Saturday, November 26, 2011


In the spirit of feeling sick to my stomach, my friend Linda was friended on FB by someone who was going around friending adoptees. It turns out this woman had adopted a girl and then disrupted the adoption because the girl was "too difficult" and putting her other family members at risk. While I understand that people have problems and not everyone is easy to get along with (Nancy Verrier wrote poignantly about this in The Primal Wound: the adoptees who act out versus the adoptees who hurt themselves), I believe firmly that if you make a commitment to a child, you stick with that child FOREVER. You cannot "return" a biological child simply because they are difficult. So WTF with giving up on an adoptee?


This month is HORRIFIC.

Linda wrote a post about this woman, and her exchanges with her. Curiously, this woman claimed that Linda, an adoptee, doesn't understand adoption. Huh?

Oh, and yeah. This woman blogs and is turning her experiences with this poor child into a book. So the child will be commodified and made public and shamed even further. How positively lovely for this poor child! How DARE this mother make a dollar off the tortured experience of this child. When, oh WHEN, will this child's feelings come FIRST? When will she have been punished enough and shown that she means nothing to these people?

Shoot me now. Again, we are not human to so many people. WHEN WILL PEOPLE WAKE THE HELL UP? It's shameful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Courage and Gratitude

I love the Italian word for courage/bravery, coraggio, because it sounds so much stronger and full of fortitude than our English word. Put an exclamation point after it, and it's just hot. Coraggio!

Friends tell me all the time that they value me for my courage. I don't think that I am so much courageous as dogged. I don't like to give up. I know what I want, or my heart knows what it wants (especially if I think it's right) and I just cannot let go. Sometimes not giving up can take me places that other people have told me, conversely, that they think are just plain dumb. (And, in truth, sometimes those places are dumb. I am human, not infallible.)

C called me this morning to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving and to thank me for not giving up, even in light of all the obstacles, and to say that she's thankful to have me in her life. I really never thought I would receive such a phone call, and all the pain is worth it for words like that.

That said, I am feeling rather fragile (in French, as my ex used to describe me) and have been for a few days. I think it's been the dark pall of Adoptember; the nastiness of APs arguing that their racist comments are all sunshine and light (really?); the throwaway comments people make about adoptees; the ongoing assumptions that if adoptees disagree with you, it's because our parents are terrible people who beat us and locked us in basements. See Von's post about these weevils. An AP wrote, "By all appearances its adult adoptees that are still mad about being adopted. Most of these adoptees were born American and adopted at birth and they take issue with how their parents handled things." Which makes me furious, of course, because my parents are possibly the most wonderful, ethical, kindest, generous, courageous people out there. They will bend over backwards to help you, and they taught me that keeping your word is the most important thing you can ever do. So these horrid people climbing out from under rocks? You might be APs, but you cannot aspire to be ANYTHING like my parents. Who would tell me not to give you the time of day. I would go farther and call you a waste of space on this planet, in my current evil-soaked mood. But that's not my parents' fault. It's because YOU claim to be Christian and lead the most un-Christian sounding lives, and say the most un-Christian sounding things I've heard in quite some time. There's just no escaping these people, or their stain on adoption, or what they do to their kids, taken from abroad. And it makes me sick. Oh, and the waffling about searching for natural families in China because it is "too hard"? More sadness.

There are moments when none of us can keep our word, to be sure, but these people, in adopting, should have chosen to put their children and their children's needs first. I am not sure they did. Every time I cross paths with people who don't keep their word, I feel a little bit of contempt. If I have nothing more to do with you; fine. But if you choose to sell me down river, I will remember.

I was crying last night and trying to get all this pressure off my chest, this awful pressure and pain, and my younger son came over. He said, "Mommy, who did this to you? I will find them and make them pay." He is six! With a few notable exceptions, this is the first time in my life that someone has been 100% on my side. Some adoptees can only find family if they make their own! Again, sad. I guess this is what it means to put "family" first, and fuck everyone else--remember, I am not an alien, and didn't fall from the sky. I love my son's loyalty and coraggio, but he can save it for now. I am a big girl. It warmed my heart that he didn't prevaricate, and he won't go back and tell me that someone else is more important, and shut me out and be silent. Not my son. I hope he *will* tell me, though, when he thinks I am doing the wrong thing. Because that's *also* what family does.

I am grateful for friends and my good brain and what there is left of me. Off to work to deliver some little people. Maybe they can cheer me up.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Losing My Shit

It's been a while since I've posted twice in a day, but I read something a little while ago that stuck in my craw and it's bothering me so much that I cannot let it go. I went to my adoptee refuge and discussed it and decided to write about it here.

A first mom wrote to another first mom in blogland today. The firstmom is wanting a baby, her firstborn, back. Or a replacement baby. Or something like that. But what really hurt was what the mom wrote:

"when you do have your second firstborn..."

Umm, how the fuck does that work?

I guess you erase having your first child in your head, and pretend s/he never happened, and raise that new one as your firstborn. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

I know that's what C did. She told me. And that's why it's so triggering for me. She told me once that she considered herself as only having one child. I know that's changed now, and each situation is different, but it's a horrible throwaway thing to hear a mother say to another mother about a child that is supposedly "loved." Hmm. We adoptees have excellent skills in smelling bullshit.

Knowing that the first mother who wrote the statement above WANTS a relationship with her FIRST firstborn, I personally wouldn't be writing shit like that in cyberspace because if her FIRST firstborn reads that, he probably (I can't guarantee it, but probably) will have the same gut-wrenching visceral, painful reaction that I am having that is going to involve some pharmaceuticals in a very short order.

Why, oh why, can these women not THINK about what they say about their children. Oh yeah, see posts below about how we are not human and we have no feelings. We cannot be erased. I know we are all trying to cope with less than optimal experiences, but this is tripe.



I have been mulling over the nicknames that APs and first parents give their kids in blogland as a screen for their identities. I fully understand that it's not okay to blog using their real names. But some of the nicknames make me truly queasy. I have discussed this over time with different adoptee friends of mine, and the other day someone wrote a comment over on Linda's blog about how that Five of My Own woman uses insect nicknames for her adopted daughters. I finally decided to write about the nickname issue to see if people would be willing to discuss it.

I have written before about how I feel that many adoptees (myself included) are treated in society at large as less than human. [N.B.: I do not include my aparents as offenders, many friends of mine, and certain members of my natural family who are trying very, very hard to throw off received wisdom.] Adoptees are so often treated as aliens who are expected not to have feelings, and when we express feelings, we are told that those feelings are invalid, we are laughed at, we are lectured on how we don't understand "science," or we are presented with predictable litanies about our ungratefulness. I don't think I need to list those things here. You can get a great summation from Von, right here.

I have nothing against cute nicknames or sweet epithets for children. My own father calls me "Pumpkin" quite frequently, if not "KJ," my initials. I call my sons "weasels," with love. They are squirmy and active. The thing is, however, none of these nicknames are carved, statically, into the public domain. They are fluid.

I would HATE it if my parents had blogged about me and created a public persona, out of my control, in which I was known as "The Pumpkin." I always struggled with self-image, and the thought of people knowing, or thinking, of me as a large orange vegetable, whether they intended it with love, would have been fucking horrifying. It is a private name, now public because I have told you, but still. My aparents didn't use it to create a one-dimensional version of me, insinuating that there was this gooey love, when I would suspect quite the opposite: especially when my life was being plastered all over the place, with lists of MD visits, my trials and tribulations, pictures of zits and braces. "The Pumpkin" this, "The Pumpkin" that. Whether it was my amom or C, writing about "The Pumpkin," wailing about "The Pumpkin" and how she made them feel: how much control would I, "The Pumpkin," have had over this? And would I have wanted to be "The Pumpkin"? No. Fucking. Thank. You.

My amom would never have done that, even if she were parenting me actively now. My other mother would not do so, either; privacy is everything to her.

So I wonder about these adopted children with their nicknames, taken from heavily sugared pastries and insects and furry animals and people of diminutive stature. Is it about creating identities for them that allow parents to show the public on the Interwebs that they're awesome parents? So loving and intimate? Because some of these parents don't ever fucking see or touch their kids. What intimacy? Puhleeze.

From where I stand, cutesy-ass foodstuffs/objects/animals seem so one-dimensional as identities, and doesn't allow these kids to be fully human. I predict that these young adoptees will struggle under the burden of the non-human THING (pastry, insect, movie-figure, what-have-you) and won't get to be who they are in this rarified atmosphere. Perhaps that's the point, though.

I don't know what the better option is; perhaps a pseudonym, an initial? I like that M calls her daughter "Ms. Feverfew."

Remember, we are HUMAN. Please DO NOT dehumanize us. It isn't "cute." It's sweet to use diminutives and nicknames in the privacy of a home, to express endearment. On the Interwebs, it's a little like making out in public to make a point about possessing a partner: gratuitous.

Many thanks to those of you who are parents and who already blog about your placed/adopted children as human beings.

I am curious to hear what other people think. I know, that because I am an adoptee, my opinions will be flamed!

Thursday, November 03, 2011


I feel as though I cannot escape the hubris of so many pathetic people at the moment. It is horrible and haunting. At the best of times, you can stand back and just await the sure hand of Nemesis, but she is slow moving these days, and I feel claustrophobic looking all around me at the idiocy. 

I am sure that many of you know all about hubris, but some of you don't, so bear with me while I explain. Those wonderful ancient Greeks had fabulous concepts for bad behavior. Hubris, defined by my trusty old Attic Greek-English lexicon, describes it loosely as being violently overbearing, or stepping above one's station to the detriment of another (violating them). Aristotle, in his Rhetoric, describes it as "doing and saying things that cause shame to the victim...simply for the pleasure of it." Sound familiar, readers? 

Lots of this in adopto-land, especially leveled at adoptees. I wish in my life recently it had been confined to adopto-land, but that's another story.

First, with the death of Steve Jobs, there has been much discussion about how his being adopted influenced his life and career. Most people can accept that his being adopted had something to do with the formation of his personality. Even he mentioned how being adopted informed his choices in his Stanford speech in 2005, whether we take that as myth-making or not. Certainly, he searched for his family and had ongoing relationships with his mother and sister. Yes, he was a prickly character and was well known for being hard to get along with. Many CEOs share that quality. But there are some people, namely the "scientists" with the blinders on, who have written that being adopted and losing his family can have had NOTHING to do with his personality because he was simply a product of his time, and all those other assholes are assholes, and look at Donald Trump, who isn't adopted. Well, "scientists," trying to erase Steve Jobs' own life and story and narrative is hubristic. He said that his natural family mattered, and if his intimate partner said that his personality was like shattered glass because of his being adopted, I take her account over all those NCFA-sponsored "studies" that show adoptees are all right because they find homes before six months of age. I love that Steve Jobs was an asshole because I am sure he didn't waste his time worrying about people like the cabal, and as I wrote elsewhere, I invoke the Steve Jobs asshole option from here on out. As C said, as well, "Stop being so 'nice.' It's bad for your health." She is soooo right. And I am making progress. I say "NO!" much more often, and more loudly. 

Over the past few months, the same old factions have realigned. There are wonderful APs, but their first concerns are making things palatable for other APs. They don't want to get too dirty with us for fear of scaring off potentially "nice" other APs. Fair enough, I get it. We hew to our own. 

There are some fmoms who really will go the distance with us, and I am so happy to have them in our corner. But I am also tired of being hung out to dry by the fmoms who can only hear their own pain. When I began talking to my own fmom I would walk on eggshells and worry that she would hang up on me when I would mention my APs because the most vociferous ones in blogland would always mention that talk of APs was like a stab to their hearts, etc. I would backpedal and sweat and worry that I had offended her, and prostrate myself. She, by contrast, is a person who seems to have dealt with her shit, or at least isn't laying it on me like a ton of bricks. At one point during all my freakout worry when I mentioned the drama, she basically said, "What were you supposed to do, raise yourself?" And it was done. She recognizes that the past is the past, I am who I am because I combine what she gave me and what my APs gave me, and that's just how it is. So there's no drama. It's such a relief. She reminds me so much of my dear Lori C! No more holding hostage or shaming me for using the "wrong" words. As an fmom you may have had no choice, you may have had a gun to your head, it may have been the worst day of your life, but I wasn't there, I am not your kid, I love both my moms, and I am okay with that. I know you have your own pain, and it's your pain, not my pain. I can't absolve you, I won't play the pain game. I am sorry that you're sad, I can support you, but please don't displace your anger onto me. 

But really, who will stand up for adoptees, as when an unbelievable AP woman (I cannot bring myself to call her "mother") posted a picture of her beautiful daughter, adopted from Asia, pulling at her eyes and asking, "Mommy, do I look Chinese?" What. The. Fuck? (Read Joy's response to it. I don't want to link to this woman's blog and give her traffic. Yuck.) And when called out on her racism, she told reasonable people, including a Taiwanese international adoptee, to "take a chill pill"? Where do these people come from, and how do they pass home studies? Oh yeah, the money part. HUBRIS. She has lots of it. She kept telling us she wouldn't listen because Von and Mei-Ling weren't being polite (they were) but exactly how polite, for how long, can you be to a racist person who is degrading you? In my mind, you shouldn't be polite at all. That's an unreasonable request, and one meant to further degrade you and silence you, US. And in the end, who was arguing? It was only adoptees. No APs, no first parents. Just adoptees. And the racist woman's Greek chorus of racist friends. Horrific. There was no point in arguing, because there was no listening, just accusations and defensiveness. Dialogue is impossible with such people. It breaks my heart, but my heart is always broken at such times. This poor little beautiful girl will grow up and know her mother degraded her on the Internet. What a horrible thing to bear, and what's worse is that her mother is blind to it. Willfully so. 

The upshot is that I have triple the resolve to take care of my own tribe. We adoptees are all we have. I see, more than ever, that we are still the commodity, still the silenced part of the "constellation," still the plaything out there that people seem to want to shame like a toy, a non-human. Well, fuck that. I *am * a human, a smart human, and a human with a voice who very much refuses to be a doormat. I might not have the balls of Steve Jobs, but I will pretend that I have his training balls. 

And those of you who are acting hubristically: there is punishment. Beware your lack of insight and compassion. There is always Nemesis, who brings about divine retribution if your infractions displease the gods. Maybe you will overstep that boundary. Maybe you are Christian, and don't believe in all this. If so, do you believe that shaming people for pleasure is something that Jesus would think was appropriate? 

Thank you, Joy, for stirring me to write again.