Sunday, April 3, 2011

Boiling point

Oh, I am livid. I had no plans to make a post today, but now I am just angry and need to vent. Writing while angry might not be the best idea as it typically leads to one saying things they may later regret. Oh well. Here we go.

I was browsing my hometown news channel’s Facebook page this morning and came across a story they featured about an adult adoptee searching for her birth family. I was so excited! Until I made the dumb decision to read the user comments below. Life lesson #8493: Reading user comments on almost any online publication will inevitably lead to frustration/despair. Because if there’s any place people can completely strip themselves of decorum, it’s the internet. I suppose I should look at the positive and make note that the majority of the comments were supportive and kind. However, I need to be a Debbie Downer for five minutes and share my two favorite comments:

“I hope the birth mother's rights and wishes are being respected.”

“Unless you are searching for your birth mother because of EXTREME HEALTH problems-- I would consider this a SLAP in the FACE to the family that adopted you and raised you all these years.”

Let’s start with the birth mothers comment. I am not saying that birth mothers should be disrespected, but what about the adoptee’s rights and wishes? I feel as though I am repeating myself from my last entry when I say that we appear to be the least powerful of the adoption triad. As infants and children, we did not have any autonomy regarding these decisions. It was professionals and other adults who were tasked to decide our futures. Not us. So, when we become adult adoptees who can think for ourselves, it is frustrating to see people still indicating to us that we do not have control. That we should not be able to pursue reunion with birth family because years ago someone else said no. I still intend on initiating a search and I’m not going to apologize for it because I strongly feel that it is my right. My rights and wishes deserve to be just as respected as my birth family’s and my adoptive family’s.

And now for the SLAP in the FACE comment (you have to love the caps lock emphasis). So many times I have seen adult adoptees have to defend themselves over this ridiculous opinion. Apparently wanting to search for birth family makes us ungrateful traitors. I never understood why some people look at adoptees from such a one-dimensional standpoint. We’re either the ‘good’ adoptees who love our families and love being adopted or the ‘angry’ adoptees who hate our families and the adoption system, right? Adoption, to me, is all gray matter. But, for the record, it is possible for an adoptee to deeply love their family while also wanting to pursue a birth family search and/or look at adoption critically. It is entirely possible. I know I am not the only living example of this.

Maybe it is easier for me to say these things because I have a parent who is so supportive of me pursuing a search. I know other adoptees whose parents have shown strong insecurity at them looking for birth family. Even in discussing my desire to search with some friends, I have noticed them transferring their own insecurity into the conversation with comments like, “Won’t your mom be hurt?”. Did it ever occur to them to look at the other side of the coin? That perhaps I may feel hurt if I never search? I am tired of living under the expectation that I must bend myself, fit myself into all the right corners and angles so as to accommodate the feelings of everyone else but my own.


  1. Unfortunately the internet can sometimes become the perfect environment for people to speak adamantly of things they know absolutely nothing about.

  2. I'm sorry this happened. :( For some reason, the commenters on most news sites are just rabidly mean and stupid. There doesn't seem to be any monitoring or accountability. It's somewhat scary to know that we share a country with these people.

    Thanks for writing so strongly and openly!

  3. It is bizarre how the only person in the adoption triad who had no voice, no choice at all in his or her fate is made (by some)to feel like a traitor for wanting to know his or her biological history. Some people really believe that adoptees should just be quiet and grateful. I adored my parents and still wanted to know the facts of my beginnings. More than that I felt I had a right to that information. How is that so hard for some people to understand?
    Whenever I read an adoption related article like the one you read, I know I shouldn't read the comments...yet I always do and I always end up wanting to give someone a SLAP in the FACE!

  4. Alison, I can only say that I share in your frustration! The connection between adoptees and gratitude seems to be so ingrained..when I really don't see how we would owe our parents anything additional than a child to their bio family.

  5. From the prospective of a mom starting the adoption journey I would feel proud of my child if they had the sense of self and security with who they are to start such a search. I think it would be a perfectly natural part of the "who am I?" development that we all go through but that adoptive children are forced to do in a more literal way. I would hope to be a part of that search not an obstruction to the process.