Nothing Has Changed Until Everything Has Changed

PhotofromMay20,2012

Working at Adoption Mosaic, I meet a lot of people (parents, professionals, adoptees) who tell me that adoption has changed a lot since I was adopted in 1980. However, when I see kids of color living in all-white communities with parents who don’t know how to, are too scared to, or don’t care to talk about race, I don’t think anything has changed since the days when the ruling philosophy was “assimilation is best”. When I see adoptees of all ages who are left to navigate their adoption experience alone because everyone else is too scared to even hold the map, I don’t think that anything has changed. No kid or adult adoptee should be forced to figure out how to be Korean, Black, Brown, a part of their birth family, a part of their adoptive family, etc. on their own. Just because we are adoptees doesn’t mean the onus is on us and us alone to understand such a complex experience. And, when the professional adoption world is still yelling out “in the best interest of the child” (with obligatory sad-faced “orphan” photo, of course) and I read ANOTHER story like this >> I don’t think they ever had my best interest in mind.

I’m an Angry Adoptee because NOTHING has changed until EVERYTHING has changed. This week on LGA, the gloves are off, the shit-kickers are on and no one is safe.

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13 thoughts on “Nothing Has Changed Until Everything Has Changed

  1. My belief is that adoption has got worse because more is known about the adoptee experience but less seems to be learned from that knowledge.That is a very dangerous and unsafe situation when coupled with the lack of ethics.

  2. I recently had some difficult conversations with my A-dad and my also-adopted older brother. Dad is now 94 years old, and given his family history here in the USA, his education and becoming a Protestant minister, it is clear that my brother and I were ‘save-the-children’ projects. He said I was adopted when “it was kill the Indian to save the Man.” As for my brother, who certainly appears White-Bread, it was a matter of saving a poor little waif.

    My brother and I are alive, well-educated and thankful for some of the gifts given us and yet we know we were severely damaged by our adoption experiences — perhaps we are ingrates.

    Dominant society says we live in a ‘post-racial’ USA, with a focus on culture, economic standing or another proxy-for-race, perhaps as vehicles to silence direct talk about race. While race, culture and matters economic are important, none are “the” issue because they are intertwined. I think adoption is always a complex matter, and its complexity is compounded when a trans-race/phenotype child is involved.

    1. Brent, I don’t think you’re an ingrate. I think you’re someone who recognizes and isn’t afraid to speak to the complexity of the adoption experience. It’s not one thing, it’s many things and trying to simplify the experience only causes pain.

  3. Nothing will change in Adoptionland until the people who need to learn the truth are finally faced with overwhelming evidence of the damage caused by the “adoption by strangers” policies promoted here in the USA over the decades. Our Western society has been willing to look the other way when it comes to the pain and loss suffered by adoptees and their bio/natural/first mothers and siblings. The culture is very good and very experienced at minimizing the life-situations of those who are, in their view anyway, outside of the social mainstream.The US adoption industry has created too many myths that are believed by too many people about how wonderful adoption is and how it is always the win-win solution to unplanned pregnancies and poverty. People are unwilling to look under the surface and learn the truth about adoptions’ generational and cultural devastation. Feelings about not quite fitting in, along with race issues, aparents’ expectations, afamily relationships are daily on the minds of most adoptees. The broader culture and society makes light of those situations by reminding adoptees they should be grateful, and consider themselves lucky and chosen. And, of course, let’s just not talk about “those” irksome and challenging issues.
    And, Keum Mee, you go girl!! Time for some real a** kicking.

    1. The adoption myths are intimidating (and frustrating), but they can (and will) be debunked. When adoptees use their voices for change, amazing things can happen. And, if a little ass-kicking is required, well, we can do that too. Thanks for the support!

  4. Things have changed for some transracial adoptees. Some transracial adoptees are spending quality time in their countries of birth with their birth families. Many adoptive parents are aware of the challenges their child faces and work with them to get through them. Nothing is ever so black and white – not everything has changed, but some things have changed.

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