Monday, July 9, 2012

"Double Vision" at Adoption Voices Magazine

I have another piece up at Adoption Voices Magazine:

"I sometimes wish I knew what it would be like to not be adopted. If you are not adopted, please think about that for a moment. Think about the things that you take for granted. Think about the simple, natural connection between you and the people to whom you are related. Even if your relationship with your family is not 100% positive, there is a quality of your connection to them that you have probably never questioned; they simply ARE your family. They didn’t choose you; you didn’t choose them. You are connected to them by the interwoven threads of shared experience and biology."

12 comments:

  1. NEVERSAIDGOODBYEJuly 9, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    well said

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  2. I keep getting sent back to your blog site from other sites I visit. Strange. I have a blog called Aoption PI as in an infinate equation that cannot be solved. I thought that ironic. I'm an adoptive mom trying to keep relationships with all the people who love my son. Thanks for your insight.

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  3. Rebecca you have an unbelievable gift for putting to words the concepts and struggles that are vague and internal to so many people. I love your voice. The voice for the adopted. You are an educator extraordinaire.

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  4. I’m not an adoptee, but the task of trying to think about all the ways in which being raised by my biological family has affected me and all the things I’ve taken for granted, is next to impossible for me, precisely because I take them so much for granted that I don’t even really know what they are. Only reading adoptee blogs as an adult, and hearing about all the many ways in which the lack of biological connections manifests itself over a lifetime, have I begun to have some idea of exactly what I’ve been taking for granted all these years.

    That’s why I’m always so amazed to see commenters accusing adoptees of being angry, bitter, victims of bad adoptions etc, and basically insisting that being adopted is no different to not being adopted. The people saying these things never seem to actually be adoptees themselves, so how on earth do they know what it’s like to live without biological connections in your life?

    I’m always stunned by how people can be so insistent that they know exactly what a particular experience is like, whilst having no personal experience of it themselves, and steadfastly ignoring the voices of the only group of people in society that actually do have experience of it, ie adoptees. I don’t think there has ever been a clearer case of people believing what they want to believe, what happens to be convenient and validate their own life choices, rather than what the evidence actually suggests.

    I think it’s interesting that it never seems to be adoptees themselves saying these things, but always someone else speaking on behalf of adoptees they know in real life. So effectively, in the online adoption community, virtually all adoptees (both bloggers and commenters) are either very clear about the things that adoption has taken from them, or are silent on the matter, which seems very telling to me.

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  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was thinking this morning about why I write about all of this adoption stuff. My entire life's course, and that of my bio parents from their teen years on, was determined by assumptions made by non-adopted people. These assumptions were untested and pretty much just made up, but they were put forth, and taken, as truth. My bio parents were told they would move on with there lives as if nothing had happened -- clean slate. And everyone assumed that my experience of growing up in a non-biological family would no different than if I had been born into that family. I believe that it is absolutely crucial for adoptees to tell their own stories, to try to find the words to explain what our experience was really like, because, unfortunately, many of those same untested, made-up "truths" are still floating around out there and affecting lives of a new generation of adoptees and original parents. Thank you for being one of the small but growing group who are willing to listen!

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  6. Ha! Yes, I'm sort of all over the place these days. :-) Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.

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  7. You know what's totally crazy. I wish my son (as he is right now) was mine biologically not because I don't want him to be him or look like me and not because I don't love his birthfamily. I just want him to be happy. And I want his birthfamily to be happy. And pain in adoption is so palpable.

    I read somewhere that's it's important that adoptees integrate the biological and the adoptive selves in order to feel complete as people. I think about this constantly with my son, who is only 3. I want him to integrate these parts. I want him to accept his life and flourish as a person. We all love him so much

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  8. You know what else is crazy. I totally want that, too, for my kids. I want them to be happy, and few things are harder for me then when they aren't. And yet, "happy" isn't what I pick for myself. I want "the whole crazy mixture" of emotions, as I wrote in a recent post: http://www.rebeccahawkes.com/2012/06/adoptee-emotions-dont-be-frightened-by.html I choose "awake." I choose "alive."

    There _is_ a lot of pain in adoption. And by choosing to be a part of the online adoption community, we expose ourselves to it daily. That's powerful; we bear witness and help others heal just by hearing their stories. But it also can be overwhelming at times. And it can awaken a lot of anxiety as adoptive parents.

    I think many of the adoptees who are growing up today have a leg up on those of my generation because they have parents who can make space for whatever comes up for them. I was at a disadvantage when it came to integrating the two parts because for so much of my life I didn't acknowledge to myself that the biological part mattered at all.

    Anyway, someone once told me that if a dog bites you instead of trying to pull your hand away you should push _into_ the dog's mouth, causing him/her to gag and release. I don't know if that's really true, but it makes a nice metaphor for dealing with emotional pain. I know that for me the _only_ way to get released from emotional pain is to push into it.

    Thank you for reading, Harriet. And for engaging in dialogue with me here and on twitter. I believe Theo will integrate both parts of himself. I also am absolutely certain that he will be happy ... some of the time. :-)

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  9. Hi again. Was thinking more about your integration comment on my way to work. I can achieve that integration, but it's an effort. Keeping with the vision analogy, Ashley just completed a year of vision therapy to help her be able to keep her eyes in focus effortlessly; prior to the therapy she could do it but she had to really concentrate. Vision issues are much more easily corrected in youth. And now, switching back to adoption, I'm an adult who didn't achieve integration of the two parts of self in my youth; it's still possible for me, but it's harder.

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  10. Sometimes I write half a comment because I don't know where I'm going with it. I totally agree that our aim as humans is not to be happy but to be authentic, caring, compassionate, deeply connected, aware ((ALIVE)) people. I guess I just want Theo to feel whole. Love the analogy of putting your fist in the dog's mouth but blech... I hate gagging :( I fear the hard work.

    I see your point about your situaton being much different that ours. Also I can attest that as a person born to my family that we (I don't because I'm an adoptive parent) do take our biological connections for granted. They just are and we can accept, reject, analyze them to death, and adoptees in closed adoption don't have that luxury. And usually the older we (biological types) get, the more we want to know about aunts, uncles, grandparents and all those ancestral stories.

    It's huge all of it.

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