Saturday, August 30, 2008

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN TO AN ADOPTEE

All adoptees view adoption differently. I am still trying to define what it means to me. I take aim at the adoption industry consistently. That is not the issue however. I had a conversation with a friend of mine. Its hard to describe what it means to be an adoptee. So many people including adoptive parents see it as a way of saving a child.

He is furious at McCain at his treatment of his daughter. McCain did not defend his daughter when the Bush campaign attacked his adopted daughter, Bridget. Now McCain is pandering to these very same folks that did this to him and his daughter. I made mention of what it means to be adopted. McCain can love his daughter all he wants but she is considered property. That she is not a real person with the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities. I think the reason why he did not defend her is because there would be real questions to the adoption. His wife was in the throws of her drug addiction when she surprised her husband with this adoption. Granted they did give this young girl opportunities that she might not have had, but it still could have been an illegal adoption. She may not have been freed for adoption either. She may have been there to get help. Her parents may have still wanted her. His wife may have paid off people to push the adoption through. My friend still sees it as her being saved. It is really hard for me to define and to explain why an illegal adoption is still wrong. It really did not faze my friend.

To my point, however, adoption means different things to adoptees. We often question what adoption is about. Is it about the child? If so why don't the laws reflect that? The definition of "best interests of the child" has gotten so convoluted that it is no longer clear. Some churches state that it is in the best interest of a child is to be with two parents, a man and a woman married in the eyes of the law and the church. The definition of the family has changed so much. There is no clear definition of a child's rights. The parental right groups interject that their rights being denied. Truthfully, it is a fundamental right. The right to life movement usually stops advocating for the unborn once the child is born and preferably adopted. The women's movement and the pro choice movement also stops once a woman decides to proceed with the pregnancy. That leaves mother, father, and child in a very hazardous condition. Up until the seventies, the child was considered property of the father. McCain is old school. That is probably where a great deal of his thinking and treatment of his child comes from. Is adoption about the adoptive parents? The relinquishing parents? Again the laws do not reflect this at all. It protects the agencies more than it protects any of us.

At the rodeo, my daughters went to a swimming party of a cowboy's son. They are currently involved in guardianship/adoption battle. When I say that this mother's right to parent should be terminated, it should be. My daughter mentioned that her son was sad. All I could think is that I relate big time. His adoptive mother showers him with love and affection. She goes all out on his birthday every year. She is a perfect mother in every sense of the word. Yet he is still sad on his birthday. My daughter thought it had to do with all of the other kids messing with his gifts. I don't think so. How do I explain what the boy is going through to an eleven year old girl so that she can understand? If I can't define it for myself then I can't define it for her. I think its our subconscious acknowledgement of loss. That loss is something that we are not allowed to really mourn. Its a loss that society doesn't view as being worthy of actually mourning.

As an adoptee, I have always felt lost. Caught between two worlds. Neither one fully recognizing me. Hanging on for dear life. Trying to figure it all out in the process. Where do we fit? I know personally that I have not ever felt comfortable in my own skin. Still don't. I don't feel comfortable being who I am truly. It is even harder for me to define who I am without knowing something substantial about my past. You can't move forward if you don't know and understand the past. Adoptees are denied that and told to accept it. I have who I am vaulted in a deep dark safe that I don't let anyone including myself reach even those who love me access to it. Somehow I need to reconnect who I am today to who I was born as. Adoption law today does not make that an easy road. Societal views make that even harder. Adoptees are blasted with "Have you met with your "real" parents" and " Your real parents are the parents who raised you." We are caught in a vicious confusing circle that we can't break free because of adoption law and societal views.

I have spoken with adoptees who have had good and bad reunions. The same applies to the relinquishing mothers. One consistancy in all of it is that they are glad that they searched and found. So here I am. Still lost and trying to come to some kind of closure. I can't find it.

I am always thrilled when someone is in reunion. I don't want the reunited adoptees and mothers to feel guilty when someone like me is struggling. It is not their fault that laws protect the agencies instead of the families. I just wish I had a little of what they have. I just want to know my past so that I can move forward.



1 comment:

unsignedmasterpiece said...

Great post. I don't think any one can understand what it is like to be an adoptee except an adoptee.

What came to mind when I was reading your post was this - in addition to being happy to have found my son, it felt wonderful to be who I really was at last,namely a person who had had the experience of pregnancy and childbirth. And ssadly adoption. Before finding him I would sit with my friends who were having children and pretend that I knew nothing about it. It felt much better once I told everyone the whole truth.