You may be susceptible, says Lori Jane, if "critical thinking scares you because you were taught to be positive," and "you believe in White Jesus."
Lori Jane's post generated 43 comments, some of them chastising her for being so shrill and angry.
One anonymous adoptive mother said this: "Some people enjoy having a miserable outlook and a victim mentality. That is the 'syndrome' I diagnose you with. You get what you put out in the world. Karma baby. You are looking for the evil, girl. It's you who is the A.S.S. Love, an adoptive mother of a Korean daughter."
The subject of adoption unfortunately elicits so much hurt and anger! Lori Jane is justifiably aggrieved because in her situation as an adopted daughter, she has not been acknowledged for the unique human being she really is. The view of the anonymous adoptive mother that Lori Jane should ignore the negatives and simply look for the positive is one that adopted people often hear. As author and family therapist Corie Skolnick says, "From my point of view, the pressure that adoptees get to 'get over it, already' is all too often coming from sources that have a need for the adoptee to be 'fine.'"
Adoption is often glorified in our culture, and the perspective of adopted adults is rarely sought. Whenever we as adoptees criticize any aspect of adoption, we are often attacked and dismissed as being "emotional" or an exception to the rule. As a mature adopted person, I see some serious ethical problems with the institution of adoption, and I realize now that much of what I believed as a child simply isn't true. I try hard in my writing to be respectful to all the people involved and to direct my criticism to the adoption system itself.
I have seen the tendency for some in the adoption reform movement to castigate all adoptive parents for participating in an unjust system, and I have seen adoptive parents get defensive and angry in return. I regret that there is so much infighting, but given the state of adoption law today, such emotional disagreements, I'm afraid, are inevitable. As an adoptee, I think I understand Lori Jane's anger and frustration. I would guess that in her adoptive family she was treated more like an object to be saved through an unbending ideology than the unique human being she was and is.
The point is that Lori Jane's story is her story alone, not the story of every person affected by adoption. And if we can open ourselves up to really hear what she is saying, we can most likely learn something truly important. As one commenter says to the anonymous adoptive mother, "Lorijane has really great ideas here. You may want to consider them and figure out how to be the best parent to your Korean daughter so she is not caused the anguish and heartbreak so many other adoptees have been forced to face including racism, otherizing, bullying, and abuse. This is an opportunity to grow, take seriously what is being said, and try to understand. You are not the expert on Korean adoption just because you are an adoptive mother."
Some adopted people and original mothers are going to write with frustration and anger because they have been hurt so badly by the adoption system, and for a long, long time now, few people have acknowledged their pain. As Lorraine Dusky, an original mother and co-founder of the First Mother Forum, explains, "When the adoption industry and adoptive parents in general have worked so hard to seal original birth certificates and obliterate the natural mother, the time for mild language is long gone."
My style is milder than that of some others, and I long for the day we can all work together across the adoption spectrum to bring about much-needed reform. But it seems to me that anger is often justified, and that it is a necessary part of the adoptee rights movement. Until we express our anger, no one pays attention. For example, a group in New Jersey has been lobbying for an adult adoptee rights bill for over 30 years now, only to be blocked every legislative cycle by some kind of back room deal brokered by monied and powerful lobbies that benefit financially from the practice of adoption. Just how long can grown people who are willfully excluded by law from knowing their own history be expected to remain patient and polite?
Some in the adoption reform movement are brash and uncompromising, and they are often the ones making the most progress. It is hard to ignore the indefatigable Kevin Vollmers at Land of Gazillion Adoptees, for example. When media outlets run adoption stories without the adoptee voice and position agency CEOs as the "experts," he calls them out on it, and we are just starting to see some change in that area. When Vollmers publicly criticizes major stakeholders in adoption, he doesn't mince any words. The stakeholders often call him back. In my opinion, we need the "shrill" voices at this moment in time.
When one commenter complains about Lori Jane's offensive tone, another responds with this thoughtful observation:
"This reminds me of women being told to not be so 'shrill' when fighting for their rights at various points in history
I think there are times when the entire boat needs to be rocked in order to get something to happen. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said of the Civil Rights Movement: 'I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling Block in this stride towards freedom is not the white citizen's counciler or the Ku Klux Klan but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than justice.'
I think many adoptees are reaching the 'regrettable' conclusion that those who want them to soften their voices simply want the status quo of adoption to continue."
Our culture continues to discount the pain that many adopted people and original mothers have suffered, and it continues to be complacent about sealed birth records, a practice that cannot be defended by any empirical measure. Until those facts are addressed, we can count on seeing a lot of angry comments and posts. And when it comes to social justice, it is often those angry voices that finally make complacent people sit up and take notice.
(For wise advice on how to read adoption articles without getting offended, please see Amanda Woolston's post, "How to Read an Adoptee Blog Without Getting Offended.")
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