"Victims and Villians" you say

 One of my favorite adoptee bloggers has a great, fearless post up. The following is the comment I left.

 "the only two adults in the equation who hold NO blame are my adoptive parents"

Same for me Amanda. To read things like "no adoption is ethical" just pisses me off. If my parents hadn't adopted me, someone else would have, my parents did nothing wrong. My bio mom was not keeping me, even though she could have financially. As far as the father goes, there was no "father". It's a non issue.

I'm fortunate to have been adopted by decent people. My mom, maybe not the perfect mom for me but good enough, my dad, couldn't have been a better dad for me. I know I am fortunate. There are some real wackos out there.

Vilifying good people who've adopted, pathologizing adopted people, and stereotyping and/or making victims out of all parents who make the choice to place their kids for adoption irritates the hell out of me as do inferences like you describe here...

"I only love my adoptive parents because they've tricked me into doing so, that if I were really educated about adoption ethics, I would realize that "those people" are not my parents and even though they raised me from babyhood, they are nothing more than long time babysitters who I happen to care about."

I've been reading some blogs of former foster kids who'd have given anything to have had the life I did. These are the people my stomach hurts for, people who didn't have good or any parents, bio or adopted.

Great, fearless post.


What makes a good foster mom?

This blogger tells us. What she has to say could apply to all adults in a position of raising, caring for or mentoring a young person. It's excellent info. The following is idea #2 but LT offers you 15 ideas in total using examples from her own experiences, and it's some of the best advice you're going to get all day.

Patience, Gentleness, Steadiness; but Firm Boundaries

I don’t believe in yelling at foster children and I actually do not believe in “tough parenting or tough punishment.”  These kids have had enough “toughness” and hostility in their lives.  I think of a good foster parent as acting similar to how the Taoist describe water. Water flows gently and peacefully, …but over time is so powerful that it is able to carve through rock.

Display gentleness, steadiness, and firm boundaries regarding what is appropriate and what is not.  Set the boundaries early in the relationship.  When the boundaries are tested, stand firm; not with hostility but explanation.
For example:
  • “LT, we eat at the table; not walking around the house because we don’t won’t crumbs everywhere.  Come and sit down.”
  • “LT, we don’t condone you smoking.  You can NOT smoke in the house.  If you are going to smoke which is not healthy for you, you must smoke outside.  If you smoke inside, we will take the cigarettes.”
  • “LT, sneaking out at night is NOT permitted.  We care where you are and are concerned if you are missing.  One more time and you will spend the next month of weekends with us cleaning the garage and helping out at the community food shelter.”


"No one deserves to be hated for who they are"

As a child growing up in foster care I would have given ANYTHING for a home, a family, someone to love me. I prayed for it every single night. I still have a letter I wrote to Santa when I was 8 years old asking for a family. I didn't really believe in Santa as a child, but I wrote to him anyway in case he might be real.

This is an excerpt from a post I've recently come across that I thought was pretty amazing so I asked for permission to share it here.

Check it out on  Percolated Paradox, a blog "On life, love, therapy and surviving foster care".


You haven't changed a bit

I'm writing this to keep my thoughts fresh, whether or when I actually post this remains to be seen, but I'll know when I know.

I liked my bio mom. She and her family seem to be my kind of people, which feels good to know, that I come from good people. I asked her if her parents were nice to which she replied an enthusiastic yes, they were great and her mom was especially good and kind, someone whom everyone adored. This makes me feel very good for some reason. Maybe because I'd imagined they were harsh, religious monsters who'd have been ashamed of her and resented me, or both. I was wrong.

They didn't know about me, but they could have been told. They would have helped my bio mom, in fact they did, just without knowledge of what was really going on.

My nerves pre meeting were extremely hard to control. As I sat and waited for her to appear in the lobby I called my son to just hear a normal voice, to assure myself I'd not entered the twilight zone. I pictured myself in my favorite ocean spot as I often do when I need to calm myself, took deep breaths, and focused.

Our experience of first sight was different for each of us. I had the luxury of having seen ahead what she looked like, having seen what her family looks like, their names and ages whereas she knew little of me and only knew what I'd looked like as an infant. I've changed a bit since then.

When I got up to walk over to greet her my sensitivity to her feelings kicked back in and my nerves dissolved. I knew though that wasn't the case for her so I said a warm hello and asked if she'd like to sit for a minute before we went to my car, that I'd been feeling nervous and wouldn't mind just sitting for a second to calm down. Her face appeared grateful as she said she was feeling very nervous as well.

We sat for a time kind of consoling each other, looking at each others faces for resemblances, me trying to see myself, her trying to see anyone and everyone.
I can see that I will look like her when I'm older, she can't see much familiar in me except for maybe her father's side of the family.

We had a great day and were together for 8 straight hours that really flew by. She likes to talk, which was good because I wanted to hear her talk. I talked too and this was when she was able to see herself in me, specifically how I look at family, the things I think are important to do and not do. This also made me feel good.

She was very open with me about what happened, something I imagine most adopted people wonder about. This made me feel good too.

I was supposed to call when I got home, we'd had a couple of beers over the day and she was concerned about me driving. When I arrived home I got caught up in telling my husband about the day and kind of forgot about calling. The words she and I had spoken as I was leaving seemed sort of final, unless she decided to be in touch at some point in the future, so I wasn't even so sure I was still supposed to call. As my husband and I talked, the phone rang and it was her, checking to see if I was home, reminding me I'd said I'd let her know.

Before I went to bed, I sent one last email to thank her for taking the time to, and for going through the trouble of, meeting me, to apologize for not having called, that I'd enjoyed our visit. To tell her to take care.

When I woke up this morning I thought to myself, well, it's happened. You've met your biological mother, you're still special, and you haven't changed a bit.


Q & A

 So, I am wondering could kids that were raised with Mother's that placed a child for adoption grow up resenting them and thinking that they had the better life?  This is what birthmothertalks asks here

It's an interesting thought.

As I said over there, I could see a young child being jealous of material things, in fact I think it's pretty normal.

Kids are notorious for saying, "but so-and-so has one" and "so-and-so's parents give them money for passing" and, in their lack of maturity when it comes to what's really important in life, can even wish they lived at so-and so's house. Of course when it comes down to it, they don't usually really mean it. I guess they might if the parents suck but that's something you certainly don't have to worry about!

This post really made me think about the reality of finance between the two families in adoption. I guess when we're adopted would have much to do with it. The amount of money my parents had to cough up in my sister's and my adoptions way back when was minimal. We were never rich growing up. Coupons were cut, no designer jeans, second hand hockey equipment, mandatory babysitting jobs, etc. so not impoverished but the purse strings were tight.

With the amount of money that seems to change hands nowadays in adoption, I would think the average person wouldn't necessarily be rolling in the bucks after, possibly even living beyond their means.

I think the only way kept children might be truly jealous of adopted kids might be for their newness, the novelty of them so to speak. Jealous of sharing their own parent(s) time and attention with the "new kid". Hey, in tact families have sibling rivalry right?

Picture this long lost child that mom and/or dad has been waiting their whole life to reunite with, a child who's never lied, stolen, skipped school, said I hate you.

I say, jealous of material things when they're little, possible. Jealous of parent's affection when they're older or grown, also possible.

And if your bio dad happens to be Rod Stewart...look out!


Some really great info for caregivers of all sorts

“It’s a good thing for all parents to recognize that their job is to make themselves unnecessary,…”

I love this. I think it’s one of the hardest things to do as a parent, but one of the most important. It can also be one of the most rewarding if we aren’t afraid of letting it happen.

It's lots of information, some of which you may agree with, some that you may not but it's my feeling there's much that's helpful and most will get something meaningful from this interview


Urban Dictionary: cred short for "credibility". An ability to inspire belief in others.

I'm the type of person who'll stop and think about what someone has said to me, even if I don't like it. I'll even admit I've made a mistake, although I'll hate that I've made one.

In the past while, I've thought quite a bit about the trauma in adoption. I've allowed myself to feel around inside for some of my own, have wondered if I'm "in a fog" as so many have accused me of. Not necessarily accusing me directly all the time, but also indirectly by avowing all adoptees suffer loss and trauma by virtue of being separated from their biological mothers.

I got to visit with my good friend the other night, we've been pals since grade 4. Although we'd talked on the phone about our last visit where we'd butted heads on an issue (Lord's Prayer in public schools), we hadn't seen each other in person. It reminded me of what I'd discovered about myself after our prior visit when we'd argued. That it bugs me when someone I think I'm like, someone who I respect and/or care about, doesn't think or no longer thinks the same way I do.

Another example of this was during the last US presidential election. I was all on the Obama bandwagon, rolling my eyes at the opposition, thinking who in their right mind wouldn't want Obama to win?! Well, I found out quickly there were people I enjoyed very much who didn't want him to win. I remember being surprised, shaking my head, and making a bet for drinks that "my side" would be the victor, and just dropping the subject...until I cashed in my winnings of course. Thing is, it kinda shocked me that this person thought the way he did, but it didn't upset me. I enjoy this guy and we have fun together, but I don't feel a strong need to be of same mind, have the same point of view, and frankly, now it would worry me a little if we did think the same way.

This wasn't the case when it came to my husband. Obviously I care very much about what he thinks and depending on what the issue is, I can not like it at all if we don't think the same way. Well, when it came to the election, it wasn't that he was on "the other side", it was that he didn't think it made that big of a difference, that they're all politicians and this wasn't some new great hope candidate, it was just business as usual, same old crap. After some fairly lively discussions (arguments) about this, we decided to just stay away from the subject. We cared too much about what each other thinks to have this type of discussion, to experience those, "are you nuts?" looks or have the faces we love frowning and eyes we love rolling at what our beliefs are.

To be very honest, it does feel a little like I'm betraying other adopted people who feel traumatized because they're adopted when I say I'm not, but, I'm not. I could say nothing, or say I'm traumatized too in an attempt to fit in, be a part of the cool kids, but I just can't do that. I can't do that because it's not real and it's my belief that if we aren't realistic about problems they can't realistically be improved or fixed.

When my son was younger and not feeling well I'd try and determine just how unwell he was feeling because it truly mattered in how we dealt with what was ailing him. If there was no need for medication, I didn't want to administer it. If we didn't need the doctor, what was the point in going? If it was serious, I didn't want to dismiss his pain only to have it become worse and more difficult to treat.

The measure of pain does matter. If it was fact that every adoption resulted in trauma the same way it's fact it starts out as trauma, I'd be all over it. I'd be right on board screaming in most situations it's unnecessary and wrong to do that to an innocent baby. That in most adoptions it's detrimental to the person who's been adopted. That most adopted people will be more prone than others to deviant behavior, more prone to becoming criminals, drug addicts, sex addicts, serial killers. But I won't say that, because it's not true.

I will say that accepting these tendencies as fact seems contradictory to me, contradictory to fighting discrimination and stereotyping. It's also insulting to me and hard for me to understand why it isn't insulting to all other adopted people. How is it any different than saying most mothers are teenage crack whores who don't deserve to keep their babies?

I am sorry to disappoint other adopted people by relaying my experience. If I thought it did anything to hurt the movement to reform corruption in adoption, I wouldn't relay it. Be assured that I do talk about what I've learned about coercion, loss of culture, the lack of real choice, the influence of economics, infringements of adoptee rights regarding their own information, and the very real sense of loss and abandonment some adopted people and parents experience.

My concern with the movement is the lack of credibility because of the "one size fits all or you're delusional" mentality. I think it makes it far too easy to dismiss the problems if they're not presented realistically with the least amount of sensationalism or emotion as possible. I know one of the biggest complaints is when people say "well, I know someone who's adopted and they're just fine" but like it or not, it's part of the equation. It's fact that sometimes adoption isn't the worst thing in someone's life, that it's not the big deal it certainly is to others.

To discount that fact is to jeopardize credibility and when you have no credibility, you have no trust, and if people don't trust the message or the source of it, the message is lost.


$#*! my mom says

This post isn't about adoption but more about being confident in the role we play in our kid's lives. Parents can have their confidence shaken in all sorts of scenarios. They can feel threatened by teachers, ex spouses, step parents, babysitters, aunts, uncles, in-laws you name it, anyone who their kids seem to connect with. I've even seen parents be jealous of the other parent, with the family in tact. The example I'm using is adoption related because, well, I'm adopted and it has a tendency to come up, especially with the meeting of my bio mom looming large.

So, my mom asks me when my bio mom is coming, where she's staying etc. When answering I mention it's weird to call bio mom a name, that I've always thought of her as "my biological mother", that I'm trying to get used to saying her name. Well my mom, sigh, has to go and respond by saying, "well, call her whatever you want, just don't call her mom". Silence. Eventually I say, "mom, don't say that to me, don't tell me not to call her mom, if I wanted to, I would. If I did, it wouldn't have anything to do with you or your role as a mom". To which she replied, "well, I didn't even like it when your brother called his mother-in-law mom". So I point out how ridiculous that is. How I wouldn't give a rat's ass if my son called someone other than me mom.

I know what I am to my son, that what I've been and continue to be is unique to me. That I can't be replaced just as I can't replace the other people he has relationships with. I want him to have great relationships with other people. When his dad has a girlfriend, I want my son to like her, her to like him. I want him to have a close relationship with his future mother-in-law.

It's funny, it occurs to me that my parents called each others parents "mom and dad". Talk about hypocritical.

I think if we want our kids to value us and our role in their lives, we have to value and have confidence in it too.


If the shoe fits

A few words to address a post I wrote last night.

I somehow managed to completely fail at what I was trying to say. I talk about the importance of how a message is presented and I go and eff up my own.

I think my mistake was writing in reaction as opposed to just writing.


Aahh freak out! Le Freak, c'est Chic

I'm freaking out tonight, reading adoption related blogs.

Bam! A poem that has the blogger declaring "Although the papers are gone, he knows that the name they documented is important, that it's the one thing that's truly his.
It's no different for my kids, or for any adopted person. What, for the love of God, is so hard to understand about that?"

For the love of anything, it IS different for me. My name, not the one my biological mother gave me at birth, is the name that's truly mine. I've had huge regrets ever since changing my maiden name upon marrying. My married names have never felt like they were truly mine, in my head I always thought of myself as my maiden name. I wish I'd thought to give my son my maiden name as his middle name. Maybe it's because I know my birth given name, a name given to me by a stranger, a piece of information that's allowed me to search for my biological family. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because I am not that name on my adoption paper. I am the name my self grew up being, the name with which I became the person I am. MY NAME IS MY NAME.

Bam! You can't discuss shit parenting with us because YOU'RE NOT ADOPTED! We don't care if you have a brother who's adopted. We don't care if you worry about sharing DNA with crappy parents. We don't care if it happened to you too because you're not adopted so you don't get it and we don't care!

Well you know what? Shitty adoptive parents have bio kids too and they deserve just as much consideration, as much empathy, as much advocacy as adopted kids! Being biological to brutal parents doesn't make anything better, and it could make it worse. Shame on adopted people for not allowing themselves, or each other, to acknowledge this.

Bam! Too bad some adopted people can't go on the info cruise because you need a passport. WHAT?!?! COME ON!! I've read this before, and I'm assuming this is a U.S. thing, that adopted people can't obtain passports because they don't have original birth certificates. Really? REALLY?!? I can't believe it. That cannot be true. If it were true, why in the hell is this not plastered everywhere??? Extra! Extra! U.S. citizens cannot get passports because they are legally adopted! And the U.S. sits in judgement of other countries and how they treat their citizens?

Bam! A blog post about first parents discussing their child's adoptive parent's ability to provide financially. A post about how it makes the adoptee feel bad for the first parents to point out the adoptive parents are better because they have more money. A blog post that doesn't question this behavior of the first parent, that doesn't explore the lack of culpability of first parents and THEIR ability to make the adoptee feel guilty, to feel bad for having more materially. No matter the circumstance, all parents should resist the temptation to rationalize the adoption in an attempt to make themselves feel better whether it be by pointing out the adopted person was better off financially or by claiming to be victimized by adoption agencies or adoptive parents. No matter the parentage, no matter the situation, it's got NOTHING to do with the adoptee as a person.


I have to admit there's been one recent dialogue that's given me a few "whoa" moments. Whoa at the courage of some to speak up in spite of potential internet bullying and slander. I can't say for sure if these brave souls knew just what they may be getting themselves into but they found out quickly and they still spoke up. I almost typed they found out and still weren't afraid but I don't know that to be true. Perhaps, like myself, they were afraid, but spoke up in spite of it.

Cheers to those brave souls who speak up even when they're intimidated or worried about repercussion. To those that speak not to provoke reaction or controversy, but in the face of it.