One Year Closer…..

23 Sep

The problem with adoptive parents is that they don’t ‘get’ the problem. I went into this journey having no experience in adoption with no adopted family members and having no thoughts of adopting. I was ‘adoption stupid’ so to speak. And in such a short amount of time, I’ve learned so much. Then again, I was open to where it would take me. I didn’t walk into this with any expectations as many on one side of the table or the other often do. Most walk into adoption as either the ‘giver’ or the ‘wanter’ and bring their expectations and experiences with them. I, having none and no wish list or expectations from it, was open to go where ever that path took me. In that way, I believe I’ve seen so much honesty from the whole experience, more even than those who are part of an adoption in some ways.

Many adoptive couples go in with their wish list and their wants and they have a desired outcome. Anything that doesn’t jive with that goal sort of gets thrown out or discounted. I’ve seen it time and time again in mommy and adoption forums. They have this notion that the bio parents are the bad guys, they get all the luck. These procreators are out there willy-nilly, being irresponsible and making babies they can’t care for and exposing them to all these horrid things. And even if at the very least, they view them as simply unable to care for the child and in bad circumstances, having to give the child up, there is a resentment there and there is a feeling of ‘better than’ that emanates from the adoptive couple. There’s a feeling of ‘saving’ the child. And the downright nasty ones even go so far as to plot and conspire with one another regarding contact, cutting the birth parent out of the picture and reassuring one another that they are right through it all.

I’ve spoken with adult adoptees. And I can say the number of happy, ‘no scars’ adult adoptees out there really is few. There is a tug of war playing out in the adult adoptee, often times not spoken of. There is a desire to find out about one’s heritage but often its accompanied by guilt. And this is true of even the best adoptions. I’ve seen adoptees feel they had to wait until ‘they’ or ‘she’ is dead (adoptive couple or adoptive mom) before they felt they could search out their roots. There is a feeling of betrayal on their part in trying and they are often fearful of the adoptive couple’s response to their want to search.  And in the happiest of adoptions, this feeling is even stronger because who would want to stab great adoptive parents in the back?

This isn’t just in unethical adoptions. This is the HAPPY ones too. This is all adoption. And no matter how many times you try to tell someone who has or is looking to adopt these things, their blinders, their desire to adopt is so strong that they just cannot compute. I cannot even begin to tell you in one blog post how the system of adoption is so corrupt, of the tricks of the trade, of the things they do both to lure in birth mothers and to lure in adoptive couples. I can’t begin to make you see what a huge money-maker adoption is. The stories of rehoming, of unethical adoptions and the money that changes hands. “Yeah, yeah” you say….these are the tales that get twisted, exaggerated and make for great tv but they aren’t true. And while some of that may be the worst of it, there is so much I can tell you about the happy adoptions and how even those leave scars and lines are divided and allegiances formed. How the child ends up with guilt and to some degree is the support system, the parent to the adoptive parent. The child often grows up trying to reassure the adoptive parent while at the same time, harbouring confusion, guilt, anger, wishes and a plethora of their own emotions about their situation, emotions they can’t share with their adoptive parent because they just wouldn’t understand, they are at opposite sides in the bargain and because the adoptive parents hold a ‘look at all we done for you’ card making the adopted child feel as if anything less than being grateful is a slap in their face.

So today, in honor of Veronica Rose Brown, ripped away from her biological family in an unethical adoption case on this date one year ago today, I want to share some words of other adult adoptees with you. These are responses to the simple question “Adoption Mythology?” and posted by anyone who wanted to contribute. Over 300 people contributed. (unedited)

That nurture can overcome nature.

that we won’t be curious and demand to know our history

That mothers forget the babies they gave birth to over time.

Adopters are saints and rescuers

You will get over it

That there is ever a one size fits all. All adoptees are happy. All adoptees are angry. All birth mothers regret. All birth mothers are happy. All adoptive parents are baby thieves. All adoptive parents are saints.

Adoption is better than an orphanage / being abused / being left behind a dumpster to die.

That adoptees should never want contact with their natural parents “after all the adoptive parents have done for them”

Really, reeeally wanting to be a mother means you’ll be a good one.

I work in in-patient mental health. We have a ridiculously disproportionate number of adopted kids in treatment. My adoption myth: that adopted kids are like regular kids, that adoption is NOT the trauma that needs to be addressed in therapy. That these kids are like everyone else and its a coincidence.

It’s not buying a child, it’s “fees”.

In Open adoption – questions get answers, you don’t feel lost, there’s no searching, you know your heritage.

1. That birthmothers had a choice 2. That birthmothers didn’t want or love their children 3. That women who want an open adoption must want to coparent 4. That an adoptee is a “gift” to their adoptive family 5. That APs are much more fit to parent than the birthparents 6. That birthmothers can just have more kids and just “move on” 7. That birth families don’t matter 8. That any birthmother must have been on drugs, sleeping around, or a drunk.

That I had a “better” life.

That there a ton of unwanted babies, and people who want to adopt deserve kids, so how could it be wrong to pair the unwanted kids up with the people who want them?

That adoption is an alternative to abortion. They shouldn’t even be in the same discussion!

The law knows what is best for the child. The judge will make a fair decision.

Reading these, I feel our collective pain – not just my fellow adoptees. Love to everyone.

Birthmothers had counseling so they were not coerced.

That searching for your bfamily means you don’t care about your afamily.

That if the child has adjustment issues or behavioral issues it is always the fault of DNA but if the child is a prodigy at something it was because he/she had all kinds of opportunities provided by the adoptive family.

There is no logic with which comments were chosen. Comments were randomly chosen and came from a collective of adult adoptees, adoptive parents and birth or first parents to give an insight into the thoughts of those affected by adoption.

Today though, as we think of Veronica, let the legacy of her story and her confinement be one of truth and education in all aspects of adoption. Don’t think that because one adoptee was happy or sad in their circumstances, that they all are. Or that because one adoptee was told the truth, that they all are. Don’t assume that because your best friend is a great mother who had a successful adoption and now has a loving home and great family that it is indicative of all adoptive families and homes. Don’t think because that friend is selfless that all adoptive parents are. And above all, don’t assume that when one speaks of their pain of their adoption experience that they are disturbed and disgruntled. Many, many adoptees, even those who had a seemingly great family, have emotional scars. Educate yourself and search out a more balanced picture.

The Capobiancos, in their long legal battle seem to have suffered both from their extreme desire for a child and from what I like to call ‘the Michael Jackson effect’. They had an entourage of supporters, all filling their world with glitter and unicorn dust, telling them all was right with the world and what they were doing was certainly the right thing both for them and for Veronica.  Nothing could have been further from the truth. Many adult adoptees and adoptive parents agree that an infant Veronica was far different from a 4 yr. old Veronica and that given the way circumstances had changed in her life, they were wrong in forcing the adoption after she had been reunited with her birth father.

I don’t want to speculate on what response a grown Veronica will have to that. One thing I do know for certain is that she will find her truth one day. Her story has been so well documented and will hopefully serve as the example of how not to go about adoption in the future.

7 Responses to “One Year Closer…..”

  1. Kit September 23, 2014 at 3:03 am #

    One of my best friends as a child was adopted. I thought that she knew. She did not know that she was adopted until she was grown up. She never forgave her parents for keeping her adoption a secret from her. There would have been different issues if she had known as a child, different traumas, but at least she would have had the knowledge, and some of the choices that knowledge gives you. I can never forget the outrage when she found out. I still regret that I did not talk to her about it when we were young.

    I am so glad that Veronica at least got to know her birth father while she was young, to know that he loved her and fought for her with courage. I pray that we will eventually learn that children have rights of their own, and are not property to be passed around. And that family is more than just a set of parents with offspring. I cannot imagine not knowing my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. They give me roots that are so much deeper than an adopted family generally does. Adoption is generally a decision that a “parent” or a couple makes. Do the other extended family feel that they have adopted a cousin or a nephew or niece? I don’t see evidence of that. And all too often the foster or adopted child is on their own at 18. I was talking to someone who finds homes for puppies and dogs in need of adoption. We discussed the importance of finding puppy adoptors who realize that adoption is for life. How much more true with adopting human children. Is the 20 year old struggling in college or their job still welcome home between jobs or for the summer, or too often are they on their own?

    Support birth parents where necessary, remove children only in the most unworkable situations. Children that are loved and have roots are often amazingly resilient.

    And never assume that fathers are second class parents. A father or a mother that wants the child, or even an aunt, uncle, or grandparent, always has something to offer the child that no stranger has. A family history. A place that is home, that you come from, that is a part of who you are.

    Pray for Veronica. She continues to need the support until she comes home and rejoins and becomes a part of her community and family again.

  2. bluehydranga September 23, 2014 at 5:46 am #

    Also, I had no thoughts nor experience regarding adoption other than a gauzy sense that it was good. Early April 2013, just prior to its SCOTUS oral arguments, Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl came to my attention. Now, these many months later, with tears filling my eyes, anger invading my mind, and sorrow roiling my heart, I hope and pray that at least one kernel of her pure sweet innocence remains intact for another day.

  3. gailfarrington September 23, 2014 at 7:20 am #

    Reblogged this on Ethical Christian Adoption.

  4. Australian Mother September 23, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    Veronica should have been left with her loving biological father and her half sister and all of the rest of her paternal biological family, Veronica will more then likely resent her adoptive family for taking her away from her loving birth father, because most children want to be with their birth family it is natural. I only hope that this does not cause Veronica lifetime emotional problems but I bet it does,Veronica adoptive parents are very selfish and only thought of themselves never about what was the correct thing for Veronica. I am sure they will live to regret their decision. My thoughts go to Veronica and her birth Daddy and I wish them a great relationship in the future.

  5. DOCMO September 23, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    I’m so glad that you’ve revisited this after a year. As an adult adoptee, I can confirm the expressions that you outline here. Even in the best of circumstances, there are questions and guilt and uncertainties and a tremendous amount of impact. The impact is not limited to the immediate individuals involved – it’s far reaching. The scars of adoption also impact spouses of adoptees, their children, children that bio-mothers have subsequently, and on and on. Why is this so? Because being but not belonging is a state that is ever present in adoption, and the resulting insecurities are powerful and radiate their impact for a very long time. I can speak from experience from a “good” adoption perspective. I can only imagine the effects in circumstances that are far less than “ideal”.

    • acvsbg September 23, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      And I think that’s the problem…no one is willing to listen to the voices of adoptees. When they say their situation was anything less than stellar, it gets discarded. But even you are saying your situation was overall a good one yet there are still problems. People need to do more listening before they put a child into this situation for their own benefit.

  6. Susan October 19, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    Thank you for revisiting this. I hope you do it every year. I pray daily for Veronica that she will be strong and vocalize her needs. That will be almost impossible for her. I pray the Capobiancos will become more tender. I fear for Veronica in the care of people so harsh and without a heart that they can claim real love for a child and at the same time rip her from her parent. Even most humans wouldn’t do that to animals. It is pure cruelty. May their hearts be touched and allow Veronica to love her biological family.

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