Monday, April 30, 2007

You & me against the world

That is such a lame ass song but I really feel that line some days.

It’s funny the way things flow in blogworld. This has happened on more than one occasion. Where someone writes about something and a similar thing pops up in another person’s life.

That happened today.

I’ve been really pensive ever since reading a post on how to overcome the ‘gratitude’ factor that society in general puts on the heads of adopted kids. I think I'm really internalizing it, and laying it over the framework of my memories.

How do we do this? What armor can we send a kid out with into the world to protect them from that double punch to the stomach when a total stranger starts to lay nonsense on them? Or maybe I'm really asking, what armor could I have been sent out with? I don't know.

I just don’t know.

I jumped over to Yahoo Answers on my lunch break today. I love answering questions from newbie searchers. I usually do it when I’m depressed about my own search. It makes me feel better. I have one answer that I tweak a bit for each person.

None of them probably take my advice. That’s OK. I know. I was there once too. Asking how to search, getting a ton of information on waivers and petitions and registries and support groups. But it’s ok. I’m the first one who told them. Maybe they’ll need to be told 50 times before they start. It’s ok. I know. You need people to tell you the same thing over and over sometimes.

I saw one question there today. The asker wrote that she just started having problems with being adopted. She didn’t know what was wrong with her.

Usually I don’t go into stuff that’s real heavy in these answers. I’m no fan of adoption dot com but there are some good articles there for beginner ungratefuls, so I sent a link to there. Also a link to Nancy Verrier’s site.

But the answers she got, holy mother of God.

Slam after slam about how grateful she should feel. How lucky she should feel. How wanted she should feel. How special she should feel. How wrong she was for feeling any other way. I took a peek at another question she had posted, and realized she was a teenager. I'm not comfortable answering questions from people who aren't adults. It's just how I feel. I wish sometimes they would find a way to filter kids off there. They don't show someone's age when they ask, and sometimes I can't tell. I felt doubly bad for her after that.

I get so discouraged sometimes. Not just for me, but for all of us. Especially the kids. I mean, I’m an adult. I can vent on blogs or forums or emails, I can go to therapy, I can read a zillion books, I have coping strategies for when it all gets too heavy.

What do the kids have? Sure they have parents who never once lay the cloak of gratitude on them, but the rest of the world will do their duty to make sure they never once feel safe enough to say, “You know, being adopted feels……. weird”

God forbid

You wretched creature

You ungrateful child

Do you ever feel it’s just us? I mean, how long have we been screaming about this? Who the hell is listening? Is it just the blogs we have linked or the forums we haunt? Are we all there is in the face of this?

Sorry, I’m bummed today.

Adopted kids should feel nothing but gratitude

Moms were promised confidentiality

It’s wrong to search

You’re wrong to be anything but jumping cartwheels

I went back to see if anyone else had answered her question. I got an error when I went looking for it. I wonder if it’s just a problem with Yahoo, or if she deleted her question after the answers she got.

One person told her it was ok to feel weird.

Everyone else told her to shut up.

I want some kid at 14, 15, 16 to be able to look anyone who lays obliged gratitude on their heads to be able to say “I’m adopted and it feels weird to be adopted and it’s OK that I feel weird and now I’m going to the mall” And believe it’s ok.

My sister took her kids to some Disney on Ice thing. They chose kids out of the audience to go up on stage. One of the kids picked was my 6 year old niece. Afterwards, everyone said to her, “You’re so lucky you got to go on stage and dance!”

She said, “They’re lucky I'm a good dancer.”

And she meant it. And they were.

She's not adopted, but she's not going to let anyone lay fake gratitude on her head. I wish sometimes I was more like her.

16 complaints from ingrates:

Anonymous,  April 30, 2007 at 4:00 PM  

Wow. I love your niece.

And how sad for that teenager. I worry for my son having to face that crap. I want to help him to give him the right words and not just the right words, but help him form his own self-confidence.

I'll still worry though. The world is a powerful place. :(

Ungrateful Little Bastard April 30, 2007 at 4:07 PM  

I love her too because she's so german. My sister knows just what it's like to have a german now. ;)

but sigh, yes, the world is a powerful place.

suz April 30, 2007 at 4:44 PM  

I think this demand for gratitude feeds into the stereotype that the adopted children were saved from wretched awful fate - like growing up with their natural family, their mother, their original. OH MY GOSH. Can you imagine how horrible that would be?

The industry needs to pain the natural mother and family as something horrid the child needs to be saved from and later, grateful for.

My own daughter was saved from Student Council President, straight A student, college accepted women who wanted her. That deserves some sort of gratitude towards the adopters, no?

Heh. Gratitude my ass.

Erin April 30, 2007 at 5:19 PM  

Like Judy I fear this for the bee. I'm not sure I can combat society on the gratitude issue. I hope she can be secure enough in who she is, and in her adoption that she can be comfortable with both and not grateful.

I just worry for her. how do we do this.

elizabeth April 30, 2007 at 6:35 PM  

Great neice you have there. Good for her.

I feel sorry for that teenager. And I really like to slap those morons who told her to be grateful.

Anonymous,  April 30, 2007 at 7:11 PM  

You know I've been thinking and I don't think that anyone has out and out told me that I should be grateful. Now my adad did tell me he was sorry he signed the papers on me which might qualify!

When I decided to search and began the process I did have people tell me to be careful! Which falls in line with the concept that I may have come from terrible stock. But once I made the decision to search NOTHING and NO ONE was going to stop me! I was so consumed with the search I did'nt give a damn what ANYONE thought! Let's hope that girl gets to that point. How dare anyone condem us if they have not walked in our shoes! Newlyorphaned PS can't log into either of my pages!

MomEtc. April 30, 2007 at 8:03 PM  

That's so cool that your neice said that!

Third Mom April 30, 2007 at 8:51 PM  

"Who the hell is listening?"

In the mainstream? No one. I have pretty much given up hope that the media, which controls the minds of the mainstream, will ever, ever "get" adoption. I never look for good articles on info in the mainstream press, and I'm grateful when the bullshit to truth ratio is like 2:1. A little truth is better than none, I say - but how sick is that?

So let me climb back on my soapbox . . .

Time to blitz the CCA!

Stepping down now . . .

Possum May 1, 2007 at 4:36 AM  

Feeling so sad for that teenager.
It's so hard to know where to turn when you're young.
Great post Theresa.
It is amazing what gets the brain ticking in Blog-land!!
Poss. xx

Anonymous,  May 2, 2007 at 3:08 PM  

The answer your niece gave was brilliant. I agree, I want to be more like her!!!

Anonymous,  May 2, 2007 at 3:10 PM  

Oh, and I did go and answer the teenager too. It was up when I went! Poor girl.

Heidi May 2, 2007 at 6:07 PM  

Wow, that post really hits home. And you are doing a great thing by helping people like me start their search. Thanks

Anonymous,  May 2, 2007 at 7:08 PM  

I am in love with your neice. We could be friends, her and I.

And thanks for the reminder that I have mountains and mountains to climb in order to raise healthy adopted kids. It is very scary and I will continually need reminders.

I hope Ungrateful Little Bastard will be around for the next 20 years or so....


Ungrateful Little Bastard May 3, 2007 at 8:35 AM  

Thank you very much everyone.

Mia I did see you answered her - I'm glad for the last bunch of answers she got. They balanced out the nonsense.

Unknown May 3, 2007 at 12:56 PM  

As a potential adopter, I was wondering what the appropriate course of action for adoptive parents is, in your eyes... I just started reading a lot of blogs, so pardon me if this has been asked before. Basically, should the adoptive parents help the child find their birth parents, does it depend on the child/situation?

Ungrateful Little Bastard May 15, 2007 at 2:14 PM  

Ochreluna I'm sorry I missed this comment before. I think I'm going to do a post about this. Right now is a really hectic time but I've added this question in my 'things to blog about' list and I'll get it posted in the next few weeks.

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