Denial About Adoption is Pathological

From:  luminaria, "Empty Cereal Box"

September 24, 2008

For the life of me I can’t understand adoptees with their “I’m so much better off because I was adopted” mantras. Here’s one I snagged from a comment on another adoptee’s blog:

I came to realize I will never know the answers to those questions but I am VERY LUCKY. If I had not been adopted I would have grown up in an orphanage and I would not have had the life I had, which was and is a very good life. … I don’t think I missed out on anything important. I have family, friends, a career, probably more than I would have had there. Do I wish I had been left in the orphanage? Of course not. Do I wish my birth family had tried to keep me when they had no way to support me? No. Everything worked out for the best for all of us.

I have written elsewhere on this blog that I as an adoptee I would have preferred to have grown up in an orphanage because at least no one would be fooling anyone. I would have been an abandoned child, a bastard waving out there in the wind for all to see. None of this whitewashing, none of the denial and lies, none of the selfishness and insecurity that goes with signing papers to call someone else’s child your own. You have it in our face, pure and simple, with orphanages: the system does not serve people without means.

Instead, people with means are “relieving” those without means of their children so they don’t have to go to orphanages. The myth is that those children were unwanted. The myth is that giving a child to people of means is “for the good of the child.” Really? If prospective adoptive parents really cared for the good of the child, they’d offer help to those who are struggling to keep their families together. But no, all they care about is themselves and their treasure. But they’ll never admit that.

The author of the above comment is drowning in his or her own denial fed to him or her by parents and social rubber stamping. I feel sorry for adoptees like this who are so out of touch with themselves and their own feelings (no wonder, since they have no identity to begin with) that they can’t even feel the pain. Not feeling the pain will forever stand in the way of any possible healing. Unfortunately I’m not one of those Pollyannas who thinks there’s much possibility for healing from a gaping, life-long wound.

Have you, or has anyone you know, ever lost a child through death? Can you even comprehend the agonizing life-long grief that haunts anyone who has lost a child through death? Losing a child through death is the same endless agony experienced by parents who have had no choice but to give up their baby or babies to strangers because they couldn’t afford to raise them. The difference is that they know that their child still lives and breathes somewhere in the world. Their child is alive but untouchable, unreachable. In such a state of grief they either shut down altogether, living their lives like zombies, or they begin to advocate for the eradication of the practice of vanity adoptions.

Whether you’re a first parent who has lost a child through adoption, an adoptive or prospective adoptive parent who feels it your right to obtain and keep someone else’s child for the child’s “own good,” or an adoptee who feels similar to the one whose comment I quoted above, the healthiest attitude you can possible adopt (pun intended) is to first admit that a wrong has been or is being done.

The pathological denial that has driven the adoption machine for so many decades must come out of the closet, and all the lies, secrecy, shame, guilt, and rage must come out with it.

Pathological adjective 1. of the science or the study of the origin, nature, and course of diseases. 2. of the conditions and processes of a disease. 3. state of any deviation from a healthy, normal, or efficient condition.   


Not alone

I'll be honest, I try to stay away from the blogging arena.  It frustrates the crap out me since the avid adoption advocate outnumbers the suffering adoptee like a bajillion to one, and yet... I know... based on all the letters and private messages I have (and keep receiving) the Miserable Adoptee Experience in not one that is mine and mine alone.

When I read these sort of pieces written by brave adoptees, I want to shout on roof-tops:  WE ARE NOT ALONE!

We just feel like we are... because we are denied our origins, we are denied the truth, (the whole truth and nothing but the truth), and we are told such a thing should not matter.  News flash:  it matters.

As far as I'm concerned, that is the biggest sin man can inflict upon another person... inflict loneliness because you to do not conform or agree with popular published sentiment.

Can you imagine?

There was a time where I used to say  such thing "I am lucky to be adopted because..." 
Can you imagine me saying such thing?  I don't think it was only a denial in my case. I think it was more a result of brainwashing. People told me repeatedly that I was lucky, I had given no other choice than nodding and with time, I came be believe I was lucky.

The nod of approval

Growing-up, I felt like there were so many within my afamily I had to impress and please, just so I could be liked, accepted and - I suppose in my own twisted way of understanding the dynamics of adoption - be kept.  I felt like I had to prove to everyone I was worth something, even though inside I felt worthless and empty because I knew no one in my own family wanted me.  In my case, this was especially difficult because I knew there were family members (within my afamily) who did NOT want an adopted child in "their family".  (It was like I was this disease element, cast away by some other (strange) family because they knew better than to keep the likes of me with them.)

There's no luck or happiness when you feel like you are not wanted or liked by those surrounding you.  There's no joy knowing everything you do is for the sake and pleasure of everyone else.  There is nothing to be grateful about when life becomes a silent emotional vacuum.  My life became a fake display of perfection, and I hated it.  And yet, I too had to smile and nod, as if being adopted was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  So many people just didn't understand how much the word "disappointment" surrounded me.  It was the curse that kept me from feeling "grateful" towards anything.

The pressure to be more than "expected" went beyond home-life, too.  I remember being teased in school, being told I was so ugly, I had the face even my own mother couldn't love (as if that explained why she gave me away.).  I would say back, "At least my parents wanted me so much, they saw my face, traveled to another country and chose me above all others; your parents got stuck with what they were given".  [Little did I know my aparents got a photo of the next child in line, and basically asked, do you approve or disapprove?]  I thought my words would prove I was strong and proud and not at all ashamed to have been adopted.  However, the truth has always been very simple in my mind:  I deeply hated knowing no one (not one person!) in my own family wanted to keep me.  I deeply hated living with people who had NO idea what it was like to be the outsider among those who were kept by their own family members.  Good bad or indifferent, every one I knew had parents who didn't send their children away, hoping some stranger would take that child in.  How does that not hurt?  In an orphanage, at least I would not have been alone.  I would have been with other kids who knew what it felt like not to be wanted.  In my own silent misery, I would have had company.

Instead, I lived with the terrible sad question and dread always digging at me:  "There must be something very wrong with me, otherwise why would so many people want me to go away and be something different?"

By the age of 8...

I remember the very same words: What is wrong with me...  but mine came from a biological home where I was the
stranger; only child; not a part of the other two people who lived in whatever house we had moved to, next.
I wanted so much to be around people who were called relatives, but we lived in another state and only saw them
once a year.  To not be alone.  I was always alone.

Kerry said: "I deeply hated living with people who had NO idea what it was like to be the outsider among those who were kept by their own family members." 
Living with people who were supposed to be your family and yet feeling like someone who was left on the doorstep; and
left with strangers who found me an unwanted intrusion.  I can't imagine your situation of being bought as the next child
in line, but I can imagine your deep hatred of those people who found you not to their liking.  It destroys a child to think it
is all their fault.  Outsider; always looking in at the others, going about their lives as if they belonged there.  That's how
I saw every other child and their families:  they all belonged. 
I wasn't like you; I didn't fake anything!  I was not the perfect child who appreciated anything or did as I was told because
I wanted to please them.  I hated them for not loving and accepting me so I would sneak and do everything they didn't want
me to do.  There was no pleasure in doing it, only that I had defied the cold people I lived with. 
Children in school can be so mean!  Even in school I was treated differently because my mother would always make sure
they knew her opinion of me.  I felt it because I knew what she had said and done.  If she would have known about the
things I did to defy her, it would have been even worse.  I tried to be the bad person she told everyone I was.  They didn't see it, they just believed it and treated me like my mother had described me.  Her words were not extreme, yet she got the
point across.  No one ever got-it, that she just didn't like me.

"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
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