21.2.12

I hate being manipulated

I just finished a book that deals with adoption and, well, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

One of the three main characters is an adult adoptee, born in 1976.  When she becomes pregnant it's a prompt for her to start searching for her birth mother.  I'm ok with that.  What I'm not ok with is this idea (expressed by the detective helping her find her mother and by the author in the interview included with the book) that adoptees don't feel as though they fit in, that there's something missing.  Oprah has espoused this view, that somehow we're broken until we find this missing piece in our lives, and if we don't feel this way, well, we're in denial.

Oprah, denial is a river in Egypt and I live here in the US where I'm just fine not knowing about, or searching for, my birth family.

My sister, also adopted (and before anyone asks, chances are pretty slim that my Boston-based father in his 20s met her New Yorker teenaged mother, so no, we're not "related"), feels different.  Some years ago she put her name up on those websites that will match you with someone doing the search from the other side, and recently did more research and apparently found her mother's last name (a very common name, so not much help).

For me, well, I just don't care.  Never have.  Never will.  Do I think about it?  When I hear the nonsense about "you're repressing your need to find your family".  When I go to the doctor and have to fill out my family medical history - and then repeat that I have no idea what my family's experience with [disease] is to the doctor/nurse who are too lazy or illiterate to actually read my chart.  And when it's part of a book or movie.  As far as I'm concerned, there are four people equally important in making me the Lazygal that I am: two people without whom I physically would not be here, and two people without whom I wouldn't be Lazygal.  Those first two people?  Their job and contribution ended several decades ago.

That search?  It doesn't always go the way the Oprahs of the world want it to and portray it as being.  One side may not want to know about or acknowledge the other.  You might meet and realize it was a huge mistake.  Things could start well and end badly (one friend's birth mother sued for custody of her granddaughter because a lesbian mother couldn't possibly be a good parent).  It can cause pain for the people that raised you.  And if it doesn't go well?  How psychologically prepared are you for what (for many) will be a second rejection?

There's a scene in the movie The Magdalene Sisters where one of the unwed mothers "sends" a card to her daughter (given up for adoption) every year.  Now, I hope that the woman who gave me to my parents has not spent the past mumbleyears thinking about me. Since she was only 19 (I do know a few facts about her) I hope she went back to college, had a wonderful career or family or both, and that she's not looking backwards. She absolutely did the right thing and I have had an incredibly blessed life that she would never have been able to give me.  It was a life filled with good things and bad things, and any emotional problems I've had have not come from being adopted but from being human.  And you know something?  That's what's so wrong with this idea that something's missing: we want to be able to blame our adopted state for all the problems we've had as children, for all the ways in which we don't quite fit into our families.

Non-adoptees manage to find a way through all that.  So should adoptees.

Thus endeth the rant.

No comments: