Thursday, November 29, 2012

NaBloPoMo Day 29 - Adoption Culture Clash

by Julie

Today's adoptee-centric prompt  raises the topic of adoptees and the culture clashes we might experience. Now, the most obvious and socially-accepted take on this might come from an adoptee who was removed from his or her original culture through adoption and raised in another--an ethnic culture clash. Or perhaps, an adoptee who was born of a family with modest means and raised in one that had more from a monetary standpoint--a socioeconomic culture clash.

Welcome to Adoptionland
I cannot write from either of those vantage points. I'm an adoptee who was born of one Catholic, white, middle class New England family and raised in another Catholic, white, middle class New England family. My adoption was most definitely a lateral move. And seeing as Catholic Charities oh-so-responsibly placed me with people who lived only eight miles from my natural family, I hardly had to forfeit my logistical culture. So on paper, it seems as though this particular topic of clashing cultures in adoption doesn't pertain to me.

But thanks my fellow Lost Daughter Rebecca from Love Is Not a Pie, I have come to realize that all adoptees face a culture clash of sorts. Ours is a very adoption-focused society. Please note that I wrote adoption-focused. This is very different from adoptee-focused. Here in the United States, our culture has an overly romanticized and idealistic love affair going on with adoption that brings to mind unicorns, rainbows and puffy hearts. Some days it seems like everyone is prancing around in Adoptionland where the clouds are made of spun sugar and the roads are lined with red licorice. Nothing bad ever seems to happen in Adoptionland and all of the adopted children should feel nothing but gratitude for being placed in this world where they make the dreams of adults come true. Because here in Adoptionland, the focus is on the people who want children instead of on the children themselves. How wonderful! Uh, yeah. Not.

This just in from Bioland
For many of us adoptees, adoption is an extremely complicated experience rife with confusion and mystery. This is because the adoption industry does not respect us or serve our needs. Seriously. If you see a bunch of adult adoptees floating down the fruit punch river in a candy cane canoe waving their original birth certificates and flags representing their ethnic backgrounds, let me know. There are people out there in Adoptionland who actually fight against the restoration of an adoptee's right to obtain their own, factual birth certificate. There are adoptive parents out there in Adoptionland who relegate the original mother of the child they are privileged to be raising to the role of "birth person." There are adoption agencies out there in Adoptionland that have fee schedules for different types of kids. There are state governments out there in Adoptionland making sure that so-called open adoption agreements are not enforceable. And all of this is totally acceptable within this adoption-focused culture!

As an adult adoptee, I do not fit in here in Adoptionland. Never did. Never will. I was taken from my home turf of Bioland where I would actually know from who and from where I came and then forced to live in Adoptionland where I was handed a fake birth certificate and people started telling me how grateful I should feel about it. Talk about a culture clash.