Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pick Your Family

Linda over at Real Daughter/Adopted Daughter has a post up, All My Birth Certificates, that I think really shows how uninformed, clueless, or just, sometimes, uncaring, some people can be when it comes to the truth of adoption and what adoptees face through their lives because of it.

On one of her previous posts, she received a comment from someone named Ellis, who without ANY clue to as to the truth behind such an action, threw out at her, in what I believe was nothing more than yet another cheap, weak attempt to discredit her, the suggestion . . .

---"If you feel so strongly about being adopted, then why you have your bparents adopt you back? Cut off all ties to your aparents and start "fresh" and make up for all that "lost time.”---

To me, as a mom who has adopted back her son she lost to adoption, such a comment is idiotic as well as disgusting, uncalled for, and degrading.

Think about it, when you say such a thing to an adoptee. Are you really suggesting that they could, or should, just drop kick one family to the curb for another? Do you still buy into the “empty slate” theory and apply it to them even when they are grown, capable adults? Suggesting they can just go to another famiy, AGAIN, and start all over, AGAIN, without any problems or struggles.

And do you really think, for those adoptees who have been adopted-back that it was just a knee-jerk decision, based on them shrugging their shoulders and saying this adoption thing sucks, I think I’ll just saunter on over to my other family and have them adopt me back?

This comment by Ellis, I believe, was more of an attempt to slap Linda in the face and try to shut her up more than anything else. But it still rubs me the wrong way when I see people throw such a thing out there without a clue as to what it really means. Especially when they do it to try and silence an adoptee from speaking their truth.

Deciding to be adopted back isn’t something I think would be easy for any adoptee to decide. It’s a hard, very personal decision. I try not to speak for my oldest son as much as possible, but I do know when he first considered being adopted back by me and his father, it was something he thought about and struggled with for some time before he ever even broached the subject with us. And when he did, there was still lots of long talks and discussions before anything was decided.

He didn’t just get an idea in his head, jump on it, and we all merrily walked off arm in arm to the courthouse to have it done.

And he sure as hell didn’t make such a huge decision because he simply doesn’t like adoption and wanted to “dump” his adoptive family for his other family so he could just start all over again.

But I know there have been people who have believed exactly that. I know there have been those who see it exactly as Ellis does, that he just simply wanted to switch from one family to the other and that was all of it. That it was just because he doesn’t love adoption and all that it is that he up and decided to make up for that “lost time” by tossing aside his adoptive family and caring only about his first family.

Except that wasn’t any of it. My son made his decision for him, for what he needed in his own personal way. It wasn’t about which family he did or didn’t want, especially since he still has both families in his life and in fact has healed some painful wounds with his adoptive family and is actually closer to them now, since being adopted back, then he was before.

So suggesting to any adoptee that if they are just so upset with this or that then they should just go get adopted back, is such an insult to my son and those who have been adopted back as well as to those adoptees who have no desire to be adopted back.

You’re attacking a very personal decision. You’re lowering an adoptees own intelligence and ability to make decisions for their life without anyone else’s control. Decisions they did not have a part of when they were first adopted but are now theirs to make, based on their feelings and no one else’s.

And you know, I always wonder when adults talk to other adults like their children, like Ellis did, simply because their adoptees, how much would their tune change if they were to come face to face with them. It almost gives me a giggle to imagine this “Ellis” coming face to face with my oldest son and suggesting he “dumped’ his adoptive family to be adopted back by his first family, all because he just didn’t like this darn, pesky adoption thing.

I would bet, that she or he (since there is no determination of what Ellis is) would change their tone if they had to actually stand in front of my twenty-three year old, six foot, two hundred and fifty pound son who I have to stand on my toes just to reach his shoulders and could lift me up and carry me anywhere he wanted to go.

And if not, and if she/he still insisted on telling my son what to do because he is somehow eternally a child because he was adopted, then she/he would only have themselves to blame for whatever happened.

Because my son, and only my son, knows what was in his heart and head when he made the difficult decision to be adopted back and anyone who would suggest otherwise to him would not get, I am sure, any kind of “nice” response in return.

They’d get exactly what they deserved, the same disrespect they gave. Just as Ellis gave her/his disrespect to Linda, my son, and every other adoptee out there.

(P.S. I just went back and read a comment from Ellis and she/he claims to be an adoptee who believes Linda, and “her kind” should really just be grateful for being adopted or move on and be adopted back. (Of course she also mentions how because us First Moms were so young, our children would have somehow ended up waiting for us in Foster Care to get our acts together.) So much more I could say there and so much change I could do in this post after learning that, but, after some thought, I have decided to leave this post as is and let it speak for itself.)


  1. Thanks Cassi, we seem to have one adoptee out there who wants to tell the rest of us how to live.We've all been splattered so at least no-one has been singled out for special attention.
    Sad times when we adoptees can't listen to or read another's truth even if it is different from our own.

  2. I have talked to my daughter about this subject. The one thing she said stuck with me - adopting her back would change nothing, she was as much a part of her adoption as she was of me and that no matter what, I have always been "mom" and will always be Mom. I respect that. It is, after all, her decision..... Her adoption was not even legal and it is up to her whether or not she wants to be my daughter on paper yet again. Not mine or anyone elses. To me, while I would love it in a way, I believe she has the right to choose for herself, after all, she is not a child.

  3. It's weird because this was never an issue in my adoption. The circumstances of my adoption are really, really bizarre (CPS was involved, it was a mess), and my birth mother's name stayed on my birth certificate. She relinquished her rights, but she is still...errmm... legally my mother. I think.

    But for anybody to attack the decisions of adoptees... especially if they're an adoptee themselves... is crazy. Maybe Ellis is threatened by the dialogue, the openness, the push from adoptees. Maybe it threatens her/him.

    In my case, even though being legally adopted back isn't really a consideration, well... there is the issue of the entire birth family. It would be the same as the original adoption in many ways. My birth family and I are struggling - and have been for years - to even get past the original adoption process and move on as siblings or extended family. It's so profoundly confusing, I cannot imagine having to deal with another (outside, irrelevant) opinion. It's deeeeeeply personal.

  4. Unbelievable. Such statements are often made for no other reason than to be hurtful and unkind. To me, such a comment is of the same nature as comments like, "Would you have rather grown up in an orphanage?" or "Would have rather been aborted?" As you said, it's intent is only to silence & belittle the adoptee...what makes me sad is that fellow adoptees would foster this kind of acrimony...

  5. Maybe its the adoptee from the Grown in my Heart blog.

    It sucks that people can't respect other people's opinions and that they get so defensive.

    Birth certificates / Reunions / Neither of these things can ever repair the damage that adoption does to families. It never brings back the lost time, never heals the break of the family bond. This is permanent.

    Clearly people who react so defensively against obvious statements are hurting from a wound, and must deny the truth of it within themselves.