Wednesday, February 01, 2012

"I love you, but..." Redux

In many ways, broken things sadly don't change. My own personal circumstances have, because I am fortunate to have family members who are kind, humane, and mature. They are able to see things from my point of view, as I try very hard to see things from theirs. They don't tell me that my point of view is worthless, that my feelings are wrong, or that I am "mean" for feeling anger or loss. Imagine that!

When reading the blogs of many first and adoptive parents, however, I am struck, as usual, by the lack of empathy for the adoptees. And when adult adoptees, or even others from the constellation (more rarely) pipe up to say anything about how this might feel for the placed child--wow! The burning oil and screeching and moaning and saying, "Oh, that person is so MEAN and doesn't GET it!" commences. Really? The person doesn't get it? Or that person is presenting a point of view that is potentially in conflict with yours, or is uncomfortable for you to entertain? It's not all about YOUR feelings? Isn't adoption supposed to be about helping the ADOPTEE live the best life possible?

And the adoptee erasing, or the thinking FOR the adoptee, or the "It's all for the adoptee's good," or It was too hard for MEEEEE," or any number of the usual responses are thrown about.

I was talking to Mark about this pathetic phenomenon the other night, in relation to a blog where a child was placed and the mother is raising three kids older than the placed child. Someone mentioned that the placed child might feel angry about being the only one placed. It's hard to reconcile love with the fact that your older sibs are all safely ensconced with your mother, especially when the reason given for placement was that she didn't want to raise you as a single mother. But she's raising your siblings as a single mother. It doesn't compute. Yes, life is more complicated that that, but it's still a burden for that child to bear, let alone understand. Of course, the Anonymous commenter was hung, drawn, and quartered for even suggesting that the placed child might have some anger to deal with. I was tearing my hair out, but Mark simply said, "Remember, adoptees are inconvenient. Your feelings are inconvenient, your presence is inconvenient, your opinions are inconvenient. You are only wanted and welcome in discussions so much as you can stroke these people's feathers the right way." He is so correct. It's true, sad, infuriating even, and I feel for this little girl. I hope she will be given the space to express whatever she feels--and it may certainly be positive, but I rather doubt it.

Von wrote, very insightfully, apropos this subject: "It is a curious thing that comments by adopters are seen as positive and helpful while remarks usually from adoptees who see how it might be for the teen are viewed as negative and mean. Adoptees have a right to comment on what is put out there about adoption and to have it viewed with the same seriousness as other comments."

This was in relation to another sad story, a 15-year-old boy who was being "rehomed" by serial adopters who decided that they just didn't love him unconditionally. WTF? When you adopt a child, it's for life. You work through your problems. Parenthood should not be revocable. Adoptees are not items of clothing or appliances, as Von pointed out. These heinous APs want to give the boy to another family for a month as a "test drive." He is a human being! Furthermore, when adult adoptees pointed out that these APs' behavior was inhumane and WRONG, the adopters took umbrage and said that adoptees didn't have right to comment. Anyone who sympathized with the adopters and how hard it was for THEM was welcomed. Sound familiar?

The point of view of the adoptee--usually--is contingent upon our "good" behavior (meaning praising our parents), toeing the party line (adoption is a gift! it saved my life!), etc. Then our parents say, "I'll accept you, but I don't really want to let people know who you are if you don't behave in just the right way, or if I have to own my behavior, etc." It's a nasty, rotten deal if you look under that shiny, skittle-coated cover. But many parents don't like you to do that!

Ah, love is contingent, and that's what hurts the most. Censorship, parental self-pity at the expense of the child, and the continued lack of ability to take responsibility, as parents, come not far behind.

I cannot tell you, after so many years of reading these horror stories on blogs of "loving" parents, how fortunate I am to have two mothers who don't say, or act, in the horrible way of "I love you, but..." It's the stuff of nightmares.

And you say you wish you'd been adopted?

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