Adoption Survivor

dealing with it

The Value of the Abused Voice

with 10 comments

Time and again I hear adoptees speaking out about their civil rights beginning with the disclaimer:

I had a happy childhood and am NOT an angry adoptee…but

I guess they fear their voice will be dismissed if there is any hint of dissatisfaction with adoption. So with that line of thinking, a happy adoptee’s voice is more valuable than a dissatisfied adoptee’s voice. Because if you’re dissatisfied that equates to maladjusted and everyone knows maladjusted people can’t form logical conclusions.

Time and again I hear adoptees speaking against the adoption industry and their civil rights being violated explain how their anger is justified anger and the trauma they experienced with their misguided, self-centered adoptive parents are base on reasoned arguments. But at least

it’s not like I was abused or anything

I guess they want to distance themselves from abuse out of fear their voice would be dismissed as being tainted with damage or their judgement clouded with emotion. Because even worse than being maladjusted is being damaged. Everyone knows the damaged person also has damaged mental faculties.

Time and again I have sympathetic adoptive parents AND fellow adoptees excuse away or dismiss things I say because I was also abused. Lots of I’m sorry for you and I hope you find healing and lots of well,

just keep in mind she was abused…

so I guess they are saying, take what she has to say with a grain of salt. Because she doesn’t know what normal is, she can’t know what we’re talking about, she can’t speak about just adoption, and we can only feel pity for her.

But I ask, “Why does my abuse disqualify me from the ability to form rational thoughts about parenting, adoption, and child placement reform?”

In many ways I and my abused adoptees stand in a unique position. Especially those of us who have grown and raised our own children. In my life I have been:

  • separated from my mother
  • severed from my birth country
  • transported to another country
  • assimilated to a country that didn’t accept me
  • deprived by my adoptive mother
  • sexually abused by my adoptive father
  • an at risk teenager
  • a runaway of sorts
  • a teen mother
  • a welfare mother

I’ve also overcome that all and been successful at many things. If I can put myself through college while working and raising two children and get accepted to Yale; If I can analyze logic and backwards engineer programs; If I can draw a concept and turn it into a building to live in; If I can discuss phenomenology and existentialism and aesthetics and yet love diner food; If I can raise incredibly bright, loving, well-adjusted children who are responsible citizens and critical thinkers; If I can take in troubled children and I can be a non-threatening friend to young people; etc., etc., etc., then why am I disqualified from talking about adoption because I was abused?

There are many positives to being abused as well. Being abused has heightened my awareness and recognition of what is beautiful. Being abused has given me a greater appreciation of life and what makes a life worth living. Being abused has given me insight into what a child can live with and what they absolutely can not live without. Being abused has shown me where and how adoptions can fail and the subtle ways in which the best of intentions can decay.

On the contrary, I think this wide spectrum of experiences puts me in a unique position to analyze the process of adoption. This variety of exposure to the many aspects of adoption has been expansive, not limiting. My abandonment was one category. My adoption was another category. My loss of culture was another category. My experiencing racism is another category. My being abused is another category. My being a parent is another category. I can address each category individually AND as a complete ouvre. It IS POSSIBLE to recognize the distinctions and separate them. It IS POSSIBLE to see how they influence one another. It IS POSSIBLE to see what they have in common. Who better to see what they have in common than someone who has experienced them all? There is way more in common than people would care to recognize.

Especially intriguing to me is, what is essential and fundamental to the genesis of ALL OF THE ABOVE. Very few people have been in the position to be able to recognize that. In a strange way, I guess that makes me one of the “lucky” ones. And this blog. This blog is going to be an attempt to put words to what that essential is:

Before the primal wound was DESIRE.

Controlling our desires is a measure of our maturity.

Living with the consequences of acting upon our desires is a measure of our responsibility.

Uncovering the motivation behind our desires is a measure of our wisdom.

Adoption is DESIRE.

Think about that for awhile.

Think about what desire drives people to do.

Think about the quest to satisfy our desires.

Think about how that changes people.

Think about the hidden costs.

Adoption is DESIRE.

Everyone is happy to hold everyone else accountable, but never oneself, because that would mean recognizing how their own desires impact others. All the while everyone claiming it is all about the child’s welfare.

Of course, that’s just what this adoptee thinks, but I was abused –

so it couldn’t possibly mean a thing

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Written by girl4708

October 31, 2008 at 5:04 am

Posted in After Abuse

10 Responses

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  1. “Everyone is happy to hold everyone else accountable, but never oneself, because that would mean recognizing how their own desires impact others.”

    Indeed.

    Mei-Ling

    October 31, 2008 at 1:44 pm

  2. Hey sis,
    Since few weeks, I was thinking to blog about this subjet but I’m glad you did it first because you are very talented in writing and you express so well your (our) thoughts.

    I would like to add something to it.

    Despite having been abused by my adoptive father, I used to see adoption as a good thing during nearly 30 years. My opinion was then based on the messages conveyed by the society in general. It seems that my voce had more value then.

    It is only when I started to form my own opinion based on the informations I found and to question about adoption The very first time I spoke against the adoption industry, I was told “I’m sorry, you must have had a bad life with your adoptive parents.”

    It made me question about my own opinion but more I learned about adoption, more I became anti-adoption.
    I also had fear that my voice would be dismissed by the fact that I was abused in my adoptive family and I wanted badly to prove that my opion about adoption had nothing to do with my negative experience of adoption.

    During my quest to learn more about international adoption, I discovered many transracial adoptees who have been abused in their adoptive families, that is why I made the decision to share my experience as abused adoptee…. Then followed every comments you heard.

    The need to justify by saying things like: “I had a happy childhood and am NOT an angry adoptee…” or “I have a good relationship with my adoptive parents” comes from a more general line of thinking that adoptee’s voice has no value when it talks against the adoption industry or it claims rights (and adoptee’s voice has a value as long it says adoption is wonderful.

    But we know that our quest for justice doesn’t depend on our negative experiences. We are not exposing the truth for the masochistic pleasure to hear the adoption advocates saying that we don’t have the abitily to form rational thoughts about the adoption industry.

    kimette

    October 31, 2008 at 6:42 pm

  3. I am so relieved to finally hear one more adult adoptee say openly that they were abused.

    I have been involved with several adult adoptee “support” groups over the past 8 years, and one of my greatest pet peeves is what you have said here: the constant qualifying of public anti-adoption or adoptee rights statements.

    “I love my adoptive parents, but…”, “I was raised in a great adoptive family but…”, “My adoptive parents treated me well, never abused me, but…”

    I know that some believe themselves to be stating their “truth,” but I can’t help thinking of the inherent dysfunction in (especially) infant and international adoptive families. Yes, an inability to govern their desires and be aware of the costs of those desires to others.

    Further, it surprises me how many have read Alice Miller’s “Drama of the Gifted Child” yet missed the message. Western child-rearing is, for the most part, a sick system and makes the adoption environment that much sicker.

    “Honor thy father and mother” is one of the most perpetually damaging core “beliefs” we apparently can’t seem to shed. Why MUST we “honor” those who hurt us, much less forgive them? I think we need to stop this nonsense.

    I was abused first by my natural parents (via being thrown away), then by my adoptive parents (and, through them, by their natural son). I was abused by my expensive prep school wherein not one soul would accept anything but my gratitude and loyalty to my adoptive parents. I went through most of my life thinking I – I! – was the defective one! As a result, I failed at almost everything.

    Good job, Adoption. Feh.

    Julie

    November 4, 2008 at 5:09 pm

  4. ((((Suki))))

    I totally understand everything you are saying. I am sick and tired of adoption agencies and people that dont have a clue about what adoption does to us. I was also abused but I am a survivor just like you and I know we will continue to work together to put a voice out for those who cannot speak. Love you
    Vanessa

    Vanessa

    November 26, 2008 at 3:44 pm

  5. I was never abused by my adoptive parents, but I did know a Filipina adoptee who had been abused by her adoptive parents. At first, I couldn’t believe it, but I have realized that even adoptive parents can abuse their adopted kids.

    I have two questions for those adoptive parents. WHY ABUSE YOUR ADOPTED KIDS if you wanted to adopt? Do they adopt so that they can abuse the adopted kids??!! Adoption agencies really need to screen adoptive parents a lot more carefully!! I know how it feels when kids are abused because I went through “abuse” with my first foster home. I do not know if you would consider it abuse or not because most of the excess punishments were from my being a “bad person.” They NEVER EVER explained to me what I was doing wrong at all. They would just hit me with a belt when I got home. I was terrified to go home every day, in the fear that I would be hit with a belt. I was told that if I were hit enough with the belt, I would turn black and blue. Usually, I would be hit with a belt on the buttocks. One time, my first foster father hit me all over my body, except my face for doing something I did wrong. One time I was playing in the driver’s seat of the car and I was hit with a belt without knowing why. Another time, another foster child picked up feces from the toilet and I took and extra medication pill and we both got hit with a belt. Mind you, we both were totally nude when we were hit with the belt!! When I was in school, I would ask kids for their lunches because I was always hungry and my first foster mother would have me stand behind the door of her classroom. Later on, she sent me to the little “cubby” section of her classroom. While I was punished, I was told that I couldn’t eat lunch anymore!! They would punish me by not feeding me for one or two days!! So, I would have to “steal” their food to feed myself. I was very bitter towards and hated them for it.

    ONLY ONCE did my first foster father explain to me what I did wrong in school!!

    There were two times when I was “punished” for something that I never did. One of them was a dog throwing up. I was wearing my pajamas when I was sent outside in middle of the night and it was wintertime!! I was barefooted as well. Fortunately, there wasn’t any snow on the ground or I would have frozen to death!! The second time was my being accused of robbing their tenant’s house, which I never did and stealing money from my first foster father’s brother’s money. The ironic thing was that the brother was not even there at the time when the alleged money was stolen. I never knew where the money was!! I recently learned that they were in their 20s when they took me in as their foster child.

    When I was in twelfth grade, I told one of my classmates (who eventually became a cop) that I was thinking of killing my first foster parents, he advised me not to, even after I told him my story about them. That was how much I resented and hated them after having left them NINE years before. I realized that I couldn’t do it because they had a son and I found out that they had a daughter when I came to visit them the day after Thanksgiving in 1990.

    Michael

    July 4, 2011 at 10:10 pm

  6. I think it’s immaturity: it’s like kids who want a pet but aren’t prepared to deal with the messy unknowns and then abuse or neglect the poor animal. Or it’s the objectification and co-modification of children – it’s all tied into having – it’s a marker of personal success. Or it’s being stuck in a cycle – trying to correct a wrong which hasn’t been resolved through repetition.

    The source of your empathy is clear – it’s a sad fact that some adoptees get foster parents like yours permanently. They should all be screened better.

    I can also relate to your murderous thoughts. I’m glad you didn’t ruin your life and go through with it!

    girl4708

    July 6, 2011 at 6:30 am

  7. Thank You to the Adoptee’s who took the time to share with myself and so many other Adoptees. It helps to know that I am not the only Adoptee who was abused.
    Reading the Adoptee’s terrible and inhumane treatment by their owners and
    handlers makes me wonder how do we evolve out of these circumstances? Is it
    possible?

    Mel Rainstorm

    April 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm

  8. my adopted parents didn’t spend money on me it was awful people looked down on me it made me cry was most people loved better them me this made me so sad so many houses looked better them mine my house was so ugly do all adopters have bad taste in decore are they blind i sware my adopters where blind they couldn’t see they decore was so ugly i wanted to leave this ugly house it was a night mare, most people lived better than me why is that

    lopk

    June 4, 2013 at 9:01 pm

  9. not only was my adopters house ugly it was haunted and scary i lived poor we didn’t have a lot of money even though they had jobs that should have payed good i dint understand my adopters abused me they use to yell and scream at me how they spent to much money on me i don’t understand why they adopted me if money was going to be such a problem also i was not allowed to talk about adoption and my adopted mother was abusive she scared me she always talked how wonderful it was how she knew her mom but i was not allowed to talk about my birthmom or why i was as adopted they also had a big paddle that hung on the wall it was abusive homei i said anything she didn’t like i got slapped i hated living there

    lopk

    June 4, 2013 at 9:08 pm

  10. i don’t like when your adopted people think you cant be abused by your adopters

    lopk

    June 4, 2013 at 9:10 pm


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