Thursday, August 02, 2007

20 things....

I was looking at excerpts from " Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge and I am amazed at the authority in which these books are written. She also wrote Twenty Life Transforming Choices Adoptees Need to Make and I don't think she holds one title of merit.... She has interviewed more than seventy adoptees (this makes her an expert?) and I know she is a Christian woman and formed an organization, Jewel Among Jewels Adoption Network, Inc., which "helps educate people about the unique needs of the adopted child" and publishes a quarterly newsletter, Jewel Among Jewels Adoption News. I just can't agree with what she is saying...she writes these books based on her own feelings and experiences and believes everyone must feel the same.

She begins the book by saying:
"Outwardly we appeared to be a close family, We took vacations together and played golf together, I remember my parents proudly watching the events of my life unfold. I was a model child;captain of the cheer leading team, first chair clarinet, homecoming representative for my class. But behind the scenes I was starving myself, being sexually promiscuous and stealing. My parents didn't have a clue. I never thought about the discrepancy between good/girl/bad girl aspects of my life or considered sharing my struggles with my parents. I was driven by a force I wasn't aware of.
What was the problem? Was it my parents? Were they second rate? NO! Was it me? Was I damaged goods because I was adopted? NO! A million times, no. The problem was ignorance-ignorance about unresolved adoption loss and the need to grieve."
Another quote:
"To deny adoption loss is to deny the emotional reality of everyone involved."
Still another:
"An Adoptee's wounds are hardly ever talked about. They are the proverbial pink elephant in the living room"
and my favorite...
"Grief is the natural response to loss, and those touched by adoption must be given permission to revisit emotionally the places of loss, feel the pain, scream the anger, cry the tears and then allow themselves to be loved by others" she kidding?
In the book she talks about Adopted parents wondering why their adopted child is acting out?She claims it to be them being adopted of course. What would they be asking if the child wasn't adopted? Biological children act out...what does that mean then?

It would be different if she was talking about children who were not infants when adopted....but she includes everyone. She writes that EVERYONE needs to grieve when adopted....I SO disagree with that....and I have hundreds of other people that I've spoken with or e-mailed that feels the same. There may be some exceptions, but it boils down to just a way to explain some people's problems. I guess if it helps them to believe can't hurt. But don't claim everyone is needing to "scream the anger and cry the tears" from loss that many adoptees don't even feel.

If you go back and read the first quote from her book - you notice something interesting. "Outwardly we appeared to be a close family" - that tells me right there that something was wrong in her adopted family. I think more people need to look into how they were brought up - maybe the family didn't accept them fully or give them the love they needed? Maybe they held adoption over their heads. One blogger writes all the time how great her aparents were but then turns around and writes about how her mother would say digging things about her being adopted....sorry, but that doesn't all add up. No wonder one gets psychologically damaged....

Beware of the books - take everything with a grain of salt and check the credentials - anybody can write a book....


Cmommy said...

Hi, friend! Great post.

emerald city said...

TO QUOTE YOU: "In the book she talks about Adopted parents wondering why their adopted child is acting out?She claims it to be them being adopted of course. What would they be asking if the child wasn't adopted? Biological children act out...what does that mean then?"

PLEASE just TRY to understand this, for YOUR child's sake, PLEEEASE!!

Regardless of your comment above, your daughter/son MAY ACT OUT DUE TO ADOPTION TRAUMA/ISSUES/EMOTIONS.

and IF so, your daughter/son would benefit best by having your SUPPORT! That's a no-brainer.

If all you do is try to prove that adoption has NOTHING at all to do w/ ANY problems your child may encounter (which btw, IS what 95% of your posts are in regards to) HOW will THAT help your child ??!??

Please educate yourself and TRY to realize that your son/daughter MAY have problems stemming from adoption and will need your support, understanding and unconditional love.

That does NOT mean you are a bad adoptive parent. Each child/situation is different. Don't seek where to lay the "blame".

Focus on doing the BEST for your son/daughter by listening, by loving them, by validating ALL their feelings.

petunia said...

emerald city,

thank you for your concern - I know you are looking out for my daughter's best interest. Don't worry, IF she begins to have some trouble I am well aware of what adoptees say they "suffer". However, I will be careful NOT to jump to the conclusion that it is due to adoption issues. I do think some children may have been traumatized/abused and this can leave psychological marks as a result. Most infant adoptions, however, do not fall into this category. But, I won't rule anything out if that's what you are worried about. She will have to wait until she's over 18 but I'll probably be the first one to suggest she meet her bios - that's just because I'm coming at this from a different angle.

MomEtc. said...

I've read both books and I tucked Eldridge's ideas away in the back of my mind, for future reference. My kiddos are still small, but as they grow older, I'll certainly be aware of the issues that may come up (and some that most certainly will come up).

As I think more and more about the circumstances of my children's early lives (e.g., abandonment)I cannot imagine that they will come through emotionally unscathed. However, I do think there's an important point you make. Not everything is due to adoption in and of itself. I've read enough blogs to know that adoption by lousy, self-centered parents can be a huge factor. I've also seen adoptees who blame everything on adoption....which doesn't even seem possible.

emerald city said...

Mometc: Good points, great comment!

Petunia: I guess bottom line the "problem" I see w/ your viewpoint is basically your continuous need to always separate "infant adoptions" from any other.

Your child was an "infant adoption" therefore I understand the need to want to disprove the fact that they may have adoption issues.

I just don't know. Perhaps you don't actually view things so black and white IRL, perhaps you don't throw people into categories and expect them to act accordingly w/out any variations at all.

I just still sense such a STRONG need in you to place your child in the "happy adoptee" category, a category where issues/emotions regarding their adoption simply cannot exist.

I just hope you allow your child to be "who" they are. Not provide a rigid mold for them and force them to fit into it.

I HAVE encountered an adoptee, who was adopted as an infant and who had a very loving, stable childhood and YES, they are affected by their infant adoption. Doesn't mean they allow it to run (or ruin) their life, just means it is something which will always be "with" them, affecting their life....sometimes negatively. It's something they need to discuss and YES, their adoptive parents have NO clue, nor are they capable of offering the needed support.

Many blog authors whom you attack are exposing their deepest feelings, their innermost turmoil. They are deep, intellectual and honest. I as a first mother DEEPLY APPRECIATE their public journals.

I still haven't exactly figured out the "point" of your blog. You don't elaborate much on your feelings in regards to your adoption and the blog isn't about your adoptive child (as some are).

Perhaps you could show a deeper side of yourself in a post so that we may all learn more of the real Petunia.

petunia said...

thank you for your comment. I do not write about my daughter and her adoption-I'm talking about myself in this blog.
To show a deeper side of myself do I need to expose some deep sadness or longing? What if I don't have a longing or sadness to unearth? My point to my blog (now anyway, it's not why I started it) is to show that there ARE many adoptees who do NOT feel the things that the adoptees on other blogs say they feel. Do I deny them those feelings - no - I do believe they are feeling something. But, I have had a happy life, I actually don't even have any "baggage",no "skeletons in my closet", no bad experiences in my life that I cannot overcome. am I much different than most adoptees? I really don't think so--and I feel very sorry for those who have problems.
But, can I not be a deep person being happy and content? I never really acted out, my adopted friends and family never acted out - because of adoption anyway. All children act out to some degree... why should we say it's from being adopted?
What are these issues you all talk about? I would really like to know what people say adoptees should all feel and go through that's any different from all other children.
Sometimes don't you think it's self fulfilling prophecy?
I also have made it very clear I am talking about infant adoption...i was with a foster family for three months and then placed with my family. I have suffered no ill affects.
I know all biomoms would like to have all the adoptees feel these things...most may long for a child that was placed to run back to them later in life and say "I never felt normal without you". I'm sorry that for biomoms that usually is not the case...
I understand then where you are coming from, but I just cannot agree.
Rest assured I will not ignore things that go on in my daughter's life and I will not deny things that she goes through if they are bad. I am a practical person, I have a masters degree and I have studied enough psychology to understand the basics. I also have many adoptee friends and family and we are all a good support group.

Tishslp said...


In my honest opinion, I have never heard Petunia mention her baby with anything other than enormous love and pride. She appears, to me, to take her mothering responsibilites very seriously. She has in no way, overt or subtle, indicated that she is not sensitive to the feelings of her daughter. What she, IMO, seems to be saying is that 1. she is not convinced that all adoptees are unhappy and secretly long for their birthparents and 2. She's not willing to tell her daughter she "understands her pain" when her daughter MAY not exhibit said pain. It seems to me to be responsible parenting to avoid "planting" seeds of discontent, particularly if your evidence to date has not convinced you that the discontent is universal. She HAS, repeatedly, said that IF her daughter approaches her with feelings of adoption-related trauma, then she will support and encourage her daughter in all appropriate ways.

I'm sure you don't mean it this way, but it almost seems like you don't feel Petunia can be a good mom without instructing her daughter that adoptees always feel life-long pain.

emerald city said...

Thanks for your elaborate comment! I feel quite a few of your posts are just "surface" quoting this and that, not about the actual "you". Your comment was more of what I was looking for.

I appreciate your honesty and I AM TRULY thrilled that their are adoptees w/out deep "scars" out there.

While I agree that infant adoptions ARE entirely different, the "loss" is still there, affecting each adoptee in varying degrees. It depends on your genes, nuture and perhaps the largest part is the influence of the childhood/adoptive parents. This I agree w/. I also agree there are many who try to lay the blame (for all wrong in their life) on adoption. We need to take the responsibility for our own lives ultimately. We can change our futures, if we wish.

I do have to correct you when you stated: "I know all biomoms would like to have all the adoptees feel these things...most may long for a child that was placed to run back to them later in life and say "I never felt normal without you". I'm sorry that for biomoms that usually is not the case...
I understand then where you are coming from, but I just cannot agree."

I, as a first mother (in reunion w/ my son for 6yrs) was immediately relieved, ecstatic, overjoyed (hell, I can't even find strong enough words to describe the emotion) to find out my birth-child appeared well-adjusted and quite accomplished. NO, he did not come running back into my arms expressing a huge loss. I did NOT ever want that, for to ME, that would indicate that their adoptive family did not provide what was needed or that a bond did not take place. I was thrilled that the family was still together, supportive of each other during the search. That meant the world to me.

Although my birth-child did not "run into my arms" expressing a huge loss nor were they seeking a "mother" (for they have one) I AM able to be a close friend, and yes, some "mothering" is allowed ;)

Common sense would tell me that first moms want the VERY, VERY best for their relinquished children. I know I do. The "very best" (IMO) would include a sense of self-esteem, confidence in themselves, a continuous desire to expand their knowledge, and above all, to truly realize what is most important (to them) in life and strive for that everyday. Lastly, to search and find "who" they truly are and to be as happy, HAPPY w/ their life.

That's where I enter the picture now that reunion has occurred. I will always be here. Here to answer any questions, to help in anyway I can. To provide unconditional love. Not to continually force myself into his life life, but to allow him most of the control and to ease into the comfortable niche he has made for me in his life.

True, he may/may not have deep "issues" that he keeps tucked inside. If so, he may not discuss those w/ me due to fear of hurting me, perhaps he is a private person concerning those feelings, or perhaps he is generally "ok" w/ it all. I don't pry. Again, this brings me back to the adoptee blogs. IMO the majority of these adoptees lead successful, generally "happy" lives. Their blogs are simply their "therapy" if you will, where they express their innermost feelings. IMO ALL people's feelings should be validated, not ridiculed. I listen and read w/ tremendous interest, NOT because I secretly hope my son is struggling inside as some are, but because I AM interested in the "life of an ADOPTEE" (if you will) and my son happens to be one. I am generally a very open-minded person sincerely wanting to acquire as much knowledge as I can. My son is the most important thing in my life. I want to be prepared for any scenario which may come up in the future. I believe that is what "good" parents do. Educate themselves, not put on blinders.

petunia said...

Tish, thank you.
I don't write about my daughter - this blog was always about me. I began how I felt during the time we were adopting and it has changed into a defense of adoption and adoptees.
I think I understand you a little better and I hope you understand me a little more too. I have nothing against people's feelings and it makes me sad that some people have been so mistreated in any/all aspects of adotion, I know it's not perfect, that's for sure - anytime there are people involved (and money) you will have some problems.
My beef are with people who say all adoption is bad and all adoptees are messed up. I wrote "I know all biomoms would like to have all the adoptees feel these things.." but I guess I don't believe just seems many biomoms who are so unhappy wish that. IMO adoption is the most difficult for the biomom and I understand their anger a little more.