January 11, 2013

"This Was Really Hard to Read..."

When adoptees share their truth on blogs, I've noticed that adoptive parents or potential adoptive parents (AP's and PAP's) often chime in on comment threads with, "Wow, this was really hard to read..." or something similar.

The feeling is definitely, "I wish you wouldn't have spoken up and said that. It hurts and it makes things harder."


I've witnessed this in blog-world, as well as face to face a few times when I shared my experience as well as the truth about some things going on in the adoption industry.

A few thoughts I have in relation to this:

If you haven't adopted yet...

Consider it very carefully. Are you really ready to adopt a child if you don't want to honestly face their true feelings? Not just their feelings now but feelings they may have twenty years from now? This week I posted a link to an adoption article I contributed to and it received this response:

 "I honestly found this very hard to read.  I feel it's potentially damaging to potential adoptive parents."

I didn't take this negatively. It excited me!

I hope adult adoptees sharing the truth about post-adoption issues does unsettle people and do damage to their preconceived ideas. 

Here's the truth from one adoptee, Julie G, who commented on this post at Adoptee Restoration this past week: 

"There is such a difference in having parents who love you versus having parents who want to know you and meet your needs...It's funny how so many people wanted a baby back then, and at the same time, that same little baby caused so much trouble and pain."

The bottom line is: do you want to really know your child? Or do you just want to know them as you want them to be?  Or even as you feel you need them to be?

Is adoption about meeting their needs, or meeting yours?

Chances are, your child's feelings (whether a child or adult adoptee) will not always be comfortable for you. This is part of being a parent, and in adoption, it is only magnified. Adult adoptees do PAP's no favors by hiding our feelings, and PAP's aren't served well by ignoring a significant portion of the adoption population who have experienced post-adoption issues, and have very legitimate concerns. This isn't just about challenges many of us have faced personally. It's about a movement to change an industry that desperately needs it for the sake of the children. 

If you have adopted already...

Consider that one day your child will be an adult adoptee. You might want to think twice before you tell your son or daughter that something they said regarding their adoption is hard for you to hear. The way some AP's express themselves, it's almost as if they are speaking of their own adoption instead of their child's. Your complaint of, "wow, this was really hard to hear" sends a message that they aren't welcome to share their feelings openly without repercussions. It could serve to support what they perceive as an  unspoken rule that they are responsible for your happiness.

(A good way to get practice for when your child is an adult is to be open to what adult adoptees have to say now.)

Either way...

The main thing that comes up for me when AP's or PAP's continually comment about how hard some adult adoptee views are to read is that perhaps our adoption was really about someone else