Personal Politics are Messy

April 16, 2007 at 10:18 pm 11 comments


Lately with Allison Quets behind bars and the story below regarding baby Evelyn and her mother Stephanie Bennett, I’m once again finding myself stewing and, frankly, feeling quite stuck regarding adoption. How did we get here? It’s all so ugly. But, I know how we got here. I know full well. Because of the high demand of healthy, white children for the childless who want to adopt. And just the other day I was wondering how we adoptive parent bloggers (me…) can forge better relationships with first mother bloggers. Maybe that’s asking too much right now. I was having a “Doves Flying Over Rainbows While Everyone Holds Hands In A Circle” kind of moment.

But you know, sometimes I have to whack my own silly head to remind myself that it’s not all about me. But it kind of is. I’ll back up.

My doves & rainbow moments are more frequent lately and I seem absolutely hell-bent on making everyone like everyone in the adoption world. Oh, and everybody better like ME especially. I mean, I’m reading the blogs, commenting and supporting. I’m shouting “you GO grrrl” to everyone’s feelings. And, I really mean everything I write. It’s just that for me, as an almost adoptive parent and adult adoptee (in an 18 year old reunion that started off iffy and parts of it became painful and parts of it ended) I just SO want the validation too. Oh, and if I get more than just one wish…I am kind of over having to be so grateful too. It’s exhausting. I mean, as a mom, no, I’ll never ever stop being grateful. That’s the price of admission. But the grateful adoptee in me is definitely running amok in my head. I really, really wanted the first moms who blog to pat me on the head and give me the approval that I never got in reunion with my own first mother. There. That makes me feel like crap about myself.

I emailed a couple of adoptive parents who have blogs and whose parenting, stances and writings I admire. I asked them how they handle it when others see them as “part of the machine” as I put it. How do they respond to those who accuse them of nothing short of the two situations I started this post with? When I started to write back to one of the women today, I got it. Because what I’m really insecure about is my own stuff. And my own stuff is completely void of any rainbows. Or doves for that matter. I haven’t spoken with my first mother in over ten years and hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of her and feel the space that is left that only she can occupy. So, I was dancing as fast as I could in my shiny shoes for people who don’t know me so that I could bring back one solitary ounce of my mother. Even if it was just for a moment. I know that now. Here’s what I wrote:

“I keep wondering why it means so much to me, or why it bothers me so much that we all can’t agree. I think it has to be some of my adoptee stuff. First, I have always wanted to just be accepted and not be criticized for anything. But, it only just occured to me that there is this whole persistent issue of being grateful. I am exhausted from having the gratitude message being shoved down my throat as an adoptee and so I guess I’m unwilling to do it now as an adoptive parent. I am grateful. I don’t think we have to be at such odds with each other in the adoption world.”

So, I thought of things about my mother that I haven’t thought about in a long time. Like, how I just wanted to feel ok about myself when I was around her, but never did. How I wanted to put adoption aside sometimes so that we could just get to someplace that was real and meaningful. We got there sometimes. But, reunion is hard and that’s a whole other post.

So, I’m getting over myself. It’s slow work but I have a lot to chew on. I’m just going to keep writing what I know is true for me and really work on the needing stuff from others, especially in bloggyland. There’s a lot I can’t fix. But, I can ask you all to sign the petition for baby Evelyn. I can ask you to check out Ethica and the other institutions on my blogroll that deal with ethics in adoption. And I can stop silently asking all the first mothers to “Like me!….really like me!” I can remind myself that I don’t have to try and be all things to all people. I can do that because it is the right thing to do.


Entry filed under: adoptees, Adoption, Adoption Ethics, birth mothers, first mothers, International Adoption, support.

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mom2one  |  April 16, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Very well said. Extremely well said indeed.

  • 2. HeatherRainbow  |  April 17, 2007 at 4:51 am

    It is very brave and strong of you to be on this journey and asking these questions.

  • 3. imtina  |  April 17, 2007 at 8:09 am

    Thank you both very much.

  • 4. imhelendt  |  April 17, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    My Aunt always has two sayings:

    1. You can only please some of the people some of the time. You can’t please all of the people all of the time.

    2. What other people say or do is a reflection of them and not of you.

    She’s a wise one that Auntie. You should listen…

  • 5. Mom to 2 Angels  |  April 17, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    I’m glad you are here. I enjoy reading your unique perspective. Your honesty is beautiful…so are your kiddos 🙂

  • 6. actofkindness  |  April 17, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    I think that the whole thing comes down to insecurities on all sides

    first parents……was my baby in the right hands….will he/she resent me…will this upset my adoptive parrents?

    Child ….. torn between …..birth and adoptive parents….and why was I given up in the first place and who am I.?

    Adoptive parents….. Did I do ok. ?

    The hardest thing for me when My son met his biological father was how can I compete with him,
    my son has never seen this man under pressure, he has never seen him struggle with finances, he has never been disciplined or corrected by this man. this man has never told him he couldn’t do something that he wanted to do. He will only see the side that he is shown. Suddenly I question every decision I have made in my sons life. I ask myself why is he wanting to find his bio dad, was he not happy with the job that I did. will he be wooed by a fancy dinner out or expensive presents that I can’t afford to give him (partly because I have just spent $50 000 on his education)
    Knowing what I know about his boi. dad, will my son be strong enough and wise enough not to recognize the life style choices that I have been “Protecting ” him from his whole life.

    It is a difficult situation all round, but one that NEEDS to be delt with.

    As a note, my son is now 23 married, and is a pastor of a large church . He continued to make the right choices in his life . He only has limited contact with his Bio dad, mostly just for support for his new siblings, who’s life choices have not gone so well.

    As for he and I, it is more than a father Son relationship now….now he is my friend.

  • 7. totaltransformation  |  April 18, 2007 at 4:34 am

    That’s a place where you don’t hear a lot about adopting kids. Congrats. Any child is a blessing- natural or adopted.

  • 8. mama2roo  |  April 18, 2007 at 9:53 am

    I missed the point that you are an adoptee before. That intrigues me all the more as I read about your journey as an adoptive parent. I also have always had a “can’t we all just get along” vision in my head, and wish it were all that easy, especially in the world of adoption. But know, that even when everyone here is not agreeing, holds bitterness for the other side, misunderstands our viewpoint, or yes, even supports us in what we are trying to do, there is learning to be done and it is all so valuable for the children we will bring into our families.

  • 9. Margie  |  April 19, 2007 at 4:58 am

    Tina, wow. I somehow had missed that you were an adoptee as well as a prospective a-parent. And it explains completely your sensitivity to these issues. You just keep writing what you feel – it’s valid, it’s important, and it’s helping a lot of people understand the complexity of adoption much, much better.

  • 10. Lara  |  April 19, 2007 at 5:52 am

    i know where you are coming from with the mother thing only with me its a father thing.i was adopted by my step dad .i left a comment on my blog a few days ago ,regarding this.
    Just like to also say congratulations on your adoption i hope you get to bring your baby home soon.

  • 11. swerl  |  May 15, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    Thanks for this perspective. It’s hard shoving all your personal stuff out there to the world, hoping that you’ll get something kind back.


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