Yep, I’m going there. I write about the difficult dynamics in adoption, the ones no one wants to talk about.
But before I do, I’m not here to throw my adoptive parents under the bus for what they did or didn’t do wrong. At this point, that’s water under the bridge for me.
I’ve said for many years that Adoptive Parents aren’t my gift. They aren’t in my arena of life, and I have purposely set things up to keep most of them out of my space for mental health and self-care reasons.
I seem to clash with them, and I have carried great fury toward them over the years. Adoptive parents have been the hardest for me to manage out of all the people in the adoption constellation.
My experiences with most adoptive parents have been primarily online, and they haven’t been positive experiences. 99.9% of the time, they don’t have the willingness to want to learn or listen to what adoption feels like from an adult adoptee’s perspective. Online I’ve found them to be damaging, dismissive and emotionally abusive.
Anytime I have tried to share, they end up making it about them and why they adopted, to begin with, their infertility issues, and all they have sacrificed to adopt the child they have. So it’s always about them, and this saddens me.
If I’m being transparent, it MADDENS ME.
They don’t have to listen to me for me, but I think of all their adopted kids who could experience the pain I once did and that so many adoptees experience growing up. Unfortunately, the adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, and adoption officials aren’t telling them the truth. So if there were any way I could help the adoptive parents understand the adoptee’s experience more profoundly, I would be happy to do that when time permits.
I believe adopted adults hold the keys to understanding all the heartache and heartbreak adoptees experience after separation from their biological mother. We also understand life as the adoptee experience. A group of 10 adoptive parents can gather to talk about their adopted kids, but they will never understand the layers and complexities that an adult adoptee can share. We understand the grief, loss, and trauma because we’ve sat in it. We live it each day.
I need to be transparent. My motivation is more for the adoptee because they are the community I pour my heart and soul into. So with that, if networking with the adoptive parents will bring some healing and clarity, I will try, but only if they are willing to listen and learn.
I learned a hard lesson in 2015, about five years after coming out of the fog. When adoptive parents didn’t want to receive the message, I would insert my views, experiences, and words into conversations with adoptive parents online. Then, they would shut me down and silence me, and I would become worked up. I can’t even begin to describe the anguish and emotional triggering I put myself through because interactions online like this happened repeatedly. It seems easy, but it was excruciating when I put myself in these situations!
Until one day, I woke up. Then, I realized I had the power to excuse these frustrating interactions from my life altogether. I learned that the only way my message would be received was if the person was willing to receive the message I wanted to share! Wow, this was a game-changer for me. But, to be completely honest, this isn’t only in the adoption arena.
This is with every area of life.
Once I learned that a small number of adoptive parents wanted to hear from the adult adoptee’s perspective to understand their adoptive child better, things started to shift for me. The small number of adoptive parents I have had significant positive interactions with have given me the hope that some adoptive parents out there have the willingness in them to listen and learn. They genuinely want to try. Thank you for your willingness. I’m sure there are plenty of adoptive parents who want to listen and learn, I just haven’t met them. I actually wrote an article about this one time in 2014 called, Just Listen, That is All.
I realized I was selling myself short when communicating and speaking to adoptive parents. However, the small number of interactions I have had, mostly in real life, have been positive, meaningful, and life-changing. In addition, I have had 1 to 2 positive experiences online with adoptive parents who have reached out to me about advice that have been positive interactions.
While the positive experiences are far and few between, I have chosen to put my mental health first and no longer insert my opinion or experience to adoptive parents online unless they seek me out first. When they come with open hearts and minds, I will consider engaging. I wrote an article about this one time.
With this, I have been able to shift little by little regarding my feelings towards adoptive parents, and because of these positive experiences, I hope things are changing for the better, but we still have a long way to go. So today, I set boundaries and refuse to allow much of my time dedicated to APs because it takes time away from my commitment to adoptees. Wasting time with anyone who doesn’t have the willingness to listen and learn is something I will no longer do. So, I took my power back. If this article resonates with you, I encourage you to do the same.
If you are an adoptive parent, do you have the willingness to have hard, yet truthful conversations with adult adoptees? Do you feel they hold a special value to the adoptee experience? If you have had conversations with adult adoptees, what has that experience been like for you?
If you are an adoptee reading this, what has your experience been like with communicating with adoptive parents? Have you had mainly positive experiences, or have they been similar to mine?
Why do you think adoptive parents are so triggering to many adoptees? If they have been triggering to you, as they have me, is there been anything that helps you navigate these experiences?
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Thanks for reading,
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author, Pamela A. Karanova. Reproduction of the material contained in this publication may be made only with the written permission of Pamela A. Karanova