“Anger is loaded with information and energy.” (Audre Lorde)
Don’t be Scared: An Angry Black Woman Adoptee Speaks
It’s a common tactic. Brushing off what youth and adult adoptees have to say when we begin to articulate our experiences growing up or as adults with our families as less than perfect. The narrative of adoption in
and globally continues in the same vein it has for years. Be grateful. Be a
good girl. Don’t rock the family boat. Don’t do anything that points to you
being a “different” part of the family. Don’t ask about your birth parents.
Don’t wonder what your life would have been like. Don’t give any indication
that the family you are growing up with or grew up with is causing you pain or
anguish. Don’t talk about loss. If you are transracially adopted, don’t
critique racism in your white family. Don’t point out white supremacy or police
terror or racial profiling. No really, be grateful. And most of all – don’t be
angry. If you do, you are in danger of being labeled an “Angry Adoptee.”
I think about the angry adoptee mythology in the same ways that I think about the angry black woman mythology. It is a tool to try to name me and shame me so you can dismiss me. So you can silence me. So you can silence us. My experience as a black woman and as an adoptee are not so different when it comes to the nature of oppression and those in power. I think of the phrase “Angry Adoptee” as a tool created by non ally adoptive parents, social workers or baby brokers who have something to lose if they actually listen to the lived experiences and critical research of adoptees. It is easier to write someone off for having and expressing a strong emotion. It is easier to have them remain in a state of gratefulness for adoption or a state of non-critical acceptance of painful racist practices in our world. For then, those in power have no reason to change.