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Julie Gray, Persona Non Grata

Yeah, I know it sounds like I'm doing the "oh, poor me, everyone hates me" bullshit. This is not that. I am well and widely hated and vilified. I also happen to know for a fact that some people love me. Almost to the point of fandom. This has been the dichotomy of my adopted existence. My difference... my unusualness... my downright WEIRDNESS and inability to "fit in" has always caused my peers and society to have this reaction to me. I'm loved, I'm hated, and there's really no in between.

I was going to bore you with the narrative of how, over the course of thirteen months, I went from coddled newb to everyone's favorite villain in adoptionland, but the people who will actually read this already know. So I'll just cut to the chase.

I understand why I'm disliked by relinquishers, adopters, and adoptees alike. What I don't understand is the double standard.

Relinquishers hate me because I insist that anyone not BSE did indeed have a choice. I insist that claiming you are a victim with no choice when it comes to the child you give birth to is not only disingenuous, but also disempowering and dehumanizing. It is far more dehumanizing to claim you had no power over the fate of your child than it is to be called a relinquisher, but instead of reclaiming their power by owning their choices, they want to simper and whine about how dangerous and angry I am, and how dehumanizing it is to be called a relinquisher. They dehumanized themselves when they gave up the fight and the child. They don't need me to do it for them. I am, however, a convenient deflection and likely scapegoat because of my hard and unwavering views. They hate me because adoptee pain scares them.

Adopters hate me because I won't concede that adoption is a wonderful way to build a family. Because no matter how evil and awful "their child's" parents are painted to be, I won't agree that they are "the best parent for my child". They hate me because I routunely point out that adoption is nothing more than a legal way to purchase another human, and that what happens to our identities is a violation of our basic human rights. They hate me because I insist on talking about developmental trauma and the displacement adoptees feel. They hate me because I insist that in most cases RAD is just a diagnosis to blame the adoptee for their parenting difficulties and inability to deal with trauma. They hate me because they fear their child will be me someday. Because adoptee pain scares them.

Adoptees... this one is more complex, but can be boiled down to a couple of simple ideas. The first being that fogged and partially fogged adoptees are completely uncomfortable with my hard unforgiveness of the perpetrators of adoption (adopters and relinquishers). The second is my brazen pointing out of problematic ideas and behaviors (for example, using your adoptee status to extort money from other adoptees for your memoir or your t-shirts [or your writing program, or your $600 a weekend adoptee retreat...]). The third is because I absolutely REFUSE to be tone policed. I don't believe that tact will solve anything, when tact, false smiles, fake niceness, and false promises are what caused most of our problems in the first place. 

I understand it. I truly do. I HATE being called on my shit, but goddamnit I have to own it. I'm an abrasive, uncompromising hardass. I'm hard as hell to talk to at times, and while I will admit that I am wrong, you REALLY have to prove it before I will. It's easy to hate me. And it's MUCH easier to hate someone like me than it is to admit that one is wrong. I'm guilty of it myself.

What I don't understand is all these individuals, pages, and platforms who  constantly claim to want to "elevate adoptee voices"... except the ones that are too honest, too disagreeable, or too outspoken. Adoptees like me are regularly banned and blocked from these pages. Adoptees who "had a bad experience" and aren't afraid to talk about it. Adoptees who aren't afraid to point out problematic behaviors and language.

I could give you a LONG list of pages, groups, and well known adoptionland residents that have me blocked and the conversations that caused it, but that would be childish. Suffice to say I do almost all of my adoption talk on Twitter now, because most of the adoption related pages and groups on Facebook are inaccessible to me.

So they want to elevate adoptee voices, because all of our stories, voices, and opinions matter. Except mine, and that of the people who speak their truths frankly and unabashedly. Because we aren't "nice enough". We won't "just get along". And we won't "reframe our points in a more sympathetic way to promote understanding".

So all adoptee voices matter... except mine, of course.

Feel free to share if you're one of the silenced.


  1. Barn: cheered me up, i'm definitely a fan! we ought to be the nice club


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