Yes folks, it’s that time of year again when everyone is talking about adoption, National Adoption Awareness Month. Originally, NAAM was started to raise awareness about children in foster care who “needed” to be adopted. It soon devolved into an adoptive parent based adoption love fest. There were blogs about gotcha days and RAD breakthroughs and babies growing in hearts as far as the eye could see. There was even a “Best Adoption Blog” started by a particular site that was exclusively made up of adoptive parent blogs for the longest time. Now, adoptees and natural mothers had been speaking up during NAAM but were largely ignored until the “Best Adoption Blog” was crashed by a couple of adoptees and one natural mother in particular. Of course, the competition wasn’t crashed as such, it’s just that a bunch of informed people decided to turn the tables and vote for these other, non-adoptive parent blogs, and lo and behold, they actually did really well. In fact, when it looked like one of the natural mother’s blogs was going to win the competition, the host site shut it down with no explanation. And so the worm had turned.
I have been absolutely delighted to see the #flipthescript campaign this year. For those who don’t know, #flipthescript was started by adoptees as a way to get their voices heard above the clamour of rainbow farting unicorns. Every day on Facebook I have seen new posts and articles written by adoptees about the challenges of being adopted. Alongside that, I have seen several adoptees who have felt the need to spew forth their own skittle-laden “Why I love adoption” rhetoric in response to their fellow adoptees’ opinions. Honestly, this wouldn’t bother me as much if they just said “This is how I feel, adoption was great for me”; instead they feel the need to label the rest of us as bitter, angry, negative, ungrateful and having had a bad experience. The whole point of #flipthescript is to get the whole story told. It is entirely possible to love your adoptive family and still have abandonment issues from being relinquished in the first place. And the fact that we are talking about it doesn’t mean that our whole life sucks and that we wallow in self pity, it just means that there is a small part of our lives that has impacted us greatly but for some reason society chooses not to recognise it and we want to change that for adoptees in the future.
Several weeks ago, I was interviewed for an article about daughters reuniting with their birth mothers. I didn’t know how to tell my adoptive mother that I was doing the interview so I chose not to and just crossed my fingers that she wouldn’t see the article. Big mistake. I have not spoken to her yet – the article only came out yesterday – but I have heard through the family grapevine that she did see it. I’m hoping that this will not be a big deal but we have had a bit of a rough year and NAAM plus doing the interview has left me feeling extremely triggered. Earlier in the year, my adoptive mother chose not to attend my wedding because I had invited my natural family. She informed me then that she will never be in the same room with my natural family. I accept her decision but it niggles at me, she has so much hatred for the very person who gave birth to her supposedly beloved daughter. And so, here I am, 14 years into my reunion with my natural family, in my early 40’s, and still being triggered and tied up in knots by my adoption. Yay for National Adoption Awareness Month! Is it over yet?
I am a member of an adoptee support forum. We allow anyone to join however we have boards that are only accessible to adoptees and we discourage people from coming to our forum and asking loads of questions as we are not there to help adopters with their problem adoptees or birthmothers looking for validation of their decision. This doesn’t mean that they can’t join and learn from our experiences and opinions by simply reading the past posts. And we are completely upfront about it – we are an adoptee support forum and proud of it. Other forums are not so up front about their orientations. There are places on the net that claim to be for all members of the triad but are actually thinly veiled adopter-centric forums where the adoptee voice will be ridiculed and eventually silenced in every discussion. Today, I am going to write about one of those forums and the recent spate of adoptee banishments. I am writing about adoption.com.
I joined adoption.com many years ago but ended up deleting my account after finding my beloved adoptee forum. There was very little activity on the adoptee boards at adoption.com and it wasn’t giving me anything. I joined up there again several years ago when a fellow adoptee asked me to provide them with another adoptee voice as she was frustrated that her opinions were constantly met with comments like “Not all adoptees feel like you do” and “My child doesn’t care about their birth family.” I had only posted a handful of times and I stuck mostly to the adoptee boards as I couldn’t handle reading all the advice about how to breastfeed your 18 month old Ethiopian adoptee and how to pretty much break your adoptee’s spirit so they succumb to your will. I was never disrespectful and I never claimed that all adoptees felt like me, just that I knew many who did. I shared my experience when people asked and I got some good responses from people who cared, both adoptive parents and birth parents. But the vocal majority did not like me. The adoptive mothers rule the roost at adoption.com and anyone who dares to suggest that adoption is not all unicorns and rainbows gets shouted down by adoptive parents accusing them of being angry, bitter and just having a bad experience.
I had ended up posting on the adoptee forum about a thread that I had started at adoption.com and asked anyone who was a member over there to comment for me. I was informed by my fellow adoptees that my thread was not there. I checked and could see it from my computer. So I logged out and checked in as a guest. Lo and behold, NONE of my posts were viewable. It seems I had been removed from all discussions with no notification. I emailed the administrators and asked why my voice was being silenced and received no reply. A couple of weeks later, I wrote again and asked why I was not being allowed to contribute if adoption.com is for all members of the triad. I asked in this email if I was being banned from the boards and if that was the case, could someone please notify me of what I had done wrong and also let me know if I had in fact been banned. I requested notification several times – I just wanted to know. I received no email in reply. Then 2 days later, I went to login again only to be met with “You have been banned for the following reason: by your request. Date ban will be lifted: never.” Now, honestly, I couldn’t give a tiny rat’s arse that I have been banned by some of the vilest adopters on the planet from their little circle jerk but damn, the way they did it really pissed me off. Their lack of resect for the adoptee opinion was palpable and humiliating and made me sick for their adopted children who had to live with them.
Recently one of our adoptee members started a discussion about a thread at adoption.com in which the adopters were sharing the ways they got their adopted children used to the new names that were bestowed upon them because their birth names were deemed unfit. In amongst the “we did it for their safety” and “she had a stripper name” justifications for stripping these children of the last shred of legal identity they had from their birth parents were suggestions of “we trained our daughter the same way we trained the dog we adopted” as a way to assimilate the new name. As soon as the adoptees entered the discussion and shared the opinions that names are an important part of identity and treating us like dogs is truly despicable, there was an adopter outrage pile on. Anyone who thinks names are important is just bitter and had a bad adoption experience. Their obliviousness to their own hypocrisy would be laughable if they didn’t have adopted children in their charge – strangely, they had no answer to the question “If names are so unimportant, why did you change your adoptees’ names?” They changed their adopted children’s names because they had to stick their label of ownership on them, pure and simple. After a rousing discussion that lasted for some time, all of the adoptees from our forum were either removed from the discussion or banned altogether. So much for being a place for the whole triad!
If you are searching the internet for honest information about adoption, I urge you to stay the hell away from adoption.com. If you are searching the internet for validation for abandoning your child or for kudos for adopting a child, by all means, join adoption.com and feel the love. But if you are an adoptee who needs advice about how to deal with your feelings of loss and sadness about being adopted, give adoption.com a wide, wide berth. There is nothing there for you but accusations of ingratitude and assurances that you just had a bad experience and not all adoptees feel the way you do. Rest assured, they are wrong and you are perfectly justified in your feelings and please, drop me a line so I can point you in the right direction.