Sunday, February 19, 2012

What Might Have Been

An adoptee piece published in the New York Times yesterday; another blogger describes it as a feel-good piece for adoptive parents, because the adoptee expresses her gratitude at being adopted.  I find it rather sad, not because of the adoptee's happiness -- adoptees are entitled to feel however they feel about their adoptions without anyone telling them otherwise -- but because it illustrates so many things adoptive parents should do differently:
FOUR years ago, when I was 24, my mother handed me a case file on myself. I had long known that I was adopted as an infant and that my birth mother had died in a car accident several years after I was born. But this case file was new to me.

Growing up, I had internalized my parents’ matter-of-fact approach to the subject, and by the time I was in elementary school, being adopted hardly seemed worth mentioning. Even so, when a classmate and I came across a book called “Why Was I Adopted?” one day during reading time, I said to him happily, “I’m adopted!”

“No you’re not,” he replied. “You’re lying.”

“I really am,” I said, bursting into tears.

I told the teacher’s aide, and within minutes I was already over it, but the aide apparently saw the chance for a teachable moment.

“Do you know why you were adopted?” she asked.

I told her it was because when I was a baby, my biological mother didn’t want to take care of me anymore.

“Didn’t want to, or couldn’t?” she asked pointedly.

I was taken aback, then said I guessed it was because she couldn’t, though the distinction hardly seemed important.

Who cared if she could or couldn’t, didn’t want to or simply didn’t care? I was a bubbly, smart child who insisted on wearing only dresses to school and who commanded the room during Christmas parties by standing on a folding chair and belting out carols. I was delightful. As far as I was concerned, if this mysterious woman didn’t want me, it was her loss.
Wow.  I'm glad this child didn't internalize a sense of rejection because she believed her birth mother didn't want her.  But many adopted children who receive this message do deal with that feeling of rejection.  How amazing that she was in elementary school before anyone drew a distinction for her between someone who can't parent and someone who doesn't want to parent.  It's especially sad when we learn later that the file her adoptive parents had about her birth mother would have allowed them quite truthfully to opine about her birth mother's inability to parent and her love for her child.
A couple of years later I came home from school and my parents looked worried. “We thought this might happen,” they said. “But we didn’t think it would happen this soon.”

My mind immediately leapt to divorce, since that was the only thing I could imagine warranting such seriousness. Instead, they sat me down and told me that my half sister had called and left a message. They had mentioned before that she existed, but for the first time they told me more.       
I give the adoptive parents kudos for at least letting their daughter know she had a biological half-sibling.  But how sad that they would convey that the contact was somehow worrisome.  They were apparently quite capable of talking about adoption in a matter-of-fact manner with her daughter, too bad they couldn't do the same about birth family contact.
She and I had the same mother, they explained, and she was interested in meeting me. She was only 18 and had just had a baby.

I don’t remember the conversation very clearly, but I gathered they felt the timing was a little suspect. They were concerned she might be after money. They said the decision to talk to her was up to me, and I told them no, I didn’t want to. It was hard to ignore their expressions of relief.
ARGHHHH!  Why convey their suspicions, and then ask if she wants contact?  Don't you think she's smart enough to figure out what YOU wanted after that?  Do you think the answer you got was what SHE wanted?  And given your obvious relief, is it any surprise that it was years later before she expressed any interest in her biological family again?
It wasn’t until several years after I had graduated from college that I thought more about the biological relatives I never knew. Out of the blue, my half sister had contacted me via Facebook, introducing herself, and I wrote back, which led one winter day to my going to visit her and her daughter in the sleepy Vermont town where she grew up and still lived with her paternal grandmother.

* * *

The next summer my half sister invited me to a family reunion where I would meet my grandmother and several aunts and uncles. Over an outdoor picnic lunch, with pained smiles, they told me a little about my birth mother.

* * *

It was dark when I returned home that night. I was staying with my parents, and after months of living in close quarters tensions among us were high.

“How was it?” my mother asked in a wobbly voice.

“Fine. I had a good time.”

“Do you consider them your family?” she asked.

I told her I did. “Of course, you’re my family, too,” I added, though it should have gone without saying.
Why ask the question?  They are, OF COURSE, her family -- her biological family.  By asking the question, you're asking her to choose between them and you.  Why?  Can't she have both?  A touch more matter-of-factness was called for, it seems to me.
The next day I was reading a book in the living room when she sat down next to me and handed me the file.       
“I think it’s time to give you this,” she said. I flipped through it awkwardly without reading anything. Only now do I realize how strange it was that she would hand over such an overwhelming collection of information without a word about what I might find.
No kidding!  And wasn't the timing awfully suspicious, too?  Sounds like mom was hanging onto the file to "play it" at exactly the right time -- a time when she fears the biological family might be threatening her position as "only family."  This is when she finds it appropriate to share negative information about birth mom.  Nice.
It would be months before I had the courage to read any of it. One night I gave in to curiosity and opened the folders with a boyfriend. I was entranced as I turned over page after page. But I completely lost it when I came across a letter my mother had written to me when I was 2.

Composed in a shaky, barely legible cursive more typical of an elderly person than a young woman, the letter was a page long, on notebook paper. Near the beginning she wrote, “The reason why you are adopted is because of the risk of poverty.” And she concluded with: “Jaime I share the pain and love you but not with the mistaken message and I try to do my best also.”

CLEARLY there were strong emotions she was trying to convey, but much of the letter made no sense, and it infuriated me.

“What is this?” I cried, wiping away tears. “She tried to write me a letter and this is the best that she could do?”

* * *

In a strange way, the file has changed my perception of my own behavior. A social worker observed that while my birth mother was pregnant with me and living in a group home, her ability to communicate “was somewhat difficult to follow at times and made it hard for certain residents to take her seriously.”

Well, I thought. When I’m nervous, I tend to ramble in a nonlinear way, or make people laugh with my unintentionally blunt responses. I had accepted these quirks as part of who I am; now I twisted the mannerisms into insidious character flaws — signs of some impending unraveling.
And this is what happens when you throw the file at your daughter without helping her deal with what's inside, without having explained all along why her birth mother couldn't parent her.  You leave her to believe she's going to have the same issues. You haven't helped her understand. Parenting FAIL.
A part of me hates the file and wishes it never existed. But some bits I treasure, and I read them over as a mental salve when the rest of it leaves me feeling depressed. Not only does it help me understand my parents’ attitude toward my biological family, it reminds me of how truly lucky I am: how my life could have been different had my adoptive parents not endured years of uncertainty and stressful battles in trying to legally make me their child.
Sounds like the file had exactly the effect adoptive mom wanted it to have, to reinforce a negative impression of birth family, to make the adoptive parents the heroes of the drama. Wouldn't it have been nice if the adoptive parents could have subordinated their feelings to their child's feelings? Helped her cope with negative information about her birth mother? Helped her see it in context?  Isn't that the job of parents?  If they had done so, and their daughter had reached exactly the same point she's at now -- grateful to be adopted rather than raised by her biological family -- I'd say good for them!  But when they've told her what to think over and over again? Not such a success, it seems to me.
Helping your child understand what might have been, if she had been raised with her birth parents, is to deal frankly with how it would have been different without making judgements about better or worse.  It's about showing how birth parents are human, fully three-dimensional, making both good and bad choices, like every other person.  It's helping the child develop positive identity, by seeing how the good in them comes from the good in their birth family, and how they have the capacity to make different choices. The "what might have been" that I would hope for this adoptee is a fully integrated life, not needing to choose between birth family and adoptive family, with an understanding and appreciation of what life has brought, both good and bad.  

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gee, nothing like trying to tell your reading what to think with all the comments in red!

I read this in the New York Times. She sounds like an intelligent, well adjusted, reflective young women and a journalism student at NYU no less. Looks like the adoptive parents did a lot of things right.

Linda said...

You wrote in red exactly what I was thinking. Sadly, my ap's were pretty much the same, and they were wrong.

Anon, you're not giving the readers of this blog credit. We can and do have our own opinions, and don't need any help from the blog owner.

A fancy pants education doesn't make up for mind games.

Anne said...

As an adoptive mom,I can never understand why some AP's are so threatened by their kids' first families. I love the relationship my daughter has with her natural sister.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Malinda, it must be so nice to go to sleep each night and begin each day knowing ALL the answers, never making a mistake, let alone a parenting one and to always have the benefit of hindsight.

Phew, what a relief that for you the bar is never ever raised too high or the failure unrepairable.

Give us a break! I'm with Anon.; seems a bit like you are trolling once again for an article that paints AP's in one broad and often ugly/ignorant stroke, while allowing you to once again espouse all the many ways you will never fail, while mere AP mortals around you tumble off the wagon of perfection, mired in their own evil selfishness, entitlement, indecision and insecurity!!

Let's ground this just a bit and remember that every decision an adoptive parent makes is hardly grounded in fear of the biological family and that many adoptive families from decades ago didn't benefit from the dialogue, input, advice and first hand stories that many AP's today have access to. Just sayin......

Linda said...

Hi, Anne. It was nice to read your comment. My ap's and most of the ap's of my adoptee friends are threatened by our relationships with our natural families. It's quite odd and it doesn't speak very highly of their parenting skills. And "most" of the time, it is out of "selfishness, entitlement, indecision and insecurity".

Adoptees are just like everyone else- we are capable of loving more than one sibling, or one set of parents, just like most of our adoptive parents are capable of loving more than one child.

An adoptee should always know their truth- not strategically given out in bits and pieces. The "What might have been" is THEIR "what might have been".

Not sure why the "anons" are so defensive. And if they think "many" current ap's "benefit from the dialogue, input, advice and first hand stories that many AP's today have access to", (not to mention the opinions of adult adoptees) it seems THEY are using that one broad and often ugly/ignorant stroke.

Thanks for your blog, Malinda. It must be your turn to deal with the trolly-anons. ;)

Anonymous said...

As an adoptive mother, I know that I too will make many mistakes. Not just in the area of my daughter's adoption but in many areas just as all parents do. I try my best to do the best for her. Ilove her and want what is best for her but I'm sure I'll make mistakes. I hope the fact that she has a loving mother and extended family will ease her pain.

Anonymous said...

Ah well then @Linda...

since your AP's and most of your adopted friends all drew such a short hand in the adoptive parenting department then clearly that speaks for us all.

I know Adult Adoptees love being categorized, summed up and lumped all together in sweeping and nearsighted generalities.....so too then must AP's? Or is it only allowed one way?

No thanks ~ but by all means continue to share your 2 cents and pretend its representative of us all.

If nothing else its always refreshingly slanted, biased, mean spirited and self pitying.....oh, and always consistent too.

Anonymous said...

geez, do you hope for unhappiness for adoptees? whether i agree or disagree with your comments (some of both) I find your slant once again so negative. made me wonder, how many adoptees read your blog and are harmed in some way by your suggestive writing?

Louise said...

There's a lot of "this is what happened to me so it's everone's reality" in this world.
I wish there weren't so many haters on the Internet. 90% of the comments wouldn't be said out loud to each other face to face.
I think the author of this blog is not afraid to share her opinion, on or off this blog.

Pandora said...

The writer wrote her piece and you wrote over it. We don't really know if her a-parents were consistently fearful and defensive or whether they just acted that way under pressure. If my kid's mother had reportedly tried to give her away at a bar and had flown into a rage at the temporary foster mom (culminating in pouring a bottle of milk over the baby), I'd be struggling with the words to describe her too. I might think that the best option would be not speak, not to interpolate, but just to hand over the file. There's nothing wrong with an adult dealing with these things.

I dislike the "teachable moment" thing going on with adoption, as though anything as mind-boggling as having been given away can really be "handled" by the a-parent in a suitable, constructive fashion. Some life stories are tragic and beyond repair. That was the case with this story.

Anonymous said...

Can't help but wonder if the red responses are an indication of the blog author's own insecurities about being an AP. A little too much overcompensation perhaps? I have to agree with Anon 5:04, and Anon 6:33 and Anon 7:41 and Anon 7:51 on this one.
And I also love the way that Linda can box all APs into a stereotypical box of "It's quite odd and it doesn't speak very highly of their parenting skills. And most of the time, it is out of selfishness, entitlement, indecision and insecurity".
And then in the same breath 'one up' it with "Adoptees are just like everyone else- we are capable of loving more than one sibling, or one set of parents, just like most of our adoptive parents are capable of loving more than one child."
You seem to enjoy carving a wedge between APs and adoptees with the motif of good vs evil, Linda. It seems so destructive, if you really want APs to understand the plight of the adoptee. But then, maybe you really don't.

Cassi said...

I don't understand what is creating such a defensive response in this post or in what Linda, an adult adoptee - the very ones adoption is supposed to be all about - has shared, respectfully and gracefully about her own experience.

I'm not an adoptive mom but I am a first mom who adopted her child back and the last thing I would ever want would be to create a situation where my son ever felt such restrictions and manipulation when it came to continuing his relationship with his adoptive family.

Had he, or if he ever does, share such feelings, I would definitely feel as if I had somehow failed in giving him the balance, acceptance and love he deserved as an adoptee caught up in all the ups and downs that is adoption.

Anonymous said...

@ Cassie,

But with all due respect, why is it every time an AP stickes up for themselves or wishes to let a piece by an Adult Adoptee stand for what it is...as penned by them in their own words, is it labeled defensive?

I respect that you have given voice and courage to your son...is there respect for those of us as AP's who are doing the same but perhaps not in someone elses' mold or vision?

Why is one point or voice more valid? Why is one opinion weighted over another? Because of their adoptive status?

If that is the case, let's all collectively reread this article.

I believe it says volumes on its own without Malinda's need to extrapolate her own experiences and censors onto it.

How sad her words were not enough for the author of this blog. I found them powerful in their own right.

And finally, the things you wish for your son and are the one and same we wish for too....we are not so different then after all, but perhaps our journey to get there is.

AP Mom...not perfect but doing a darn good job if I may say so myself! Flame if you will...its about time someone stood and said this on this blog, besides Malinda!

Anonymous said...

Right on Anon. 504, 633 and Proud Anon!

Why wasn't this adult adoptees words enough? They are hers'
and hers' alone.

Does she not have the right to share it as she sees fit? Does she need another's overwrite to fill in the gaps?

How arrogant!

GypsyQ said...

"How arrogant!"

Hypocrite much, arrogant adopters who have to rule the world as you see it? One word about adoption that you deem negative(and how it may affect thousands of mothers and their children)and it sends so many of you into a tailspin. The way you are so threatened and defensive speaks volumes...

Anonymous said...

from theadoptedones...

Oh my - the outrage at Malinda talking and sharing her thoughts on her own blog - how dare she...sigh...

I did not see Malinda painting all AP's with broad brush stroke OR claiming to be perfect.

What I saw was an opening for discussion - things like:

How an adoptee can and does interpret verbal cues given by their parents in addition to words said or left unsaid as the case may be so it becomes clear to the adoptee what makes them comfortable.

How and when should a AP start to incorporate the harder parts of a childs story into the child's narrative - what current best practices state.

How not discussing the contents of the file may lead to internalizing some aspects in terms of hereditary.

How fear is a real and present enemy for AP's to deal with before it leaves either verbal or visual impressions on the adoptee.

Great talking points that could have been takeaway discussions and quite frankly should have been.

Anonymous said...

@GypsyQ.

Had this for instance been a situation where Malinda had rewritten and or reframed the author's own words with a more positive slant?

Would you feel the same way or would there be general outrage at the arrogance and presumption of yet another AP rewriting history to suit themselves!

Seems to me you can't have it both ways!

@theadoptedones....open discussion by writing FAIL in red and contributing nothing positive, only where she deems them to have been lacking?

Seems to me she had her say, Malinda had hers' and you would prefer no one to have theirs'!

Why share on a public forum if you don't wish for scrutiny?

Anonymous said...

"How an adoptee can and does interpret verbal cues given by their parents in addition to words said or left unsaid as the case may be so it becomes clear to the adoptee what makes them comfortable."

Malinda, sometimes I wonder how your daughters interpret your verbal cues? Could they also just be telling you what you want to hear? Later, when they are adults, how will they feel about an adoptive mother who is always right and superior to other adoptive parents whom she disdains even if it is in support of a birth mother they may never know. What would they think of this blog so critical of adoption as they are put on display. Could this not backfire on them or even you with a negative self-concept of concept of their own adoption?

To theadoptedones, talking points for discussion are fine, but there is a bit of "fire and brimstone" in this blog with adoptive parents casted as evil sinner and birth parents as heavenly saints. I can see where finding humanity in birth parents to understand the choices they have made or were forced to make can be helpful to all concerned, but humanity sometimes means recognizing the imperfections and flaws that are present with the birth mother as in this case and not just with the adoptive parent. I saw none of that in this post which is curious considering that passage of the original article was left out with no commentary? A birth mother gives her baby to a couple one night in a bar, which then places the child in foster care and there was no mention of this only the way the adoptive parent handled the conveying of this information to the adoptee as not the right time or place?

Critize adoptive parents all you want for not handling situation perfectly according to your highest standard, but at least this adoptive parent was there, doing the daily job of raising a child, being involved, talking with her and dealing with the hard stuff even if it wasn't to your liking.

There probably isn't a perfect time to deal with the hard stuff and few of us will agree on the specifics of when and how, but it was up to the parent who was raising the child to decide using her best judgement, not anyone else.

Cassi said...

***but at least this adoptive parent was there, doing the daily job of raising a child, being involved, talking with her and dealing with the hard stuff even if it wasn't to your liking. ***

Yes! Because that makes it right, doesn't it. As long as an adoptive parent takes care of all the "hard stuff" that the pesky little First Mom couldn't or wouldn't do herself, then they are excused from any other harm they might have caused their child.

Creating a healthy awareness and acceptance for our children should be a priority no matter how they came to bless our lives. What we believe we have "done" for them has absolutely no importance over our responsibility to make sure everything we say and do gives them the freedom and respect to create the life they are entitled to.

Anonymous said...

@Cassi,

No one said or implied that the birth mother was "pesky" or that the simple act of parenting absolved all parents, adoptive, birth or otherwise, from the decisions they have made or will make.

Malinda highlighted points of this article to suit her own agenda. Its her blog, her right to express an opinion - period.

Just as its our right to agree or disagree with her, you or anyone else.

But please refrain from putting words in our mouths - unless of course those are YOUR feelings about birth mothers as pesky and unwilling or unable to do what adoptive parents do in the course of raising a child.

And finally, YES, creating a healthy environment for any child is paramount - do you believe that you and only other first mothers wish that for their children?

Seems to me by concluding with that remark, the implication is that the AP's in this article failed where you simply wouldn't.

Really? How and when would you share with your beloved child that they were given away to strangers in a bar by her birth mother, among other atrocities? Is there a way to share this WITHOUT a child or adult internalizing hurt from this?

Sometimes lemons are just lemons....sprinkling sugar and fancy words and stirring it all up just doesn't make lemonade.

And frankly I think its easy for folks to sit in judgement of someone else who did have to make those judgement calls day in and day out - hindsight aside.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:59 - totally agree! I wonder what malinda's kids will think as they age. the message they are given no matter their story is that adoption is bad and that their mom somehow makes it better for them. the other adoptive kids are SOL.

i think the biggest problem i have with your blog, malinda is that you blog was nominated for the adoptive families mag. the purpose of your blog on your home page does not at all reflect what your blog is actually about. for that i don't think your blog should be recommended or encouraged by adoptive families mag.

Amanda said...

I can't evem fathom why so many APs are upset with what Malinda wrote. She specifically addressed the adoptees' APs, not anyone elses, and never once painted all APs with one stroke. Would be kind of silly if she did, considering the fact she is an AP herself. Or does her group membership and entitlement to critique the roll she has accepted for herself in the triad get erased now because others don't like her opinion?

What Malinda did not do was insult all adoptive parents. What she did do is critically evaluate ONE adoptee's narrative. If anyone should be mad, it should be the adoptees. I'm adopted and I'm not mad. Malinda has proven time and time again that she is an ally to adopted persons and likes to provide out of the box thinking. I don't always agree with her but she has won my respect.

Did it occur to anyone that she may have differentiated her own thoughts in the color red because her blog is red themed and she wanted it to match and not in order to coerce our thoughtless and impressionable adoptee brains?

You're right, Malinda. This adoptee's parents could have gone different routes with how they brought up and worked through adoption. It is with vignettes like this that we can evaluate the adoption coping models used, to see what works and doesn't work. I am so glad that adoptees growing up now have the opportunity to benefit from the critical thinking from adoptions past. One other thing we see affirmed in this narrative is the strengths and resiliency of the parents and adoptee. This adoptee grew up in a time when there was less social openness about adoption. Both she and her parents did the best they could to address the challenges and emotions adoption brought and bumps and bruises along the way, she turned out to be a nice person.

People took Malinda's opinions on what this adoptee said way too personally about themselves.

c said...

"Really? How and when would you share with your beloved child that they were given away to strangers in a bar by her birth mother, among other atrocities? Is there a way to share this WITHOUT a child or adult internalizing hurt from this?"

If the above were my story, I would expect my APs to prepare me for the info by placing it in context.

For example, I would think that perhaps talking to *me* first about addiction and the horrors it can cause, not just for the addict but for those surrounding them, might help prepare *me* for the awfulness of my backstory.

It might also have the added bonus of turning *me* off drugs forever.

Back to Malinda's article, to me, she was merely trying to point out where she felt the APs had gone *wrong* when discussing adoption with their daughter, not about their overall parenting.

Parents every day are often faced with articles saying how they can prove certain aspects of parenting and, to me, Malinda was just pointing out how she felt the sharing of info by the APs could have been improved.

If any of you anonymouses seriously think she did a good job in that particular department, then it is you, not Malinda, with the problem. The APs are no doubt wonderful parents and no-one is saying otherwise. It is just being pointed out that in this particular area, things could be improved.

Btw I am an adoptee and I think Malinda has it spot on.

c said...

Well said, Amanda.

Pandora said...

Amanda, oh gosh golly. So I can critically evaluate any adoptee's narrative now?

Cassi said...

I can't believe the way I have seen adoptees treated in this post.

They have stood up and respectfully shared their own opinions and experiences - as the ones who have actually lived this life. And you have mocked them, insulted them, treated them as if they are somehow beneath you.

How dare you, as parents of adoptees yourself, have so little regard, respect for the adult adoptees who have spoken here.

Anonymous said...

@Cassi,

Were are getting that? Treating adoptees bad?

Please remember we are all adults on this blog/forum and NO ONE is forced to share an opinion, subscribe to this site or remain if they feel belittled, demeaned or mistreated.

I see frank and open discussion from both sides and some of us are listening.

I am an adult adoptee and quite frankly I am tired of seeing other AA's or even First Mothers rise up with indignity when someone disagrees with their point of view.

Seems like as a group we are all using the "do as I say, not as I do" card.

The disrepect goes both ways and to imply that one group should be treated with kid gloves because of their adoptive status and actually attempting to shame AP's for having a mind of their own and participating in a discourse.....

Adult Adoptees are crying afoul at being treated like perpetual children...I find it refreshing that folks can be honest here. Please don't shut that down with your own prejudices and biases.

Thank u!

Anonymous said...

Cassie, I'm not hearing criticism of adoptees who have spoken. I am hearing a lot of criticism of the way Malinda presents herself as a model adoptive parent and no other adoptive parents meet the stardard that she has set.

There isn't only one way to raise an adopted child and I imagine not all adopted children grow up feeling the same way.

A case in point, the adoptee who wrote the article that we are talking about. It is Malinda here along with other posters that suggests that her feeling about her adoption are not her own, but the product of manipulation by her adoptive parents.

She wrote an honest piece that doesn't necessarily represent the opinions of many who post here. I think that's what you may be having trouble with.

"it reminds me of how truly lucky I am: how my life could have been different had my adoptive parents not endured years of uncertainty and stressful battles in trying to legally make me their child.

Sprinkled throughout the documents are reminders of my parents’ dedication and how their love for me was obvious to everyone from the start. I found myself smiling when I read a report that said: “Present placement is very stable, safe, nurturing, warm and provides Jaime with a sense of permanency ... the current caretakers are very, very much interested in adoption if the child is freed.”

I’m glad they stuck it out."

These are the adoptee's own words.

Why is it necessary to question them?

Anonymous said...

@Amanda,

With all due respect, the discussion here is not about the color of ink Malinda used to share her opinions or how that might relate to the overall "look" of her blog or even as a tool to differentiate her thoughts from the author's.

Furthermore, it might be helpful to reread many of the comments if in fact you truly don't understand the frustration shared by some of the AP's commenting and at least one Adult Adoptee.

I think within those comments you might find that many of the commenters acknowledge the fact that different routes could have been taken by these AP's; that is not at issue. There were no "discussion points" offered by Malinda in critique, but rather condemnations and/or grades.

What is at issue is the high handed way Malinda presumes to do it better, assigning failing grades to this set of parents who faced a tough situation and did the best they may have been able to do, without the benefit of hindsight. .

AND most of all, at issue for many of us is why the need to rewrite this young woman's work and story at all? Is she not entitled to her own story? Are we saying her work is incomplete? Dishonest? Clueless? I took it for what it was - her words, her experience. That was enough for me and I thought it was powerful.

Personally I think the frustration is well placed and I am someone that usually finds myself in agreement with Malinda on many topics.

But not this one.

P.S. I too am an Adult Adoptee and in no way have felt disrepected or abused as another commentor alluded to.

Anonymous said...

This is just so hypocritical. Malinda copied an article written by an adoptee, omitted what didn't suit her agenda and proceeded to tell us what the adoptee author really meant, how she really is, or should be, affected by her adoptive parents. In doing so she has completely dismissed the adoptee's message and is being applauded and defended by other adoptees because what Malinda has said suits their agenda.

Adult adoptee here and I too cant believe the way an adoptee is being treated here, first by the blog owner in the post and then by other adoptees in the comments.

I've always wondered why it is that Malinda's treatment of her adopted kids, multiple pictures etc., is somehow ok? Is it because she makes a habit of saying how bad all adoption and other adoptive parents are?

Personal judgements and interpretations, marked in red no less, of an adoptee's words goes way too far in my opinion but the real crime is the adopted adults that are here defending the OP. Disgusting. So not alright what Malinda has done and the anons are bang on in their criticism.

Some adoptee rights activists.

c said...

"I am an adult adoptee and quite frankly I am tired of seeing other AA's or even First Mothers rise up with indignity when someone disagrees with their point of view"

Ummm, it's the APs on here who are coming across all indignant, not the adoptees and first moms. As an adoptee, I am bewildered about how defensive many of the anonymous posters on here are being.

Even the author of the article pointed out that she felt that her APs hadn't been perfect when it came to discussing adoption - note she notes herself that the timing was strange: "“I think it’s time to give you this,” she said. I flipped through it awkwardly without reading anything. Only now do I realize how strange it was that she would hand over such an overwhelming collection of information without a word about what I might find."

Even the teacher's aide when she was a child was concerned about the language used: "“Didn’t want to, or couldn’t?” she asked pointedly."

Anonymous said...

"I find it rather sad, not because of the adoptee's happiness -- adoptees are entitled to feel however they feel about their adoptions without anyone telling them otherwise -- but because it illustrates so many things adoptive parents should do differently."

So where did Malinda diss this adoptee, tell her what to fell, criticize her viewpoint? All of that is crap argument. She dissed the adoptive parents, NOT the adoptee, and that's why all the adoptive parents are mad.

c said...

"So where did Malinda diss this adoptee, tell her what to fell, criticize her viewpoint? All of that is crap argument. She dissed the adoptive parents, NOT the adoptee, and that's why all the adoptive parents are mad."

Very true, anonymous 10.06pm.

The adoptee herself has made note of certain things her parents have said re her adoption that she herself feels is not quite "right". It seems to me that Malinda is in fact expanding on those particular atatements rather than criticising the adoptee herself.

Anonymous said...

C said:

"The adoptee herself has made note of certain things her parents have said re her adoption that she herself feels is not quite "right".

Please show us where she says it is "not quite right". I didn't get that impression at all. I sensed she thought it was human, which is like, uh, usually "not perfect". Not the same as "not right".


"So where did Malinda diss this adoptee, tell her what to fell, criticize her viewpoint?"

She dissected her written words, explaining to the reader the "better way" was when the adoptee never suggested that Malinda's concerns were her focus or main concern.

Linda said...

@ Anon 10:06 "So where did Malinda diss this adoptee, tell her what to fell, criticize her viewpoint? All of that is crap argument. She dissed the adoptive parents, NOT the adoptee, and that's why all the adoptive parents are mad."
BINGO!

@Anon 7:41
I did not say we "drew such a short hand in the adoptive parenting department"- YOU did. And I never said I speak for anyone other than myself and many of my adoptee friends.

"I know Adult Adoptees love being categorized, summed up and lumped all together in sweeping and nearsighted generalities.....so too then must AP's? Or is it only allowed one way?"

And where did I categorize all ap's? I spoke about MY parents, and the parents of my friends. Their behavior is very similar to the ap's in this story.

"By all means continue to share your 2 cents and pretend its representative of us all."

Seems YOU are the one pretending, as I have never pretended anything I write to be representative of ALL ap's, ALL adoptees, or ALL first Mothers.

"If nothing else its always refreshingly slanted, biased, mean spirited and self pitying.....oh, and always consistent too."

Slanted or biased? It's MY experience, and also the experience of many adult adoptees I know, oh and we are adopted. Mean spirited? If MY truth and the truth of other adoptees I personally know is considered "mean" to you, you need a doctor. And yes, I am always consistent when speaking about MY experiences. MY truth does not change, and my truth will not be silenced.

Now go and cry and say, "Oh, my goodness, that real daughter is a bully because she hurt my fee-fees. She's so mean, because she told her truth."

And then go and try to understand why MY truth and the fact that Malinda sided with the adoptee in this story bothers you so much. Scary.

Louise said...

This is just mean.
I motion to stop the comments on this post.
Everyone back away and breathe slowly.

Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

I had a response typed out and deleted it. I am tired of being in conversations with people who post anon which enables them to be more hurtful and rude than they would be if they had the gumption to stand behind their words with their online identities (not that any anon poster would really be anon to the blog owner who more than liked has an analytics tracker embedded). If you want to disagree with me or challenge my ideas, by all means! But to make fun of the way I write or be unneccessarily rude to me because you can be as nasty as you want hiding behind anon, no thank you.

GypsyQ said...

@anonymous 3:26

"Had this for instance been a situation where Malinda had rewritten and or reframed the author's own words with a more positive slant", you wouldn't be so defensive and bothered that an AP actually get's that adoption is not all rainbows and sunshine and yes, I find that extremely arrogant and hypocritical.

I have lived the tragedy and pain of adoption loss, so your 'positive' adoption stories don't affect me in the least. I know the truth and it ain't pretty.

Adoptees and their mothers missed out on each other and it IS tragic. Why does anyone expressing that, be it an AP, an adoptee or a natural parent send so many of you into such a defensive tailspin? Why can't so many of you think of anyone other than yourselves and how something makes YOU feel? Put yourself into the shoes of a parent of adoption LOSS, not gain. Put yourself into the shoes of the child you are raising and think of how them missing out on their rightful heritage and families makes them feel.

I realize it is next to impossible to have empathy or compassion for anyone who lost while you gained, (I learned that the hard way) but please try. You may just actually understand where an adoptee or natural mother may be coming from. I won't hold my breath.

Amaranth said...

Reading the original article has left me with a very different feeling from the annotated version that Malinda has presented here. Jaime's own adoptee narrative, taken as it is written, rings true as the story of an adoptee who came from a troubled natural family, yet still had compassion and got some insight into herself upon meeting them.

I have a close adoptee friend who found a family like this, and her reactions were similar. Sadly some mothers who give birth are not fit to raise the child. That seems to be clearly the case for Jaime's mother. Giving your child to a couple in a bar is seriously dysfunctional.

Perhaps the adoptive parents could have handled the situation better than just handing her that file, but she was an adult and had already met her natural family. In any event, it is Jaime's story to tell; it is her life as she has lived it and sees it.

Thanks, Malinda, for linking to the original article, but picking parts and leaving out others for you red letter commentary could have been handled with more understanding.

Amyadoptee said...

As an adoptee who has found serious lies in her file, the adoptee in the story needs to know that some if not all needs to know that it could be a lie.

Meeting in a bar to relinquish the adoptee concerns me too. I have to wonder if there wasn't some kind of illegal situation or black market situation.

Although the APs attempted to keep a neutral tone with their adoptee, their thoughts and feelings came through in their actions and body language. Kids tend to take those cues seriously. They act from that.

I remember the best friend of my mother and her daughter. My amother was freaking out that she was relinquishing her child. I got both talks, the adoption and sex talk at the same time. I didn't realize it then but my mother was operating from the perspective that this child was her friend's first grandchild.

Something to keep in mind, you would not have a family if it weren't for the birth family. No matter how much you love your child, he or she will always be a part of the birth family. To criticize them for their actions is to criticize the adoptee for things that they have no control over but will deeply affect them emotionally.

Keep in mind that I did not have a bad experience with adoption until I searched. That is what has left me embittered towards adoption.

Amanda said...

One thing I will say, not directed at anyone, because again, I will not bicker with anons who could, for all I know, be the same person. I want it to be clear why I came here and why I commented on this article because asummptions about adoptees and why some of us are defending Malinda are flying left and right.

-I do not agree with everything Malinda wrote.
-I am defending Malinda because I like her.
-It does not matter to me if Malinda made a more positive or negative slant (IMHO, he did include both positives and negatives in what she wrote but it was a bit more to the negative, I agree). It doesn't change my opinion. I was interested in the article she found and her thoughts on it.
-Had it been anyone else blogging, yes, I might have been more insulted on behalf of the adoptee. But I have been reading Malinda's blog online for some time now and I trust she's not intending to be rude. I did not automatically read it with a nasty tone implied.
-If the adoptee whom the narrative this post is about came here and felt insulted, I would validate her. It doesn't feel good to have your narrative picked apart (I JUST wrote a post about this on my blog the other day!). But she shared her narrative, likely, for the purpose of being helpful. I believe Malinda went through the narrative to try to be helpful.
-As someone who is VERY protective of my own adoptive parents, I did not read it as painting all APs with the same brush or being incredibly cruel to another adoptee's APs. I would be here defending my own parents if I felt she was talking about all APs.

Sometimes when APs tell adoptees, or others, how insulted and "grouped together" they feel, I feel like they're forgetting I have APs that I love too. The bennefit of the doubt would be nice from time to time.

So instead of assuming why I'm here, insulting how I write, accusing me of not reading the comments (which I did, hence my response to the red letters comment), telling me I'm not a "real" adoptee activist: read what I'm writing here, I am giving you the answer as to why I, one adoptee, is here defending an AP commentary on an adoptee narrative. There is no alterior motive and no nastiness. This blog entry interests me, I like Malinda, I did not read it as insulting to anyone--especially not APs. Period.

And next time someone critiques my voice and narrative on my blog, I hope you all will be there to defend it as vehemently as you all say you care about this adoptee's narrative! Adoptees could use more defending :-)

Amanda said...

ugh, pardon the typos. I have been very ill for two weeks and still can't see straight.

Marianne Mom said...

For me, the following points are crucial in helping my daughters (adopted after many years in foster care) know that, as flawed as their birth parents were at parenting, they had as many good qualities as I do---and that my daughters inherited much of what is good and loveable about them from their birth parents. (This is especially obvious to me with my first daughter, who is beautiful, tall, athletic, outgoing, a wonderful singer and dancer---and did I say beautiful?! None of which she could have inherited from me.) By saying all this, I am not denigrating myself or my better parenting skills, but my daughters are proud of many traits of their parents, and I want them to be able to hold onto that feeling, because it's also a pride in who they themselves are. This can be very hard to maintain when I see how their birth parents have hurt them (and sometimes, continue to hurt them), but I feel that it's absolutely necessary for me to hold their birth parents in loving kindness and teach my daughters how to do the same, while never belittling the abuse/neglect they suffered at their hands, which my daughters know all too well from their own experiences in their birth families. It's not easy, not easy at all. "Helping your child understand what might have been, if she had been raised with her birth parents, is to deal frankly with how it would have been different without making judgements about better or worse. It's about showing how birth parents are human, fully three-dimensional, making both good and bad choices, like every other person. It's helping the child develop positive identity, by seeing *HOW THE GOOD IN THEM COMES FROM THE GOOD IN THEIR BIRTH FAMILY,* and how they have the capacity to make different choices. The 'what might have been' that I would hope for this adoptee is a fully integrated life, not needing to choose between birth family and adoptive family, with an understanding and appreciation of what life has brought, both good and bad."

Amanda said...

Marianne Mom, you make great points. Working out the positives of the original family, especially it not being seen as insulting to the adoptive family to so do, is really important. This is especially for adoptees like me, who have original family members who did something wrong, who may automatically wonder "my father [for me] was a bad person. Does that make me bad too?" The most important lesson I learned from that was to be able to say that I did inherit great things but that no, I am not bad too. Behavior in that sense is not biological. I make my own choices.

To know that these things may be silently on the mind of the adoptee is important. It's important to be sensitive to, like you're doing.

Von said...

I'm with Amanda. So tired of the anonymouses who don't have the courage to stand by what they say.So tired of others defining what adoption is, should be or could be for individual adoptees.It is what it is, our experiences are ours, we own them and have a right to tell them how we want and feel comfortable with, or not.If AP's&PAP's don't like what we say don't read.Simple!

Anonymous said...

@ Linda,

For the record, when one person feels to need to rewrite, omit parts of and editorialize another person's work, it IS NOT a compliment.

She goes further than denegrading the AP's in this story. The words and story should have stood. Period. Do you believe the author is not entitled to positive feelings for her parents? Not allowed to remember her life as she does and record it as such?

Would you like Malinda to add on to your comments in red and point out areas that seem puzzling to her? I wouldn't.

BINGO!

Anonymous said...

@ Von,

But...but..that's what so MANY of the Anon. commenters(both AP's and Adult Adoptees) were saying.

Why alter this author's work at all? Why were her words not enough???? Who are we to say or define it?

You are echoing the same argument.

And if you don't like Anon. commenters, don't read what they have to say!

c said...

"Reading the original article has left me with a very different feeling from the annotated version that Malinda has presented here. Jaime's own adoptee narrative, taken as it is written, rings true as the story of an adoptee who came from a troubled natural family, yet still had compassion and got some insight into herself upon meeting them"

You know, Amaranth, I actually agree with your summary here of Jaime. I got that impression myself from reading the article - (though I didn't necessarily feel the more extended maternal natural family was troubled (i.e. beyond her sister and her paternal grandmother)).

I perhaps differ in that I also got the impression that during her whole "adoption journey", it was a journey that she felt like she was walking alone.

I believe that her parents are marvellous in every other way. I just got the impression though that, even now, she doesn't feel like she can talk to them about her bfamily and her feelings about what she found in the file (possibly she is worried that they will be upset if she does so). It seems to me that she is bearing the heavy weight of what is in that file on her own brave little shoulders. I do hope she does have someone like a friend or counsellor to talk to about her adoption journey.

To me, if it is the case that she feels unable to speak to her parents about her journey, that is a sad thing. I hope I am wrong and that they are willing to listen and talk with her about her adoption journey if she ever wishes to do so.

I do have to say that when I first read this post, I was hoping that we would have a great discussion about how important it is that the APs get the "narrative right" when discussing the adoption story because that can make a difference between having a child that feels beholden and one that feels she has been set free.

Cassi said...

I agree with "C." I can definitely see where a very good, informative discussion could have been created out of this post.

I went back through and read again Malinda's comments and I don't see where she was trying to change or argue this woman's experience.

Instead what I saw was a good commentary on how parents - of all kinds - can learn how to be more aware of just how much impact and influence our words and actions have over our children and how important it is for us, as parents, to be aware of that.

And I do fully believe that not a single one of the adoptees who commented here were trying to paint any adoptive parents as "bad" people, not even the ones from this article. What I heard from them was there own experiences and feelings about how it is very important for parents to be aware of how much impact they do have on their children, even when they might not realize it.

I can't help think of what I was once told by an adoptive mother who I considered a very close friend for many years. She expressed to her son, and to me, many times that she was supportive of her son having a relationship with his first family. And I truly believe she meant it. If he had come to her and said I want to meet them, I want to have them in my life, she would have stood behind him.

But what she missed was the other things she said to him such as the time his first sister called to talk to him and she warned him, after the conversation, to be careful because she could be reaching out to him simply because she saw it as an opportunity to try and get money from him.

I will be the first one to admit that it is VERY hard to find the balance between supporting your child and, perhaps, protecting them from some of the darker truths of their childhood and making sure they have the freedom and confidence to accept and love every person who has had a part in their life.

But it can be done. Marianne Mom, herself, has proven that.

And posts such as this one are helpful if one is willing to listen and learn before putting up the defense walls that so often only serve the purpose of silencing what we really should be hearing.

Delilah said...

From whence comes this rather bizarre notion that a blogger isn’t allowed to comment on a published written work? That it is somehow inappropriate to publish only selected parts of that published work rather than the whole thing? Have you people never read a review of a book or movie, interspersed with quotes, without quoting the whole thing?! It would actually violate copyright law to republish the whole thing - -taking portions of it is fair use, taking it all isn’t! Do you think she’s stupid? If she wanted to hide any parts of it, why did she give you the link? If she wanted to hide the scene in the bar, why did she leave the comments that mentioned it? You do realize a blogger can always delete reader comments, right? If you’ve been reading here awile, you’ll have noticed that Malinda NEVER does that!

So the blogger should not have published excerpts and then commented on the excerpts she published – why is that exactly, because she “dissected” what was written?! She’s not allowed to “rewrite, omit parts of and editorialize another person's work.” Really?! And where exactly did she “rewrite” what the author wrote?

Would you have liked it better if Malinda had instead written, “An adoptee says she loves her adoptive parents, and she’s always been happy she was adopted, and there never were any issues in her mind, and her parents didn’t talk to her about her adoption very much, and when they did they looked worried to her so she did what she thought they wanted her to do.” Now, that would be characterizing what the adoptee said, putting Malinda’s spin on it, telling the reader what to think. INSTEAD SHE GAVE YOU THE ADOPTEE’S EXACT WORDS! How can that be grounds for complaint?! As a value-added, she then TOLD YOU WHAT SHE HERSELF THOUGHT when reading this publicly published piece. SHE LEFT IT TO YOU TO AGREE OR DISAGREE!!!!

So go about disagreeing with the points she made, not about the FORM of blogging those points! All of this sounds like just a way to distract from the uncomfortable truth that adoptive parents make a mistake when they try to hide information about adoption AND when they use the truth as a bludgeon, when they react defensively to birth family, when they allow an adoptee to internalize the “bad” of the birth family, that adoptees deserve better than that from the people who love them.

Von said...

Impossible Anon when they spout their rubbish on my own blog!! I see that you have not recognised the complexity of adoption and adoption commentary or understood that acceptance means acceptance of all adoptees regardless of their experiences and of the stage they are at in their adopted life.

Anonymous said...

@ Von,

You control whether or not anonymous posting is allowed on your blog.

Just wanted you to know. :)

A friend

Anonymous said...

Hm, I would just point out that the experiences of a child are not always accurately reflective of what happens in a family. They are seen through the lens of childhood. We have had the 'couldn't vs. wouldn't' conversation with my 7 year old more than a few times at this point. Is any of it having an impact? I would guess not- but it depends on the kid.

So the issue I have with the analysis of the original article is the amount of judgement leveled at the AP's, without consideration of the lens of the child. And yes, I get her experience is still her experience. And if she felt that anyone would be lucky to have her, wasn't something very right? But if her parents DID make the distinction earlier and it didn't sink in, should they have tried harder? Maybe. From personal experience, I don't know if that would have been right either. If I push the issue of WHY his first mom is not the one parenting him, aren't I just putting the emphasis on the wrong thing- what he can't have vs. what he does have?

And as for the file... the supposition that the AP held on to it because she wanted to 'save it for the right moment' is a huge leap based on the information presented, and another unfounded judgement. Is it not possible she was afraid for her child? Wanting to save her from the pain, and knowing she deserved the information, but scared and unsure, without the skills necessary to handle the disclosure, or the fallout. These are human failings, and assuming positive intent would be more compassionate than the route taken here. And compassion always creates openness and space for dialogue and understanding, which seems to be needed here.

Joy-Joy said...

@ Linda

You know I love you, but I have to say as a fellow adoptee, you have been a very naughty lady.

As one of or the one brave anon. pointed out we are all adults here. Inference being, we are all coming to the conversation with the same cultural capital. Right? Adoption is a triad, made up of three parts. The APs wants, The APs desires, and at the top, the AP's fee-fees.

Don't forget who paid good money for your identity, dear. Don't forget they one time bought you, your very own plastic doll. That was an awesome Christmas wasn't it? My amom refused to buy me a Baby-Alive in 1978, so I think if anyone drew the short end of the stick, I did.

I mean money is what matters. I know Linda dear, that you think you deserve to have your own feelings but that is part of the magic of adoption, you are an object that exists to be a blessing in your evah-lovin' adoptive parent lives.

I know it may seem strange to you that these brave anon. have such hostility toward the very same people that they spent upwards of 30K to get into their homes. I understand they even had to fill out paperwork. Paperwork! Holy shiznit, you know that sucks. I mean I know you yourself have been to the DMV, takes years to recover from.


You may say, but Joy, most of them spent more money on their cars and did more research on their cars than adoption. That is not the point, the point is, you do not know your place. I will teach you because I am all nice and patronizing like that.

Yes, I may be adopting soon when I am going through a mid-life crisis and want to appear younger.

The rewards are great though, you if you suck ass hard enough will get to sit at the right hand of your Adoptive Mother! Wheeeeee!

Do the blessings get any greater? She may have another plastic doll you can relate to wrapped in a bow for you.

Think of it this way, there is another group of parents that are vilified one that you and I are both a part of. Irresponsible teenage mother, the scourge of our enlightened society.

Granted, our motherhood didn't come with cultural capital, we got just heaps of stigma and no one tells us we are saints for being whhheeee! teen sluts having sex. We didn't get a ticket to heaven.

But you know how when you see an article about feckless teens with baby on board who has let something awful happen to her kid, like her boyfriend molests child. People unfairly say she was too young and irresponsible, or should not let bf rape baby. We get all mad and defensive and say things like, Meeeee, meeeee, that baby was the one running around with no pants just asking for it.

What about all the things she did right? Like the time she didn't set the house on fire? You know how we turn it into it was really hard. I had to fill out a bunch of welfare paperwork. I had to GET A JOB and MAKE MEALS nearly every single DAY! I know the welfare comment is me not you. But yeah, paperwork! When he went to school, you guessed it paperwork.

That is why I go around the interwebs and have hostility towards children of feckless teenage mothers.

Oh but I don't. Oh you don't either, we say things like, "She shouldn't let bf rape baby" We don't even get defensive because that is not the kind of mothers we were. That has nothing to do with us and we raised wonderful human beings and succeeded. So ooops, nevermind.

I am missing the point, the point is, that adoptive mothers turn even against themselves as they did with your short end of the stick, as they did with Melinda.

There is only one right answer, "My adoptive parents are amazing, they hurt my eyes, they glitter like stars!" All adoptive parents are amazing and no adoptive parent shall ever be criticized because in all their amazingness they are weaker than mere mortals and cannot handle it! They fall apart like a paper rose under tap water. Please, Linda, please, make it your life's work to soothe their fragile souls.

Joy-Joy said...

@ Linda

You know I love you, but I have to say as a fellow adoptee, you have been a very naughty lady.

As one of or the one brave anon. pointed out we are all adults here. Inference being, we are all coming to the conversation with the same cultural capital. Right? Adoption is a triad, made up of three parts. The APs wants, The APs desires, and at the top, the AP's fee-fees.

Don't forget who paid good money for your identity, dear. Don't forget they one time bought you, your very own plastic doll. That was an awesome Christmas wasn't it? My amom refused to buy me a Baby-Alive in 1978, so I think if anyone drew the short end of the stick, I did.

I mean money is what matters. I know Linda dear, that you think you deserve to have your own feelings but that is part of the magic of adoption, you are an object that exists to be a blessing in your evah-lovin' adoptive parent lives.

I know it may seem strange to you that these brave anon. have such hostility toward the very same people that they spent upwards of 30K to get into their homes. I understand they even had to fill out paperwork. Paperwork! Holy shiznit, you know that sucks. I mean I know you yourself have been to the DMV, takes years to recover from.


You may say, but Joy, most of them spent more money on their cars and did more research on their cars than adoption. That is not the point, the point is, you do not know your place. I will teach you because I am all nice and patronizing like that.

Yes, I may be adopting soon when I am going through a mid-life crisis and want to appear younger.

The rewards are great though, you if you suck ass hard enough will get to sit at the right hand of your Adoptive Mother! Wheeeeee!

Do the blessings get any greater? She may have another plastic doll you can relate to wrapped in a bow for you.

Think of it this way, there is another group of parents that are vilified one that you and I are both a part of. Irresponsible teenage mother, the scourge of our enlightened society.

Granted, our motherhood didn't come with cultural capital, we got just heaps of stigma and no one tells us we are saints for being whhheeee! teen sluts having sex. We didn't get a ticket to heaven.

But you know how when you see an article about feckless teens with baby on board who has let something awful happen to her kid, like her boyfriend molests child. People unfairly say she was too young and irresponsible, or should not let bf rape baby. We get all mad and defensive and say things like, Meeeee, meeeee, that baby was the one running around with no pants just asking for it.

What about all the things she did right? Like the time she didn't set the house on fire? You know how we turn it into it was really hard. I had to fill out a bunch of welfare paperwork. I had to GET A JOB and MAKE MEALS nearly every single DAY! I know the welfare comment is me not you. But yeah, paperwork! When he went to school, you guessed it paperwork.

That is why I go around the interwebs and have hostility towards children of feckless teenage mothers.

Oh but I don't. Oh you don't either, we say things like, "She shouldn't let bf rape baby" We don't even get defensive because that is not the kind of mothers we were. That has nothing to do with us and we raised wonderful human beings and succeeded. So ooops, nevermind.

I am missing the point, the point is, that adoptive mothers turn even against themselves as they did with your short end of the stick, as they did with Melinda.

There is only one right answer, "My adoptive parents are amazing, they hurt my eyes, they glitter like stars!" All adoptive parents are amazing and no adoptive parent shall ever be criticized because in all their amazingness they are weaker than mere mortals and cannot handle it! They fall apart like a paper rose under tap water. Please, Linda, please, make it your life's work to soothe their fragile souls.

Joy-Joy said...

p.s. Thank you Melinda, for having our back once again.

I am so not worried about your girls.

xoxoxoxox

c said...

Anonymous 10.59am

"And as for the file... the supposition that the AP held on to it because she wanted to 'save it for the right moment' is a huge leap based on the information presented, and another unfounded judgement. "

You realise that seems to be the adoptee herself's opinion, not Malinda's - quote by Jaime: "Only now do I realize how strange it was that she would hand over such an overwhelming collection of information without a word about what I might find." She received the file the DAY AFTER she came back from family. Her amom also gave it to her without a word.

As for this:
"We have had the 'couldn't vs. wouldn't' conversation with my 7 year old more than a few times at this point"
Have you? My aparents never felt it was their place to offer an opinion on whether or not our bmoms "wanted" to parent us or not - they had no idea. Why not just say "they weren't in a position to parent at the time" - that covers all bases lol.

Btw Joy - "My amom refused to buy me a Baby-Alive in 1978, so I think if anyone drew the short end of the stick, I did."
My asister feels that her childhood was ruined by the fact that she never got a Barbie doll so I think she would commiserate with you lol (btw I never got a Barbie doll either - I must admit though that my tastes in dolls leaned more towards raggedy ann type dolls with purple skin and pink hair).

Von said...

Dear Anon, I do indeed have control of anonymous posting on my own blog.I have always had a policy of no deletion of any comments as anoymous comments always reveal far more about the poster than they do about me or my blog.

Anonymous said...

As one of or the one brave anon. pointed out we are all adults here. Inference being, we are all coming to the conversation with the same cultural capital. Right? Adoption is a triad, made up of three parts. The APs wants, The APs desires, and at the top, the AP's fee-fees.

Don't forget who paid good money for your identity, dear

Thanks for the laugh.

Anonymouse123

Reena said...

It really amazes me which posts turn into a hotbed for other APs. WTH is wrong with this one that created such a stir?

Because Malinda decided to write her own commentary about a story?

Uhhh, this is HER blog afterall-- why wouldn't she?

If you do not like her commentary and you are unwilling to consider other points of view from you own-- why read her blog?

I appreciate everything that Malinda wrote in red-- it mirrored what I was thinking about the article- only in a more eloquent and thoughtful manner.

Thanks Malinda-- but can you try to save these really interesting for posting on weekdays!
:-D

Joy-Joy said...

@ C:

I so feel your asister's pain. I too was denied Barbie on grounds that she was "disgusting" was made out of plastic and gave a skewed vision of womens bodies.

I was allowed a grow-up Skipper, when you turned her arm around her torso grew and boobies popped out. She was awesome.

As you can tell though I was raised by a backward and unenlightened woman, she was not like the fab anons posting here.

In fact you cannot find my amom insulting adoptees anywhere on the internet. Adoption was different in my day. Aparents were not as hostile and self-righteous as they are now. They were not as selfish as the current enlightened crop.

They had not evolved into their current raptor state with the shiny claws out to rip apart adoptees or even their own kind in a spectacle of narcissism.

I always lol thinking about how this current group of adoptoraptors will react when their children are being criticized for being actual people and they will get the blame for being the short end of the stick.

Serves them right, but I do feel bad for their children.

And anonymous 123, You are Welcome. Tips, while not required are greatly appreciated. So are names.

Anonymous said...

Oh my...

tsk, tsk, tsk, adult adoptees, especially the last few commenters.

Showing your true colors eh?

Basic name calling, laughing at the expense of others, generalization, cruelty....and so much more!

Wow, a one two punch that accomplishes not more than reminding so many of us just why our "claws" must come out from time to time!

Just say it like it is then...you oppose all adoptions. Don't mince words or feel it necessary to hide behind mud slinging. We are all big folks here, we can take it.

As to cultural capitol? COME ON!

So now we all must censor our commentary to protect the fragile egos of anyone who might deign to read this blog! Okay then...add that to our super powers! ;)

Wow, you really do expect a lot from APs!

LOL right back at ya Joy joy! Blech!

Anonymous said...

P.S.

Oh JOY JOY...just for you then,

sign me,

Felice

does that help? about as helpful as you standing behind your moniker: joy joy - very illuminating!

LOL

ms. marginalia said...

Cassi: "I can't believe the way I have seen adoptees treated in this post.

They have stood up and respectfully shared their own opinions and experiences - as the ones who have actually lived this life. And you have mocked them, insulted them, treated them as if they are somehow beneath you."

I am not surprised. This is the way of the world. Sad, but true.

I saw things in the adoptee's narrative that mirrored my own recent experience in meeting my first family. My amom's "wobbly" voice and inability to discuss my reunion spoke volumes to me about her own place in coping/not coping. Since I was six, I was told to call my first family "biologicals," and now at the age of 42, I call them what I like, not what she tells me. I understand that there can be friction/pain/confusion, and that often we adoptees are made to bear the burden of our aparents' problems on this front. It just is. Why not point it out?

Adoptees pick up on what our aparents tell us or don't tell us through their words, tone of voice, silence, presence and absence on our journeys. It's very much to the point. I didn't find Malinda's commentary offensive. It was her commentary, and yes, I do think the particular adoptee's aparents could have done better to prepare her and talk about things; they could at least have offered a safe place for discussion. If the adoptee didn't want that place, fine. I would say, having read the account, however, that it is plain as day that they *didn't* want to know or talk about it, in a nonjudgmental way, with her. Maybe it isn't plain to those who haven't lived it, who don't know the code of aparent behavior, but I can only say that it's true from where I stand.

Plus ca change, I suppose.

Linda said...

Do not ever allow your children to feed their Baby Alive doll real food. Their plastic intestines will rot within 72 hours and Baby Alive will die a cruel death.

@ Anon- 12:56

"For the record, when one person feels to need to rewrite, omit parts of and editorialize another person's work, it IS NOT a compliment."

Malinda linked to the original article and was giving her opinion, her reaction, to the article. I would consider it a compliment if an adoptive parent learned from the mistakes my ap's made with me. Because, you know, it's about the kids. NOT your ego.

"She goes further than denegrading the AP's in this story."

Waaahhhhh. That's life. It's MALINDA'S right to comment on whatever she would like to comment about. I personally enjoy the DEGRADATION of ap's who get their panties in a wad over MY experiences and make MY experiences about themselves. I also enjoy the DEGRADATION of people who wear crocs.

"Do you believe the author is not entitled to positive feelings for her parents? Not allowed to remember her life as she does and record it as such?"

I did not feel that way at all, and I am very familiar with people re-writing my life...you know, like not so "anons" telling me that I feel I "drew the short end of the stick" when it came to my adoptive parents. People have been attempting to re-write the record of my life since day one. Oh, and I have the amended birth certificate to back that up.

"Would you like Malinda to add on to your comments in red and point out areas that seem puzzling to her? I wouldn't."

Malinda, or anyone else for that matter, is free to add on to any comments I have made, and I don't care if it's in blurple. It is HER opinion. Her opinion does not take away from MY truth, or MY story, it is her opinion.

"BINGO!" was his name-o...and I can guess what yours is, too. #thankgodfortrackers

c said...

Ooh Joy I want a Skipper doll too!

Joy,
"In fact you cannot find my amom insulting adoptees anywhere on the internet. Adoption was different in my day. Aparents were not as hostile and self-righteous as they are now. They were not as selfish as the current enlightened crop."

That might be because we cost about $1.50 in our day rather than $30,000. I think I was worth at least $2.50 lol.

Anonymous 12.16.
"So now we all must censor our commentary to protect the fragile egos of anyone who might deign to read this blog! Okay then...add that to our super powers! ;)"

Well, you are expecting every one else to censor their commentary to protect your fragile ego.

"Wow, you really do expect a lot from APs"
We expect the same of them as everyone else.

To you and the other Anonymice - instead of making excuses for the AP, why not learn from her mistakes - that is the point of Malinda's article. She made some excellent comments on how it could have been improved - hence the title "what might have been".

Hillobeans said...

I thought Jaime Cone's piece spoke eloquently for itself and didn't need to be deconstructed by anyone, least of all by an adoptive parent of any sort.
But that's just my opinion, for what it is worth, which amounts to a whole hill o' beans.

Erimentha said...

Great blog post Malinda. I agree that there was definitely motive involved in how and when information was shared by these adoptive parents. My own adoptive mother can barely even say my natural mothers' name without it dripping with contempt despite the fact that I have been reunited with my natural family for over 10 years now. It makes it very hard because I cannot share my happiness with my Mum because she seems to resent the fact that I am happy about knowing my natural family, and of course I want to share that happiness with my Mum - talk about a catch 22.
As for the comment war that is going on here, well, all I will say is that I think it is incredibly cowardly to make comments anonymously. If you truly feel righteous in your indignation, you should post using your real name or at least sign your name at the end of your post.

dpen said...

Really? some of the comments by yes, DEFENSIVE aparents are cracking me up!

The thought that this writer was telling people what to think, or that she has an agenda is just absurd. she was telling HER story...if some see a slant to it then thats your problem...not hers or any of the other adoptee that feel the same way. Who in the heck do you people think you are to try to minimize a persons feelings, life and experiances because you don't AGREE WITH IT...what the hell is there to agree or disgree with, this was HER life, not yours, not your kids HERS...maybe just maybe by the mere fact that she is an adult, an intelligant adult you should just get over your own issues and listen to her and try to avoid the same mistakes her parents made. Not because anyone is putting YOU down but because it may help your child.

Maybe if you would just stop and listen to the people that have lived the life in many differnt ways you would learn what your child MIGHT be feeling, maybe devolp a little empathy for the person that you that you are raising and claim to love so much...your childs adoption is about THEM and not you...There are some adoptive parents that get it....why not listen to them instead of trying to degrade an adoptee(your child will grow up you know).

I can speak this way because I am an adoptee, 54 years old, fairly intelligent and had adoptive parents that GOT IT(generally). The older i get the more amazed i am at my parents and how the inherently respected me and my adoption status. Never Made my life or my siblings life about their issues with infertility. They adopted ethically and respected the fact that I DID have a biology out there and respected the fact that I would want to know...my mom said.." if it were me i would want to know too" thats called empathy folks....She made sure i was respectful to my first mother, NEVER put her down....all within the scope of closed adoption, 50's thinking , and no internet...they must have been just regular good people that respected other humans especialty. ones that they were entrusted with to raise and love ...and they did. NEVer demanded i be grateful to them for adopting me, but taught me gratefullness in the other parts of live as all children should be taught...never told me to be grateful for living and breathing...the rest of society was good at that!

So you all say? How dare I tell you how it is? Because we are the adoption....we are t he ones t hat have to live it and cope with it....its your JOBS....BECAUSE YOU WANTED TO to raise your child with unconditional love even when they just might show interst in their biology...it is THEIRS after all...not yours to keep from them, or miminze because it might make you feel like less of a mother...a good mother takes the whole child, all piesces of t hat child and trys to meld them into a cohesive unit.....not a person that has to pick and choose because mommys(either one) feelings might get hurt.

Good post....Malinda....I think that many open mined peole that are willing to listen and learn ...will. Those that don't want and want to appear as if they know you and your motivations..won't...hope they change becasue all i can say is God help their kids.

Von said...

When the adoptees raised by the self-righteous are adults, heaven help ypu all!

Louise said...

Y'all still going at it? I thought I told you to shut it down. Dang - can you not follow this amazing guidance? Are you not concerned that many of us reading the drama are experiencing nausea?

Joy-Joy said...

@ Felice thanks for leaving a name. It is kind of common courtesy for other readers. When you post as anon. unless we are familiar with your voice, as in the case of the anon. who made the ugly comments about Linda, hey that particular anon. if you are bored, why not go to a museum or a park or sumpin'? grin, what sage advice, maybe you should take it.

But it is only considerate to leave a name so conversation is easier to follow. You may find Joy-Joy vague, but I am pretty well-known as an adoptee-blogger around adopto-land. If you are under the false assumption that I don't make myself known, you can visit my mean-adoptee blog by Googling Joy's Division Adoptee and attack me at will.

You will not be the first or last. Let's hope you can at least be funny and remember to be at least that considerate, to leave a name.

I had a friend as a girl named Felicity, I think it is a beautiful name, well chosen.

Joy-Joy said...

@ Louise

I hope you are an adoptoraptor, I hate to think of one of my own, the adoptees, being such a boorish control freak.

I know it happens, that there are boorish adoptee control freaks who have no sense of humor. I just hate the association.

You don't have to answer that though as I prob. won't believe you anyhoo. Just how silly to think you have the right to tell anyone else how to run their blog?

I am so embarrassed for you. Why don't you go and get a tattoo of vampire fangs? I think that would both suit you and give others fair warning.

Louise! said...

Joy - Joy -
Down, girl!
I was just trying to lighten up the mood for those who are obsessing over this post. Do you think I "seriously" thought the madness would stop, just as I summoned?
Tattoo advice? How about one depicting the "adoption angel" I am?
Come on, where's the "joy" in all this?

Lorraine Dusky said...

I saw the Times piece and decided there was so much going on there I wasn't going to write about it at First Mother Forum --and I'm so glad you did, as a sensitive and caring adoptive parent, even if the others went bananas.

Keep up the good work!

Just Passing Thru said...

I love Lorraine!
From: Lorraine's Fan Club

I wish Joy's heart were true to her name.

B. said...

Malinda, I just came across this thread and I really cannot believe some of what I am reading here, posted by (a number of) anon(s).
As an adoptive mother in an open adoption situation, I share your thoughts on this article you commented on, and I am really sorry there was not much more support for your views from the adoptive parent side.
B.