Friday, May 11, 2012

Five for Friday: 5 Ways I'm an "Angry Adoptee"

When adult adoptees speak critically of the institution of adoption or candidly share the negative aspects of our own experience of being adopted, we are sometimes labeled "angry." To many of us this comes across as dismissive. Amanda of Declassified Adoptee and the folks at Land of Gazillion Adoptees have teamed up to give adoptees a place to reclaim the "angry adoptee" label by focusing on the many legitimate reasons we have to be angry. Please visit the facebook page that they have created for this purpose.

Following up on my photo post from yesterday, here are 5 more ways I'm an "angry adoptee":

1) I'm angry because I was separated from my biological family. Adoption stimulates complex and at times seemingly contradictory emotions in me. I love my adoptive family, and yet, at the same time, I experience rage (and I mean actual rage -- I call it "the baby rage") at having been separated from my family of origin.

2) I'm angry that my original mother's name was erased from the official record. Amanda said it best: "We're talking about birth certificates here, not 'I'm the real parent' certificates." My adoptive mother is wonderful woman of many accomplishments, but giving birth to me is not one of them. Why does one of the primary official documents of my life say that she did so?

3) I'm angry because I was given a "script" for adoption that did not leave space for me to express my own experience. My parents are not malicious people. They didn't intend to silence me by telling me I was "chosen" or by way of their own reluctance to talk about adoption issues in unscripted ways, but that was the effect. It took me years to climb over the wall of silence and find my own voice.

4) I'm angry that the portrayal's of adoption that I frequently encounter in the media do not match my experience, nor that of many other adoptees, and yet, when we speak up to share our real-life experiences, we are often dismissed as being "angry."

5) I'm angry that I have to justify being angry. I didn't ask to be adopted. Anger isn't my whole experience of being adopted, but it is a piece of it. Why do some people seem to want me to deny or hide this piece of my truth?

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos


  1. neversaidgoodbyeMay 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Very good post Rebecca. You have a great voice. I too am angry.

  2. Rebecca,
    I love the way you put this: "I'm angry because I was given a 'script' for adoption that did not leave space for me to express my own experience." And later -- "It took me years to climb over the wall of silence and find my own voice."
    I really loved my adoptive parents, but this was my experience too, and in my case, I attribute it more to the time period during which I was relinquished. We dealt with adoption by never talking about it. My mother was ecstatic to have a family, and adoption worked well for her in that way. I think she assumed it worked perfectly for me too. There was no space for me to express my ambivalence or my frustration in not knowing my genetic ties. What really makes me furious today are those folks who want to perpetuate the closed system when we know so much better! You and others writing as part of the on-line community give me hope!

  3. Thanks, Susan! Sounds like your experience was a lot like my own.

  4. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul here. This is so insightful, powerful, and thought provoking. I appreciate your blog. I appreciate your words.

  5. Thanks for sharing this personal insight Rebecca. Your posts open my eyes to so many feelings my children may be experiencing, but sadly, they can't articulate those feelings to me.

  6. I struggle with some anger, too, but for different reasons than you. I am angry that my birth mother tried to abort me when she was 7 months pregnant. I am angry that she is selfish. And I am MOSTLY angry that people want me to believe that she gave me up because she loved me. She didnt and she doesn't.

  7. Interesting article. Most adoptees go through some for m of anger towards their birthparents, adoptive parents, birth nation and culture and the list goes on. As an adult Indian adoptee, anger is most definitely a healthy, natural & expected emotion w/in the adoptive narrative. Yes, our lives are narratives. Some are more unique than others & everyone (adopted or not) has one. We, adoptees, have two choices: we can hang onto this anger and let it destroy our future and present lives OR we can WORK THROUGH IT and live meaningful productive lives. It has taken me 36 years to get to this point, but this DOES eventually happen, IT'S A WONDERFUL THING & TAKES A LOT OF WORK. Nothing is easy. If you think your life is hard, there are plenty of others who would KILL for yours. NO JOKE. Being adopted is NO guarantee of a perfect life. How many of your friends w/friends w/biological parents have perfect lives??? NONE. They ALL have their own issues. WE simply have a different set. I SINCERELY BELIEVE it's NOT about being 'happy' vs 'unhappy' BUT SPECIFICALLY ABOUT BEING HEALTHY. :) HEALTHY IS THE GOAL. :) :) Thank You.

  8. The thing that makes me most angry is being told how to feel by people who haven't lived my life. I am sick of people trying to talk about my experience, and who criticise me on how I have been affected by the adoption. I feel I have had my identity wiped, then have never being allowed to have my own feelings. Nothing is mine.


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