Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Adoption Kool-Aid.. an American phenomenon or true for us all?

The other day I read a wonderfully written post over at Musings of the Lame about why the Kool-Aid of adoption "taste" so good... I must admit... I'm not sure if I am still sipping the Kool-Aid or ever did.

You see, since starting this blog and following other adoption related blogs, I have learnt much about adoption and the effects it has on people.  I have also found that there are many angry adoptees and birth mothers and not forgetting ignorant adopters  There is currently a massive spat on a couple of FB pages about adoption between adoptees, birth mothers and adopters.  Wow, some of the comments are truly vile and I cannot understand why people cannot accept and embrace the fact that there is both good and bad adoption stories, just there are good and bad in every walk of life.

I'm the first to admit I don't know how others feel about their adoption experience and I can only ever comment on my personal feelings and experiences about adoption.. The times few I have commented on stuff, I have only ever expressed my personal views and never assumed that I knew the another person was feeling about  the subject.  I empathise with others, but since I have not walked in their shoes, I cannot say how they should feel... and believe it or not, I do learn from them all.  It makes me wonder if I'm either drinking too much Kool-Aid or if there is a major difference in how people from different countries sees adoption. To me, it seems that many of the angry adoptees and birth mothers and not forgetting ignorant adopters are American, sorry I do not mean to offend anyone, but I have yet to come across other nationalities as angry about adoption as the Americans are.

Personally I think that and the way you have been exposed to adoption throughout your life reflects the way you view adoption.

I can only go by my personal experience, from a young age, I had only heard good things about adoption.  I grew up believing that adoption was something to benefit the adoptee.  I knew kids who where adopted from China, foster care adoptees and orphaned adoptees, these kids all was brought up knowing they was adopted.  Their adopted families were open about the adoptions to their kid's friends, so I think I had early exposure to adoption .  I even used to dream about being an adoptee myself and found myself jealous of some of the adoptees I knew growing up.  I was jealous of them because they all seemed to have a mum and dad who seemed to love each other and them (the amateur shrink in me know this stems from being a child of divorce).

OK, as a child I was naive and did not see what really went on behind closed doors.. and my secret fantasy of being Dennis Hopper's kid didn't pan out.. I also knew from a young age that giving a child love was not enough. Being emotionally and financially stable was very important.  Nor did I understand and comprehend the long term impact adoption have on people.  Other friends (the closest connection some of them have to adoption is me)  have also told me that they too have been brought up with adoption being something that is positive and a part of life.... maybe this is an European thing or it could be just the people in my life.

Can I understand the anger in adoption, of course I can.  Before reading other blogs and forums I had never heard about BSE.  I'm still learning about the impact this has had on people. I think watching the Magdalene Sisters, was the first time I came across someone being forced to relinquish their child.   Being forced, coerced or bullied into relinquishing your child it horrible and that gives you the right to be angry...  but does it give you the right to tell another birth mother that her reason relinquish their child is wrong?

Being placed into an adopted family who mentally, physically and sexually abuse you is definitely wrong (abuse is wrong full stop), these abusers should be locked away for good... I better not say exactly what I think should happen to people like that in public... and yes you have the absolute right to be furious..but it does not give you the right to tell others that all adoptions are bad.

That you cannot get access to your original birth certificate, I cannot imagine how it feels to be denied this important information. I support you fully in is part of your identity and you have the right to that.  In the UK, an adoptee has the right to obtain their original birth certificate and from what I understand, this has been their right since 1927.  In Greece, (despite their black market adoptions, btw my son's adoption was 100% legal and above board) an adoptee adult have the right to all information about their birth parents held by their adoptive parents and public offices and organisations, if and when they wants it.

So, yes I can understand the anger from some of you and accept your right to be angry...that doesn't mean that we all should feel the same.

As a birth mother, I don't have the right to be angry with an adoptee for disagreeing with my personal view on adoption, nor should an adoptee have the right to be angry with birth mothers that express their views on adoption.  If fact, none of us has the right to be angry with each other, because our experiences are all different.  We can sympathises and disagree with each other  The only person I have the right to be angry with is myself... my son has the right to be angry with me... but that's it.

Being a birth mother is hard enough, and here is where I like the Kool-Aid thing, because it is a good way to describe the party line, I sometimes get the impression I'm expected to toe.   Apparently, we should all feel similar about our adoption experiences... my views are my views and my experiences is my experiences... I don't expect anyone else to feel like I do or agree with my views... Of course it is nice when you read that some one had similar experience to you... you don't feel so alone then, as long as you do remember that their experience is their unique experience.  You can learn from others, but your feeling and experience will never be exactly the same.

I said here before, the choice I made back then was right at the time and under the circumstances.  I have learnt to accepted the impact it has had on my life, I have even come to terms with the fact that my son never want to have anything to do with me.  OK, the not knowing is killing me and I will not have peace until I know if he wants me in his life or not.

My choice back then made me into the person I am today, and my son into who he is.  I still believe in adoption and would never try to talk someone out of relinquishing their child if that is what they truly wanted. Of course, I would let them know the full impact it has had on me over the years and make sure that they went into it with their eyes wide open with.  What I don't agree online touting of children who needs adopted families or the agencies earns billions in the adoption industry.  There needs to be a proper system put in place so all adoptions are treated equally and to ensure that the people who adopts are adopting a child for the right reasons.  Again, I do not know about how the adoption industry works, I can only explain what happened in my case...but that is another story.

Does this mean that I'm still drinking the Kool-Aid?  Or did I ever drink it?  The only thing I know for sure, I learn more about adoption each and every day and I will never be able to fully appreciated the impact adopting has on peoples lives.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The bravest girl I know

Today on This Morning a beautiful young lady appear to spread the word about  neurofibromatosis... unfortunately the show did mistakenly refer to it at the same condintion as the Elephant Man had and referred it to as NR1... The short name for the condition is NF... Katie's condition is Type 1 so the shorten name should be NF1.  Still they did a fantastic job with the interview and made sure that the presenters were corrected.

I have had the pleasure of knowing this young lady for years.. with bit of a gap in there...but even during this time she was always an inspiration to me.  

You see... because of her... I do not allow myself to feel sorry for me... she says it so well "I have Neurofibromatosis but Neurofibromatosis does not have me".   So thank you, Katie for teaching me that don't let the negatives rule you life... make the best of what you taught me that when you were five years old.

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