My daughter Rebekah posted this on her Tumblr page, and has kindly given me permission to repost it on my blog. It is an adoptee's perspective on adoption, written in response to this article.
Every adoptee has his/her own story and personal experience.
All adoptive parents have their own reason for adopting and experiences of being an adoptive parent.
My personal experience as an adoptee has, for the most part, been seamless and positive. As a child, my “biggest” qualms with being adopted were probably being a visible minority in a small, rural, caucasian community. I don’t remember any racist remarks or even childhood bullying or chiding (other than the short girl who said she could see my nose hairs. I cursed my flat, large-nostriled Asian nose that day). Negative feels were more due to societal norms of beauty (reinforced by the community’s population demographics) and lack of exposure to Asian role models (a whole other issue). We all have our childhood moments of angst, however, right?
Two of my other siblings and I are international adoptees (three different countries). Speaking for the three of us, I can’t recall any malicious comments directed at us because we were adopted. As a child, I took all adoption comments in stride, probably more excited to be the subject of interest than anything else—the middle child of five takes what she can get. As a child, I had no interest in learning about Korean culture or deep emotional talks about the psychological implications of being adopted. Why? Because that differentiated my from my two older brothers (birth children of my parents). Sure, I loved answering questions about how I came to be in the family, but to me, it was no different than telling you how my older brother once stuck his heads between the staircase railings and freaked my mom out—it was just a good family story. That said, my parents never showcased my siblings and I as their adopted children, which I feel sometimes happens with other adoptees.
Yes, there were the eye-roll comments, “When did you know you were adopted?” We were asked about our birth parents and their motive for putting us up for adoption. Probably the most offensive and more inexcusable. Other comments did “laud” our parents for adopting, especially my brother who is triple amputee. In my mind, however, these can be taken as offensive, or you can accept them as awkward compliments. I don’t think my siblings and I, or my parents were given these remarks in condescending or pitying tones. Adoption is a BIG commitment, afterall. As a married woman of childbearing age who hopes to have children of my own, I’m increasingly incredulous of my parents’ decision. I just took a moment to imagine adopting a child and I seriously felt scared, anxious and reluctant. “How would I know if I could really love her/him as my own?” “What happens after the 6 month/1 year honeymoon stage is over?” When one conceives a child, they have time to transition and form an immediate physical and emotional connection. With adoptions, you’re childless one day and the next you’re welcoming another person into your family. Sure there’s emotional buildup with paperwork and waiting, but psychologically, it’s not the same. I have these anxieties and am an adopted child. This is why I think we should be more patient of “Kind parents” comments. I do feel differently about “Kind parents” comments that hint at the parents’ sacrificial-charity. Adoptees shouldn’t feel they are indebted to their adoptive parents.
A few times in my life I’ve had questions and imagined alternate life stories. I’ve felt sad and anxious, but more often they are born out of curiosity, or a selfish thirst for personal drama during a dull period of life. Most, if not all of these instances have happened in adulthood. They never last longer than a good nights’ sleep.
I argue adoptions need not be areas of contention. Being adopted doesn’t mean every identity crisis thereafter must be scrutinized and pinned on adoption. I recognize adoptees that experience mixed feelings about their identities and those who believe they are victims of a bureaucratic/political system.
Are some adoptions shady? Yes. Are there adoptees who shouldn’t have been put up for adoption? Yes. Do adoptee issues need a louder voice in social discussions? Yes.
Do I think we should move to a no-adoption model? No. Do I think all adoptees would be psychologically/emotionally better off with their birth families? No. Must all adoptees experience an identity crises due to being adopted? No.
Over the years, I’ve felt more anxiety and guilt over not being emotional about my birth parents than I have wondering why I was put up for adoption. I have asked myself,”Am I bad birth child/adoptee for not having this crisis? Is something wrong with me?”
Am I a successful adoption? No, because being a successful adoption, means there are failed adoptions and I don’t think adoption is a pass or fail thing. Adoption means to accept one as their own. A parent can’t become ‘unparented’ from their birth child, regardless of either party’s emotional beliefs or identity. So, I feel, it should also be for adopted children. As an adoptee, no, I didn’t choose to be adopted, but nor did my older brothers choose to be born into the family they’re a part of. Speaking for myself, I’m ok with these cards Life dealt me and have not felt the need to soul search beyond curiosity. Of course, I am one amongst thousands of other adoptees.
I’m not against adoptees who speak out against adoption. I’m not against adoptees who wish to be reunited with their birth parents. Like me, they have their own personal experiences and want to give voice to their issues. As adoptees, I think it’s good to recognize each other and share our stories.