ve learned about how different adoptees handle different topics. Their writings inspire me to reflect on myself and learn more about who I am and what I have to offer. I’ve also learned facts, like statistics and history about adoption, which is nice to know when looking at the larger picture of adoption as an institution.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?

    — It makes me feel comforted. I’m happy that I can read accounts by people whose experiences are very similar to mine. Often they discuss difficult topics like race, family, society, and I feel like whatever they have to say I could learn from, because of their perspectives as adoptees like myself. It’s also interesting for me as a teen adoptee to see how adult adoptees decide to live and navigate society, and that makes me feel hopeful and curious about how I will grow up 🙂

    How does it make you a better person?

    — I don’t know if it makes me a better person, but I do think it makes me better, as a person, if that makes sense. I’ve improved on my skill to think critically about myself and society, and that skill helps me to function better as an individual. But I suppose it’s also made me a better person, as in a more considerate person, because I’m learning that the adoptee experience is diverse and I shouldn’t assume things about other adoptees.

    I’m a young-adult/teenage adoptee (18).

  24. I stumbled on your site as I’m having a sad day. It happens when you’re an adult adoptee. I haven’t read any of the blogs but I know what they say without reading any… I’ve been reading a while in order to find someone who understands how I FEEL. Who would want this??? As for me… Never in a million years would I want this or have chosen it, it is what it is though and I have to make the best of it. We reach out when we’re in pain, be it anger or depression or hopelessness or hope..

    I’m grateful for adoptee blogs, any. It’s the place I find “I’m not alone”. I didn’t choose to be an adoptee. It’s been rather a thorn in my side throughout my life. I hide it with a smile. I’ve always known to say “I’m grateful, though I wasn’t sure for what?” oh yes, “‘I’m grateful to be given such great parents (and I am truly grateful for that). But it’s always sounded strange to say that. Perhaps it’s because I don’t know any different? Perhaps I don’t know what the alternative would be. I was 2 months old when I was adopted. I know from my adoptive mother that I screamed when it was bath time. I know that I would scream at a certain time of day. My parents healed a baby that had trauma of some kind when I was a baby. They loved me unconditionally and I did become a swimmer:).

    I know I’ve suffered abandonment issues my entire life, when I didn’t know they were abandonment issues.

    I sought and got my original birth certificate. I have always had her name. But it was 1961 she was 15 years old sent to a home of unwed mothers. In those days it was common to write false information on legal records. Those were the times. There is no trace of her… from the best of the best in the locator business and my own trying to find out where I came from.

    I think there is some misconception about adoptees searching for our birth mothers. We’re not in general dismissing our adoptive mothers. We are driven to try to find out where WE came from, our roots (not the made up roots), our genealogy (not what we’re told but the truth); and our soul-drivin plight (for lack of a better explanation…) to have this dream called CLOSURE. It’s something we were never allowed to know. Like a dark secret.

    And I think many adoptees would agree with what I’m saying…. we’re not trying to disrupt a life. We know what it is like to be in pain, to not fit in, to hide behind a smile, to act like everything is ok when it is not. We know what it’s like to cross out all the pages of our family history on a doctors form and put in a big “?” with “Adopted”. We have many questions with no answers. We did not choose this… we just wanted to feel complete and a sense of belonging that we never felt.

    I’ll write in first person… I JUST WANTED TO FEEL COMPLETE and when I thought I had it beat, those insecure feelings would come back again… darnit.

    Thank you for blogging about us adoptees.. Today for no particular reason is a tough day…. I’ll get through it like I have before. An author Nancy Verrier who wrote “The Primal Wound-Understanding the adopted child” is the first person who validated my feelings…. when i could not. I’ll be forever grateful for her book “The Primal Wound” written to describe every feeling we’ve ever had as a child and as an adult. Every adoptee’s feelings is written to a T somewhere in the book.

  25. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?
    I read adult adoptees blogs because they are the only people who can tell me what it is like to be an adoptee. I read blogs of adults who were transracially adopted because my oldest daughter is multiracial and my younger children are black.

    What have you learned?
    I recently renewed my foster care license. One of the training videos I selected was by Robert O’Conner’s differentiating biculturalism with cultural tourism. His words immediately brought to mind a blog entry from many years ago called Happy Halloween. The article portrays a white child adopted internationally by a non-white family and describes the family’s attempts to help her keep in touch with her roots. Probably the thing that has most impacted me is trying to learn the difference between being a white family who has adopted black children and being a multicultural family. I don’t believe I have it quite right yet. My children have a lot of black friends; they are all children, all with white parents. My kids don’t really know any black adults. We were at a July 4th celebration and my daughter was fascinated by a black family. “The mom and dad are black too!” So, race becomes part of our family negotiations. Do I cut my son’s hair at home, take him to the local, ten minutes down the street barber or drive my son further to a barber who specializes in styles for African American men. Do we drive to the Haitian church on Sunday evenings (even if my kids hate it and would rather be home playing with their friends)? Does part of our summer vacation budget go to attend Haiti Camp? As a homeschool parent, how is my curriculum different or the same (particularly in regards to history) because my children are black. If I learned history from a Eurocentric model, how should our home be different? What are the great books that children of color should read? Who are their heroes?

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?
    I am usually am defeated by blogs written by adult adoptees. My oldest daughter is multiracial. She was adopted from the US Foster Care System. She came to my home after failing a relative adoptive placement because her behaviors were considered so horrible. She had severe attachment issues and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. I looked at my daughter’s dark skin and curly hair and realized that she would not be considered white, but with everything we were going through race was not even in the top 10 family issues. Choosing school based upon racial mixing? No. We looked for districts that had the best special ed department in a community with nearby pediatric psych services. We lived in a community that was small enough that I could walk into the police station with my child, introduce us and let them know that when she got in trouble they should call me.

    Also, perhaps defensive, but I prefer the word curious. When I read what is essentially a narrative or someone’s story, I don’t necessarily draw cause and effect conclusions that can be used to assess all others. So, your story – a valid and honest account of your experience – is not necessarily the experience of all transracially adopted people. I wish for more. My assumption is that the process of developing racial identity is common to all people. My infant grandson seems not to recognize race, age, disability or disfigurement. He smiles and interacts with everyone. It is only as we age and interact in our world that we start assigning inherent value to those things. I wish there was research articles that compared and contrasted the development of racial identity in black men and women raised in their family of origin to those adopted into black families and those adopted into white families. How is it different? How is it the same? I suspect that college years, the first time most young people leave their family and explore their world and choose to accept or reject their parents political affiliations, culture and values, are difficult for many of us.

    How does it make you a better person?
    Unless being more aware of my frailties, weaknesses and prejudices makes me a better person, I fear that adoption has done little more than to shine a light on my weaknesses. I am not as patient as I thought I was. I have not mastered unconditional love. And, I many of my decisions are fear based rather than based on confident boldness.

    Also, it will be helpful to know if you wear any of these hats:
    I am an adoptive mother, a foster mother and a mother of a relinquishing parent.

  26. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?
    Catharsis. Also affirmation through studies that my POV isn’t that isolated and wacky. Different perspectives on how adoption is and could be. Also to see where the fight needs to be taken, things need to be improved and whaat I can do to contribute.

    What have you learned?
    About adoption? I think adoption is as individual as it gets. Though there is prejudice against the triad, I have also learned by working hard that there are things that I think the whole triad can unite under.

    I think we can find a better agreed upon term for “birth parent.”

    I believe we can all get fair media representation (as in the news, movies, books, etc) in all families.

    I believe we all can support Unicef and the Hague convention because it’ll ease all of our hearts to do so.

    I believe we can all learn to treat each other fairly and with social justice *within* and outside of the adoption triad.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?
    It depends on the emotion in the post. Often it’s right on! I didn’t know that! I’m ready to learn! That’s sad and occasionally, that’s cool, awesome, happy. Etc.

    How does it make you a better person?

    To know adoption? I think for me, it opened my eyes to the world. Since I had to live half my life white and the other half as a person of color, I have seen more things and learned to create more and more tolerance in myself. I can’t do otherwise because I understand how hard it is t be judged on labels. Woman, gay, transsexual, adopted, person of color, person of a certain religion and so on. Tolerance and the knowledge of tolerance is for the respect of people has given me a strength.

    I am an international adult adoptee. I have a sibling that was adopted with me, too.

  27. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)? Perspective. I feel there are universal things that adoptees grapple with, that they change with time, but is a part of our identity that may or may not be recognized by others. I also know that my experience was different than others during the same period of time (adopted as a result of an open, private adoption in the 1970’s), and that this experience shaped me in a completely different way than other adoptees. I am also adopting. I feel it is important to imagine what a adopted person would say to me, one I raised, about their experience.

    What have you learned? The experiences vary, and the feelings seem to run the gamut from clear to ambiguous. I think they are all complex. I’ve learned that adoption is likely something that adoptive parents as well as birth parents need to be very careful about, that it is not so simple as love. It took me 10 years to resolve my own feelings about adoption before I started the process of adopting. And resolved is not a good word. Comfort with ambiguity, and the idea that nothing is perfect is maybe a better way of describing it.

    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel? I feel the hurt of the people who have been hurt, and realized that I likely have taken many things for granted regarding identity and rights. After all, I have the good fortune of being facebook friends with my biological mother. That simple sentence doesn’t serve well the complex relationship we have, but reading the blogs makes me angry for the lack of rights of adoptees, and also raises awareness of something that still is not talked about or visible in our culture in a healthy way.

    How does it make you a better person? Compassion for myself, other adoptees, adoptive parents, and biological parents who enter into this giant relationship with one another, usually amid great pain and suffering. It tempers expectations, it broadens the mind. The hurt we cause in this world is usually due to ignorance. Awareness frees one from causing harm, from continuing the cycle.

    -Adult adoptee, psychiatrist, soon to be adoptive parent.

  28. What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?

    A peek into my children’s experience. I am in an “interracial” marriage and am raising a multiethnic family. I am African-American along with two of my girls. My first girl is Euro-American as is my husband. Along with consciously discussing race in my home, I also make a conscience decision to discuss and LISTEN to my kids trauma re: their biological parents. I agree that adoption is crisis intervention. I also believe that on a spiritual level, the entire process of adoption and foster care just IS a negative experience. Its a triangle of negativity starting from the separation (for whatever reason) of child from parents–and yes its hard to gloss over that with a smile. BUT-on another level–there is some cause for celebration/happiness/positiveness. Adoptees are survivors, they control their rescue and have informed adoptive parents to be hyper aware.

    What have you learned?
    Well, that the questions I can’t answer for my children may haunt and continually traumatize them. I don’t want that. I don’t think any parent does.
    Question–should I send my white child to a white Privilege conference–to raise her right? Some tend to think that me raising her is enough–but Im not sure about that. Also would you like to be a guest blogger on Mezclados? What do you think about my “Mezclados” community?” A bit idealized?
    Let me know, Im serious. Thanks!

  29. My hat: adoptive parent (or two children, who has frequent contact with their birth parents)

    What do you get out of reading blogs by adult adoptees (such as this one)?
    A perspective that I don’t get simply by reading writings by adoptive parents and adoption agencies, and even birth parents. Adoptive parents, in particular, can be very short sighted in simply assuming that all they need to do is provide a loving home and everything else will fall into place. The blogs help me understand just how adoptees are affected, their entire lives, by their circumstances.
    What have you learned?
    That while adoption is usually both wonderful and full of love, it is NEVER unproblematic – in the sense that adoptive children, no matter how well adjusted, face an identity struggle that non-adopted children do not. That’s not to say that adoption is bad (though sometimes it is), but just that adoptive parents (and others) need to be aware of this, learn about the feelings of adopted children, be prepared for questions and feelings their adoptive children may have, etc.
    How does reading adoptee blogs make you feel?
    Often sad. There is sometimes anger, confusion, etc. that adoptees express, and I am empathic towards them. I am also heartened, though, by the thoughtfulness and perseverence of the writers. I feel admiration for the bloggers’ willingness to be honest and open about themselves.
    How does it make you a better person?
    It makes me much more aware of the many facets of adoption, more compassionate toward birth parents, more willing to recognize the ethical dilemmas in adoption, a better parent to my children.

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