"Adoption is the right choice for some people. It isn't all evil."
Taken by itself, the above statement is one with which I do not disagree. I understand that each adoptive situation has its own unique set of circumstances, and in some of those circumstances adoption may be the best available option, though not necessarily a painless one.
So why was I triggered when I read the statement earlier this morning? Why did feelings ranging from anger to despondency flush through my body?
I was tweaked because the statement appeared as an anonymous comment at the end of a long blog post in which a mother who relinquished wrote of her person experience of pain and trauma resulting from adoption. In that context, it was hard for me to interpret the statement as anything but a dismissal—as one more case of a message falling on deaf ears. "Did he/she even read the post?" I thought.
Sadly, such dismissal is depressingly familiar to me. I am weary—oh so weary—of people telling adoptees and original parents what our feeling about adoption should be, shutting their ears to our descriptions of our actual experiences.
I do understand—I really do—that not all adoptees and first parents experience the pain and trauma of adoption on the same level as the rest of us. I know that there are adoptees who look at their lives, weighing the gains and losses of adoption, and conclude that in their situation the gains far outweigh the losses. I understand that there are biological parents who relinquished and experience a relative degree of peace regarding the decision. I consider some of these people to be my friends in the online world; I respect them and I want their voices to be heard.
But there are also those of us who have struggled, and our voices need to be part of the conversation, too. There are those of us who tried for years to stick to the official script of adoption and to feel only the approved "positive" emotions, only to have those other, less positive emotions, such as grief and anger, sneak up on us from behind and knock us flat. There are those of us who have gone head-on into the trauma, and through doing so have found our own true voices. When we emerge on the other side, speaking with these voices, relating our journeys, putting words to our personal experiences, please do not dismiss us. When we reach inside and pull out deeply personal narratives of the pain we have experienced, please do not pick that moment to tell us that adoption is a good thing. It is not the time.
And while we are on the subject of hearing adoptees and first parents, please take a few minutes to watch the following if you haven't already seen it on facebook or elsewhere (video credit). "If I am bitter it is because my feelings and experiences are constantly devalued and disregarded." Yep.