Sunday, September 6, 2009

From Wounds to Scars

A week or so ago a dear blog friend of mine, emilythehopeless, came under attack by a group of adult adoptees. The attacks were so ruthless and horrid that she decided to move out of her blog home, and the world of infertility blogs lost an amazing voice. Part of the blogging experience is dealing with negative comments it is just something that comes with the territory. This went way beyond hurtful comments; these people took it upon themselves to contact the adoption attorney that she is using and inform the attorney that they believed that she was an unsuitable candidate for adoption. This is taking the whole thing to a level of insanity that I just cannot wrap my head around.

I have thought a lot about this situation and have tried, as an adult adoptee, to understand where these people were coming from. In the end, I cannot. In my teen years, like most teens, I was angry at the world. Adoption was my ammunition because that is what I had to work with and it would have been some other issue if I had one as powerful. Anger at the world is just part of the growing up experience for most of us. Adoption is not an easy issue for anyone involved in the process. As an adoptee I felt abandoned, unloved, unwanted, and lived in constant fear of abandonment. Living in that space becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, you become the person that no one wants to be around and every person that tries to get close to you had to wade through the swamp of misery to do so, and who wants to put that much time and energy to a black hole of misery. I found myself caught in this vicious cycle that was difficult to free myself from.

At some point, I realized that it was so much easier to live my life in a state of happiness instead of the misery I had wallowed in for years. Of course, people had been telling me this all along, but it is not something that you learn until you are able to experience it for yourself. Misery was comfortable I knew how to function in that world. Learning to be happy was a long process, but life was so much easier once I got to that place.

As an adult I am grateful that I was adopted. I am grateful that my parents wanted me so badly that they were willing to jump through countless hoops to become my parents. I am grateful that my birth-mother wanted me to have a better life than what she could provide, and made the difficult decision to place me in the care of others. Most of all I am grateful that I have been able to learn and grow in ways that I would have never been able to. Seeing these adults, and I use that term very loosely, have the need to attack others because they are unable to move on from this pain, has given me a new perspective of where I could have ended up. Without being able to recognize that I have my own issues, and that these issues are my responsibility, I could have been these people who need to focus on others rather than dealing with themselves.

No one has the perfect life. We all live with deep wounds, some more traumatic than others, but just as horrible to us personally. Given the chance, all of us would change some parts of our lives; it is part of being human. What makes us adults is the ability to let the wounds grow scabs and become scars. The ability to recognize that we are not defined by our pasts is so incredibly freeing. For me to know that I have survived the pain of so many parts of my life has made me a stronger person.

Knowing that one day I am going to have to tell our child that I am not biologically their mother is not something that I am looking forward to, but it is something that I know I can handle. All my experiences have taught me that there is very little I can deal with in this life. Those experiences have also taught me that no matter the reaction the child has, that one day they will understand that all the decisions we have made and all we have done was because we love them more than words can convey. Every twist and turn that occurred in making our child a reality was done because we have loved him or her for years before they were a reality.

30 comments:

Allison said...

Sucks that people are so hateful. Hopefully they will get their head out of their butt one day. That type of attitude and vengeful action really pisses me off. Sorry to be so harsh, but it's so unnecessary for people to act that way to someone apparently going through something difficult.

kerri said...

beautifully stated.

it's a shame that people have such negativity flowing through them. i'm so sorry for your friend.

Anonymous said...

thank you jaymee {hugs}
you are an amazing person

Infertile In the City said...

I've never read Emily's blog but, how awful for her - why would someone ever do that?
Sometimes people suck.

booshy said...

Sometimes...they just like to find someone to berate...hide their own insecurities...

Kristin said...

What a wonderfully supportive post. Did Emily totally get rid of her blog? I thought she just went private. Can I get you to email me at cruzowlpost at earthlink dot net because I have a question for you regarding Emily?

BethGo said...

I am an adult adoptee and while I was not a participant in the comments on Emily's blog I do understand the concern voiced by many. My understanding is that she has blogged that she hates children especially other people's children. Umm...I think that made a lot of adoptees nervous.
I did see the comments of people defending Emily in a link. They were not kind and quite vulgar.
I am an adoptee with a very happy life however I still have issues with being adopted especially after reuniting with my biological family and learning some very hard truths about where I came from and how I came to be adopted.
Adult adoptees are not 2-dimensional cartoon characters. We are real people with a myriad of feelings about adoption.
I know there are people who will feel the need to blast me for speaking out and probably call me the c-word as one of my dear friends was lambasted on Emily's blog. So be it.
I am not the angry one.

Jaymee said...

beth,

i in no way implied that adult adoptees are two dimensional people. i do not understand where you got that from in this post. as an adult adoptee with many friends who are also adopted i fully understand that no one experiences adoption in the same way.

as for emily talking about other people's children. when you deal with the pain of infertility, there are days when every child is like a punch in the gut, a horrid reminder of what you cannot have. this is not a pain i would wish on anyone, but a pain that you cannot understand unless you have walked in those shoes. just like no one can understand what it feels like to be adopted unless you have been there.

i know many parents who are wonderful with their children, but who cannot stand other people's children. there is nothing wrong with that.

Dory said...

I find this kind of ironic. One person, an adoptee, made a comment to Emily's blog because she was concerned about an adoptee coming into a family who decided to adopt only after being "broken down" by infertility and the repercussions to the adoptee in being the fix for a woman's infertility. Any psychologist who deals with adoption issues will tell you that that is a huge cross to bear and one that the commenter herself had to deal with.

Emily responds, not by trying to have a dialogue with this adoptee but by making a huge post about it and her rage and red anger and how she is shaking mad and how dare anyone say anything like that to her and f-word this and f-word that.

Sounds like Emily is the one with the anger issues not the adoptee who posted something that numerous people within the triad discuss at various times.

And Emily's comments about not liking children had nothing to do with infertility pain - at least not that she mentioned. It was in the middle of a rant about everything she hates - including people - she said "i don’t like kids.. yeah i know.. but i don’t like other people’s kids very much.. it’s rare when i find a child who doesn’t annoy me.. and i blame the parent." It's not about her feeling kicked in the gut by infertility it was about being annoyed by children and blaming their parents for their behavior.

If Emily is going to adopt she needs to develop a lot thicker skin than freaking out over a sincere comment about adoptee issues. What is she going to do when strangers on the street ask "is she yours, how much did you pay, where's her real mother" - cause adoptive parents get asked those questions. Is she going to go on a tirade and scream at them to shut the f*ck up?

Honestly. Sheesh. And I sent her a huge list of excellent resources of books, articles, blogs, etc. and she just hit the delete key. She has a lot to learn - a whole lot.

Mama-Beans said...

Emily is a gem and any child will be lucky to call her Mama.

I am an intentional mother of two, and love them to PIECES. And I also do not like other peoples' children. In general. Yes, the children of my close friends I have grown to love as my own, but for the most part? I just don't like other peoples children. And I haven't met an HONEST mother who does. Large circle of mom friends, and we all pretty much feel the same way. How dare Emily have similar feelings... gah.
But how refreshing that a large group of children ( er, I mean adults) have decided that it is their place to judge a potential adoptive parent based on biased viewings of a freakin' BLOG post, and it is also their job to help her develop a thick skin and further, their job to contact her attorney about said potential adoption. And by the way, having experience in a similar field, I can tell you that the attorney? More then likely laughed. Glad you took time out of your day to do that. Very worthwhile. Grow up.

BethGo said...

Am I missing something here because seriously, don't adoptees start out being other people's children? Isn't that kind of what adoption is about? We don't come from the stork you know. Or the baby store. We come from other people... and if you don't like other people's children...well, that's a problem if one is looking to adopt.

I for one am just thankful I was placed with parents who like children.
I mean seriously, aren't you.?

Think about this from the adoptee perspective for just one second. For all the traits of good potential adoptive parents, don't you think liking children should at least be in the top ten?

Swordfish said...

Wow, a lot of controversy. My sister gave her baby up for adoption at 15 and even though it was hard for all of us in the house (my mother and 3 girls) it was the right decision. She picked a wonderful family that was financially stable (by no means rich) and shared the same values. It turned out that baby had problems with her urinary tract that needed surgery AND was diagnosed with Juvenile Rhumatoid Arthritis, which is something a teenage mom probably couldn't deal wiht. It was teh right decision and the adoptive parents have raised her to know she was adopted so there was never a "moment" when they had to tell her, she just knew. It has all worked out for the best. Good Luck.

Dory said...

Well I for one happen to like most, if not all children. Guess I just have a big heart that way. I'd also like to think that those people who go into elementary education, childcare, pediatric nursing or any health related job that deals with children, camp counselors, ballet teachers, little league couches, etc. etc. etc. all happen to like children. If not, what a sad sad world we live in.

And yeah, I agree with Bethgo - how can you not like other people's children and yet adopt them?

Jaymee said...

the reference to "other people's children" is speaking to children who have been raised by other people. unless we are speaking of adopting an older child, this is a a moot point. infants who are adopted are exclusively parented by those who adopt them. my biological mother may have given me my eyes, but my adoptive parents taught me how to act in the world.

dory, i think that you need to consider when giving information to others, that how the information is received is highly dependent on the manner and timing in which the information is presented. i am sure that you have valuable resources, and had you given them at a time when the situation was not so volatile they would have benefited her greatly. it is also unfair for you to assume that because she deleted you comment that she did not look at the resources provided.

do you believe that the only people who are acceptable adoptive parents are those who begin wanting to adopt? i can tell you that this is a very small portion of adoptive parents. the vast majority of people who adopt do so because they are unable to have children on their own. this in no way negates their ability to parent a child. if the original commenter had bothered to read emily's previous posts, they would have known that healing from the pain of infertility is something that she takes very seriously and not something that she would ever expect a child to do for her. in fact, it was the main reason that she stopped IVF when she did.

as for the "tough skin," to survive all that infertility throws your way you have to have elephant skin. the examples of comments that you gave are wholly unrealistic. in the 33 years that i have been alive no one has ever asked my mother how much she paid for me or where my real mother is. anyone who would ask these questions deserve a ranting explosion.

i have another question for you and beth. neither one of you have ever been to this blog before. am i right in believing that you have some kind of alert set for emilythehopeless? if so, could you please explain to me why you feel that it is your place to watch her? i am asking because i am honestly trying to understand why this one person adopting is such a big issue to you.

Mama-Beans said...

"Other Peoples Children" referrs to children currently being raised by other people. When they are MY children ( weather that is through genetics OR choice) a child can have no greater a champion. Just because that child is or isn't born to me doesn't make that child MINE. That child is MINE when I choose it. At conception, or through adoption.

Gabby said...

just saying hello.. i am extremely out of the loop on this whole controversy.. just wanted to say hello.. and very eager to hear the next steps on your journey..

FET Accompli said...

Hi Jaymee,

Sending you my support - I am always impressed by your eloquent insight.

Egg Factory said...

That's absolutely ridiculous. Making a family is a personal decision and no one should judge another's choices for how their family is built.

I hope that Emily is recovering from the hurtful things people said.

I love your line "making our child a reality was done because we have loved him or her for years before they were a reality." Very insightful!

ImAfraidToSayNow said...

I was displeased to see that Emily's blog was locked down, especially because I wanted to have a discussion with others in a thread I posted on.

It is a lie to say that Emily was attacked by an entire group of people. A few people, yes -- it's the internet...that happens on every blog. I'm offended you would malign people like me, knowing that we cannot prove the truth because it has been hidden away.

Will you apologize to me and others for telling lies about us?

You have said some very hurtful and false things.

Mama-Beans said...

ImAfraidToSayNow.... "us"? Who is "US"? ~sigh~ the downside to constantly posting anon, methinks. The jackasses who attacked Emily DID in fact attack her, so if you did no such thing, then no one is talking about you, anon. Have a nice day.

Jaymee said...

ImAfraidToSayNow, a blog's comment section is not the appropriate place to have a discussion that has not been invited. the discussion that occured on emily's blog was not invited and was hurtful to her, because it is her place she has every right to close it down.

a group is defined as a number of persons or things ranged or considered together as being related in some way. it is my understanding that all of the adult adoptees who were commenting were from a single message board, if i am wrong in this please correct me. if i am not wrong, then it meets the definition of a group.

could you please be more specific on the hurtful things that i have said? i cannot contemplate apologizing for something that i am not aware of.

Dory said...

MamaBeans - yes, you are correct, possession is 9/10 of the law.

Jaymee - I actually had been to your blog before so I'm not sure why you are claiming that I haven't.

You asked "do you believe that the only people who are acceptable adoptive parents are those who begin wanting to adopt?"

Nope. I believe a lot of people who adopt are not fit to be adoptive parents. If someone can't have a conversation about the losses in adoption - to all members involved without the knee jerk reaction of a hissy-fit, calling people fucking cunts and shutting the door then they are not fit. I've had numerous conversations in person with adoptive and prospective adoptive parents about a vast array of topics surrounding adoption and never once has one stormed off. I've participated in adoptee panels in front of 100s of parents who were able to talk about their infertility and adoption losses.

Adoption is incredibly complex and unfortunately many people, when deciding to go that route generally research HOW to adopt - not the complexities of it. Take Emily for example - she obviously liked to see herself as vastly educated on the topic and became incensed when challenged. She did have a great list of resources in her book list but was missing some very crucial ones - those of the adoptee perspective. One simply cannot be considered educated about adoption when they are leaving out the voice of the adoptee. I hope she reads some of the titles I sent her. I also think you, as an adoptee, might find some of them very interesting.

Jaymee - I have read from numerous woman who face infertility that they are ready to adopt but their husband do not want to. That their husbands have stated that they simply can't love a child who is not their own and want to know how to talk them into it. Do you think they are suitable to adopt?

There are people that adopt for the purpose of indoctrinating children into Christianity. Are they suitable as long as they provide a home?

Where does one draw the line in who is acceptable and who isn't? I would hope it would be more than just not having a criminal record, but alas, seems even that doesn't stop some people. When there is money to be made (adoption being a multi-billion dollar business) seems anyone is approved. Where are the ethics?

You said in the 33 years you have been alive nobody has asked your mother stupid questions pertaining to your adoption. I'm going to assume by your photo that's because your family is white. I am talking about people who adopt outside their race - and YES, again, they have been asked these questions. I know because they have told me in person and wanted to know how to deal with it.

To answer your final question - the only alert I have set up is the keyword "adoption" - that is it.

Mama-Beans said...

Dory, lets not assume. I have two very beautiful princess that I claim as *mine*, and I don't posess them at all. But I did choose them as mine, in a way, and so they are.

Jaymee said...

dory, i am sorry for not realizing that you had been before.

as for the comments that my parents have gotten from others, what i said was that these comments were never about money or my birth mother. you are right that i am the same race as my adoptive family, but i look nothing like anyone in my family and it is obvious that i am adopted as they all have blond hair and blue eyes (grandparents included). i do have a younger sister who is the biological child of my adoptive parents. my mother is to this day asked if she loves/feels more bonded to my sister b/c she birthed her. as a matter of fact, less than a week ago she told people at a party to go to hell after trying to explain to them, unsuccessfully, that she loved us both equally, which she does.

being a suitable adoptive parent requires much more than a lack of a criminal record. as for husbands who are not ready to adopt when their wife is. yes i think they are acceptable candidates. we all know that a baby does not appear the day after the home study is complete. many men are not ready to be fathers and are afraid that they will/cannot love a child that is biologically theirs. i have done many post-placement visits where the husband has told me that he was afraid that he would not be able to love the child, but that he was so surprised that he would do anything world for HIS child. men often do not bond with the child before placement in the same way that women do, but that does not mean that they are not fit to be parents.

as an atheist, i do not feel that it is right to have children, adopted or biological, to indoctrinate them into your religion whatever that religion may be. living in the bible belt, i am well aware that many people feel "called" to adoption, and i do not think there is anything wrong with that. if the choice is between orphanages/foster care/unstable environments and being adopted by people who feel "called" to adoption, i would pick those families every time. having worked with children who have aged out of the foster care system is heartbreaking work. being 18 handed a few bucks and a pat on the back is a recipe for disaster for the majority of these children. i have also been in countries where 6 year old children beg for cigarettes to stave off the hunger. having an imperfect forever family is a better alternative for these children.

there are many people who are not approved for adoption. yes, there are those few cases that manage to slip through the cracks, just as there are those few cases of surrogates who want to keep the baby, but this is not the norm. ethics in the adoption industry happen to be quite high. yes, people make money for doing their jobs, they are fairly compensated for the services that they provide. are they always perfect? NO, but for the most part adoption professionals are committed to ensuring that all members of the triad are cared for.

so my question for you is this, if you were able to design a system under which all adoptions were completed, what would this system look like?

for those of you who are not dory, please feel free to answer this question as well.

i would also like to ask that people do not use foul language here, even if you are just quoting what someone else said.

Soralis said...

What a complicated subject. Sorry to hear about what happened to Emily and hope she is doing alright.

It's a shame that she needed to shut down her blog... I wish the goal was just to support each other in blog world as there is already so much pain in the adoption/infertility ranks. Constructive feedback is so much better especially when someone is hurting which is sounds like she was... anyway that's just my two cents worth.

Good luck with your journey and I can't wait to hear more!

Rachael said...

I just think thats such a shame when people who have no business (so what if you were adopted) just decide to go off on anyone for their personal blog, feelings and whether they are suited to be adoptive parents, shame on anyone who did that to Emily. From what I have read she will be wonderful mother one day, but I am not the one who judges that.

Stefka said...

I apologize if this comes off a little harsh. I just wish to bring up a quick point to remind everyone that this shouldn't have gotten this far out of control.

Some people don't realize that when you publish something for the entire internet world to see..OF COURSE you're going to attract those who disagree with you. Those who post their words on a public forum such as the internet should be prepared for negative feedback and to prepare to defend their statements. It would be just the same as doing a speech in a public area. If you can't handle that the entire world doesn't agree with your statements then perhaps you should reconsider posting a blog. Why not keep a journal instead?

With the internet comes a sense of anonomity that, unfortunately, does encourage some people to share their minds in a very immature manner. I do not know how the comments on the other blog went, but I am sure that only some on each side were being completely immature about it and some were actually trying to encourage a helpful discussion. It's just too bad that those with the immature way of handling seemed to speak the loudest on both sides.

In all, we should take this as a learning experience. If we are not prepared to handle another person's viewpoint, then perhaps using a public blog is not the best plan of action. What I place in my blog and what I discuss privately are two VERY different things. We have to learn that sometimes our private lives are not meant to be spread all over the public forum.

Beegirl said...

Emily was not attacked. As an earlier poster said, an adoptee expressed some concern over things that Emily had posted. She and some of her followers are the ones who flipped out and caused things to get ugly. When you post things in a public forum you need to be open to opinions other than your own, or make it private. It's a blog, aren't they supposed to be interactive?

Jaymee - You say "As an adoptee I felt abandoned, unloved, unwanted, and lived in constant fear of abandonment." If you could do something to change that, wouldn't you? It's great that you are happy now, but why should you have had to go through that then to feel good now? I know that I as an adoptee want to do what ever I can to prevent another child from feeling like that. That's how I felt growing up. The adoptees who are accused of attacking Emily are just looking out for children, the very beings adoption is supposed to be about. Right? Isn't it about the best interests of the child. I don't think best interests should include feeling like that growing up. I don't think that it means that you are a cure for your mothers infertility, or the glue to hold a marriage together. Just because someone wants to be a parent doesn't mean they deserve a child. I wish people would spend more time keeping families together instead of waiting for them to fall apart so they can sweep in and grab the children in the name of charity.

Smated said...

People can be so vial. It is important, when blogging freely, to protect yourself from this sort of thing. I recommend creating an entirely new email if you plan to be using it to correspond with people in this area. An email is all a person needs to learn more about your personal life. I wont go into detail because I don't want to give anyone ideas. Most importantly I think bloggers should purchase privacy on their domain with their registrar. A simple whois lookup can reveal your name, address and phone number.

awomanmyage said...

I've arrived here via ICLW and I am so glad I did!
"Given the chance, all of us would change some parts of our lives; it is part of being human. What makes us adults is the ability to let the wounds grow scabs and become scars. The ability to recognize that we are not defined by our pasts is so incredibly freeing. For me to know that I have survived the pain of so many parts of my life has made me a stronger person."

I just love this part. I forget that in the battle to be a flawless human being, hahaha, it's easy to forget to forgive yourself for being what you are - an imperfect human being.

It meant a lot to me to read it here. As a Buddhist, this is the lesson I have been struggling with for years. It's been an ongoing battle to move on from the past, appreciate what I have now and find joy again.