Sunday, October 2, 2011

Upside down

There's an interesting discussion going on over at First Mother Forum. Jane was honest in her feeling of being uncomfortable around adoptive parents and the comments that follow are equally as interesting. While I was reading I kept thinking about the "triad" term. It was brought up in the discussion and the image that kept coming to mind was an upside down triangle divided into 4 parts. Those of us who have been torched by adoption know that there's no such thing as the equally portioned triad between the adoptive family, the natural family and the adoptee. What I keep seeing in my head is the sketch at left and that's not accurate either. Actually, the adoptee's portion should be even smaller or truthfully it should be non-existent and the natural mother's portion should be smaller also.

I understand what Jane is saying about her feelings around adoptive parents. I find myself shutting down when I hear someone say that they adopted an infant. It happened recently with a student. Since I don't know the circumstances surrounding that person's adoption experience I just keep my mouth shut and don't say anything but it does make me want to change the subject so adoption doesn't become the focal point of the conversation. For me, there are days when I can talk about it and some days when I can't. Sometimes the emotion of it is just too close to the surface and it's too painful to even take advantage of the situation and use that time to educate someone about the other side of adoption.

Being PC was also mentioned in the discussion in regards to the honest feelings about adoptive parents. One adoptive parent even commented that they were tired of other adoptive parents whining about what they go through to adopt a child.
Margie said.... 

"APs whine way too much about what they go through. I can tell you for a fact that the day my first child arrived, that "paperwork" was a distant memory, forgotten. I know it was a different story for his mother."

I appreciate Margie saying that. It's what I've felt all along. I know I've talked about pain wars and how pointless they are but let's get real for a second. All of us have pain and deserve to be validated. That is truth. Yes, it's painful to be infertile. It's painful to go through the tests, treatments and sorrow when the treatment doesn't work. It's painful to lose the dream of a family. I do understand that. I also know that all the paperwork and home study stuff is a pain to deal with and it takes time - I'm sure much longer than anticipated. BUT...... where does that stand in comparison with a mother who gave birth to a child, loves that child and wanted to raise her baby but couldn't for whatever reason whether real or imagined coerced. An infertile couple is grieving a loss. They are grieving the loss of a child that could have been, a child that doesn't actually exist, it's an imaginary child. What they're really grieving is the loss of being a parent, their own need to be a parent. When a mother of adoption loss is grieving, she is grieving the loss of an ACTUAL CHILD - a living, breathing infant who she is biologically connected to, an infant she shares DNA with, an infant she carried for 9 months. I'm sorry, but there is a difference. At this point I don't care if it's not PC to say it. The pain of not being able to conceive and having to do paperwork instead in order to become a parent doesn't even begin to compare to the pain of losing a child. There, I said it. Yes, I know I said the pain wars are pointless but like Margie, I'm sick of the whining about what APs go through. While an AP is experiencing the joy of parenthood a natural mother is grieving for the rest of her life. While an AP is rejoicing about their well adjusted, happy toddler they really have no idea how the adoption is going to affect that toddler in the years to come. While an AP is enjoying being a parent an adoptee is dealing with the loss of his original family.

In the comments after Jane's post Robin said.....

"Pertman goes on to say about infertile people, “We’re supposed to swallow our loss, internalize our pain and move on.” Well, yes, actually you are. Just because someone cannot conceive their own child doesn't entitle them to someone else's child. I've had some downtime lately and spent a part of it reading trashy celebrity magazines. It seemed adoption was mentioned on every other page. No matter how old the celebrity, no matter what his/her sexual orientation was or their relationship status, they all felt entitled to have a child (that is to adopt a child). They just seemed to assume that their fame and money entitled them to a family. Of course, not one word was mentioned about the pain to the first parents or how the child will feel about being adopted. These things don't seem to even cross the celebrities' minds. It's as if their are endless numbers of children who would be so much better off being raised by a wealthy celebrity. Unfortuneately, we still have a long way to go in some corners to get our message across.

The adoption industry is a system that's screwed up. I was going to say broken but it's not really broken as much as it's unbalanced and corrupt. There's a lot that needs to be fixed. Where do you begin to fix such a problem? Take a look at an emergency room situation. ER staff deal with triage. They have to determine who needs help first. In a triage situation they look at the most life threatening situations first and take care of the patients with the most need first. From there it's a sliding scale of need. Who in adoption should be considered first? The adoptee of course. It's supposed to be about children after all.

Jane said.... 

"The purpose of adoption is to provide a family for a child who needs one, not a child for a family. If the reason a child lacks a family is because his natural family lacks money, then people interested in that child's welfare would help the child's family care for him. Obviously when people are willing to spend lots of money to obtain a child but not to help his family care for him, it is not the child's welfare they are interested in but meeting their need to have a child regardless of what's best for the child."

The adoption industry is seriously ill so maybe it's time for triage. Where is the most need? Who needs help first? The children of course yet look at where they are in the upside down "triad" of power. They are the powerless yet they have the most need. The welfare of children should be everyone's focus, not dollars and the personal needs and wants of adults. Take care of the children! If you want to adopt look to the children who are truly in need. Don't take a baby from his mother because YOU want a baby. It's about the children. It's about the children. It's about the children. It has to be said over and over and over and over...... take care of children's needs first!


  1. Excellent post, Carlynne. Your upside-down triangle sketch is right on. Though, not "right" at all. When will children and mothers come first? When will keeping families intact become the priority?

    And you are so right about this:

    "When a mother of adoption loss is grieving, she is grieving the loss of an ACTUAL CHILD - a living, breathing infant who she is biologically connected to, an infant she shares DNA with, an infant she carried for 9 months. I'm sorry, but there is a difference. At this point I don't care if it's not PC to say it."

    PC or not, it needs to be said...preferably shouted from the mountaintops! Thanks for saying it.

  2. Excellent post! I also agree with Michelle ~ PC or not, it needs said and you said it perfectly.

  3. Like your diagram and agree with the position of adoptees, it is even less than your diagram indicates as the disempowered point of the inverted triangle, even as adult adoptees constantly referred to as babies and children.
    There is no hierachy of trauma and pain.It is not productive to compare who suffered most as it is different for everyone and no situation is the same.We cope differently, we feel differently.I know the popular view is often that mothers suffered most, amongst mothers that is.Until that changes and there is compassion for all affected by adoption our understanding will not progress.

  4. I agree with you Von about the diagram and the adoptee's portion. That's why I said it should actually be non-existent(I'm also an adoptee, step-parent). I understand what you're saying about the pain, which is why I also mentioned the pain wars. In fact I probably said something along the same lines in another post. In this one I was expressing my personal feelings about the whining that goes on from the AP side.

    Unfortunately, that upside down hierarchy of power isn't going to change until the industry and others understand the pain of the adoptee and the mother. It also won't change until the money is taken out of adoption.

    The reason I went ahead with expressing my feeling about this (and I did hesitate) is because we are so often dismissed. The ones with the greater power are not.

  5. "I know the popular view is often that mothers suffered most, amongst mothers that is.Until that changes and there is compassion for all affected by adoption our understanding will not progress."

    I think that Von works herself into a frezny with this thinking; that we mothers think we are the only one's who suffer and I am hard pressed to figure out why. We know we aren't. Our children have suffered too. I will not include the adopters in this because they are the only one's who gain from our suffering.

    Why does she feel the need to troll first mother blogs and denounce everything we say about OUR truths?

  6. Definitely agree. I cannot bring myself to befriend adopters. They want to live their lives on a pedestal - not only do they think they have the right to take someone else's child, then want mountains of praise and accolades for it.
    Yes, our children have suffered immensely as we have, and why because PAPs (PREDATORY adoptive parents) sit like vultures waiting for a crisis to occur in a young woman's life so they can swoop in and steal the child - the adoption lobby / industry with the blessing of Governments creates orphans for others to adopt - how blatantly SICK!