Thursday, February 21, 2008

Reframing the Past

When I started blogging, I didn't imagine I'd stick with it for long.

My ability to commit to long term projects is pretty weak. Many times I've vowed to stop blogging because it's taking away time from working on my novel which, no surprise, is about family secrets and the Closed Era of adoption.

But blogging has proved powerfully irresitable and the readers amazingly supportive. The best part is reading a comment that says...hey...something like that happened to me, too! And I know I'm not alone. That my experience as an adoptee is both extremely personal, yet aspects of it more sadly common than I'd once imagined.

I was reading a review in the SF Chronicle today about Carrie Fisher's solo show, Wishful Drinking, in which the funny Fisher tells us her (sex-drugs-booze-bipolar-disorder-fame-family) life story. "What she wants to do, she tells us, is take control of her life by framing her own narrative."

I guess that's what I've been trying to do. Slogging away at blogging about growing up as an adoptee who had to pretend she was her aparent's bio child.

I had no control. Over anything. Whether I was given away. With what sort of people I would be tied to, forever, by a document I didn't get to sign. What sort of questions I was allowed to ask about my family of origin (none). Even what I felt about adoption. Telling you, in great detail, how you should feel about being adopted is something not limited to adoptive family members. The non-adopted, who have no idea what it's like, are experts on the subject and are more than happy to tell you to buck up, get over it and, their favorite refrain, be grateful (you weren't aborted/at least somebody wanted you/you could have been raised in an orphanage).

So this is where we finally, finally, get to make sense of all OUR mixed feelings and emotions about something that happened to us. Because if you are adoptee, adoption is something that HAPPENS to you.

I like the control I feel when I get to talk about all this adoption stuff.

I'm finally getting to tell my own story.

It's a powerful step among many. Reclaiming ownership. Some have said more adoptees should spend their time trying to reform adoption instead of whining on blogs. Not everybody is cut out to be an activisit. Some are and are damned good at it. Others, well, aren't. But reframing our own life stories, whining included, is especially important to us: a subgroup of citizens denied their original birth certificates...and so much else.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Judy said...

My goodness, I don't think telling about your story honestly is whining at all.

And I, for one, have learned much as an adoptive parent by reading blogs of adult adoptees.

I am the grateful one in this case. :) Heh.

~ Judy

10:48 AM  
Blogger Nina said...

Well, Judy...

You are definitely open minded. Actually, while I've had some APs say this, I've actually heard it MORE from people who have no connection to the Triad and know little about adoption. Then, of course, there are adoptees who say they are well adjusted and just don't understand the necessity to talk about something that is simply not that big of a deal with them!

I'm grateful for the listen. It's lovely to know there are open minded individuals out there!

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so thankful that I "found" your blog. It has opened up so much for me....some good and some not so good but always a learning experience. Your blog has given me a space where I can share part of my story and have the confirmation by you and others that it is o.k. to feel and react the way that I do.
I was in tears by the time I got to the "you should be grateful part" and that just hurt so much. It was something that I was told,even when I was acting out something that I was caused by something that I was not even aware of at the time.
I believe that all of us who were adopted HAVE been so altered(even if you don't know it and think everything is O.K.)Hopewaits

2:06 PM  
Blogger Julie McCoy said...

hi there. i just found your blog and had to ask: did you go see wishful drinking? i did, and i loved it. i also found her approach fascinating. my favorite line was "if my life wasn't an anecdote, it would just be true. and that is unacceptable."
as an adoptee who grew up constantly trying to make up stories to stay ahead of the kids who tormented me for not looking like anyone in my family, i found it utterly relate-able.....

11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was adopted back when we were "chosen babies" as an adult, I adopted my daughter. After a lifetime of single parent extended giving, nurturing, support and love, it all turned out terribly. My grown daughter both lies to me and steals from me. She's angry, hostile and blaming. Yes, I have a granddaughter I'm not allowed to see and that's the way it's going to stay. Some people - regardless of adoptive or 'natural' are just not worth the effort. And for all you who need to rant about your poor, little, misunderstood selves - get over it. How you got here doesn't matter one whit - it's what you do here that counts - stop all the bellyaching.

10:53 AM  
Blogger GooseBreeder said...

'Anonymous', so sad you don't understand at all the trauma we all go through at being removed from our mothers..'the primal wound'.Of course adoption would turn out terribly because you haven't dealt with your issues because you think you have none.
How you got here does matter, so does having your own family history, being able to tell the truth of our experiences and not continue to live the lies, the pretence of the adoption story which makes society feel good and virtuous.
Those 'poor,little,misunderstood selves" are our baby selves crying in the dark, alone,unloved and uncomforted.We have the right to get over it in whatever way we need to, to derive comfort from each other and not to be subjected to further abuse especially by someone who has been there too.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'bad fit' and 'pretending'
I am an adoptee who knows these words.
ADOPTIVE PARENTS CAN BE STUPID, TASTELESS and INFERIOR TO THE ADOPTEE.
THEY SHOULD BE PREVENTED FROM ADOPTING CHILDREN MORE INTELLIGENT THAN THEMSELVES.

Immediate families and their friends are affinity groups.
THEY CHOOSE EACH OTHER, BUT THE ADOPTED CHILD HAS NO CHOICE.THE ADOPTED CHILD IS A HOSTAGE TO STUPIDITY OF THE ADOPTED PARENT.

AND IT IS A CRIME THAT A MENTALLY SUPERIOR CHILD CAN BE ADOPTED BY STUPID PEOPLE.

SURROGATE PARENTING USING A DONOR EGG IS STEALING AN ADOPTEE's RIGHT TO CHOOSE and it SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.

THERE SHOULD BE LAWS REQUIRING INTELLIGENCE TESTING OF PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE PARNETS TO SEE IF THEY ARE CAPABLE OF PARENTING THE INTELLIGENT BABY OR CHILD THEY ARE THINKING OF ADOPTING.
IF THEY ARE NOT EQUAL MENTALLY TO THE CHILD, THEY SHOULD BE PREVENTED FROM ADOPTING THAT CHILD.
'Baby Girl Moroni' (child of Elpidia)

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