gallery Dear Adoption, Do Not Tell Me How I Feel

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Dear Adoption, Do Not Tell Me How I Feel

Dear Adoption, I need you to hear me – without interrupting or forming a response before I finish. I am adopted, not you. I have experienced it, not you. My entire existence has been shaped by the construct of adoption, leaving me incapable of imagining my life otherwise. You cannot imagine, so for once, just shut up and listen.

Dear Adoption, do not tell me how I feel. When I say anything concerning my families or my feelings toward them – or adoption in general – do not contradict me as if you know better. As if you have any idea the complex emotions and psychological mindfuck adoption creates. As if you have any basis of knowledge on the subject. You don’t.

Dear Adoption, you have no idea the harm you did, in the name of A Better Life. You cannot know, so do not impose on me your opinions and expect me to take them as my own, like I had to when I was given a false birth certificate and forced to declare it as fact. Do not pretend you have a clue what it feels like to swear you are one thing when you are genetically another.

You do not know my pain, Adoption, because you cannot admit you are the cause of it. You want to think you saved me – that I would have been an abortion statistic without you, that my mother and I would have lived on the streets unless you came along. You are full of yourself, Adoption. So self-absorbed that when I – the product that makes you exist attempt to share my reality, my truth, you immediately shut me down. You cannot handle that the perpetual child I am in your eyes does anything except sing your praises.

You shame me. You silence me. You attempt to control the narrative. You lie. You pout. You tell me it hurts you that I could state anything other than how happy I am. You lecture me that my “real” parents are the ones who raised me, that biology is meaningless, that I was better off being adopted no matter the actual circumstances. You say I should feel blessed and chosen. But you don’t stop there, Dear Adoption. You tell me how I actually feel.

When I say I feel I don’t belong anywhere, you say I feel lucky to be adopted.

When I say I consider myself a commodity, you say I actually feel like a gift.

When I say I long to connect with my birth family, you say “those people” mean nothing to me.

When I say I miss my original mother, you say I have abandonment issues.

When I say I mourn my bio-father, you say I cannot grieve someone I never met.

When I say I carry great pain, you say you wish you were adopted.

Dear Adoption, do not presume to understand the magnitude of what you’ve done or, worse, to explain it to me. The psychological warfare you wage only focuses my anger where it belongs: at you. You cannot control me with your talk of “God’s plan” and you cannot make me parrot your platitudes. Thousands of us have found our voice and we will not be silenced. Because, Dear Adoption, someday you will be on the wrong side of history – like slavery – and no amount of gaslighting you do now will change that.

Using a nom de plume, adoptee Elle Cuardaigh lives her secret life as a writer in the Pacific North West while simultaneously juggling the responsibilities of being mother, daughter, and sister to many. Her book,”The Tangled Red Thread” is a true account of one woman’s life, existing as not one, but two people: one born and one adopted, and enduring the reality of not completely belonging in either world. Read Elle’s most viewed post on Adoptee Suicide and find her on Twitter.

9 comments

  1. Reblogged this on FORBIDDEN FAMILY and commented:
    As I reblog this by Elle Caurdaigh on Dear Adoption, I must tell you, my readers, that Elle’s words could be my own. Every single word resonates with me.

    There are only three lines that describe a situation that do not match my feelings because these don’t match my life:

    “When I say I long to connect with my birth family, you say “those people” mean nothing to me.
    When I say I miss my original mother, you say I have abandonment issues.
    When I say I mourn my bio-father, you say I cannot grieve someone I never met.”

    Because I was found by my natural family so very long ago, these statements don’t exactly match up. For me, I was already in reunion (since 1974) when so many of my adoptive family, and so many strangers, told me that “those people mean nothing to me.”

    For me, my natural mother died, for real. I spent the first 6 weeks of my life in an incubator. So yes, my abandonment issues are very real, felt on an instinctual, pre-verbal level.

    For me, I never met my mother because she died. I only know of her from those 7 months (yes, only 7, not 9) while I grew inside her. And yes, I can, and I do, grieve for someone I have never met.

    For me, I met my natural father and had an on-again, off-again relationship with him. Ours was a complicated father-daughter relationship. While many people love to blame him for “giving me away,” I never held that against him. How many times have heard from adopters that I SHOULD hate him for what he did to me?

    Dear Adoption and Dear Adopters: Stop telling me how I SHOULD feel and how I SHOULD behave. You were never adopted.

    One last thought on one last quote from Elle:

    “You do not know my pain, Adoption, because you cannot admit you are the cause of it. You want to think you saved me – that I would have been an abortion statistic without you, that my mother and I would have lived on the streets unless you came along.”

    For me, I would not have been an abortion statistic because abortion was not on anyone’s mind at the time my mother was pregnant with me. She was dying, Adoption! My married mother wanted to stay alive to raise her five children with her husband! How dare you, Adoption, assume that every single adopted person was “conceived in sin.” I am an orphan, Adoption, conceived in love. I would not have lived on the streets because I already had a home, a family, a name, and a birth certificate before you came along.

    Thank you, Elle, for putting into words what so many of us have been feeling for so long.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That was educating to read. Yesterday I was on social media and a picture of a man showed up on my newsfeed with a sign giving the year and date he was born. My apathetic thought was, “Why does it matter? They’re not in your life.”

    And to be honest, I’m not even sure why I mentally reacted that way. I was able to quickly acknowledge that I don’t have a right to tell him what’s important, but it’s so interesting how quick people and institutions are to react apathetically to others’ circumstances in the name of being right. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Way to go! This is the best-est ever post! The last paragraph ought to be plastered on billboards everywhere in big, bold print! (The whole thing really but I know it wouldn’t fit. Maybe they could “Burma Shave” it down the highway.)

    So, dear adoption, you have never, ever grieved someone you have never met? Adoption you are either heartless, a full-blown narcissist, or are filled with the most egregious deceit! Perhaps all three?!

    Liked by 1 person

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