Just Sit There

Every so often, meaning a few times a year, I will get an email from a stranger feeling the need to preach to me all the good that can happen with adoptions and that things just don’t happen “that way” anymore.

In all cases the writer has slurped my blog for a period of time, often many hours and days straight. Upon completion, they feel the need to write me and essentially, tell me how good adoption is and again, it is not like it was when I gave birth to and lost my daughter to the Kurtz network of baby brokers, cough, I mean adoption agencies.

I will be honest. I dont like receiving these messages. I dont like them because I dont understand their intent and even more candidly, I find them a bit rude and tremendously invalidating. 

Why do they feel the need to so strongly tell me, a virtual nobody to them, how great they are as parents or agency workers? Forgive the snark, but as I am a no one to them, they are a nobody to me. Do I care that they are adoptive parent extraordinaire to their three kids adopted from Russia, Guatamela, and China?  Why send me your superdeeduper ethical caseworker CV?

I dont get it.

Is that really supposed to make me feel better? Or is it about making themselves feel better? Are they seeing something, perhaps something negative of themselves in my experience and to counter balance it, they need to throw out their own white light to me? 

Why do they feel the need to tell me over and over again that my experience doesn’t happen today?

First, I disagree because I can provide reams of data that support it does happen. And second a nd perhaps more importantly, the point of this blog is that it DID happen to me.  Get that? Sit with that for a second.

It happened to me.

It happened to my daughter. I live with it every day. It has effected my marriage, my subsequent children and all relationships I have and “THEY” KNEW IT WOULD.

Again, yes please, take a moment, sit with that a second time.

Groovy toodles that it doesn’t happen in Godforsaken, YourState but IT HAPPENED TO ME. Me, red headed (albeit bottled), green eyed, pierced nose, big boobed, funny, INFJ, emo, tattooed, professional, parent, daughter, sister, writer, new media professional, gemini, ME!

Writing me and saying:

I am Adoption Caseworker Extraordinaire. I have held the hands of an outrageous number of birthmothers as they gave birth [note: that is more appropriately called an expectant mother, mkay? good.] and I have watched  them happily and peacefully give their children that better life. I have read your blog for a gajillion years. I am so sorry to read your story BUT….”

The BUT is followed by paragraphs of self righteousness and adoption koolaid.

This is called emotional invalidation. 

You are discrediting me, my feelings, my life, my trauma. You are labelling me the “one” person that happened to, the one oddball mother that did not “get over” leaving her child with strangers, you are categorizing me as different, or weird or better yet, the exception to the rule.

Invalidation goes beyond mere rejection by implying not only that our feelings are disapproved of, but that we are fundamentally abnormal. This implies that there is something wrong with us because we aren’t like everyone else; we are strange; we are different; we are weird.

You are justifying your existence at the expense of mine.

Invalidation is to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge, or diminish someone’s feelings. It is an attempt to control how they feel and for how long they feel it.

So yeah, rude.

For the record, I am not anti-adoption. I am pro-family of origin. I believe children should be raised by their mothers and fathers. And if for some reasons, they cannot be, the extended family of origin should be consulted, all attempts to preserve natural family ties should be made. Should the need arise for the child to be raised by virtual strangers, original ties to the natural family should be preserved.  Adoption should be about open records and  legally enforceable open adoptions that find homes for babies and not babies for homes. Adoption should be about respecting the child, not replacing the family.

I believe, correction, I know, first hand and with the research and documentation to support it, there is massive corruption in adoption in the USofA and beyond. I know that what happened to me still happens today. If you doubt me, I can provide you with many case studies and news articles to support it.

Get out of your little adoption utopia in the Somewhere, Iowa and read the newspapers, the internet or other.  Adoption happens outside the doors of your office. It is not a one size fits all solution nor can you be assured that your one ethical agency means all are ethical.

I believe that adoptive parents are no better than natural parents – long term. Sure, at a given moment in time, an adoptive family MIGHT be better off financially than that single mom that is lacking support but over the long haul? They have equal chances to succeed or fail at parenting a child.  They are human not seated at the right hand of their own God. Adoptive parents divorce, die, molest, abuse, lose jobs and more.  JUST LIKE NATURAL FAMILIES.  Giving birth to a child when you are young and single does not stunt your growth, did you know that? You can still go on and go to college, get married, hunt and gather for your child.  How do I know that? Becuase I did it. Becuase I do it. And you know what? I could have done it in 1986. I wasn’t a bad mother. I had never been given the chance to mother. I was told by others I would be. And I believed them. That is my only crime. One of ignorance and blind trust in those that were supposed to have my interests and those of my child in mind.  In a word, people like YOU.

Adoption is far too often a long term solution to a temporary situation.

My daughter did not NEED to be adopted. She was born to a mother with “high potential” (but not in mothering apparently) who could have, should have  and wanted to parent her. She was born to a mother that was raised with strict catholic values that she horribly violated by having sex outside of wedlock. She was born to a mother labelled unfit to parent due to that sexual activity. She, the child, could only be SAVED by being taken away from her mother. And me? That mother, the only way I could be SAVED and allowed back into the fold, back into mainstream society was to leave my baby girl with strangers.

“When a mother is forced to choose between the child and the culture, there is something abhorrently cruel and unconsidered about that culture. A culture that requires harm to one’s soul in order to follow the cultures prescriptions is a very sick culture indeed. This ‘culture’ can be the one a woman lives in, but more damning yet, it can be the one she carries around and complies with within her own mind…..” — Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Do not tell me again that it different, or better, or not happening.

It happened to me.

It happens in our society today and it happens, over and over again, every day, in the darkened halls of my own heart and soul.

Sit in that hallway for a little bit with me and then send me your emails telling me how great you are and adoption is.

Just sit there.

34 thoughts on “Just Sit There

  1. Suz – I hope that people DO sit with this. All too often people read this and reject that it applies to them…because the alternative IS sitting with it – and that’s not comfortable and cozy. It disrupts the safety net that is their “happy” and “ethical” adoption experience. I think your voice is so necessary, and people that attempt to discredit it, to invalidate your experience, are too scared of what accepting it would mean.

  2. Its been months since I have read your blog. Maybe close to a year even. You may remember me by OnTheFence – I am an adoptive mother.

    I thought I would come and find something different. Different in you, a change in your views to some degree, possibly a change in your relationship with your daughter, or a different understanding of those of us on the opposite side of the fence than you. Growth but instead I came and read the same stagnate responses and repetitive blog entries that I read four years ago.

    I had hoped.

    However, some of the things you have written created a great dialogue for me and my son’s birthmother when we came together at the beginning of the year.

    1. I do hope that wasn’t intended to be as arrogant, condescending, and dismissive as it came across.

      Until YOU have sat in her – our – shoes, don’t you DARE speak to any of us that way. How dare you??!! Who do you think you are??

  3. Excellent post. I had this exact conversation with someone recently who did not appreciate my latest blog about the one-sidedness of adoption coverage in the media. I was told repeatedly that I had no idea what I was talking about, that mine was an isolated case, that things like this don’t happen anymore and that adoption in the U.S. is far better than institutionalization in other countries. Thank you for calling attention to the fact that such comments completely invalidate our experiences. These things did happen. We know because they happened to US. Being told we are “the only ones” is yet another way to devalue us and discount the corruption that continues to happen in the adoption industry.

  4. Suz, you’re an amazing woman! What you said, the whole bloody thing. That’s my story too. Would you mind if I posted your entry in my journal with link and credit? I have to share your wisdom. I could not write so eloquently, I’m afraid all I would be able to get out is “STFU” 🙂

    Hugs,
    Cathi

  5. “Or is it about making themselves feel better?”

    It’s about making themselves feel better. They *want* to believe things have changed for the better, they believe that by saying it, that makes it true. Because if they acknowledge that things are NOT, in fact, better – they panic and look around wildly for the first method/way that they can validate their decisions in, that they may defend themselves.

    I mean, if you criticise adoption, you’re basically going to get a “what? you want a child to remain with his/her abusive and/or neglectful family?” response. If you criticise adoption, you are subconsciously targeting what enables adoptive parents to get what they want and ultimately benefit from. So if you say something bad about it, they oftentimes are unable to criticise or see fault with the system because after all, they became parents THROUGH it.

  6. You have expressed so well what I think and feel about my own situation. I was a young teenager sent 1000 miles away from home to lose my child. No choice, no way out. Although I have a great relationship with my son, I am in a fight for my life with the afamiily. They refuse to see me as a person, only a disruption to their lives.

  7. Echoing your sentiments Cathi, Suz is an amazing woman, very, very gifted when it comes to the written word and a true angel, : )

  8. Incredible post, Suz. Thank you.

    “They” may TRY to invalidate us with the endless sentiments of how wonderful adoption is. However, it is writings and blogs such as this that do indeed VALIDATE us and the truth of what adoption is really about (when we relinguished and STILL today).

    Perhaps, one day our voices will be loud and clear and adoption will truly be about “respecting the child, not replacing the family.”

  9. I can’t say why aparents and adoption promoters read your blog. But I do know why they write to you. You are powerful, Suz, a true presence in family preservation. You write clearly and beautifully and honestly. You make the case for all of us who have been injured by adoption. So they feel they must tear you down. Not with rational debate, but by invalidating your experience and emotions. They have no other leg to stand on.

    Awesome post! I’m going to add a link to it, too. Stay strong, girlfriend.

  10. Just curious, Suz….

    Do any of those emails come from the “at-peace” b****mothers?

    I’m so glad you continue to write. That post was incredible.

    Bonnie

  11. Excellent post. My sentiments exactly. When will they ever get it that their joy in bringing home a new born is over the back of someone else’s greatest trauma!

    To all the adoptive parents that patrol this blog, I am very sorry that you have suffered infertility and all of the trauma that goes with it, I truly am. BUT sit for a while, close your eyes and recall how you felt when you had a miscarriage or when you were told you could never bear your own children, now walk in the n.mothers shoes for a moment and feel her pain. Losing her child, because she was young, poor or because she had no support. Sit with the pain for one moment. We had sex before we were married – according to statistics so did 95% of the population. Did the crime did really deserve the punishment?

    Suz tells it like it is honestly, truthfully and very eloquently

  12. Bonnie – No, oddly, I have never gotten an email from one of those moms that is at peace, happy, good, or other with giving her child up to strangers. I have heard of that species of mother, just never ran into them personally, IRL or via email or even my blog. I have seen their droppings elsewhere and when I was on the Origins USA BOD I used to see the messages that BOD received from that type of mother. I havent been on their radar as of today.

  13. Cathi – Of course you can link, refer to. Although I must admit that I find it amusing that a rant of mine is considered a good post. I was so fed up with getting those messages that I just vented. Perhaps I should do so more often? LOL.

  14. Your story, my friend, is the same as my mother’s. Her story began in the summer of 1958 when she met my birth father and by JUly 1962, when I was 3 1/2 years old, I was taken from her (illegally I might add) for no other reason than she was a single parent and could not care for me because she was a single mother (read- cheap tramp or in today’s vernacular a ‘whore’. As much as I would like to believe that society has matured and has begun to accept single mothers as worthy to raise their own children, I am not naive and I know that there are still too many people and agencies out there who prey on those who do not follow the teachings of the those who choose to stand in judgement of woman who dare to cross the line and have sex outside the bounds of marriage.

    My mother spend her entire life after I was taken from her living with the grief, guilt and pain of knowing that they took me away, that she did not give me up for a better life, but that someone sat in judgement of her and damned her for all eternity to live with the knowledge that what she did was something to be hidden away as so shamefilled that no one should be able to see it, ever, unless it was cleaned up and altered to be made to look like something else. I was that thing that they wanted to clean up and make look legitimate. I was an object and not a chil. I had no feelings nor say in what happened to me and yet I have never blamed my mother for that at all. It was not her fault that what happened did and it broke my heart to know that I could never take away the guilt and shame that she felt because she felt it was her fault that I was taken. She could no more have fought the system then I could hold back the ocean waves.

    Keep on blogging about how you feel. There are so many more of us, both birth parents and adoptees out there who are seeking answers to our pain than anyone truly knows. It is time for those that have been affected by the trauma of adoption to stand up and be counted.

  15. Very powerful SUZ…I have to say in my open adoption-life is not peachy. The fact is I was forced or should I say felt forced to give my daughter away for a so called better life so that I could go to college and be something…but the bottom line is that all these people who work so hard to get us to give the baby up, should focus on helping us keep the baby! Unless abuse is present or RAPE happened, I don’t think any adoptee would say they were glad to be placed for adoption. I am also adopted myself, have not found my birthparents yet, and the hole I have in my heart will never be until I do find them. I just have to add I would give everything up that I have in my life to have been raised with my birthparents. Not a day goes past that I don’t want my own daughter I placed back, because had someone just been a little helpful, I could have raised her and still become the person I am today!

    Summer

  16. Kim – I have held your comment in moderation for a few days. I was undecided about approving it due to the very incosiderate tone and possible violation of my personal comment policy. I do remember you and I can see, based on your tone, you havent changed either.

    I am glad something here (stagnant as it may be) was useful to you in discussions with your sons mother.

  17. Kim – it is hard to see the adoptive side as a “beautiful” thing when so many are dismissive about the families left behind. In other words, yes, adoption creates families, but to do so requires a break in the original family. It always comes at a high price that no one should have to pay.

    Kinda like when I voice that I am sad about leaving my Taiwan family. The typical response is “But you can always go back.”

    Well, yes, I can. But it feels like I am being placated since no one wants to admit people should have worked together to PREVENT this all from happening in the first place. Therefore, since I’ve been living with my adoptive (note: “real”?) family, it is easy to dismiss my loss and say “You can always just go back.”

    It is invalidating. It is dismissive.

    We don’t fail to see the “greatness” of adoption. We fail to see what has to take place BEFORE the adoption.

  18. Kim–I think you just made Suz’s point. You ask for “a different understanding of those of us on the opposite side of the fence than you” then invalidate the experiences of others as “stagnate responses and repetitive blog entries”. Adoption loss isn’t something you get over any more than losing someone to death is something you get over. It’s always with you, some days more than others.

    I hope you will continue to keep an open mind, for your own sake as well as that of your son and his extended families, both birth and adoptive.

  19. Kim, they say ignorance is bliss, if so, you must be very blissful then..
    You remarked, ‘repetitive blog entries’, huh?? with all due respect, are u daff?

    Suz has more flavors of blog entries than there are colors in a rainbow…

    As for responses being ‘stagnate'(stagnant), again I exclaim huh?
    Perhaps we’re reading two different blog entries/responses…
    You obviously have a very narrow/shortsighted viewfinder that you’re seeing things in…

  20. This is a great post! I’m an adoptive parent who couldn’t agree with you more. These stories happen every day and they are terrible and we all have work together to prevent them! I am a fervent proponent of original family preservation and I firmly believe that the best place for any child is with their original parents when at all possible. I do think that there are more and more AP’s who are coming to see the light but on other days I feel pretty depressed about the community myself.

    Found you through TM – thanks for being a voice.

  21. I’m not even sure how I got here…but I’m glad I did. I’m glad you’re blogging about this…and not in the somewhat typical “adoptions is all about rainbows and sunshine” that sometimes comes across when reading AP’s blogs (please don’t everyone jump on me for that…I’m not trying to generalize…just my observation).

    I too would give up everything I ever had..especially the abuse..to have grown up with my natural family. I’m making up for lost time now that I’m in reunion, but there are 34 years of my life that I am a bit bitter about.

    Thank you Suz.

  22. Adoption is an unnatural act. It is propagated on loss of the worst kind. Why do adopted parents always sound so friggin superior?

  23. I like your piercing view of moralistic chaos:

    “She was born to a mother that was raised with strict catholic values that she horribly violated by having sex outside of wedlock. She was born to a mother labelled unfit to parent due to that sexual activity. She, the child, could only be SAVED by being taken away from her mother. And me? That mother, the only way I could be SAVED and allowed back into the fold, back into mainstream society was to leave my baby girl with strangers.”

    I had my first daughter at age 17 and kept her. 1981. One of my first experiences after having her was going to social services, and I swear that this social worker said to me. “So, do you like having a baby as much as you liked F***ing the father?” I then had social workers come to my home postpartum trying to get me to give up my baby. I sensed them as vultures and they were unwelcome. They told me I would be raising her in poverty and every child deserved two parents etc. I had postpartum depression they were trying to make me feel guilty by saying things like “Look at her, isn’t she beautiful? Don’t you think she’d be better off with some wealthy parents who’d do anything to have a child?” I just held her and cried. What I had on my side at that time was my mother telling me that many people have two parents and one of them was bad..That having a baby was not even a good reason to get married but people did it all the time and then separated. That I could go to college and make a future for us. Thank God for my immoral mother. lol

    Fast Forward a couple years: I have become very religious and started going to church. I live with a group of girls in a house that go to my church. One of these girls confesses to us all in a group with the church pastor, that when she was a teen, she had an abortion and felt guilty about it. She started crying and everyone wanted to comfort her over it. A few months later she gets engaged to man in the church and buys a white wedding dress. At the ceremony the pastor says something about white being a symbol of chastity. Later, I am told by the same Pastor that if I got married, I could not wear white because I had a child and was obviously not a virgin. ” Let me get this right: Nancy can wear white because she had an abortion to cover up her “sin” , but, I decided to let my baby live and even though it was very hard, I was less clean in God’s eyes and therefore could not wear white?” I could not see any logic in this. He just kept saying “but you have a child, it’s obvious.” Ok, I get what your religion says now: “No matter what kind of a person you are, as long as you can hide your “sin” you are good to go. I believe in God’s eyes, I am the cleaner one” I felt this to be the most grossly hypocritical thing I had ever heard of and I left the church.

    Suz…You were the one “sinned” against, no doubt. All of these horrid people and their various hidden sins get to pretend to be better, but you had “evidence”. What would it be like if everyone had to carry along a sign for everything they’ve ever done wrong? I doubt that premarital sex would be among the most reprehensible or rare. I would think that a sign like ” I sell babies” or “I pretended that the adoption would be open” or ” I forced my daughter into an abortion” would garner more judgment. I am so sorry that the hypocrites of our society demoralized you and intimidated you in a way that made you lose something so precious and soul shattering. I grieve for you and with you.

    You don’t have to allow this post if it’s too far out there. lol

  24. The invalidators are members of a toxic group so well described in M Scott Peck’s book
    People of the Lie. They would rather scapegoat and trivialise others to serve their own narcissistic needs than face the truth of themselves and what the harm they do.

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