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"2. Your Birthmother Was a _____ (fill in the blank with something shitty).
Our birthparents don’t have to be trash eating whores in order to make us more thankful for being adopted. In fact, many grown up adoptees are finding out that the myths and stories they’ve heard about their birthparents weren’t only embellished, but straight out lies. You don’t have to make up an excuse to justify our adoption - we get it. For one reason or another we were there and now we are not. By the way, your mother could’ve been a whore, too. But her story isn’t likely to be broadcast to strangers. And if it were, she is at least granted the common courtesy to explain or defend herself. Ours can’t. Also, don’t call our birthmothers whores.”"
Our personal adoption stories have nothing to do with it. It is the system. The system of adoption is inherently classist, racist, and misogynistic.
It is heartbreaking that families are torn apart because society hates women, hates children, hates poor people, etc. It is heartbreaking no matter the circumstances when a child is taken away from their mother (and father/other family), even if it truly is necessary - which it generally isn’t. Losing one’s mother/family is a tragedy. Especially when talking about infants who are so completely and utterly attuned to their mothers and cannot rationally process the loss. It’s so sad.
Then, on top of that of that loss, adoptees have their names and original identities stripped from them, and those original identities are sealed. The loss is further compounded by the fact that society doesn’t see that there is any loss. You must be grateful and happy to be adopted, and if you aren’t, you’re a bad, ungrateful adoptee. As the Revered Keith C Griffith put it, “Adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.”
If you have had a good adoption experience, that’s good for you. I mean that sincerely. But “good” adoption stories don’t erase the severe problems within the system of adoption. Writing about the problems in adoption would take a long time, and I am very not good at the education side of it.
So if you’re interested:
Brand-X is an international transracial Class Bastard who is pretty good at that stuff, especially with connecting it to other issues that I know you’re interested in (feminism, anti-racism, human rights, etc).
I can’t think of anyone else I liked when I was de-fogging, other than books. If I think of someone, I’ll put them in the master post I’m creating. Not sure how long it will take - adoption is a very difficult topic for me.
Editing to add one of my other favourites: Adoption Sometimes Gets All Fucked Up, 101 by Fugitivus
I just finished reading them, actually. If we had continued the conversation then you would have found out that nearly all of the experiences you've written about or reblogged have happened to me because of the circumstances of my birth and how I was raised. It's clear there's not much point in continuing, though. Have a good week and a nice holiday.
oh wowowowow so YOU TOO were picked out of a catalog between $30,000 - $50,000 bucks a pop with final price contingent on your physical attractiveness, number of diseases, and neurotypicality?!
YOU TOO had your gender determined by industry laws of supply & demand with your parents’ purchasing power? YOU TOO were regularly likened to the most infamous serial rapists & murderers that preyed upon your (paid predetermined) gender? YOU TOO were trafficked and warehoused in an exponentially growing underground market of parents who abandon and trade their “forever children” with zero legal repercussions? YOU TOO survived government subsidized institutionalization to cure the “primal wound” of your conception and “inevitably sociopathic rage against your birth mother” wherein you were subjected to “therapies” that so violate every human rights convention on the planet they’ve resulted in the highest number of documented cases of child death-by-torture in modern history? YOU TOO had your true age, place of birth, parentage, and developmental history completely withheld from you by the entity that delivered you to your fam for aforementioned $30,000 - $50,000? YOU TOO have been the subject of economic recovery and bans? YOU TOO had the circumstances of your birth certificate(s) make a multinational-billion behemoth charged with mass abduction trip over itself to enlist your help to cover its own ass in an oncoming diplomatic standoff? YOU TOO have been roadblocked all access to your medical history in the midst of cancer treatment?
YOU TOO were told throughout childhood & adolescence that all your immediate family members were killed by a war responsible for your “salvation,” only to discover as an adult EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM STILL ALIVE.
How we doing here? 8 outta 10? Surely not less, seeing how you share “nearly all my experiences” of course.
Being bi/multi-racial does not actually endow you with ANY insight into being orphaned, a transracial adoptee, a transethnic adoptee, or a foster kid.
People talk a lot about wanting to save foster children and adoptees from lives of pain and torment, but then you have foster kids being aged out on to the streets when they come of age, RAD therapy consisting of just plain beating us up, and half the film and television plots out there either romanticizing us, sentimentalizing us, or using us as villains with Freudian excuses. So the general public view us as grandiose at best if we talk about our lives, or as pathetic or evil. Sometimes all three at once. That’s not even talking about the fuckery of how we wind up in the system, I’m just talking about what happens once we’re in. If you want to help us, think beyond taking us into your homes. Think about the laws that fuck up our lives and about the people that exploit us or make claims about us so they can freely abuse us.
Truth be told.
as a poc adoptee, let me tell you there is no better way to start your day than having to argue publicly with your white adoptive mom about whether or not the racism you experienced is valid.
I didn’t realize how strong and thick my armor against racism had grown until the day I realized I didn’t have it anymore. We were parking outside the Seward Cafe, and a man walked right up to our car and said, “Chinaman, This is my country!” and although I used to be able to just brush it off by thinking, “What a crazy freak!” this time I could not because I have lived 9 years in Korea without people being racist against me (although they are to other people), and because of that I have lost my skills to deal with street racism, and those words hurt just as much as they did when I was a kid, before I had accumulated 30 years’ worth of armor and mental acrobatics to protect myself from everyday life. This happened the day after I got my receipt checked at the door at Walmart and my bag emptied to make sure I wasn’t stealing anything, which was the day after exactly the same thing happened at exactly the same Walmart. Living with discrimination erodes a little bit of your human dignity every day. The fact that we need so much armor to get through the day, and that we have to teach our children to act for the sake of safety rather than the sake of their dignity, and the fact that if I had a child, my child would have seen me targeted and humiliated rather than talk back to that man because I was concerned for my safety — makes me so, so angry.
a thread soon formed with people adding their own experiences with racism. and i added my own comments with some of my experiences with racism growing up in the states, including a reference to a racist question that my uncle (mom’s younger brother) used to ask me every time i saw him:
i remember kids (and even a TENURED PROF AT MY UNIVERSITY) making gibberish noises imitating what they thought asian languages sounded like, yelling at me to go back to my country, pulling back their eyes at me, i had my own uncle asking me where he could “get two little girls like you” every time i saw him, i had people asking me if my vagina was sideways way before i even understood what that could even mean, i had people giving me weird “compliments” like “pretty as a lotus flower” or crap like that, people asking me if i was chinese or japanese, which was still better than the many people who called me a chink and jap. my sister said she had a little girl follow her into a bathroom stall to see if hers was the same… this is just off the top of my head. (and for reference, i lived in maryland, tennessee, indiana, and illinois)
i should mention that i’ve already written (here) about my uncle and his insistence on asking me this question every time i’ve seen him and how i was finally able to tell him to get stuffed at the age of 30.
what is not included in that previous post is that even AFTER that visit when i made my displeasure with my uncle’s question clear, my mom asked my uncle to repeat it in front of jinwoo (as a cute family story!) on my next visit when i went with him to the US and he met my family for the first time. this is how oblivious my white parents are to racism and their dismissive attitude toward my clear expressions of boundaries as it relates to race.
so after i brought it up again in that comment, my mom responds:
Ur uncle loves u and he was never making fun of u.
i think carefully for a full twelve minutes on how to respond. i am basically boiling angry at this point, but part of me thinks i should address this privately, not publicly. but i decide no. i can’t just allow this to stand publicly. i’m tired of being the accommodating one, it has clearly gotten me nowhere so far. still, in an act of enormous restraint, i only answer:
how do you still not recognize that as racist?
to which my mom responds, flat-out:
It was never racist.
oh ok, thank you white mom for invalidating my feelings on the racism that i experienced. this time i think for a good thirty minutes. i do not want to publicly thrash my mom but i have made my decisions about not continuing to sugarcoat discussions with race with my family anymore. and i answer:
mom, i’m not going to keep arguing with you about this publicly. if you don’t think that was racist then that’s deeply frustrating. did he ever ask that question to anyone else but sharon and me? (i.e. my white brothers and sisters) no. does that mean i think he’s a horrible person and i hate him? no. does it mean i’m going to pretend it wasn’t racist and humiliating every time i heard it? not any more.
no word from her (either publicly or privately) since then. my guess is that she is feeling sorry for herself and won’t initiate contact for awhile. still trying to decide if i should call or text her for the holidays.
you handled this beautifully. big props.
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