I’M ONE OF THE BAD GUYS

by Luanne

The more I’ve learned about the world of adoption, the more I feel myself (an adoptive mother) an advocate for adoptee rights. I’ve become more aware of the situation of birth parents and, I hope, more sensitive to them, as well. Much of my time reading blogs and articles and sharing this information is related to adoptee issues.

But today I want to write about something else.

With the wonderful new movements pressing for adoptee rights, it does sometimes feel that with the shifting viewpoints, I am seeing a growing wave which demonizes adoptive parents in general. The articles about “re-homing” have reinforced this trend.

While there are bad people in every group, all adoptive parents are not bad people or bad parents. Many of our adoption laws and institutions are fraught with injustices and callous disregard for the children and for birth parents. Too many are interested in the money that can be made from a trio (child, BP, AP) in need.

But that’s not the individual APs. I am here to speak up for the thousands of good people who parent children by adoption. This is for them. (I in no way mean to diminish what the adoptive child goes through when I say the following).

When the adoption process and/or prior life events harm a child, the people who are there to help the child through their troubles are the adoptive parents.

When a child has behavior problems at home and school, it’s the APs who are there to deal with the fallout and get the child help. When a child has anger issues, the APs are the main recipients of the anger and sometimes abuse. When a teen has addictions, the APs go through emotional suffering and get help for the child. When the child is an adult and issues relating to adoption flare up, the APs are still there for the adult child.

We APs give our hearts to our children; our hearts bleed for them. We also give a huge percentage of the time we have on earth to them. We sweat and cry for them. Our minds and lives are transformed to fit the new family that has been created. We don’t turn our backs on our children, no matter how bad things can get. We never give up. We are there for them until we die.

Thanks for listening . . . .

Comments

  1. Lisa Ercolano says:

    Luanne, thank you for writing this. I know you and I have talked a lot about adoption issues and what we as adoptive parents feel we did right and what we wished we had done better. But the one thing that I feel sure we have both done, and are doing (as are so many adoptive parents) is being there with love for our kids. All human relationships are complex and complicated, and perhaps the relationships in adoptive families (especially families with trans-racially adopted members) are even more so. But we love our children, and so we do our best, every single day, to do the best for them. That will never change.

  2. Yes, well said Luanne! It always seems that that low percentage of tragedies get the headlines; in anything…sports, school, life. As an AD there is NOTHING more valuable to me than our two kids….that we fought hard for and now try our best to raise. It can’t be easy being any sort of a parent, adoption can just add another dimension to it. Parenting in general is rarely easy. I imagine natural parents make just as many mistakes as Adoptive, only they don’t ring out as loud it seems. But when you struggle for something so hard because the cards are stacked against you I just think you appreciate that gift just a little bit more, or at least won’t take it for granted. I walk my little girl into school every morning, she’s usally holding my hand as we enter. I can’t see anything wrong with that. ~Great post Luanne!

  3. Aw Luanne – you aren’t one of the bad guys – never think that. I do honestly try hard to always make a distinction when I speak – although I am sure I have failed at times as well.

    BTW: Bleeding Hearts – must remember to plant them next year – the pink and the white – had them at the old place and they just dropped out of my mind. Writing it on a sticky note…

  4. Well said, Luanne. Above all we are parents. Unhyphenated. Period.

  5. You raised some interesting points. As well as the challenge of caring for and parenting our children we have the subtle battle against public, media and professional perception that once the children have moved in then all is well. That the sometimes difficult and challenging experiences and journeys of our children’s young lives are finished and we can live happily ever after.
    I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of trying to explain to others why our children’s behaviour is subtly different from others while a teacher/relative/friend nods and explains that all children do “that”.
    I can only say hear hear to your points, we love our children, want the best for them and are doing our best for them.

    • Hi Al, it’s great to hear from you! you put it so well: “why our children’s behavior is subtly different from others while a teacher/relative/friend nods and explains that all chlildren do ‘that’.” So true. One time that was more overt than that that is seared into my head is when I told a teacher it was traumatic that she was leaving just after Marisha bonded with her (leaving because she had an argument with someone) and another parent took me to task for using the word “trauma”–that I didn’t know what it meant. No, SHE didn’t know that all adoptees have experienced at least one major trauma. Thanks for reading and sharing!

  6. I would agree Luanne with your thoughts on how adoptive parents are perceived in light of the recent media articles and some adoptee groups. Being both adoptee and adoptive parent, I absolutely see the heart of many adoptive parents which are good, loving and want the best for the child they have been allowed to step into life with as you are. I’m sorry that great/good adoptive parents, like you, are unfairly looped in with a generalization made with a small number who should not have been allowed to adopt. It saddens me that we are so quick to judge ALL for just a few in all groups/categorizations within the US.

    • It really ruins the possibility of conversation. I can imagine that some people who meet with animosity get their backs up and then won’t listen to important information. I try to still listen with open ears, but it makes me sad when people shut down others because they feel that they have been shut down. Thanks so much for responding, Tara. I’m always interested in your dual perspective and am glad to experience your kind heart.

  7. I’m totally going to reblog this. I’ve been wanting to say something similar for months now, but it always comes out as pissed off. You did a great job here, and I hope more people see this, read it, and realize that most of us adoptive parents are not “the bad guys.”

    • I also want to thank you for writing this-I think you have articulated something so many want to say. I love Robyn C’s comment about sounding pissed off. Sometimes we silence our voice because we don’t want to sound so (pissed). Thanks too, Luanne, for creating this space where these opinions can be freely shared.

    • Thanks Robyn! It’s hard not to sound that way. Even so, I know the emphasis should always be on the adoptees. But there are a couple of tangential points I think. One is that APs are usually the best advocates of the adoptees until they are adults and sometimes even after that if the adoptee really doesn’t understand the role of adoption in his or her emotional makeup. So what is the point of alienating and to use your term pissing off APs and making them feel like it’s “us against them”? The other thing is that while in adoption the needs of children come first and even for adult adoptees they should come first, I’d like to remind everybody (hah) that all the people are equal as people go and adoptive parents can end up going through a LOT and should still have their full equal rights as humans intact. But all that said, I do completely understand how many adoptees feel that adoptive parents have all the advantages and are the loudest voice. Now there is a very poorly written comment .. . .

  8. I also would like to thank you for this. We try very hard to give a balanced perspective on adoption at The Adoption Social and want very much to help people understand the difficulties that all those involved in adoption face. It feels sometimes that it’s therefore not right to celebrate the good work that lots of adoptive parents are doing.

    Thank you for sharing on The Weekly Adoption Shout Out.

  9. Thank you. As a foster carer as well as an adoptive parent (in the UK), I get to see a lot of what goes on prior to adoption – the trauma and neglect and abuse some children suffer, and also the genuine compassion, care and desire to do the right thing displayed by most social workers and professionals. I am tired of the oft-repeated insinuation that adoptive parents are somehow selfish and that adoption is something a bit shameful. I’m afraid I have made a decision to be shamelessly vocal in my defense of it!

    • Yes, selfish and shameful. And the notion that without APs adoption would not have to exist because there would be no need. That it’s the demand of PAPs that drives adoption. While adoption as an institution out of control leads to that, there is still and probably always will be a need for APs.

  10. Reblogged this on The Chittister Family and commented:
    I’ve wanted to say something just like this so many times, but whenever I write it, it comes out pissed off. Luanne did a great job of expressing herself (and me) without the crazy ranting. What I’m trying to say is, “What she said.”

  11. I’ve never been called a bad guy. I’ve only had people tell me I’m lucky or my daughter’s lucky. I think luck had nothing to do with it, other than the Chinese government matching me with an awesome little girl. I also have a bio child and don’t treat or love my children differently. My daughter is running up against “who are your real parents?” but she deals with it beautifully.

    I’m not sure I want to look into AP shaming. We have such a fascination with shaming in our culture. It’s the latest thing, I guess.

    Anyway, great post.

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