When Does an Adoptee Voice Stop Being Elevated Above All Others

“I’m not traumatized by my adoption.”

“Not all adoptees feel that way.”

“You say adoptee voices matter most but I guess that’s only if they have a bad adoption story.”

A year ago I would presume to stick my nose into a debate between adopted people. Today I am very cautious and calculating about doing this because the adoptee voice SHOULD ALWAYS be the loudest voice in the adoption community. They are the ones who had absolutely zero choice at all. They are the ones who grew up separated from their biological origins. Not me. I know what it’s like to be surrounded by genetic mirrors. I know the names of the people who created me. I can sympathize but I can never fully empathize because to do so would mean I would have to have had similar life experiences in order to relate their experiences to mine. 

Nevertheless, when an adoptee asks me to be a voice for them, I will oblige and hope I can do my best to represent their voice. Such is the reason for this writing. 

In adoption communities online a war rages. In simplistic terms, and from the point of view of many adoptees who are content with having been adopted, this could be viewed as “happy adoptee” vs. “angry adoptee.” 

Let’s first go into more detail as to why the adoptee voice should be elevated above all others. The single most important reason to elevate their voices is to prevent heartache and obstacles for those adoptees who are still children. At least, this is my understanding from hearing their voices over the course of several months. Correct me if I’m wrong. Secondarily, we elevate their voices because no one else did. See: was given no choice in being adopted. It’s only fair they are heard now. 

“Well I wasn’t given a choice about who my biological parents would be.”

No, you weren’t. But that doesn’t matter. Because neither were they. This argument becomes invalid if you recognize the unique challenges or issues that arise for someone who is adopted. Even those who are perfectly content with having been adopted. At some point in their life at least one time a challenge arose directly correlated to their adoption. Whether that was a classmate once pointing out that their parents didn’t want them or a lifetime of emotional conflict over having been relinquished. At one time or another, every adoptee has had to face one or more issues or challenges surrounding their status of being adopted. So you don’t get to use the “I didn’t pick my parents either” card. 

“I’m not traumatized by my adoption.”

I’m glad you weren’t. I’m glad you are whole and content. I truly am. And not every adoptee feels as if adoption was a bad thing in their life. And that’s okay. Not every adoptee who rallies for adoptee rights and family preservation had a bad experience, in general, being adopted. Many love their adoptive families and grew up in warm and loving homes. You did not have to have a bad adoption experience to be a champion of equal rights, family preservation, and ethics. 

I see it often assumed that those who speak of the ethical issues in adoption MUST have had a bad experience with their adoption. Then I see them counter an adoptee’s point of view with, “I’m not traumatized by my adoption.” Because, you know, #notall adoptees feel this way. And almost every time I see this, it is to use their status as an adoptee (and the elevated voice the rest of the community is finally giving them) to further elevate their voice over the other adoptee. To “cancel out” their thoughts or life experiences. When someone points this tactic out they will hear, “You say adoptee voices matter most but I guess that’s only if they have a bad adoption story.”

Here’s the thing. If we look to the reasons we elevate an adoptees voice (see above) and your using your elevated voice to dismiss another adoptee who is trying to help prevent psychological damage, you are, in essence, cancelling out the reasons your voice is elevated in the first place. 

-You say you are content and never had any issues with being adopted. Then why do you take issue with others speaking about why they aren’t content to educate other adoptive or birth parents?

-You have a counter story for every story another adoptee has. These adoptees want to remind people why it’s best to err on the side of caution for certain topics. Essentially you’re telling an adoptive parent “Don’t listen to her. I was perfectly fine with not being told I was adopted until I was 8.” Or insert whatever other subject you’d like in those quotations. 

An adoptee’s voice stops being elevated when they use that voice to silence other adoptees who have experienced trauma. Who advocate for equal rights and equal access. Who advocate for ethical practices and ethical reform within the institution of adoption. Why? Because it is counterintuitive to the reason why your voice is elevated in the first place (again: see above). 

You are free to share how content you are. You are free to share how happy you are to be adopted. You are free to share why that is. But you are not free to spread misinformation. You are not free to use your voice to silence others. That is where other adoptees are free to stop elevating your voice above all others. And personally, I will interject, as a first mom, when I see misinformation being spread. This is because misinformation is dangerous. It is my duty to ensure the correct facts are presented. 

You have no issues with the current practices of adoption? Fine. But this is where we split ways. This is where I no longer value your voice. Because anyone who thinks it’s okay for birth records to be falsified and the original, accurate ones to be sealed away forever (or until birth parents give permission for those records to be released) doesn’t deserve an elevated voice. Anyone who thinks it’s okay for the way adoption works today to continue as it is wont get an elevated voice with me. Or any others like me, adopted or not. You are part of the problem. And your willful refusal to see the very real problems in adoption makes you an active participant in the trauma that so many adoptees DO experience. You fuel the flames, perpetuate the cycle. If ten adoptees say, “Please don’t do this. It was done to me and it hurt me deeply” all it takes is one adoptee voice to say “That happened to me and I turned out fine.” An adoptive parent or birth parent reads that and says “see, it’s not that bad. She turned out fine.” 

And then they do it to their adopted children – whatever it may be. And maybe they turn out fine too. Or maybe they don’t. But the butterfly effect is strong. Your one irresponsible statement, (most times to appease an adoptive parent who IS in fact doing it wrong, or maybe sometimes for your own appeasement that life wasn’t all that bad, right?) could be the catalyst in a child’s life. Your one statement could be the thing that finds you, in twenty years, in an adoption support group on Facebook…

The child of that adoptive parent from twenty years ago; the one you said “That happened to me and I turned out fine.”

And then that adoptive mother thinks to herself, “See, it’s not that bad. She turned out fine.”

And then she takes your advice and applies it to parenting her adopted child…

You might find yourself telling that child, “But I wasn’t traumatized by my adoption. Why are you so bitter? #Notall of us feel that way.”

Because it comes down to this. 

In every instance that I can think of where adoptees have a disagreement? The one arguing to err on the side of caution is never arguing for something that would ever have the potential to harm a child, emotionally or otherwise. 

But the other adoptees seem to always argue “But I’m okay.” And what they should be saying is “But I’m okay IN SPITE OF…

Why would you chance:

-Not telling your child they are adopted until they are older?

-Not allowing your child to be in contact with their otherwise safe birth family?

-Not being aware of the signs of trauma in an adopted child?

-Unethically obtaining your child and having to answer to that child one day?

The list could go on and on. 

Adoptee voices are the most important. When they are wearing their adoptee hat and advocating for ethical and fair treatment. Sometimes adoptees wear a birth parent hat. And sometimes they wear an adoptive parent hat. Even if they aren’t either. Their fierce need to protect the institution of adoption drives this. I cannot begin to understand why and I’d love to find out but they aren’t giving up their secrets thus far. 

I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I don’t fully support adoptees sharing their lived experiences, whatever they may be. What I don’t support is using those lived experiences to silence those who have experienced inequality or hurt from adoption. I don’t support that at all. 

Let’s look at this without the emotion. 

It’d be like if someone was seriously injured skateboarding without a helmet. They’d be all over the place saying “WEAR A HELMET!! This could happen to you!” Will it happen? Maybe. Maybe not. But I know for me I like people to have all the info – the helmet if you must. Since there’s already a million people talking about how great skateboarding is I may as well be the one screaming to wear a helmet. And when someone posts a story about how awesome their last skateboarding outting was and didn’t mention that helmet I’d be commenting “but don’t forget your helmet! I didn’t wear one once and it hurt me!” 

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Adoption Awareness: Stealing Fathers’ Children and the Gladney Machine (once again)

In honor of the month, I have decided to bring awareness. The Awareness I’m bringing will violate some privacy but I don’t concern myself with the privacy of those who seek out to defraud fathers of their rights or build barriers for them that are impossible to go over in order to sever their God-given right to parent their child. 

Welcome to Adoption Awareness Month. Today I’m going to make everyone aware about the class of birth mothers/wanna-be birth mothers who intentionally do everything in their power to end any rights a father has to his child. Who work hand in hand with agencies and their powerful lawyers to create injustices. I could go on and on about how these moms are brainwashed and look how good the agency coerced them, but I won’t make any excuses for them. They don’t deserve that from me. 

The following screen shots were sent to me anonymously. And they infuriated me so much that I decided to come out of “blog retirement.” 

Welcome to National Adoption Awareness Month! Are you AWARE how fathers are crapped on when they don’t want to give up these babies??

And the comments of “support.”
I seriously hope the ex of Jodi Rose Marie (or her legal name: Jodi Ouellette) living in a Gladney’s maternity home in Fort Worth, Texas sees this and hands THIS to his attorney. 


Shame on YOU Gladney for abusing your power and money to steal a father’s child. And shame on YOU girls for being co-conspirators. 

***Edit to add: Father is most likely in the Reno, Nevada area and his first name is Chris, according to Jodi’s profile. She was also engaged to him as of January 28, 2017. Adoption isn’t mentioned until after that break up.***

I Can See the Horizon 

Sleep found me easily and peacefully. I usually suffer from insomnia and will lay awake for hours praying that slumber will come upon me. A peace I’d never known before washed over me as all of my children were under my roof in the same place at the same time. The people I value and love the most in this world. The ONLY people whose opinions about me I care about. I felt complete and whole.

But sad. Sad for what could have been. Sad for the upcoming goodbye. Sad from what my choice had taken from all of my kids without their permission. There had always been a feeling that someone was missing and while she was here that feeling was gone. But it would soon be back. Nevertheless I tried to revel in how lucky I was to even have this moment, this time, at all.

I have three daughters and two sons. Of all of my children, she is the most like me in every way. It’s almost scary how similar we are. Many times people would comment “its like looking at you when you were her age!” Or “She’s JUST like you at that age!”

And she is.

She’s tenacious, she has no filter, she looks like me, she sounds like me, she has the same mannerisms as me. Admittedly she does have my husband’s nose.

Driving to Taco Bell one day we said the exact same thing at the exact same time with the exact same inflection. That happens within families all the time. Families that you share DNA with. “That’s never happened to me before,” she said with surprise. And it kept happening. My sisters and I are always speaking in stereo. It made me think how sad it would be to go through life without ever hearing someone who sounded like you.

And she’s just like her sisters. When a neighbor started up his motorcycle too closely they all screamed, shook, and started crying. All three of them. All at the same time. DNA is some powerful stuff.

But she’s herself too. It was lovely to hear her talk about the things she loves, the places she’s seen, the people in her life she cares about and how they’ve impacted her.

And still there was this thing hanging in the air. All the shared memories we had that she didn’t. My family is big on talking about “Remember when this happened…” and then proceeding to tell a funny or shocking story. So while she was like us in every way, and fit in perfectly, there was always the elephant in the room that reminded us that she had been gone.

So many mixed emotions. So much to untangle.

My husband was smitten. He reminded me of a new father doting over his infant daughter. Except we had already doted on her when she was born. I can read this man better than anyone and the looks on his face said, “I’m in love with this beautiful creature.” As he should be. She’s pretty amazing if I do say so myself.

And here is where I decided that this blog has served its purpose. For now, anyway.

When I was hurting it was here. When I needed to vent it was here. When I was scared, anxious, worried, happy, hopeful, suffering, it was here. You were here. Some of you lifted me with your thoughts and others pissed me off. And that’s okay. Because sometimes I just needed a good fight and you engaged me.

I know this journey is ever evolving and I’m not completely abandoning this space. There may be a time in the future where I need it regularly again. But this journey is no longer just my own. Now that our lives have come together again, and she is again a part of mine, our stories are intertwined and it’s not up to me what to share.

I have let adoption consume my life. That’s not an entirely bad thing. I’ve found sisterhood and courage in this community. I’ve found courage to stand up, stand out, and help make changes. I will always be an activist. Always. But I’m also a mother and wife. I can’t spread myself too thin so I’ve decided to focus my energy on certain endeavors that will allow me to balance things more equally. I lost my grandfather, who helped raise me, and a beloved pet who was my emotional support animal, this year. The wheels of time don’t stop turning for me to sit behind a computer.

So while I’ve already bowed out of this blogging thing pretty much, I thought I’d leave you all with a happy update. I’ll pop in once in a while. But it’s time to take back my life and focus on where I can really make a change, enjoy my family, and still remain a functional member of society.

 

The Promise

I told myself I wouldn’t cry. I didn’t want to scare her. I didn’t want her to think this stranger was emotionally unstable. Then I worried if I didn’t let myself cry she’d think maybe I was emotionally inept. 

I changed my shirt 3 times. I was about to change it a fourth time when I decided that nothing would be good enough so I may as well save myself the trouble. I spent a great deal of time worrying that she’d find me reprehensible or think, “This lady is ugly. I got handed some bad genes.”

I spent days cleaning the house. I couldn’t seem to get it clean enough. Never mind that teenagers hardly pay attention to details such as clean baseboards, I was sure she would glance down and think, “this house is too dirty. I can’t stay in such filth.”

I loaded our little family into the truck and we stopped by the florist. My husband, her father, wanted to have roses for the first time he held his “baby who’s not a baby anymore” in his arms again. 

I handed him the card to fill out and watched him hesitate and struggle for the right words. “Just write ‘Love, J'” I instructed him. Relief washed over his face and he did what I said. 

When we arrived at the airport I thought maybe I was dreaming. There was no way I could be this lucky. In just a few short moments she would be standing face to face with us. It felt as if we were holding the winning lottery ticket. Guilt briefly touched my heart as I thought of my other first mom friends, women I have grown to love, who don’t have what I was about to or who may never will. What did I ever do to deserve to be this lucky?

The text message came. “We’re about to land.” I looked out the window of the airport and saw a plane coming in from the right direction. As it came closer I glanced at my husband. He looked terrified. As it’s wheels touched the ground his eyes became red and the tears could no longer be contained. 

I told myself I wouldn’t cry. He was making this plan harder to stick to. 

People could be seen walking down the long corridor, behind glass doors. A man in a suit, a woman in a dress. They were hard to distinguish until they were closer. 

But I spotted her before anyone would think I could definitively say it was her. I knew it was. I pointed. She came closer. Her gait was as familiar as my own. The way she swung her arms was like looking in a mirror. 

The first moment I saw her


I wanted to run through the gate doors, airport security be damned! Her pace quickened as she saw us all standing and waiting. We were completely oblivious to other passengers as we blocked the way out with our bodies. 

And then she was in my arms. I couldn’t stop the tears and hers flowed freely as well. I momentarily pulled away to put my hands on her face and stare into her striking eyes. She. Is. Amazingly. Beautiful. 

She was in my arms again. She was real. I could feel her. The warmth of her body. The texture of her hair on my face. Could it ever get any better than this? This moment would never happen again. This was it. It was absolute perfection. Divine. 

Over the years a song had always stuck in my head and reminded me of her. I had dreamed of this moment for years. And in my dreams the song would play. I now know how fitting the song is. 

“Together again

It would feel so good to be

In your arms

Where all my journeys end

If you can make a promise

If it’s one that you can keep

I vow to come for you

If you wait for me”

-The Promise, by Tracy Chapman

Operation Matthew 6:25-34

Welcome to one of the most coercive pre-adoptive stories you will ever read. Take a seat and prepare to look through a “story book” that defines coercion and duress in expectant mothers. I almost titled this post “Faces of Adoption Coercion: Level Infinity.”

Meet Tuesday Laine Watson and her husband, Josh. Tuesday is very young, in her 20’s and is hoping to adopt a young woman’s baby when it is born this May. Someone she knew from her past, according to Tuesday’s public Facebook profile. However, Tuesday didn’t get the memo that she is a “hopeful” adoptive parent. She has already bestowed upon herself the title of “mother” to a baby yet to be born. For months now. Complete with parking in expectant mother parking spaces, having an elaborate baby shower, naming the baby, and posting about “her” child all over the inter webs. 

To make matters worse, Tuesday is friends with this expectant mother on Facebook and she sees all these posts. Shoot, Tuesday even tags her in some. Posts about how selfless her “birth” mom is (even though she is not yet a birthmom). Posts about how this emom is giving her this tremendous gift. You know. Posts that would make this emom, we’ll call her Sunday (Keeping in theme with the days of the week), feel a gut wrenching guilt should she decide she would indeed like to parent HER baby. Because Tuesday has already laid claim to this baby and leaves little room for Sunday to do the same. 

Tuesday has made it vehemently clear that SHE is the mother to this child and not Sunday. Sunday is simply the vessel of birth. 

I could go on for ages about the need for adoption education in Tuesday’s life for the sake of this child should she indeed adopt her. But anyone reading this will already know what I mean when I’m done. 

I’ll let Tuesday’s words speak for themselves. 

Fundraising for adoption fees instead of to help a mother keep her child and not face immense heartbreak the rest of her life.

Photo of expectant mother “Sunday”

She “deserves” a baby.

Photo courtesy of Facebook

Photo courtesy of Facebook


Still with me?

Some questions. 

How is Sunday supposed to back out of this if she decides she wants to parent? She has been reading these things for months. I would speculate that she thinks God doesn’t want her to have her baby and to hurt Tuesday by parenting her child means she would not be doing right by God. 

How can Sunday make an informed decision with no one guiding her or exploring other options with her?

How is this even happening? 

Dear Tuesday,

You deleted the comment I left on your blog. You silenced my voice. How long before you silence Sunday’s? It appears you believe you are entitled to her child. From past experiences I’ve found that usually leads to any kind of open adoption closing since the adoptive mother’s insecurities supersede the needs of the adopted child. Have you even researched how to parent an adopted child?

Since you decided to silence me on YOUR blog, I’ve decided that I will speak my peace on MINE. 

Here is the comment I left that you would not approve. View the blog post this comment was intended for HERE.

Or here:

https://anotherrandomtuesday.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/first-blog-post/

“You’re right. God doesn’t make mistakes. And he certainly doesn’t plan for another woman to suffer lifelong immeasurable pain to fulfill the selfish desires of another woman. No, he doesn’t do that. God makes provisions in the Bible for women who are struggling. He commands others to care for them, not help themselves to their babies. 

Nowhere in the Bible will you find an instance of a woman planning to give her unborn child to another woman because she is poor. Modern day domestic infant adoption doesn’t exist in the Bible. Because God doesn’t facilitate or plan this. 

No, what you should be doing is helping this mother keep her baby. You know, the mother you say you care about so much. But you only care about her if you get her baby. 

Look in the mirror. Bette yet, listen to what God is telling you. Because he isn’t telling you to help this pregnant mother by taking her baby. Gods plan doesn’t involve pain like that for her.

His plan doesn’t involve pain like that for you, either. But while there is nothing you can do to resolve the pain of infertility, there is something you can do to save this mother, and her child, the lifelong pain of separation. 

You worry you won’t be enough. I’ll answer that for you right now. You won’t be. An adopted child will always straddle two worlds, never FULLY belonging to either. They will see the life they should have had and the life they were given. And they will struggle. You can never be enough because every adoption begins with a loss. Every. Single. One. The loss of the adoptees first family and the loss of the child to the first family. 

If you really truly believe in Gods plan you know what he says about taking care of the poor and needy. 

Is this unborn child’s life in danger?

Will this unborn child be a true orphan (both of his parents will be deceased)?

Will this unborn child be in physical danger if she stays with her mother?

If the answer is “no” to these questions this is not Gods plan. 

Help this mother KEEP her baby. 

Or at least admit God has nothing to do with it. You want a baby. You don’t care what God commands you to do. The least you could do is be honest. 

One day you’ll have to answer for it. And when He asks you why you manipulated His word for your own selfish desires what will you answer?”

-——————

So what is Operation Matthew 6:25-34? 

I need all of you for this one and time is running short. Please email me at musingsofabirthmom@gmail.com or visit my Facebook page and send a message:

Musings of a Birthmom