Understanding 'other' opinions

A couple weeks ago, an opinion piece was started by a new-member.  In short, it was asked PPL change it's focus, so a more positive spin on the adoption experience can continue.  Exampled quoted opinions were offered as 'proof', not all adoptions are the work of the devil.  I will not lie, such an approach made me, a founding member of PPL, laugh at first.  Yes, it's laughable and oh-so-predictable how the angry honest opinions (coming from a certain breed of adoptees) are seen as immediately and instantaneously change-able, with just a few chastising/correcting words.  What the original opinionated poster failed to see is this:  real change in opinion comes with real effort.  Enter the responses added not by adoptees, but an AP.

In the 'Understandable' response, desertrose, an AP, offers her opinions on matters that really molded my own adopted experience.  In her post, she wrote:

When people like me and my husband decide to become foster parents we are given 10 weeks of classes and prepared the best they can prepare us for what we are about to encounter.  Many of us come from families where we have never been separated from our bio parents and were loved unconditionally.  No matter how may classes they give you no matter how many people tell you how hard it is going to be, nothing is going to prepare you for the harsh realities that you will be faced with.  Just before the adoption is finalized the agencies and other supporters tell you that they are still there for you if you need them.  Maybe they are, but it would be nice to get a phone call or e-mail asking us how  things are going or offering additional resources if needed.   That is fine for me, because I am the type of person that will go find my own resources if I need to, but some families think they can do it alone.  And it is those families that end up harming more than helping their children.  I don't want to get to the end of my life and find out that I screwed up my kids even more. 

Another down side is no amount of training will teach a person how to bond with a child that was not born to you.  No one tells you that it could take years for you to develop that kind of bond with you adoptive child.  I have always heard people who have adopted say that they love their adopted children the same as their own children.  I would believe them if they had their adopted children for years and I could see the unconditional love flowing out of them.  If not, I don't believe them.  I love my kids very much and they are my world, but I am here to tell you that the bonding process is very difficult at times.  I know that it will come in time, because I have dedicated my self to my children.  I am also fortunate enough to not have any of my own children,.  I feel this is a good thing for both us and the kids. 

Back when my Aparents decided to purchase a baby to complete their family, Parenting Classes were not the expected norm.  In fact, IF Parenting Classes were offered opportunities/requirements for my previous and estranged owners, I can easily imagine my ego-filled replacement-mother attending a few of these meetings.  I can easily picture her being the 'perfect participating student', adding all sorts of sound advice and quotes (as if they were her own) from reading material she bought or borrowed and read, (in the comfort of her bed/home).  I can totally see her acting like the seasoned-birth mother, telling anyone who will listen just how well she can parent a needy child, and how each child IS the same, and not at all that different.  Ah, to be given the chance to show and prove to any and every adult surrounding her just how much... how well... she was doing with this mothering-stuff?  Oh, yes, she'd be there, if for no other reason than to prove her mighty reasons to be honored and loved, and receive the praise she so desperately needed. <groaning eye roll.>

But the truth of the matter always hits.  I seriously doubt either of my Aparents would have attended Parenting Classes for their pre-existing and new adopted child.  To do if for herself?  Yes, my Amother would insist she must go.  To go for me or her son?  Hell no.  Ego, pride and arrogance, not to mention time-limit excuses, would have gotten in her way.  (My Adad?  He was too busy working 3 jobs and being house wife to attend any Parenting Classes.)

My aparents adopted because my Amother wanted more, especially since thanks to an unexpected hysterectomy and long-term surgical recovery, she missed-out the great bonding experience she was supposed to get immediately after birth.  Yes, according to her sound thinking, having another infant in the house would allow her the second-chance she did not get with her own first and only bio son.  Her adopting was all about her, and her needs.... my adoption had very little to do with me, and what's best for the baby taken away from her mother immediately after delivery.

Now, I can get into all the freak-a-deak dynamics that took place between my Amother, her mother, and the son (brother) my Amother always resented and hated, and how that mental-association helps mold a person's future parenting skills, will, and ability....  but for now, suffice it to say, I became the token God-given gesture that allowed my "good Catholic"  Amother what she most wanted -- the opportunity to prove just how superior a mother she really could be.

It cannot be said enough times TOO MANY PEOPLE ADOPT FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS.  An unfit mother is an unfit mother... and woe to the child given an unfit mother through adoption services.

That being the God's honest truth, I'm curious to learn what others think in terms of adopting when one or more bio-children are present, and living at home with mommy and daddy.

Is mixing "firsts" (first-family children) with "seconds" (NOT related to any first-family members) in the best interest of children learning how equal but different parental love works?

Do AP's feel torn between blood and non-blood?  Do they feel an unspoken pressure to show a stronger tolerance (which can easily be seen as 'a preference')  to one side more than the other?  [I wrote a response to a recent sex-abuse case, asking somewhat similar questions, but got no other response from that thread... so I'm trying again, removing myself from the sex-abuse portion of the parental equation...] Do other adult adoptees or adult bios have any strong opinion about siblings from 'other' origin, based on their own adapting to adoption experience?

I know I tend to get one-sided, making my strong opinions seemingly unfair.  However, I don't think my family experience was all that unique. I always saw bringing 'new blood' into a jealous-prone family as a bad idea.  I always saw how the one who seemed chronically 'different' can think "certain blood-types" are either always better or never good enough.  In my own case, I always felt picked-upon and mocked for being different... I always felt as though I was never protected like ("ideal") others because I lacked ("ideal") 'worthy blood'.  I can easily see how my Amother's son, (my brother, by law), had his own version to this general family-rule  -- the unwritten rule that showed others who came first and who seemed most favored.

I am told this beat-the-runt-out-of-the-pack mentality is very common in bio-families.  But mention this dynamic in adoption forums, and watch the claws come-out.  'Not in MY family'.  'Not with MY children.'  [Like a self-protecting delusional Aparent or brain-washed/victimized adoptee or bio-child is going to be forthcoming and honest!]  Like Afamilies can't be as dysfunctional as first bio-families.  [Hell, I always thought Afamilies had MORE internal dysfunction, simply because so many more added facts would go ignored by those pretending to much better than others.]

Anyone care to add his/her own opinion on sibling rivalry... and what seems to work best for children in the adoptive family?


living without siblings

I can't respond to the sibling aspect you raise, since my adoptive family had no children except for me, but I think the points you raise are very interesting.

What you write reminds me of the phrase "raising adopted children as if they are your own", a rule my adoptive parents tried to live by. Since they had no children of their own, they couldn't really know the difference, but the rule to this make-belief, made it all the more forced nonetheless. For the longest time, my adoptive parents tried to deny the fact I was adopted. Of course technically they were aware that I was adopted, but emotionally they tried to forget about it, creating much more tension than was probably necessary.

My adoption wasn't necessarily something my adoptive parents had sought, but once I lived with them, it was very much about their needs. My adoptive mother had always wanted children, so my arrival was an opportunity for her to pour all her desire to have children into me. For my adoptive father it was all less important. He was married to the corporation he worked for, and as long as the wife was happy, things were good. Of course he would have wanted daughters instead of a son, but he could accept the fact I was part of his life, and when asked always claimed I was as if born to him.

Of course it was a delusion. My adoptive father and I were very different and that became clearer the older I got. Instead of acknowledging those differences and take it from there, it put pressure on me to be more like him. At the same time, my adoptive mother wasn't all that happy in the marriage, so she wanted me to be less like him.

Growing up I sometimes missed having siblings in my adoptive family, but at the same time I think it would have opened a whole different can of worms. I wonder how my adoptive parents would have lived with a "bastard" among children of their own, and how their denial of differences would have played out in such a situation. How would I have measured against a son who was more like his father? How would I have measured against the daughters my adoptive father actually wanted? Would I still have been "chosen" as the surrogate husband of my adoptive mother?

There is no way to know what would have happened, but I do know that living a lie, as if adoption played no role, made matters worse. I don't think parenting classes would have made much of a difference. My adoptive parents would have learned the socially desirable answers, but nothing would really have changed. Their needs to mold their lives after their own desires was much stronger than their willingness to learn what was important to me.

I don't think my story is all that exceptional. People adopt for all sorts of reasons and with all sorts of motivations, both consciously and unconsciously, making it rarely really about the needs of children.

Pound Pup Legacy