Dear blocked adoptive parent…

…who finds the need to email me and explain that I somehow don’t “understand” adoption and that adoption is somehow “different” in the UK:

The history of adoption in terms of Anglo-Saxon society reflects a targeting of the poor, the marginal, the “base classes”, the Indigenous, the colonized. That 120 years later this still takes place in the UK (not to mention that you still live in a “kingdom”) is beyond mind-boggling, and this horrifying state of affairs stands no matter how you package it, now matter how you market it, no matter how you promote it. I think it is fair to say at this point that adoption has done nothing to ease the class division in English society, or the disdain of the English for those they consider to be “sub-par”, including the parents of the children temporarily in your care. I’m not sure why you feel the need to expend extra energy to contact me; you need not break your arm patting yourself on the back on my account.

What you are saying to me is exactly what was said to abolitionists: “Slavery is of value, because there are a few good plantation owners, and the slaves themselves are better off”. That you are unable to even question the institution leads to your need to lecture me into some kind of submission. I don’t want to hear that you are “sad” that I blocked you, because I know your tune will change later. I don’t want to hear that my writing is nice, to be honest. Unlike you, I would give anything to not think about adoption for just one split second. I derive nothing from my writing on the subject, not even catharsis. To understand is that my writing is the forefront of my action, the framework for my praxis, and if adoptive parents aren’t beside me, activated with me, I have little use for them. I want adoptive parents to see their own role in maintaining the status quo that benefits a particular class in society to the detriment if not the destruction of marginalized communities. This is your burden, not mine.

Because what you are implying is that I would prefer that these children would stay in an abusive home. This is not only a filthy thing to say, it is rather (and quite literally) beyond the pale in terms of elevating yourself to a kind of savior figure. This is what I don’t understand about adoptive parents like yourself: their inability to step back and question the institution, the practice, and the industry of adoption, as well as their role in maintaining it as such. They are the ones with power to change their own society, and instead they cater to their own narrow class interests. They assume that their act, in and of itself, is somehow charitable or beneficent. This is provably false, and there’s no point discussing it. Worse, they then claim some kind of victim status, and then expect the victims of their actions to pity them. In certain psychological circles, there are quite a few names for this behavior, and they are far from kind.

In my previous entry likewise directed at you, I explained that your blog post, which stated that you saw the possible reunion of the children temporarily in your care with their parents as a “nightmare”, was like “a kick in the gut”. Do you even acknowledge this? No. What was your reaction when you read this? “Maybe I should admit that outside of my doting audience of other adoptive parents there are those who might not take kindly to my words.” No. Can you even contemplate that the children in your care might read about your disdain for their progenitors, whom you limit to immediate parents? No. Do you consider that, as stated, your words map on to rather dark and dangerous aspects of this heinous practice you find no fault in—for example, eugenics, forced sterilization, colonization, etc.? Not even. Instead you see the “correction” that must take place in order for your words to have merit; to have meaning. This is the same game of public relations indulged in by the institutions who trafficked us and then take aim at us when we speak up and out. Do you understand what it means to literally be targeted? Do you know what a death threat is?

Let it be said that adoption is not the sign of a beneficent or charitable society. Quite on the contrary, it is the sign of a sick, demented, and decrepid one. Your exceptional cases of adoption do not weigh in on this or change it, as my exceptional case as a personal story likewise carries no weight in this regard in terms of the big picture which you skillfully avoid discussing. I will state it again: The exceptional case does not prove the general rule. To selfishly focus this way is a tactic of the same political and economic depravity that brought us adoption in the first place. It’s not about what happens to any of us as individuals. It’s about our worldview communally speaking, and further how we  collectively judge a society that sees fit to prey on its own people. For yours is a society that historically speaking has not done much more than to aid and abet its very deep-rooted desire that 99% of humankind needs to perish. After 10 years of researching adoption historically and otherwise, I wouldn’t wish what I know and what I have gleaned on my worst enemy. So you need not remind me of “the other side”. A more vulgar and obscene economic and political tango does not exist.

So know that you will not get any kind of “stamp of approval” from me. This is an attempted “normalization” from the greater side of a power divide, and I won’t fall for it. And if I blocked you, it is exactly because of this extremely overbearing kind of badgering, lecturing, and hectoring, that adoptive parents like yourself feel it is their duty to level on anyone who might challenge them. I do hope and pray that the children temporarily in your care have a better time of it. And God forbid any one of them might air some resistance to the society that, like pyromaniac firefighters, burned down their house, “rescued” them, and then demanded that they be grateful. For the nth time, take the hint. Please spare me your unwelcome missives. Because whatever you might think this is, it is not “debate” or “discussion”. Your very act of adoption is, from a certain standpoint, abuse enough. To demand, then, that I recognize it as valid via a one-sided dialogue is offensive at best; equally abusive at worst.

About Daniel Drennan ElAwar

Adoptee, rematriated.
This entry was posted in Adoption resistance and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Dear blocked adoptive parent…

  1. pammcrae says:

    I have to say, I agree with you Daniel. I lost a son to adoption, and in an effort to “redeem” myself, I actually compounded my culpability by adopting a black/Vietnamese child. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son, but he has had a very hard time of it, and I know that adoption has been a big part of his difficulties. He has been the “odd man out” for over forty years, a black kid growing up in a white family who had no clue as to what he was going through. I am not sorry I adopted my son–certainly not for my sake–but based on my own experience as well as my extensive reading on the subject, I have come to the conclusion that adoption is everything you say it is. Adoptive parents who can’t or won’t see that are delusional. IMHO

  2. Joan Driscoll says:

    I have been on the receiving end of a few such missives from adopters. Of course these types adoptive parents need very much to be saviors, because if they aren’t saviors, then what does that make them? As a mother, I am the one accused of being a potential child abuser (and drug user.)

    I have learned that this argument, to be summed up “If you question the institution of adoption, or honestly describe how it affected your life, you must be in favor of child abuse” is a precursor to actual abuse of the verbal kind to be directed at me personally.

    The implications are stunning, that people who lack class status are to be preemptively convicted of child abuse and lose their children, that adoption is a remedy for child abuse.

    • You nailed it. 100%, there is a particular profile of adoptive parent that exactly matches their society in terms of classist notions, racism, and their own savior status. A follow up email arrived for me, you just summarized its vitriol and threatening nature.

  3. Nancy Rodgers says:

    Wonderful post!

  4. eagoodlife says:

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    “Let it be said that adoption is not the sign of a beneficent or charitable society. Quite on the contrary, it is the sign of a sick, demented, and decrepid one. Your exceptional cases of adoption do not weigh in on this or change it, as my exceptional case as a personal story likewise carries no weight in this regard in terms of the big picture which you skillfully avoid discussing.”

  5. eagoodlife says:

    Adoption is adoption. It is no different the world over in place or time. It all begins with mother-loss and other losses which are traumatic and abusive. Other abuses may be added to that mix as a society sees fit. It really is time adopters stopped lecturing on something they know nothing about.

    • Joanne Denner says:

      Just yesterday an adopter stated that adoption is a one time event! When their fantasy is challenged, they call us names and imply (and actually state) that adoptees who question this inhumane practice have mental health issues. Duh! Of course we do. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that all adoptees experience trauma. Adoption as practiced today is a human rights violation. When adoptees are brainwashed to think otherwise, it is abuse. Those who deny the facts and disparage our feelings with their hurtful (and ignorant) responses prove they are unfit to parent anyone.

  6. LaraHentz says:

    The more I think about this, the angrier I get but those who anger you, control you – so let me process more…

    • anenomekym says:

      There’s a lot to be justifiably angry about. And because I’ve grown up feeling uncomfortable about my own anger being raised as a transracial, international adoptee, I now embrace it. Other adoptees and their own journeys have helped me understand my own emotions better, something I never realized I was suppressing and out of touch with growing up.

      Anger is a normal emotion, just like sadness, and is appropriate under certain circumstances. When others try to control my anger, dismiss it, and invalidate it, that’s when they have control over me. They would have me beating myself up and feeling guilty over their actions. Now, I accept my anger, but also realize that acting out on anger in certain ways is understandably unacceptable. No one else should dictate how I feel about things in certain circumstances, especially when my reactions are normal reactions (just perceived unacceptable for me as an adoptee, because others can’t stand that they can’t control my emotions). This is one way I manage my own anger.

      Very much agree with Daniel’s thoughts here and appreciate his voice and insight. Angry that people continue to treat or bully him/us this way.

      I should add, this is one of the ways I try to manage my own anger. Still a work in progress, definitely.

  7. Julia says:

    I started reading about adoption about five years ago as long-term preparation for adopting, as I’d always assumed I’d do. Adoption seemed to be different from birth and I wanted to understand it better because I wanted to be a good parent. It never quite made sense to me how it would work–so a poor woman/family wouldn’t want the baby and then I would raise it? But if the only reason was because I was older and had more money, why wouldn’t I help her like an aunt or big sister or something? Wouldn’t I owe her love and a relationship, at the least? Why would I get her baby? Was it really that common for people to not want to raise their babies once they were born? Because if it was just a money difference, that wasn’t at all fair/right. Clearly it worked, since so many people did it, but…

    It didn’t take a day to realize that this was really sketchy and no more than a couple of hours reading to realize there was no way that I could ethically stomach adoption, between the appallingly racist/classist, self-centered, materialistic, savior-complex blogs of adoptive parents and the dozens of thoughtful, passionate, intelligent adoptees. It’s just so OBVIOUSLY a huge power differential, a act of war/genocide against an oppressed class (like the Disappeared that you mention, but also looking at its history with First Nation/aboriginal people, and so clear in the language of many/most adoptive parents). Even domestically, it’s so clearly nothing about better options for children and everything about removing children from “not good” parents/families/communities–people of color, unmarried people (still dealing in slut shaming), people who are young, poor, living marginally–and transferring them to the wealthy and privileged dominant class. Even the best adoptive parent blogs I read seemed to gloss over the immense wealth/power disparities between themselves and the families of the children they adopted.

    I know this might be outside the purview of your writing/interests, but if not, I am wondering what kind of role you see for those of us who are “untouched” by adoption but who cannot see it without seeing these underlying structures of oppression. I won’t expound on how I’ve approached it so far, but suffice it to say that it’s not enough. I am very wary of co-opting the voices of those who’ve been adopted, but it also is such a structural injustice/inequality/oppression/human trafficking issue that I feel like remaining silent (especially when it’s lauded and common) makes me complicit. If this isn’t within what you care to write or think about, please just accept this as my statement of solidarity. I really appreciate your blog and your writing. I’ll be continuing to follow your blog and trying to find ways of working against this kind of socially-acceptable human trafficking regardless.

    • Thanks so much for this. Much appreciated, as is your question. I know I’ve discussed this here and there (here for instance: “What can adoptive parents do to change things?”), but I will say that activism has been difficult in the States for a variety of reasons. One, identity politics that “requires” a reductive self-identification. Two, a class structure that no one wants to talk about, and so no one realizes the energy the expend maintaining their position therein. Three, the categorization of activism into splinters of uselessness. Four, the eclipsing of liberationist ideologies for “post-modern” ones that ascribe to a kind of inability to act.

      I’m heartened of late to see much in the way of “bridging”, in terms of movements both domestic and international. This is our starting point here in Lebanon with the work I’ve been doing, where the focus is not on me and my adoption, but on us and our varied yet connected dispossessions, displacements, and disinheritances. My Irish immigrant adoptive father, and his parents and uncles growing up in New York City Catholic orphanages, and me as an adoptee—we now have something connecting us in this light. But the first step is obviously the will to question the given status quo.

    • Kim says:

      Can I just say thank you? Seriously, I really believe that anyone who took the time to truly educate themselves who were wanting to adopt no longer would want to after finding out the truth. Thank you for being part of that small percentage, and beyond that, actually wanting to help remedy the awfulness of adoption.

    • kerri saint says:

      Thank you for posting your thoughts and experience. Very few people who contemplate adoption really come to realize the traumatic experience by both mother and child. I am an adoptee, I run a support group for adoptees. I have had a great deal of experience in helping adoptees who have suffered abuse and mistreatment by adoptive parents. I too suffered in this way. It is a great wish of mine to see the population understand that separation of mother and child is deeply traumatic and life lasting. In fact it is devastating to experience. Losing your entire identity, heritage and culture, so that others may experience parenthood, is truly a very sad injustice for the child. The grief, pain and loss is at times to much to bare. Many adoptees often contemplate suicide or turn to substance abuse to cope with such overwhelming feelings of rejection and loss. Yet we are to view our adoption as one of joy, never are we allowed to grieve the death of our relationship to our biological mothers/fathers /siblings/grandparents etc. We are alone in our pain, unable to give voice to a crushing pain within us, expected to act normal as if nothing traumatic has occurred to us at all. We learn to shut down and shut out our true feelings, and become numb miming mimics, to the strangers we are forced to live with. Our true nature ,our core DNA, that drives us to be the special person that was designed in our mothers womb, is ignored and trampled on, and a false pattern of behaviors take its place by mirroring that of our adoptive parents and extended adopted family. We are trained to be something we are not, and along the way we constantly feel unacceptable, less than, a disappointment. We hear stories of the worst kind of how we came to be adopted, as our biological mothers character is dissected to horrible levels, so is our own self worth. To attack our parents, is to attack the very core of who we are. I thank you for understanding where many fail. Do not let your views of adoption prevent you from loving the biological children of others, they need the love that you can offer. Single mothers and struggling families need the love and support of empathetic caring and compassionate humans beings such as yourself, who can share in the joys of family life with them. I truly hope that you can spread your wisdom and teach others what you have learned, it is a gift to be shared and valued. From a thankful adoptee

  8. Janice says:

    Nothing to me is more annoying than adopters discussing adoption as a rescue from abuse. I myself was adopted INTO abuse, and I know I’m far from being alone.

    • Janice you bring up a really interesting point, which is the tendency of a family that buys into adoption mythology to, as we are saying here, maintain that charade at the expense of the children. How is this not abuse? Because it is overshadowed by a “good life”? And the adoptees who are abused, yet who won’t risk coming forward because of the fear of rejection yet again…an endless cycle.

  9. Reblogged this on Lucy Sheen actor writer filmmaker adoptee and commented:
    This should be read by all involved in, affected by directly or indirectly by adoption.

  10. As part of my research, I was able to confront my persecutors. My adoptive parents never felt ashamed to tell me, 43 years later, they knew that I had two older brothers … The Maronite Bishop was not ashamed but only feared I might reveal what I knew about their trafficking to the press. As for the nun involved, she wrote: “This is the signature of the Father …”, leaving me to think that I was the Son, ascending to God … None of this was serious, a large inverted carnival, where the perpetrators were the victims, then each returned to his seat … Everything you say suggests to me that the Great Feast is over!

    Dans le cadre de mes recherches, j’ai dû affronté mes persécuteurs. Mes parents adoptifs n’ont jamais éprouvé la honte de me dire, 43 ans après, qu’ils savaient que j’avais deux frères aînés… L’évêque maronite n’avait pas honte mais seulement peur que je dévoile dans un écrit ce que je savais de leur traffic, quand à la religieuse, elle a écrit : “C’est la signature du Père…”, me laissant penser que j’étais le Fils, se remettant à Dieu… Rien de cela n’était sérieux, un grand carnaval inversé, où les persécuteurs étaient les victimes, ensuite chacun reprenait sa place… Tout ce que tu dis m’indique que la Grande Fête est terminée !

    • I pray to God it might be over. I find myself now in the grace and care of friends and communities that are being so extremely helpful, I regret every second I spent trying to convince so-called people “of faith” to be forthcoming in terms of succor. Such a waste of energy; such a carnival as you so justly put it.

  11. It has been only a few years for me, but like you, “I wouldn’t wish what I know and what I have gleaned on my worst enemy.” But I go there and I dig deeper because it’s the least I can do for a child I love so deeply and from whom I have participated in taking so much.

  12. tchaiki says:

    The “Not all adoptions/adopters!” is eerily similar to the “Not all men!” backlash against the #YesAllWomen movement.

    It may not be all adoptions or all adopters, but what happens is bad enough.

    Worst of all, innocent children are brought into the fold, so to speak, and this can never be undone. No matter what horrors occur, even as adults it’s impossible to separate from the legacy of second-class citizenship.

    the most horrifying thing of all is watching a new generation of toddler adoptees being raised to think they are lucky to be adopted by people who are savvy, culturally sensitive, and aware.

    The power inequality will never go away. Period.

  13. Paula says:

    Not everyone thinks like that, we need to do more to help mother and fathers keep their children. Infertility is cruel but you should not expect to be able to take a child away from their family, adoption is a lie covering cruelty.

    Have a look at the second chance adoption page on facebook where adopted kids are being offered up like unwanted pets. Children who have been with their adopters for less than a year.

    • Mary S says:

      Infertility is indeed, cruel. It is also a medical condition of which the cure is to disarm another of her child. I can’t imagine any adoptive parent asking another human to surrender an appendage or organ so that she may continue with her life unabated

    • We don’t have to imagine it; it is happening. The trafficking of humans for organ replacement happens. The trade in embryos as well as surrogacy, once they reach a price-point equivalence with adoption, will become the “new pregnant” for being genetically more “valid”. The mythology of adoption will then be revealed for the spun gossamer that it is.

  14. I think very sadly that there is still a huge misconception in the UK that adoption is a saviour mission. PR campaigns are focused on recruitment and the voice of the adoptee is often edited if not excluded. Abuse of children, in many forms, is increasing across all sections of our society but powerful abusers are often protected by their position
    There is little mainstream discussion and activism around root causes of the poverty, inequality, misogyny and social injustice that results in thousands of children in this country being uprooted every year. Charities and organisations that highlight and campaign on such issues are tolerated but can effect no urgent change. The status quo is maintained by propaganda and mass marketing. Britains richest 1% own as much as the poorest 55 % of the population. Tax evasion by the richest is rife whilst the complicit media focus on ‘benefit scroungers’.
    A massive percentage of women with learning disability have their children removed. Violence against women is rising at the same time as being a cause of child removal. Refuges for women and children are starved of funding. Family courts have been shrouded in secrecy.
    When I feel heartbroken by what our culture does to its children, others encourage me by saying there is slow progress and things will change. That one day there will be no adoption. But today I feel cynical. The Foundling Hospital in London is a birth place of domestic adoption in the UK. It’s the saddest place. Themes of loss and identity are bought into the most sharp focus when you see the tokens left by mothers in the hope their circumstances may change and allow reunion. In the UK final goodbyes often take place in the removing councils offices. Birth family history identifying adoptees is often edited and scant making many files pose more questions than answer them. The progress has been painfully and shamefully slow.
    Daniel your writing inspires me and informs and I’m extremely thankful it’s out there.

    “Where you are born, what you are born into, the place, the history of the place, how that history mates with your own- stamps who you are, whatever the pundits of globalisation have to say”
    Jeanette Winterson

  15. ProudParent says:

    I’m so sorry for anyone involved in an adoption that wasn’t perpetuated out of love and honesty. As I am sure there are “forced” adoptions happening every day, I am just as sure that there are loving and truthful adoptions happening every day. I don’t think you can acknowledge one without the other. Everyone has the right to their own opinion, and as an adoptive parent I happen to disagree with a lot of the generalizations that are stated in the articles and posts like this one. There is goodness, kindness and truthfulness in adoption-I’m sorry that some of you didn’t experience that.

    • Let me translate: “In order to sleep better at night, I wholeheartedly abide by the mythologies which posit that adoption has something to do with valid familial practice. The 1% of adoptions that might allow me to cajole myself into believing that the industry is ‘loving’ and ‘truthful’ make for an exceptional case that also allows me to forget the 99% wholly based in an economic and political inequality that, let me just say, I am absolutely fine with. Since I cannot argue on a level worthy of the discussion here, I will dismiss the research that proves otherwise as “generalizations”, and trot out trite clichés such as ‘everyone is entitled to their own opinion’, with ‘entitled’ being the operative word. Sorry you missed the boat; sucks to be you.”

      When the child temporarily in your care shows the least sign of resistance, is this how you will respond, with a heavy-handed demand for allegiance and gratitude? There is a character profile for self-obsessed adoptive parents, and you fit the bill: pyromaniac firefighter, here labeling yourself as “proud”. Proud of what exactly? Your economic largesse? Spare me. I thank God my adoptive parents have been supportive of me. You may wish to start listening instead of lecturing, if only for the sake of the child you pretend to care so much about.

    • anenomekym says:

      Honestly, I truly feel sorry for any children you adopted. You refuse to see that EVERYONE should have the right to know and understand their own truth and truthful origins, history with dignity, honesty, and integrity. Unfortunately, adoption is rampant with dishonesty, exploitation, disrespect, an industry you “proudly” contributed to, not for these children’s sake, but for your own delusional “pride”.

      I’m sorry that the children you adopted, after all that they lost or had taken from them, won’t experience the essence of honesty, human dignity or respect from those who love their own egos while deceptively claiming to “love” them. Fortunately, not every adopter is like you or responds like you, but the children you adopted are the “unlucky” ones.

      I hope you don’t respond to those you adopted as you commented here, but sadly, you probably will. Again, I feel sorry for the children/people you brought into your life.

  16. ProudParent says:

    Wait, who is lecturing here? What I said is exactly what I meant, no translation needed. And for clarification-I’m proud of my child. Period. Please get off your self-centered soap box and realize that the world you live in is not everyone’s reality. Your story is your story…it’s not mine, it’s not my father’s (who was adopted), it’s not my mother-in-laws (who was also adopted). I’m not saying your history and your truth is not your truth, but please don’t minimize and try to believe you know mine or my child’s. Your generalizations are disgusting because they say to the reader, “This is what I think and everyone else must be lying.” It’s simply not true. Please link me to your evidence of your 99% and 1% “facts”. There are horrible situations in adoption and there are wonderful (please read: solid relationships and open communication between birth families, adoptees and adoptive parents; respectful language, discussion and understanding of emotions) situations in adoption. The “wonderful” adoptions don’t excuse the lying, scamming and cheating that happens in “terrible” adoptions and the “terrible” adoptions don’t minimize the “wonderful” adoptions. It’s silly to think that all adoptions happen out of love, compassion and truth, and it’s silly to believe that all adoptions lead to the feelings you describe. That is fact. That is the truth. That is reality.

    • What scares me most concerning the hyper-individualistic mindset you project, as well as your need to come here and “correct” me, is that it gives me an inkling of what it must be like for the child temporarily in your care. Like the adoptive parent this was addressed to originally, his followup emails (which I now delete at the server) defined a certain authoritarianism that is sadly at the root of adoption as a practice and an industry. I know where this conversation is going, and I’m waiting for you to say what it is you really think. In the meantime, I will not discuss adoption as if it concerns family creation; historically it never has, and it still doesn’t. This is a tactic, and I won’t fall for it. You can argue the points I’ve raised, and I’ll be happy to discuss them. Otherwise, please explain your need to see me quiet. Is it that horrifying to contemplate that an adoptee think for him/herself? How sad. You can peddle your Kool-Aid all you want; but there are no buyers here.

    • Kim says:

      The facts are out there if you are willing to see and believe them, but it looks like you’re not quite ready. Adoption starts with a loss. It is never wonderful, and I’m pretty sure anyone who thinks it is has also not taken the time to educate themselves.

  17. josie pearse says:

    breath of fresh air, Daniel. Thank you.

  18. Maryreunited says:

    Don’t know how I missed this one. I’m surprised ProudParent didn’t come back and try to correct you yet again Daniel. I love your blog, it speaks the truth, especially for those who don’t want to hear it.

    • She did. But I refuse to engage once the “discussion” moves into overbearing last-word games. The infantilization of adult adoptees by such adoptive parents is worthy of many more studies and doctoral theses in psychology than are currently being directed at adopted children. I can only imagine what the children temporarily in these parents’ care must go through.

  19. stephjms says:

    Amen.

  20. I am one of those mothers who was bullied and lied into my son being adopted (I’m English) by my parents. The adoption agency were equally wrong in lying to me. I wanted to raise my son, was capable of being a mother and I had a job within the civil service. Not once did I agree to adoption and refused to even discuss it but it happened anyway. I didn’t know my rights, wasn’t shown the paperwork and certainly never signed the Consent to Relinquish form. I didn’t even know I couldn’t consent to surrender my son until he was six weeks old. When my son was 6 weeks old I was told I couldn’t stop the adoption and I emotionally broke down. I refused to name my son’s father as well.
    Post reunion I found out my son’s father’s name was on the paperwork along with ‘I didn’t want him contacted’ which made my son’s adoption illegal just based on that. It was also post reunion, obviously, that I found out my son’s adoption was illegal and known legally as a forced adoption. I am still trying 11 years on to find out where the Consent to Relinquish form is – have given up a few times – as I want to know who signed it or at least prove I didn’t sign it.

    • I’m deeply sorry for your loss. An NGO I am working with here in Lebanon just recently started up a database project for adoptees. As we compare our paperwork, we start to see the dismaying and dazzling mountain of lies that to those adopting us out served as moral and legal justification. As if the endless paperwork “proves” itself at a certain critical mass….further negating ourselves and our true families.

  21. Forgot to add I’ve had some really awful responses from adopters, people who have no adoption connection and a woman who claims I am a liar as my son couldn’t have been adopted without my consent as she works for the family court. She also claims to have surrendered a daughter who is ‘well adjusted’ and they have ‘mutually agreed that the brief contact they had is adequate and are getting on with their own lives’. This woman tried to prove I was a liar for over a year by posting an interview that’s on youtube with my husband on reunion as my son lived with us for about 2 1/2 years and a blog of mine. During the interview forced adoption wasn’t mentioned for legal reasons so that was ‘proof’ I was a liar….. she didn’t win many fans ,,,,

  22. Suzie Kidnap says:

    daniel, an explanation as to why the saviour complex, white man’s burden, othering, projection of psychotic proportions, magical thinking, and suppressed rage exist in such abundance in adoption land would require numerous blog posts from psychologists and psychiatrists. i am not a shrink, but i CAN observe symptoms, behaviour patterns, and outcomes. my opinion is, and has for some time been, that the psychology of any potential adoptor needs to be weighed, measured, and characterized in depth before they are allowed to adopt. i think each and every one should be personally evaluated with standard psychometric instruments before being placed on a waiting list. my opinion.

    children who are about to experience the displacement that adoption brings, deserve no less than this. also my opinion.

    (and don’t get me started on the medical causes of infertility.)

    anyway, thank you so much for your articulate post. most excellent, a real standout in a trove of must- read posts.

  23. ratna says:

    No amount of money or material facilities can replace the love and bond of a person’s biological family. This idea of taking a child from a poor family and putting it in one who are better off “in the best interest of the child” is delusional. I would not have traded the family I was born into even to live in the luxury of Hollywood.

  24. Pingback: Dear blocked adoptive parent… | Flawed and Fucked Up

  25. lulutoo says:

    Thank you for your excellent column.

  26. Pingback: A very important discovery | thereadingworldblog

  27. Carolyn says:

    This is so elegant, and it speaks about exactly what I wish I had the ability to say to the foster woman who has my son and says she wants to adopt him.

  28. alexa says:

    Adoption is a nightmare I cannot wake up from. I cannot tell my mother that the family that adopted me abused me and then gave me back to the system because i was broken. I cannot tell her that i was homeless for years because they abandoned me. My mother has suffered enough from losing me for 27 years. I will not add to her suffering by casting light on the shadows of my life. Thank you for spelling out the truth for those who do not wish to hear it.

    • billie says:

      Alexa, my son did not have the life I believed he would when I gave him up for adoption when i was 16 year old. He suffered terribly and profoundly, in all sorts of ways which were abusive, and was homeless as a minor. I want to know all of it. I want to be able to be here for him now, and that involves facing his truth. Maintaining a false story about an experience can become like a wedge between you, albeit unintentionally. Let your mother be there for you now.

  29. Cathy says:

    Daniel you articulate many amazing insights which would never have occurred to me nor to so many others. What I would like to read is a detailed plan for the solution to what you have described as a heinous crime which is apparently happening worldwide, though admittedly more frequently in some locales than in others. I agee that adoption is a relatively recently introduced practice in modern society. In most traditional societies, one’s entire identity and status as a human being is derived entirely from one’s father and indeed, from the legal relationship of ones parents. Not to mention that in so many countries, the childten literally BELONG to the father ( ask any Western woman married to an Eastern man when she begins to experience marital oroblems). Throughout much of the history of “civilization,” a child without a family has been regarded by his own culture as a nonentity ; a piece of refuse. Since you view most if not all adoptions as crimes against humanity, I just wonder what is the proposed solutionas are envisioned by you and your fllow opponents of adoption. Thank you.

    • Not sure how to reply. The reference to “Eastern” men is hugely problematic, as if “Western” men are not subjugating of women. We need recall that adoption as we know it (and differentiated from informal kinship practice) is an Anglo-Saxon practice based on treating humans as property. Liberal and neo-liberal economic and political policies have only exacerbated the problem. The “solution” would then be an end to such systems; a return to a more communal sense of family; the end of the nuclear family conceptually speaking. I don’t see this changing among the “one percent” barring huge social upheaval or revolution. But that power of change lies in the hands of the dominant class, not in that of those displaced, dispossessed, or disinherited. But these, the latter, I find understand adoptees’ stories quite viscerally. And so there is common cause to be made to bring about the social change that would a) preserve family; b) support mothers; and c) protect children from trafficking. I’ve elaborated this extensively here and elsewhere, and I try my best to live up to such ideals on a day-to-day basis. More specifically, you might try this article: “The New Abolition: Ending Adoption in Our Time”. I’m willing to discuss this further if I haven’t answered your question.

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