The Adoptee Survival Guide: Adoptees Share Their Wisdom and Tools
Flip the Script: Adult Adoptee Anthology
I bought them both for some light holiday reading.
Why? I'm not an adoptee myself, but the whole point of Flip the Script is that the way adoption is handled in the media is largely from an adoptive parent perspective and an adoption agency perspective, very rah-rah adoption is AWESOME and makes FAMILIES and sort of conveniently leaves out the majority of the perspective out there, which is the adoptees themselves, and the fact that adoption ALSO means the loss and grief of a birthmother lost, a first family gone (even if there is contact through open adoption). So, there is a movement to reclaim November (and other months I bet) to Flip the Script and give the perspectives of adoptees, who often share feeling pushed aside, not considered experts on their own experience, subjugated into a feeling of Gratefulness, torn between a desire to know their origins and birth family details and the pull to not disappoint or upset adoptive families. Most importantly in the legal arena, there is the fight to own their original birth certificates and biographical information. (Original birth certificates are amended upon finalization and adoptive parents are listed instead of birth parents, a fact I was largely unaware of until fairly recently.) It's an important movement, and one that I want to understand, because I am a prospective adoptive parent and my child will identify as an adoptee and have complex situations to contend with that are not within my own experience--I can only read about them and try to understand and seriously try to not screw up the whole parenting thing.
I will say that the first book had me running to friends of mine who were adopted through domestic infant adoption and asking them if they were really angry about the whole thing or felt betrayed by their parents or marginalized as a person or that they had been a commodity bought and sold, and they just hadn't told me they felt that way because I was excited about adopting. They thought I was crazy, actually, but appreciated my asking their feedback. The perspectives were important to read and it sure did make me think, but a lot of the stories involved a lot of lying on the part of adoptive parents and adoptive parents who turned out to be horribly abusive and adoption agencies that were for profit or really corrupt and were not at all on the up and up. There were perspectives that believe that NO adoption is on the up and up and it should be abolished. There was a lot about searching because of closed records, and that was incredibly interesting because I had no idea how much you can gather from genealogy websites and adoption search sites. It was actually an adoption search registry that a friend of mine used, that her birth mother also used separately, that resulted in their reunion a few years ago. Actually, if you are an adoptee from a more closed era or recently where there wasn't much information given, this book would be like a bible for coping and searching and expectations for reunion.
It was interesting stuff, but also incredibly scary. I felt like there were a lot people out there who would hate me for wanting to adopt a child (albeit through a non-profit agency that is birth-mother driven and provides lots of education and training and support and counseling for everyone involved, forever...). I think the biggest thing I learned from this book once I got over the fear that I am a horrible baby snatcher is DO NOT LIE TO YOUR CHILD. BE HONEST AND OPEN AND HONOR ALL PARTS OF YOUR CHILD. Valuable lessons (that my agency hammers in as it should) to take away, for sure.
Given the intensity of the first book, I waited a little while to read the second book. I just read it over my Spring Break (the one with the Flu).
This one I felt (maybe biasedly so, since I am a prospective adoptive parent) was more balanced, because it was not so heavily ADOPTION IS HARMFUL AND RIPS FAMILIES APART AND THERE'S NOTHING POSITIVE ABOUT IT FOR THE CHILD OR THE BIRTH FAMILY, EVER. Not that that's all that I got from the first book, per se, but that one was a little more geared towards Adoption Is Typically Unethical. This one made me feel a little more comfortable, a little less like a baby-stealing villain (even though that is most definitely not what I am or will be). But it's important to feel uncomfortable every once in a while, because this is how you grow. This is how you embrace other people's thoughts and feelings and get your empathy working, so that you can be a better person who can consider all sides of a given issue, all parts of a given experience.
I flagged a lot of pages in the book, things that made me think, things that made me smile, things made me cringe a little, things that made me rethink some of the ways I speak and write about adoption, myself, as a newbie to the process and uninitiated by actual parenthood yet:
|There are more flags than meet the eye here. Pardon my unvacuumed rug, we've had the flu.|
This is basically a book that is spawning a zillion posts, and this is already a Macroblog Monday, so I'll leave it at that for now. I have to say that I absolutely respect the perspectives in both books, even the ones that made me feel intensely uncomfortable and felt rooted in adoption practices of yesteryore. However, after reading some more, there are still agencies and practices in adoption that aren't much better than the Baby Scoop era even today, and I am thrilled that my agency is of the non-profit, child-centered but birth-parent-driven, highly-rigorously-screening adoptive parents variety. I don't think I'm being naive here, either. I have so many questions, and so many things to mull over. I will be sharing these in the next few posts, because it just really settled in me.
Please read this book. It is amazing, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Maybe even especially because it may make you uncomfortable.
Want to read more #Microblog Mondays, perhaps ones that actually follow the rules and are truly Micro? Go here and enjoy!