Saturday, July 19, 2008

Adoptee Opins Sought


Many on the receiving end of adoption, celebrate a "Gotcha! Day."

From where I sit, as a loser in this uneven, lopsided transaction...I find it a bit offensive.

I cannot help wondering how adoptees feel about it?

Were any of you subjected to it growing up, or is it too new? Either way, how do you feel when you hear adoptive families celebrating the day the "Gotcha!" -- snatched you up and away!

This needs to be added to my list of "Adoption Dichotomies" posted on the 8th.

On other issues:

  • How old is old enough to be found by the mother who bore and lost you to adoption?
  • How old is old enough for a mother to go directly to her offspring and not ask the "permission" of his/her adoptive parents? 18? 21? older? younger? Never?
    As soon as she can?
  • Would it have been preferable of you - and at what ages - to have had contact made to your adoptive parents first?
  • OR, would rather have been just left alone forever, until YOU were ready to initiate contact?
  • What was done right/wrong for you in YOUR contact?
  • How do you feel in general about having been adopted?
    • sucks
    • no big deal
    • would have preferred to have been born into adoptive family
    • would have preferred to stay with and been raised by my immediate family?
  • What's the best and worst parts about being adopted? Has it caused you pain? Confusion? Anger? Other feelings?
  • Would you recommend others adopt?
  • Would you recommend someone you love place a child for adoption?

26 comments:

Tina with much2say said...

Hiya, Im an adoptee. Gotcha Day is way too new for me... but... I only have to hear the words and my heart sinks. For me, the day I was adopted wasnt just the day I lost my MUM, It was the day I lost my what should of been and what could have been. (If that makes sense). No matter how much you are loved that loss stays with you.
I realise for the adoptive parents they must be on cloud nine and if they feel like celebrating then celebrate together as two adults becoming parents. The best time to celebrate with an adopted child is on their Birthday, the day they became them! Not the day the adopters became a family or the day the adoptee lost their family.
Just my opinion though.
tina x

AdoptAuthor said...

Than you so much for that! So well said! May I have your permission to quote you in an update of my book?

ALSO...please share this post. I would like LOTS of adoptee opins on the gotcha issue and the rest of the questions listed below that..

Tina with much2say said...

Hi, ooh you've made my day! yes of course you can quote me, people usually ignore me haha. I will put your post on my blogs with the link back to you.
I will come back to the other questions. I didnt want to answer them all together... I was afraid once I got started I wouldnt stop lol.
tina X

Tina with much2say said...

Sorry forgot to say I am Tina from over at poundpup legacy (the one who does the adoption cartoons).

John said...

Hello! I wanted to drop you a quick message letting you know about a new Social Network for Adoptees, called AdopteeNetwork.com.

http://adopteenetwork.com

If you'd like any more information, feel free to contact me personally @ johnsaddington@gmail.com. I'd love to discuss how we can work together!

John

AdoptAuthor said...

Thanks for the link...and PLEASE., let it FLY!

AdoptAuthor said...

Thanks John.

Please share a link to this post and also feel free to share your replies to my questions!

Amie said...

For my APs, it was more like "Gotcha, but-now-what-do-we-do-with-you Day".

I'm thankful my APs never made me go through this offensive tradition.

KL said...

As an adoptee, I am so glad my adoptive parents never did that to me. We celebrated our birthdays. The day we came into this world, no matter where our roads took us. My brother and I never even know what date we were adopted, or picked up. Actually, I still have never seen the adoption papers, and I am 41.

I would have loved to have met my mother at anytime in my life. I did finally meet her, but she died shortly thereafter.

I find it hard to answer your questions, because, my being adopted is what it is. I don't know nor can understand how it feels to not be adopted. Ya know?

Yeah, it sucks not having grown up in my biological family, but from what I hear it sucks growing up in your biological family.

Yeah, I am confused and angry and hurt by it at times, but again, I see and hear of people who were not adopted having similar issues.

I guess I have just come to accept that it is part of who I am, and who I am is ok with me.

AdoptAuthor said...

Thank you for your honesty!

I think you speak fr many...as do others who are more angry.

One thought, as an aside...one reason I dislike "comparing" or lumping all triad loss as equal or similar. It is not. You have never known anything different. For those of us who our loss to adoption occurred at far more cognitive time in our lives, the alternate possibilities are far more real.

Thank you again. My purpose is NOT to compare or to judge anyone's feelings. They are what they are.

http://vancetwins.blogspot.com said...

HI there! I'm new to blogging. In fact, this is my first response! I'm also adopted and I just finished writing a book called The Search for Mother Missing: a peek inside international adoption. I just want you to know that you are not alone when it comes to questioning the morals of adoption. Personally I am offended that an evangelical adoption agency labeled my Korean family as inadequate, therefore it gave them the right to send me to what they perceived a "new" and "improved" family. Now that I am a Korean mother, the thought really bothers me. I haven't put my book on amazon yet since I want adoptees to read it first.

AdoptAuthor said...

We are FAR from alone! Korean adoptees have been particularly outspoken.

You might want to see:

www.transracialabductees.org/

If you have not already. And here are many books on th esubject. I look forward to seeing your book.

http://tinyurl.com/5o2acl

Ruta said...

My parents never used gotcha with me and we don't use it with our son.

As for reunification -- I believe that's something the adoptee MUST control. I have reunified with my bio-mom; it happened when I was 27. IMO, a reunification during the already-tough teenage years would have been very hard, particularly if it had been initiated by bio-mom. We have had a great deal of boundary issues (her not respecting mine) -- something I've heard from other reunified adoptees, as well.

But then again, I'm not angry about my adoption. Yes, my bio-mom experienced a huge loss. But at the same time, had I stayed with her, *I* would have gone through a huge loss -- of safety (there was abuse), dignity, opportunity. So who comes first? I'm glad I was adopted -- I got a wonderful, loving, safe family that gave me every opportunity.

Similarly, I want to make sure my son is fully prepared before meeting his bio-mom. Again, there is abuse/neglect, alcohol and other unpleasantries involved. I highly doubt she would come looking for him (I have good reason to say that) but before he goes looking for her, we will need to do a lot of talking and preparing so that he is not hurt by what he finds.

AdoptAuthor said...

Thanks Ruta,

One step you might take in your son's preparation is teaching him respectful language.

Most mothers who lost children to adoption do not like being called BIO as if we are biodegradable or somehow NOT HUMAN or a normal natural part of one's common vocabulary and FAMILY!

This article might help you to understand this from OUR perspective: http://tinyurl.com/4xxwme

BTW - I have heard from MANY, MANY mothers that the adoptee who found them or they found were disrespectful of THEIR boundaries!

Post adoption relationships are difficult because there is so much UNNATURAL stuff about adoption, and so much PAIN for everyone...

We don't have to like one another...just as we do not have to like any other relatives. BUT, respect is the first step.

Would like being referred to as her BIO-daughter?

Gershom said...

Never celebrated it here, but fuck, why don't they just pull the trigger now already.

gotcha day sounds like a kidnapping... ha ha ha GOTCHA!

Its terribly dismissing to the trauma the adoptee has endured to even be in the position to have been adopted.

I think its sick.

AdoptAuthor said...

You're quite right, Gershom. And since it's a rather new expression - although "Adoption Day" has been around longer - how does oit play out for kids in open adoptions who know their mother and then are expected to celebrated with those who GOT 'EM away from her?

It's like Iraqi's celebrating that Americans came to "liberate" or democratize them...when it is clear that our initial attempt was to destroy the infidels!

Ah, yes...that is a perfect analogy! Destroy the Godless sinful infidels in order to save and rescue their children...and keep the spoils of war!

But what to do with those pesky mothers who insist on visiting...? Hopefuly snyone enmtilghtened enough to keep their adoption TRULY open (meaning allowing a relationship between mother and child and not just between two mothers), would have the sense and decency NOT to "celebrate" the victorious bounty they pirated.

tamu said...

I never did have a gotcha day, I think it's a bit new...I have really mixed feelings about it- I understand that parents are trying to "celebrate" when they received their adopted child. however, to me it sounds insensitive and makes us into a commodity. Among many things, it implies a very one-way exchange and implications of power on a macro and micro scale are the west gets what they want.

As for being how old to have a birth family member search, i think it's all dependent on each individual. For me, I would have welcomed it at any age, though I doubt my a-parents would have been pleased. But I know adoptees who are so angry with their birth parents, that they don't want any contact at all. Even those who have b-parents trying to reach them. It's hard for me to understand that perspective but i know it exists. I have yet to have any luck with finding birth family...so I'm not sure what it would be like, but I keep hoping to meet someone.

As for my adoption experience, it's been very difficult and I've been in lots of therapy- I was abused a lot as a child (all kinds) and had a very dysfunctional family growing up, for example, A-mother committed suicide (even more abandonment issues) etc. I have to work on these issues myself to become a healthy person and to raise my children now who I'm hoping never have to go through what I did. I had a lot of self esteem issues and identity confusion growing up, eating disorder, hospitalization, self hate, had to witness a lot of physical violence, etc. -

I do have a bit of anger, I believed the rhetoric for a long time that there would be no life for me in Korea, which now I feel that it just helps maintain the structure of intercountry adoption and implications of power, class, race and sexism. Do I wish I were never adopted? It's hard to say because I don't know the whole story. I do wish my family could have kept me in Korea or at least I wish I was given that opportunity. People always say, but you are getting your PhD, you couldn't do that in Korea you'd be dead or a prostitute. But how do they know that? who knows what I would have done in Korea. I am grateful for the opportunities I have here, don't get me wrong. But I was never given a choice in Korea...

Instead I was brought here to a family that was really screwed up and into a community that didn't want me. another example, I was stalked and attacked when i was 7 by a neighbor because I was a "chink"- he ended up in jail...Just one thing after another. And now that I'm an adult, it's so tiring and painful trying to work through everything that happened just so I can stop the cycle of abuse and not do that to my family. And it's depressing all the responsibility is placed on me. It's sad, but it's reality and that's what I have to deal with. And there's not a whole lot of people who understand all the complexities of being adopted into another country and culture and race, and into an abusive dysfunctional family at that. So I see a therapist.

WOuld i recommend intercountry adoption? Only as the very last resort. I do think children need a home but they need to stay with immediate family first, if they can and if the home is safe. Then extended family, then within their own country and culture. and then if intercountry adoption has to be an option, to a family of the same background if possible. Then to a family of a different background but only after extensive education. but that's just in my little dream world.
my two cents, for what it's worth...

tamu said...

Thanks adoptauthor for the link
http://tinyurl.com/4xxwme
As someone who spends so much time studying the perspective of the adoptee, I sometimes lose sight of another part of the story - the mother and her perspective, thoughts, wishes, experiences, etc. thanks for the info. :)

AdoptAuthor said...

TAMU -

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions and chare your experiences. I am so sorry for the pain you have suffred. My daughter suffered some of the same experiences - such as eating disorders - and committed suicide at 27.

When you say no one understands - are you aware of the Korean adoptee groups such as www.transracialabductees.org/

And whole I have not walkd in the shores of an adoptee - let alone an interracial, international adoptee - I, and many mothers who ost our chidlren to adoption do live with pain, grief and loss that is not understood by the general public. How odd that they ignore the pain of adoption loss and see it though rose-colored glasses as a 'win--win" when the only winner is the one who GETS the kid they want - or they think they want.

You said about "Gotcha day":

"it implies a very one-way exchange and implications of power on a macro and micro scale are the west gets what they want."

Adoption IS a one-way exchange from have nots to haves! I call it reverse Robinhoodism!

As for your final thoughts on adoption being a last resort - family, extended first FIRST, then in-country and only a far-away stranger adoption as a very last resort..match those of th UN and also Origins-USA.org

AdoptAuthor said...

TAMU -

I also want to say that people make many assumptions about adoption. It is assumed to be "better" - and that's how mothers are coerced to let their babies go (the ones who don;t have their kids outright kidnapped). We, as mothers, are also assumed to be "better off" and have a better life than we would have had had we kept our babies. Yes, some of us have obtained education or careers. But in our case, who knows if we might have done the same or "better" had we been given the support we needed to keep our families intact?

Those "what ifs" can never be answered. There is only one that is for sure, for mothers and their babies where adoption is concerned: Adoption can only guarantee a DIFFERENT life; not necessarily a "better one." It's a crap shoot. And today, more than ever because baby brokers care only who can afford their fees - not if they are prepared to be god parents.

tamu said...

Thanks for your comments adoptauthor. and thanks for the link- I am familiar with transracialabductees...I know there are those out there with similar experiences, they're just hard to find to talk to in person. But the internet is definitely a way to connect and has helped me in many ways.

I am so sorry for your loss as a mother. I can't imagine the pain or emotions you experience and now that I am a mother it grieves me to think about the cultural and social, political and economical pressures placed on women and mothers.

I agree, it is a taking from the havenots to the haves...I like your expression, the reverse robinhoodism...And I agree, it has turned into how much money can we make versus what's best for all involved. (how sad). usually the ones with money win! How about turning that money into programs and resources that help mothers keep their babies???

oh, one other thing about birthdays and gotcha days, I know some folks here have mentioned the best time to celebrate is the day they were born. For me, celebrating my birthday actually doesn't have much meaning as it's the day that someone from the adoption agency or orphanage picked out, not my true date of birth. So while I think gotcha days are insensitive, even the notion of my birthday incorporates all of the power relationships between the haves and the have nots...with someone assigning me a completely new identity- new korean name, birthday, then American name, family, etc. So what do I celebrate? I think every day could be my birthday ;)

AdoptAuthor said...

I have been in communication with adult and teen adoptees since the 1970's. I have yet to meet one - no matter how much in dneial about his pain or loss...including the ones who sewar up and down "my mother and father are the ones who raised me and I have absolutely no interest or thought of any other"...even those...who do NOT think about their original fmailies on the their celebrated birth date! How could they not!? Even if the date is real, nothing else is. And if it is the true date they came into this world - it is the date another woman labored to have that happen!


I met a male adoptee fairly recently(I meant to blog about this) who told me that his birth parents were nothing more than egg and sperm donor to him. First of all, he said that with a tone and expression to his voice as if to say his mother and father were mass murderers who raped and ate their young!

He is obviously totally unaware of th thousands (?) of DI kids now searching with a deep desire to know - to see - those who "donated" their genetics.

Further, all such alleged "donors" no matter what their expressed motivation, are PAID for their services! We who lose our children to baby brokers, or have our rights terminate by the state, do not!

We get NOTHING, zip, zero, nada...not even the alleged promise of anonymity. And even in current so-called "open adoption" today - all a mother gets is a PROMISE. Even if written and notarized and put into the adoption agreement it is a promise no judge can enforce. How can you force someone to send you photo or allow you to visit THEIR child after ALL off your rights to that have been legally and irrevocable and permanently SEVERED?

Adoption is a huge monetary industry with one and only one client: those who pay anything and tun a blind eye to any corruption to get the prize they so desperately seek....while also turning their back on the 100,000+ kids in US foster care who can never go home --- who just might benefit from someone who truly wants to do some altruistic and help a child not themselves.

TAMU - you are fortunate. You were blessed with great genetic strength to endure your abusive life, and rise like a lotus flower out of the mirk and mire to accomplish greatness. Many, as I am sure you know, have been far less fortunate. Some 12-14 children adopted by Americans from Russia who were MUREDERED by their adoptrs, for instance. Others, like Masha, adopted by pedophiles...

I hope you obtain a copy of my book an dread it.

I wish EVERYONE would! It gets past the smoke screens and exposes all this ugly truth...

We need to STOP THE INSANITY and start protecting, mothers, chidlren and families in crisis.

Lorraine said...

Right on Mirah....you rock, woman, and this is right up there was Jonathon Swift.

lorraine

tamu said...

I'd love to read your book...what's it called? Sorry, I'm new to this site.

As for that adoptee male who said his birth parents are nothing more than sperm and egg, he obviously has no clue that while the baby is growing in mom's tummy, the baby and mom have such a connection. All that baby knows is the mom. And when that connection is cut off, it's a real loss for both. A baby is born already having an intense relationship with the mom.


I recently read another A-mother's blog about how adoption is the best thing and all those against it are angry adoptees and we have no right to be angry and should be celebrating that we were adopted and loved and not left in a prison crib in a poor orphanage etc. and that babies adopted as an infant shouldn't feel any loss at all because they don't know any different. and wow. it really saddened me that this woman has no clue about the bonds that are formed while the mom is pregnant. and that she would discredit an adoptee's experience or feelings. how scary. I feel bad for her adopted children as she doesn't feel like that have any loss. and she is discrediting their experiences and their identity. ugh.

AdoptAuthor said...

Denial and/or anger are good at blocking realities and truths - whether for adoptees or adopters.

My book is:

THE STORK MARKET: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry

available at: AdvocatePublications.com

And, despite the title it contains a great deal about international adoption.

legitimatebastard said...

Sorry I'm late to this discussion, but since I'm here now...

Gershom said, "gotcha day sounds like a kidnapping... ha ha ha GOTCHA! Its terribly dismissing to the trauma the adoptee has endured to even be in the position to have been adopted."

Yes, I aggree. I definately feel I was kidnapped from my first family, although no one (perhaps two or three individuals) in my adoptive family would understand how I feel. My adoptive mother always talked about her life in terms of "that happened before we got you" and "after we got you".

I always hated it when she said that as either a beginning or an ending to a story she was telling me.

Interestingly, since my reunion now has been ongoing for nearly 36 years, it seems eerily strange to think of my life "before reunion" or "before the unfolding of many truths about my life". Why? Because even happy memories of my 18 years are contradicted by the sheer magnitude of systemic lies told by many people to keep me away from my own blood kin. Happy memories are clouded with pain.

Back to "gotcha day" --- no, I have not heard of this until recently. It was hard enough on me to hear Mom talk about "getting me" so I am very glad we did not celebrate a "gotcha day". My birthdays were difficult for me as I had known that my mother had died and that resulted in my adoption. I had no knowledge of how she died or where she was buried. Ihad no knowledge of the actual circumstances of my birth, so celebrating my birthday felt to me like a strained day for which I had to put on a happy face.

My childhood birthday parties were fun, as kids do have fun doing fun activities. But no one knew my saddness and loneliness. I felt awkward, too.

Gotcha Day should be avoided at all costs. The idea is repulsive to me. But then, again, the idea of adoption is repulisve to me.

No, I would not recommend adoption to anyone. I have raised my children to respect life and if they were to have a child under any circumstances that would be difficult, we would not cave in to pressure to relinquish that baby to any form of adoption.

I cringe when I hear people have adopted and then I walk away. Open adoption does not thrill me, yet people seem to think that telling me that "so-and-so just adopted in an Open Adoption..." is supposed to make me feel better. It doesn't. Then, the person telling me about it in a proud and happy voice with a smile on their face grows limp whenn I counter by pointing out that Open Adoption stills results in tha child's birth certificate being seized by the government and a false one made and that Open Adoption is only a social not legal arragnment.

Adoption sucks. Not recommended under any circumstances.

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget