There are a lot of stereotypes when it comes to adoption. How do you NOT fit the stereotype? What's your least favorite stereotype? There are even stereotypes in the adoption community. How do you fit into those stereotypes?
|Day 1 - Clean slates? Day zero of my (biological) son was pretty amazing. The day I was born marked me for life. I lost my birth mom.|
Adoption stereotypes are deeply embedded in our collective psyche. These damaging concepts are portrayed as normal in popular media, and are reinforced in our daily habits. We take them for granted, perhaps we don't even realize they’re stereotypes.
A heads-up before anyone gets all riled up ... These stereotypes may make us mad, others make us think. However, as we embark on the Lost Daughters month-long adoption blogging project, wouldn’t it be great to bring these stereotypes and secrets to light? By doing so, perhaps we can dispel preconceived notions and foster an environment of openness and acceptance.
From Merriam-Webster.com, stereotype means
Something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially: a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment.So, [deep breath, crossed fingers and toes] here we go ... The stereotypes and clichéd concepts listed below may or may not be true. Adoptees don’t necessarily believe them, but this was what we’ve been told, what we grew up believing, what we may or may not want to change.
Think of this list as food for thought for the coming month.
When adoptees start opening up about their experiences, we are often labeled. Alternately, the labels we were accustomed to our entire lives was fraught with subtext. Here we have:
· The angry adoptee
· The damaged adoptee, as in truly f***ed up
· The Chosen Child, the Lucky Girl/Lucky Boy
· The former orphan, now the perfect child
· The good adoptee vs. the bad adoptee
· The grateful adoptee
· The crazy, psycho murderer adoptee
· The adoptee as a “miracle”
· The wanted child (by the adoptive family) vs. the unwanted child (by the birth family)
· The super hero adoptee, aka a fantasy figure, the person we could have been if we were not given up for adoption
Regarding birth mothers
· The crack-whore birthmother
· The birth mom who “moved on with her life”; forgot her baby and lived happily ever after
· The too young mother who couldn’t take care of her child (neither, apparently, could anyone else in her family of fifty people, or his family of fifty)
- The adoptee who's getting a better life: with two married parents, who are well educated, have steady jobs, maybe even a dog.
- Adoptive parents prepare and plan more for their children, whereas biological children often are mistakes. Therefore, adoptive parents must love their children more.
- Abandoned children who need a family
- The “blessing” of adoption
- The child who, according to the adoptive mom was “born in my heart.”
- The uncritical judgment: Adoption is beautiful. Adoption is a gift from God.
- The child who is "unwanted" because she once was adopted. She’d have ended up in an orphanage or a homeless child.
- The adopted child who was lucky to be adopted because he was "really wanted." Eventually he learns that he was “really wanted” by his birth mom, too. She just lacked resources and support.
- "Gotcha Day!" and "Celebrating Adoption," with the usually unquestioned idea that adoption is something to celebrate.
- Thanking the birth mom for "giving" us a baby.
- The birth mom who gave the baby up because she loved us.
- "You weren't expected...you were selected."
- Adoptees left to somehow reconcile "they tossed you away like a piece of trash so how can you even think of considering them family?" with "they loved you so much that they were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice and you should be eternally grateful."
Standing in our Truth
Let's create our new narrative. As adult adoptees, we can own the resilience we’ve honed over decades. That strength is not just a coping mechanism, it is what will allow us to move forward and for tell our stories.