This past week this blog was linked on three forums and a very popular adoptive parent blog, and the action around here has been hotter than a steaming bowl of kimchijigae.
The conversations have been all over the place. At one forum, it's clear that there are a lot of adoptive parents who are holding their breath and diving in to delve with the complexity involved in transracial and international adoption.
But it's clear that on another forum, there is a lot of defensiveness and anger. Yes, anger. Ironic, isn't it, that we adoptees are always accused of being angry but after reading this particular discussion board, well – there sure are a lot of angry adoptive parents out there.
There was a time, not that very long ago, where I would have felt the need to jump in and defend myself. There is a heated discussion about a poem I wrote many years ago about color-blindness. These adoptive parents are calling me reverse racist, telling me in essence how f*ed up I am, and funniest of all, taking it very personally. In fact, the poem was not written at all about adoption or with any intended audience of adoptive parents. It was written in response to a friend at the time who took delight in negating all my experiences of racism and who felt the need to tell me how she was "colorblind" even as she made racist remarks all the time (and then say things like, of course, I don't see you as …).
When I first started this blog almost 3 years ago, knowing that
adoptive parents were saying mean and hateful things about me and
making personal attacks would have driven me crazy. I would have been
up all night, wondering why people are so mean. I would have tried to
defend myself, or would have written mean things back. But these days,
I feel nothing even remotely emotional about all the things written about me on the forums.
I've been thinking of all this hoopla in two tracks. First, it says a lot about the adoptive parents themselves. I mean, some of the parents on these forums disagree and say so in a respectful way but I've been surprised how mean spirited others are. I take that to mean that this defensiveness and meanness is more about how insecure they are or speaks to their fear.
And honestly, they should be afraid. If they're that mean to me, I can only wonder how mean they will be to their adopted child. What are they going to say when their sullen 16-year old throws an "I hate you for adopting me!" at them? My own hypothesis is that those are the adoptees who will contact me in the future and tell me how silencing their parents were.
On a weekly basis I get emails from adoptees. They usually say the same thing…what you've written resonates with me…it's like you took my thoughts out of my head…you wrote what I've always felt but could never find the words to say…
Some of these adoptees have had very abusive or negative homes with adoptive parents much like the ones I sometimes see behaving badly on the forums. But, the majority of them love their adoptive parents very much, yet feel they can not talk to them about how they feel about their experiences. They struggle with how to approach the topic. Or, they say their parents try to tell them how they should feel.
These are the emails that give me hope and make me continue on with the work I'm doing. I appreciate it when adoptive parents tell me that something I wrote impacted the way they think about adoption, or when they tell me I've helped to change the way they talk to their child about adoption. But there is nothing that is more gratifying to me than to know that what I wrote has resonated with another adoptee, who maybe now feels for the first time that they are not alone in their feelings.