Friday, March 2, 2012

Five For Friday: Why the Adoption Establishment Annoys Me

I've had a busy week. Erica and I spoke publicly, to a local group of intensive foster-care providers, and our talk was well received. The furnace in my house decided to have issues, so I've had two visits from a repair person and one visit from the gas company. Science fair is coming up at school and, with some guidance from me, my daughters have formed their hypotheses. I intentionally stepped away from the blog this week because I haven't been managing my offline life as well as I would like lately; I had some paperwork and other stuff to get caught up on and I told myself I wouldn't blog again until I got back on track.

But I can't stay away completely this week because the folks over at Land of Gazillion Adoptees have declared this the unofficial “Why the Adoption Establishment Annoys Me” Blog Week. How can I not participate? So, in the spirit of "Five for Friday," here are links to five "annoyed" posts that particularly resonated with me, followed by five "annoyances" of my own:
http://motherissues.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/annoyed-by-the-adoption-establishment-prioritizing-family/
http://www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com/2012/03/blog-week-toxic-stress-adoptee-health.html
http://adoptionechoes.com/2012/02/27/why-the-adoption-establishment-annoys-me/
http://thirdmom.blogspot.com/2012/02/why-adoption-establishment-annoys-me.html
http://landofgazillionadoptees.com/2012/02/29/why-the-adoption-establishment-annoys-me-an-lga-conversation/
(Here's a quote from the fifth post on this list: "A dream of mine is to see in 2012 the launch/beginnings of a national organization that represents a diverse body of adoptees.... There are so many great adoptees, with such wonderful experiences, expertise, and drive… An organization like that would be amazing!" Amazing indeed! Where do I sign up?!)

Five Reasons the Adoption Establishment Annoys Me:

1) Adoption is a solution that does not take into account the full range of needs of the adopted person. Though many needs, both external and emotional, can be met in an adoptive home, the need to know where we come from and the need to see ourselves reflected back by way of genetic mirroring are given short shrift. Too often, biology is not part of the conversation of adoption. Open adoption is a step in the right direction, but we should not assume that the adoption establishment has been "fixed" simply because open adoption exists and works in some families.

2) Adoptions frequently occur as a result of a lack of resources (money, housing, etc.) on the part of the biological parents. Adoption moves one person (the adoptee) into a situation in which some of his or her basic needs can be better met but does not examine the larger social and political issues at work. It is a tragedy, and a societal failure, when biological parents cannot raise their children because of lack of resources, but the seeming "fix" of adoption prevents us from seeing it as such.

3) Coercion of first mothers: I wish I could say this was a thing of the past, but it's not. Too many women dealing with unplanned pregnancies still find themselves pressured, and even manipulated, into relinquishment.

4) Lack of knowledge around adoption issues in the therapy world. Therapists typically receive very little training in adoption-related issues, but that doesn't stop some them from presenting themselves as "experts" in adoption and even disseminating stereotypes and platitudes, effectively becoming mouthpieces for the adoption establishment. Too often adoptees and first parents find themselves the position of seeking help for adoption-related trauma from professionals who just don't get it.

5) The OBC (Original Birth Certificate) issue. Look at the smiling picture of my family in the side
bar. We look pretty happy and normal, right? What the picture doesn't reveal is that of the four of us, only one (my husband) has an official birth certificate that accurately reflects birth circumstances. Even my older daughter's step-parent adoption resulted in a new birth certificate that essentially rewrites history. As Amanda of Declassified Adoptee says in this important post, "We're talking about birth certificates here, not 'I'm the real parent' certificates." Adoptees are the only U.S. citizens denied access to their original birth certificates. That's just not right. 

19 comments:

  1. warriorprincessdiariesMarch 2, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Well said. : )

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  2. So, can anyone jump in on this? I've got a couple of annoyances I'd love to share ;)

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  3. I think so. I jumped in without an invitation and no one seemed to mind. I just couldn't pass it up.

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  4. Good, because that post was just waiting to come out I think! Oh boy! I am so glad I saw this today. Love this post by the way!

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  5. WELL SAID!!!! thank you for this- you made this very easy to understand.

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  6. You raise some points, I never thought of!

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  7. Rebecca till I started to read your wonderful blog I never even knew about the birth certificate issue. I just assumed a person's birth certificate was sacred and any changes were reflected in other documents. How do you just erase a persons beginnings? Thank you for always opening up my mind and heart!! Great post!

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  8. In particular the OBC one irks me, too. I mean, I just don't understand how "we" (in the larger sense) can continue to allow the complete rewriting of a someone's most eary and basic history, and put it under the guise of "privacy" for birth parents. It makes absolutely no sense to me.

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  9. Thanks! It _really_ makes no sense for me and for my daughters -- we all already know the identity of our birth parents anyway. I was actually born in Maine, which means I can get my OBC, but it's still an "annoyance" for me because I believe everyone should have that right.

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  10. I have a comment:

    Birthmothers are the reasons for placing their children not "the adoption industry" . Today's bmothers have many choices-and are already parenting a child or children already. No good mother purposely splits up siblings and believes they will grow-up as siblings living -under the same roof, with the same values and with the same set of parents. Instead of "blaming adoption or adoptive parents", look at the real source of today's adoption. In short, there are no excuses ( minus youth) for today’s bmother not being able to raise her child; other than she didn’t want to.

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  11. My whole blog is turning out to be about this topic! But seriously, I don't want to totally bash adoption per se (my best friend was adopted out of an institution at the age of 5--clearly, there are cases where adoption is best). But I cannot believe how unethical practices are and I don't think the general public is aware at all. I cruise around all these adoption blogs, looking for validation (which I do find), but wonder how many general people are learning about the adoption establishment. Truly, it just doesn't get much accurate coverage in the media or in fictional portrayals.

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  12. Thanks for your comment, Jen! What's your blog URL?

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  13. You go girl! Thea Adoption Establishment irritates me 365 days a year. Thanks for your post. I hope to live long enough to see everybody have their original birth certificate without being made to feel that they are "unloyal" or otherwise deranged.

    Keep up the good work.

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