I read your article that appeared on WIRED on 4th March 2021 titled Adoption Moved to Facebook and a War Began. I feel drawn to write a response in regard to it. You come across as someone who has done their research around the topic of adoption, quoting laws and papers that people can search for and read for themselves. However one opinion is very obviously missing from the article. I am not sure if you have come across the term “adoption triad”, I am sure you have, as you have clearly done your background reading, but the third side of the triad was missing, so I am going to try and attempt to provide that, and who knows with the power of the internet, you may get to read this, and you may feel compelled to reach out to an adoptee and write another article, putting our side across. I can provide names of several who have written on this topic, Anne Heffron, Pamela Cordano and Gabrielle Glaser to name just a few.
First of all, a short explanation of how I came to be writing my blog. In July 2020, when I joined the Hay House 7 day writer’s challenge, all I wanted to do was to write my story, one of adoption in the 1960’s, to a middle class white British family, and how in my late teens, I had met my birth parents and how that had panned out. I wa unprepard for the question posed by Kelly Notaras, which was, “Which two books do you want to see your book sandwiched between on the shelf at the bookstore?” I had absolutely no idea of any books that had been written around adoption, and so in the “stay at home” period of 2020, I spent a fortune on books, ranging from “Primal Wound” by Nancy Verrier to “You Don’t Look Adopted” by Anne Heffron. If you haven’t read them, I highly reccommned them. I also joined several facebook groups and even set my own up, in an effort to help adoptees find some healing as well as peace and joy in their hearts after adoption Finding Joy Community.
So with that bit of background to me I’ll ask “Are you sitting comfortably – with your favourite beverage in your hand – then I’ll begin.”
I am now going to ask you to imagine that it is 2047, and that you are Erin’s daughter, and her mother has just passed away. She is going through her mother’s belongings and finds the paperwork of her parents paying $25000 with an adoption agency. How do you think she feels at this moment Samantha? How do you think it feels as an adult to find that your parents bought you for that amount? Any amount? How do you think an adoptee feels when they realise that there was a price put on their relinquishment?
How do you think that young woman feels having spent her entire life trying to fill a void in Erin and Justin’s life, that was left by infertility? The chances are she looks nothing like them, but even if she did, she is a constant reminder that it took another couple to provide for them, what they couldn’t provide for themselves. That due to their career choices, they left it too long before starting a family of their own. So this baby/child is bought, to fill that hole. This child who is now grieving for it’s own family, it’s mothers’ arms, it’s mothers’ heartbeat, it’s mother’s smell that it has come to know in it’s nine months in utero, has now been asked to be part of Erin and Justin’s “Gotchaa” celebrations, whilst in reality she is grieiving. Think turning up at a wake only to find that the music is blaring for a dance party, fireworks are going off and people are laughing and celebrating, and then spreading it all over facebook at how proud you are of your “gotcha date”. From where I am sitting I am reminded of the child snatcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. ” Come here little boy – Gotcha!” Are you beginning to get an idea of how the adoptee community feels Samantha around other families celebrating getting them, whilst the baby is struggling to deal with feelings that it has no words for yet?
Erin appears to want things both ways. She wants to use facebook and the internet to get what she wants, but she is surprised when people who have been on the receiving end of her wants, fight back. Admittedly people tend to lose their ability to self-regulate when they become passionate, as key board warriors, but could that be because they know the pain and hurt that adoption causes, and that it is not pleasant to live with, and they want to help just one baby be kept within it’s family, rather than become a “fix” for someone else’s infertility issues.
There is little to no help for adoptees to try and understand their feelings and emotions. I am 60 and am only really just beginning to come to terms with it just now. I knew it affected all my relationships with men, throughout my 20’s 30’s and 40’s. After all who would want to stick around in my life and love me, when my own mother didn’t? The one person in the whole wide world who is going to stick around for you doesn’t, so why should some random man or woman you may meet going to remain by your side. Ask any adoptee? They’ll tell you that relationships are hard for them. They keep people at arms’ length. I wonder if Erin or Justin had done any research around how adoptee’s feel growing up away from their biology, away from their heritage, away from their genes? How do you think it feels to not be able to answer the question “Any herediatry dieseases in your family?”, when you go to the doctors? When you are pregnant yourself? You are left saying “I don’t know I was adopted”. How important is it to you Samantha to know what may or may not reveal itself in your genes in your lifetime, or what you may pass on to your children? I know, I know, we have DNA tests now, we adoptees can find out all this information, but d’you know what, it would be so much nicer if we could join in the conversations around the dinner table, when people are comparing physical attributes. Do I have my mother’s or my father’s eyes? Am I going to get knock knees like great aunt so and so? Why do I not feel drawn to being an attorney like my mother? Simple everyday questions that the adoptee cannot particiapte in around the dinner table, and leaves the table feeling only part of a person. Their family cannot understand what is wrong with them, why they act the way they do, because they have never researched the psychological trauma that is inflicted on the very young brain of a baby that is relinquished. They have not read the pPrimal Wound or watched Paul Sunderland’s video. Despite knowing that the bonding between mother an child starts long before the baby is born, we still think that it is okay to part a baby from it’s mother the moment that it is born. We have greater laws surrounding animals and their separation from their mothers than we do human beings. Does that surprise you Samantha? In animal circles it is well known that puppies separated from their mother’s before 8 weeks are more difficult to train, have behavioural problems and are more likely to end up in dogs’ homes for rehoming, than puppies that remain with their mothers. And yet Erin was happy to be the one to cut the cord, and sit with the baby in NICU. I wonder if the baby would have had the same breathing issues if she was able to lie on her mother’s chest and hear her heartbeat, smell her smell, and hear her voice. How distressed do you think that baby may have been, being surrounded by strangers and strange smells and sounds Samantha, did you ever stop to consider that when you wrote your article?
I could go on how it feels to be an adoptee, but I won’t. What struck me when I read your article was how in the past year we have heard Mark Zuckerberg go on about spreading misinformation regarding the covid 19 situation and the vaccine, labelling critical thinkers as conspiracy theorists, and sticking fact checker stickers across anything that doesn’t fit the narrative. Your article unfortunately for me came into that category. I am not an “anti-adopter” I am not anti-anything. I am very much a pro person. I am pro keeping medical and bodily autonomy. I am pro informed choice, I am pro keeping the family together whenever possible. And yet Mr Zuckerberg allows the buying and selling of children via his social media platform, with all the potential for child porn and child trafficking that comes with it. You may see this as a nice juicy topic to write about, I see a much bigger picture. With all his fact checkers I am sure he could put a stop to this today if he wanted to. For me personally, I wish he would, and I am sure many adoptees would do too.
I have been one of the lucky adoptees. Laws in the UK are very different to those in the US. I got my social files, I know the circumstances behind my adoption. I probably was better off being adopted that being left with my mother who, reading between the lines, was suffering with post natal depression after the birth of my elder sister. Maybe if she had had support and correct diagnosis and treatment I could have been raised by her. I may have a whole different set of issues, who knows. What I do know is that I could have sat at the dinner table and compared our eyes, our noses, our mouths, our double chins. She could have told me all about her labour that brought me into the world. I wouldn’t find out that she had paid $150 a month in facebook ads to look for a teenage pregnancy or a granny. Now that is direct marketting and buying a baby if ever I heard it. Shouldn’t that be illegal?
So for now I continue doing the research for my own story. And the 2 books that I would like my book to sit between on the shelf in the bookstore? Nancy Verrier’s Primal Wound and Anne Heffron’s You Don’t Look Adopted. I recommend them to you and I recommend them to anyone who is thinking of adopting someone elses’ baby.
Bessings and I look forward to hearing from you Samantha. Have a great weekend.