Skip to main content


The focus of adoptionland is skewed. There are too many focusing on adopters and relinquishers. Too many treatises on their feelings, wants, and needs, even on the middle of passages supposedly written for us, adoptees. Adoptees need to remember how hurt everyone else is by their relinquishment. We need to be gentle and deferent because of their incredible loss.

Don't ever forget your rejection of your adopters as an infant and (in my case) small child. Don't ever let it slip your mind how much pain you've caused your poor adoptress. All she wanted was her own child! Don't forget all the suffering she had to deal with before you were even born (seeing as how that has *so much* to do with you as a person). Don't forget about all of her grief, infertility, miscarriages, dashed hopes, sadness, and endless needs!  She wasn't thinking of you when she adopted. She was thinking of herself. You need to remember and respect how sad she was, and how lucky you are that she "chose" you to alleviate her discomfort and satisfy her needs. What we need from you now is compliance and sensitivity for your mother's pain. Don't speak of your own; it's not what matters, and it hurts her. Didn't you hurt her enough with your blanket infantile rejection?

Another thing. You must not under any circumstances forget how hurt and coerced your poor mother was. Never forget how hurt she is. All she wanted was to be free to do whatever she wanted! However, since neither she nor her unsupportive family particularly wanted her to be a parent at that exact moment in time, she was forced through no fault of her own to relinquish you. No, wait... She loved you so much she wanted to give you a better life. Either way. It caused her so much pain to give you away! Don't ever forget how much pain you caused by a) being conceived at an inconvenient time or under less-than-ideal circumstances, b) being born while she was too young, too poor, or in a bad situation, and c) causing her to have to make the choice (be coerced) to relinquish you. Don't forget how much pain the very thought of you causes her. Don't hold her accountable for rejecting you; she didn't want to, someone made her, and she didn't have a choice. She didn't sign a termination of parental rights and relinquish you, she lost you to adoption. None of it was voluntary, none of it was a choice, and she did it because she loved you, to give you a better life. (Whether or not we got this so-called "better life" is still up for debate.) What we need from you now is compliance and sensitivity to your mother's pain. Don't speak of your own; it's not what matters and it hurts her. Didn't you hurt her enough by existing and causing this whole ridiculous mess in the first place?

Additionally, what do you really know about being adopted? You've only lived it since infancy. Haven't we worked out for you how it feels? Haven't we told you? Haven't we, in fact, taught (programmed) you since infancy what feelings you have and what words we're okay with you using to describe them? Didn't we make up Positive Adoption Language to make you feel better about yourselves? Don't we have little plaques and poems on our walls to remind you how special (further differentiated from kept children) you are? What more can you possibly want? Sit down, shut up, and be grateful you didn't end up in a dumpster or a ditch somewhere.

The focus.

It doesn't leave a lot of room for us, does it? It doesn't particularly lend itself to adoptee voices. Unless, of course, you want to be the good adoptee, the grateful adoptee, the saved-by-adoption adoptee, the parrot-the-narrative adoptee. If you want to talk about thanking your "birth mother" for "placing" you and tell her what a "loving choice" she made, you're most certainly allowed to speak. If you have a "beautiful adoption" story to tell, everyone wants to listen. They lap it up like pigs at the slop trough.

Try telling a story that's anything less than, "I've had some issues, but my life is great." Try telling one that's not "just fine". You'll find yourself ignored, explained away, dismissed, and being "educated" by those who think they know more about adoption than you do. A huge number of these "adoptosplainers" aren't adopted, or affiliated with adoption in any meaningful way. However, the worst, cruelest, and must insistent of your naysayers will be adopters, relinquishers, and the Good Adoptees.

I have to wonder... What is so disturbing about the fact that adoption isn't pretty? What is so threatening about an honest telling of an unpleasant adoption? Why does it bother people so much that they go to extreme lengths to make sure you are silenced?

That's not want it's about, and it hurts them.
Didn't we clarify that point above?

Adopters and relinquishers aren't to blame, don't you know that? You can't blame them for their choices. They just wanted or didn't want babies. It's not their fault that you didn't understand, or that you took it so hard. It wasn't their choices or treatment of you that caused your pain, it was your reaction to them. It was RAD. It was BPD. It wasn't how they treated us or all the sacrifices they decided it was "just fine" for us to make. They decided those sacrifices wouldn't affect us, and if they did, it's our fault for handling it wrong, focusing on the negative, or holding on to the past. We aren't given tools to cope, we're continually told there's nothing wrong, their loss is our incredible gain. If our loss *is* acknowledged, it's put aside, an afterthought, negligible in the grand scheme of the "triad".

This is the focus, and what all the participants in adoption need to tell themselves to make what they've done more conscionable to themselves. So they can sleep at night. As long as we don't talk about our pain in our terms and disturb their peace, everything is "just fine".

Except adoptees... You know, the not-so-good adoptees who don't parrot the narrative, that is... We're not fine. But since we "just had a bad experience", and they "have a friend who's adopted, and he's "just fine"," that's okay too. It's okay if 100 are miserable, as long as you know one it worked out well for. It's okay if thousands suffer in silence and guilt, as long as one proclaims loudly and publicly how wonderful it all is. One success eclipses a thousand failures.

The focus is skewed.
The industry is skewed.
The participants are the most skewed of all.
And adoptees? We're just screwed.


  1. When I was going through search and reunion, non-adopted people would anxiously look at me and say, "How is your adoptive mother doing? Is she all right? How is she handling this?" Or they would say, "How is your birthmother doing? This must be so hard for her." This was a monumental experience in my life. NO ONE asked me how I was doing. My mother-in-law did have a thought for me. She said, "It's your adoptive parents who are going to take the whipping for what you are doing." Why did finding out who I am and where I came from have to be a whipping for anyone? Most people have one mother who is both their biological and social parent. They are indivisible. Non-adopted people call it "a continuum of love". It like they are speaking Chinese to me.

    They don't understand my experience any better. To do so, they would have to cleave their one mother into two pieces, biological and social parts. Then they would have to discard the biological piece because it was no longer needed. The remaining social piece would be called "the real mother". The fact that she still had her mothers DNA from the biological piece and would pass it on to future generations couldn't be acknowledged since it is outside the "real" mother's domain. People tell me I can't have two mothers--only one. To them it's a hypothetical situation. To me having two mothers is a fact. It is not a product of misplaced loyalty. It's a product of social engineering. When I let it sink in, I wonder how people outside the adoptee can ever understand it. I write about these issues for them but I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall sometimes.

  2. Maddeline would you please write a post about the adoption story Trump told at the State of the Union Address a couple of days ago? He honored Officer Ryan Holets for saving a child through adoption. I guess in order to properly honor Officer Ryan, it was necessary for the whole nation to learn the adoptee's name as well the fact that her mother had been a heroin addict. It was . . . not good. It was definitely a shot in the arm for the adoption industry.

    The adoption story was shown on national TV . Other viewpoints need to be heard besides the Trump administration's. I think you would do a great job. I attached an article that reviews this event if you want to take it on as a writing project. Thanks.

  3. This is so true. IF i had a dollar for everyone who told me I just had a bad experience, I'd be rich. It hurt the most when my own bio relatives said it. They all have each other, I'm all alone, exiled from the family, and I had a bad experience?

    How can that be good?

    And the ones who say they had good adoptive parents. Would good people really separate mother and newborn, for their own selfish needs? I don't think so either.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Sibling Connection

I was robbed of the connections that belonged to me. The connection to my blood, my biology, and the life I should have had were severed by my mother when she chose to abandon me with my father. She had already taken one sibling from me at that point, my older sister, relinquished at three years old, not too long before I came along. She would go on to take eight more; the six she passed out to her friends as they came out of her, like litter after litter of unwanted kittens, and the two my father kept. He would have kept me, too, had my mother not effectively ostracized him from his family with her habits and then abandoned him with a four month old baby. On her side, eight children scattered to six different families... no chance for connection there.

But with my father's side, I will always feel the missed opportunity. I will always believe there was a chance in the pages somewhere with them that was missed. Part of me will always feel like I blew it with my honesty. You see, I …

Dismissive Language: Tone Policing and Other Damaging Habits

Dismissive tactics are fairly well understood, especially in social justice and debate circles. In the adoption arena, however, these tactics take on a willful blindness and venom which is truly disturbing. Let's explore some of the most commonly used phrases.

"Not all adoptions are the same."
"What if the mother won't parent?"
"Well what do you suggest, then?"
"I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but..."

Really, I could fill a blog with "phrases commonly used to dismiss anyone who has anything negative to say about adoption" but I won't waste my time or yours reiterating that familiar drivel. We all know the phrases. We've all been told we "just had a bad experience".  We all have experience with those that dismiss because they don't like our tone.

Dismiss being the key word. Phrases like "not all...", "what if...", angry, bitter, bad experience, and "can't we all be nice to eac…

Adoptive Parent Fragility

I'm curious, how do you expect to raise an adoptee when you can't even handle talking to one online?

Really. Riddle me this, because I want to know. Let's say, for sake of argument, I put forth the theory that an AP feels more bonded to their adoptee than the adoptee feels to them. I suggest that it's possible that, as most of us do, the adoptee is afraid to share any unhappiness they may feel. That they are subverting that unhappiness to soothe the AP. Adoptees are notorious people pleasers and often do live in terror of displeasing APs. I suggest that, when asked, an adoptee is likely to lie about their detachment, so as not to disappoint the AP and out of fear of rejection.

Some APs take advantage of his level of depth and openness to examine their own families and consider ways ways to solidify their attachments to their adoptees.

Fragile APs will insist they know how their children feel. "MY child is bonded with ME," they'll say. "I can FEEL it.&qu…