Dear Adoption, Your Response to Us is Bizarre
Adoption comes up often in my daily discussions with family, friends, co-workers and even strangers. I don’t mind stating “I’m adopted”. I do mind the response I receive more often than not. Following my obligatory expressions of gratitude, I sometimes touch on the loss I’ve experienced, my desire for contact with biological family, my fear of rejection if I do find my family and/or all of the informational dead zones (such as my entire missing medical history).
Typically, in the moment the things I lost are quickly dismissed with “but look at all you have!” or “I don’t think I’d go opening doors when you have no idea what’s behind them. It’s better to not know and focus on moving forward”.
And sometimes a few hours or days or weeks later someone will come back with something similar to this email I received from a close friend after talking about being adopted and suggesting she read Dear Adoption, (which I recommend so non adopted people can understand better and because I’m secretly looking to have my own feelings backed up):
“Wow, I looked at that website you sent and it is so sad. It’s so awful that these people can’t move on and just be thankful for what they have. Maybe it’s good to have a dumping grounds for their grievances but we all have hard things in our lives to overcome you know? And these people were actually saved from way worse lives probably. None of us gets to pick our family. I know so many people who are adopted and they aren’t depressed like that. They’re so happy! Wasn’t Steve Jobs adopted? I mean these people need to move on. I think it’s good you don’t talk about this endlessly and focus on all the negativity. You have a really nice family and people who love you (like me Yay!). You’re not going to write for them are you? I think you should avoid that and not be associated with that pile of sadness. Okay anyways thanks for talking to me about adoption and stuff. I’m glad we talked about it and I’m glad you really are so grateful! If you were never adopted we might not be friends (booooo wahhh 😦 ). Lots of love.”
I immediately began drafting my DA, submission.
If you are not adopted then you do not know what it is like to be adopted. You do not know if it is good, bad, better, worse, happy, fulfilling, or anything. You literally know nothing about being adopted if you are not adopted. If you know people who are adopted you still do not know what it’s like to be adopted. Every adopted person has their own experience: mine is not theirs and theirs isn’t mine. I’m adopted and even I am not trying to speak for other adopted people. So why are you? It’s bizarre.
You don’t know what it’s like to be adopted if you are not adopted. You need to listen and hear and then encourage others to listen and hear.