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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…
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Adoption: Not A Better Life, Just A Different One

Adoption promised me a better life. A promise upon which it did not deliver. For me, and so many adoptees out there, both adult and minor, adoption is a crapshoot that didn't or isn't work(ing) out for us. 
Since it is a common deflection, let's address the crapshoot that is biological family for a moment so we can establish that is not the same set of challenges once and for all. No, we do not choose who we are born to, any more than we are given a choice about being adopted. Yes, the people we are born to can be just as challenging and cruel as an abusive adopter. 
Now consider for a moment, these facts on top of those inherent challenges.
1. The alteration of my identity completed at an age by which I was cognizant of my identity (i.e. Julie means me) and not old enough to understand why I was suddenly surrounded by strangers who called me by some strange name I didn't understand.
2. The alteration of my birth certificate and vital records, and the sealing of the o…

Relinquishment Means...

Since so many expectant mothers seem to be so unclear on what they are giving up, let's make it loud and very very clear. In the kindest language I can use, that is.

It means you lose ALL rights to your child. Since relinquishers seem to think there are exceptions to these rights they lose, let's lay it out loud and clear. Once that paper is signed, your rights to ALL OF THE FOLLOWING ARE GONE. KAPUT. FINISHED.

You no longer have the right to name me, and the name you chose is meaningless. You don't have the right to be listed on my birth certificate or have a copy. Nor should you, as you have signed over your motherhood to a stranger. Nor do you have the right to an opinion on my upbringing, religion, education, social attitude, morals, values, or opinion of you. You are signing away your right for me to know the truth about you. You don't get to decide what my adopters tell me about you. And most of the time their story doesn't match yours.

You no longer have the ri…

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 …

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 choi…

Adoption Reunion: Relinquishers

If you want to have a good reunion with your "angry adoptee", here are a few things I'm relatively certain will make a positive difference for you. Some of it will be hard to read. You may want to deflect or abscond, but if you can sit with your discomfort on this, you may well be able to sit with your discomfort in reunion, and that WILL make it better.

1. Own Your Shit.

I cannot stress this enough. Own your choices and decisions. Don't blame others, your lack of support, religious oppression, coercion from adoption professionals. Phrases like, "I didn't have support, but ultimately I decided to put you up for adoption, and for that I'm sorry." will go a long way.

2. Don't Expect Us To Feel Sorry For You.

We want to know why you relinquished us, and we want the truth. The circumstances surrounding relinquishment are never truly positive for an adoptee, even if they seem that way at first. Don't expect compassion for your dire circumstances. You…

Nancy Verrier's Spawn

I have recently been accused of "being known by many many as the spawn of Nancy Verrier".

Honestly all I can do is chuckle. Reason being, since I read The Primal Wound, I detest the woman. Anyone who's spoken to me on the subject can attest to this.

I can't stand Nancy Verrier. I can't tolerate any adopter who can't accept their own culpability in adoption trauma, and she CLEARLY couldn't. She had no inkling, or didn't want to, about the role adopters play in adoptee trauma. I could practically hear her in the wailing adopter tone as I read the book...

"We just wanted a child to love! Through no fault of our own, this child is traumatized! We do our best, but it's just SO HARD to love these mean little adoptees with their PTSD and trauma! It's not MY fault you won't LET ME LOVE YOU! I didn't do anything wrong, and you've been hurting me since infancy with your rejection and acting out! All I wanted was to love you unconditionally…