Dear Adoption, Please Own Your Mistakes
I’ve done many things I regret and everyone I know has done things they regret. Accountability is really important. Acknowledging our wrongs is hard but necessary. It’s humbling to admit we have done wrong. Nobody likes it but we do it for integrity and to build trust.
Whether you intended harm or not, you should apologize for any harm done.
Adoption, I believe your intentions were good. Who doesn’t want orphans to have families? Only a monster, right? Who doesn’t want to give every child a warm, safe home ripe with opportunity? Your intentions don’t matter when so many families have been torn apart and so much hurt has been inflicted and you can’t even look them in the eye and say you were wrong.
Look, we know you have regrets. The best way to handle regrets is to own them. We all have them. You have helped many. You have hurt many. Owning your mistakes and corruption would tell the world you are not the baby hungry, financially greedy, arrogant beast you come off as.
Adoptive parents, churches, and adoption fans are so offended and become so defensive when we adoptees share our personal pain, losses and point out the things you’ve done wrong. Why?
I think adoptive parents, the church, and adoption fans feel threatened. I think they are well aware of the issues in adoption, the blurred ethical lines and how traumatized any person separated from their family and culture would be.
I know they know. I know they knowingly look away because it’s too painful and concerning.
Know better and do better.
Instead they pretend not to know and go on loudly defending you while quieting the truth they do know.
You can roll your eyes, accuse us of being ungrateful, continue on arrogantly claiming your adopted children won’t turn out like us and keep promoting a severely fractured system.
You can say our parents did wrong, but you are doing better.
You can say we were all orphans who would have suffered and died.
You can say we have emotional problems not linked to adoption.
You can say we are angry and bitter and need to get a handle on life.
You can say everyone in the world has hurts and ours are no different.
You can say God told the church to care for orphans and in order to follow His command you must first rip apart families and cultures without any consideration of helping them in a way that doesn’t end in you bringing home a baby.
You can say you needed a baby.
You can say that baby needed you.
You can say you are mostly good.
You can say whatever you want, but we know you know better.
We know you’re defensive because you know better.
We know your frustration stems from guilt and fear that every adoption, possibly even your adoption, wasn’t entirely ethical. Maybe it was ethical but maybe it wasn’t.
We know you are worried that if you stand up for what is true and right now people will think you don’t love your children. Maybe you should start thinking about what your children will think? They will be the next us.
Own your mistakes. We all make them. You cannot be afforded the luxury of turning a blind eye any longer.
Seriously you look so foolish claiming you’re always good all of the time. Take a look around. You aren’t.
Humble yourself and take ownership of your wrong doings because that is something we can respect.
Burying your head in the sand is not is good look.
Please own your mistakes. We know you don’t like us, grown up adoptees. So don’t do it for us. Own it for them, own it for your children. They’ll be us very soon.
This is empowering. Thank you.
You completely nailed it!
This is insanely good. Thank you for sharing – keep writing!
Everyone is imperfect. It is the nature of being human. It is how you live the life you were given that empowers you.
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As an adoptee I can empathize with your pain and the unfairness of the situations you have found yourself in and surrounded by. As adoptees, I sincerely believe that most of us – no matter our origins-can identify
with your general feelings. But we are not all orphans, nor are we all foundlings left in a birth center on in a revolving wheel which took us from womb to cloister. Some of us were intentionally torn from our sibs and other family by parents who did not want us, this done abruptly and arbitrarily-with, as the legalese says, malice aforethought.
I am sorry you and others have had to endure such trauma because children have the basic right to be cared
for and protected, something many of us did not receive-and worse we were separated from our heritage and families no matter who, what or where they might have been or no matter where you, they or I may be at this time.
Although I am not Christian a verse from the New Testament runs around in my mind as I read words that many have written in frustration: When I was a child, I spoke as a child, but now I am an adult, I must put away childish things.
At times,I must remind myself of the need to put away childish things… not to generalize, not to preach, not to be pretentious or to presume or assume and not to demand. Mostly to not retaliate in kind to the ills I believe someone else caused. Anger and hostility resolve nothing, only reason and calm approach may stem the tide.
Adding fuel to the fire will most likely cause an inferno. And being always the victim helps no one. As child, I
certainly was victim (with visible signs decades old) to prove what was done. However, as an adult I am not victim any longer. I am responsible for what happens to me, not others, I cannot change my past, but I can protect my and my child’s and grandchild’s future by working for changes which will benefit them and me. (And by the way, I do not own my child now adult any more that a state or a court appointed adult owned me..)
Mostly I have to remind myself that speaking to the choir doesn’t change the conductor’s downbeat nor is the message heard by those who should be hearing it. I also must remember not to shout and not to make statements unaccompanied with more evidence than simply my words.
But mostly I must ask myself what I have done, who I have approached and with whom have I spoken who can help change the situation BEFORE I approach anyone else to join the crusade. And when I approach anyone, I use my experience and no one else’s unless I have documentation to back up my claims.
What I have learned in over 7 decades is that adoption is not a subject of interest to the general public or to the media because for the mot part it doesn’t affect those in that group. They have no assabya (an Arabic phrase meaning association or tie) with the condition and therefore no conception of how it affects those of us who have lived with it thru the years. People respond to entreaties that have meaning to them-cancer, a flood, a fire, a disaster of nature or other events that impact in their lives. Think of it this way, if society didn’t care what happened to me and my sister who were abandoned in a dog pound over 69 years ago, what makes you think they care about us as adults-or you as adult(s)? Even legislators enact what is expedient to the original complainant who is only concerned about his own needs and sees only to the end of his nose and no further. People respond to what they can see, bruises, wounds, casts, crutches, wheel chairs, etc. They can’t
see a broken heart, and tears are temporary.
What we must learn is that the problem for many adoptees-child or adult-is the customary habit of the adults involved and the collusion of the agencies and the courts involved-not to mention the societies who do not see the ills they create in perpetuating ‘ adoption’ procedures which serve every one’s needs BUT the adoptees’. If we can break that habit, that cycle, that mind-set, we have hope to change the draconian system of an entity known as adoption. Todo that requires going outside a box, outside a blog, outside of ourselves.
Change comes from within and with great effort. It starts with one small step, then another and another until we have reached our goal. Often to effectuate that change takes finding the one person who -even though they have no experience in being the adoptee-has the good sense to listen and then to help them get through the barriers. And finding another and another. Some of the changes in the system -particularly those involving sealed documents (birth certificates and final adoption decrees/adoption files) people just like me were instrumental in changing because we did not take no for an answer, were persistent, and focused on the benefit for all, not just for ourselves.
To paraphrase something John F Kennedy said in his inaugural address: Ask not what others can do for you, but ask what you can do for yourself and your fellows.
Best wishes for resolution and for a better life now than what was yours in the past. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
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I take care of my elderly adoptive mother . She lives with us. She’s 87. My adoptive father passed in 1990. This was a very good essay, and I feel the same about infant stranger adoption. It should not be done.