Thursday, April 12, 2007

USA Today article on "Meet The Robinsons"

Traveling and in Cleveland for the week, I've been reading USA Today for the last couple of days. Interestingly enough, adoption has been front and center both days. In Wednesday's addition, an announcement that Russia is stopping adoption inefinitely is front page. In today's edition on page 9D under "Behavior", Steve Fries talks about the unfavorable response from adoption advocates on the Disney movie. Oh my oh my, how toes getting stepped on speak out!

Adam Pertman of the Evan B. Donaldson makes a wonderful point in defense of children eligible for adoption.

Ellen Shapiro, a psyschotherapist in New York, an adoptive parent of a Vietnamese girl cannot decide whether to leave the movie or not?

The article includes the statement - "That setup has disturbed hundrds of adoptive parents and their children, stoking abandonment and rejection fears originating from a story that does not accurately reflect how adopted children are placed with families," says Adam Pertman.

So here's my point - the adoptive parent is speaking up, but where is the voice of the adoptee? I respect the adoptive parents view because I'm an adoptive parent - but where is the voice of the adoptee? I understand I'm in an unusual position to see from two sets of lenses, but dammit, when will these writers get the scoop from the adoptee. So adoptees - please tell me how you feel? Tell them how you feel. Tell them that adoption is not all it's cracked up to be. Yes, there is an ugly ugly side where the barren adoptive population is simply out shopping for kids!

Send your comments, write to Steve Fries and Adam Pertman. Get your voices heard!


Ungrateful Little Bastard said...

Oh, Lordy Lordy Lordy. I checked out the USA article on the web against my better judgement. There's only one comment there now but it's a doozie.

Nice post 3G, thanks.

Gwendolyn C. Natusch said...

I'm visiting your blog via the Chosen Babies online forum. I am an adoptee. I am also an step parent who legally never adopted my three children whose mother died when they were all very young (3, 4, and 6). But, in all of our hearts we have adopted each other. Perhaps this is the key. I have never had the kind of relationship with my kids that I had with my adoptive parents who already had three birth daughters. My mother was in her 40s as her duaghters headed off to college. She wasn't sure what to do with herself in the "empty nest" phase and so she decided to adopt two kids. My relationship with my parents has always been different than that of my adoptive siblings. Me and mine have always been one step removed. I don't think that they have meant to do this...I think it is organically how people respond. Of course there are those who can rise above this kind of thing. I say all of this because I don't think that adoption is an either or situation; to have or not to have. Can we as humans always follow a high moral imperative when it comes to things like continueing a family?

Gwendolyn C. Natusch said...

I don't believe that everyone can or does. I think this issue points to the human condition...we just fall short so many times in so many situations. I've often described this in terms of the story of the ugly duckling who finds his natural flock and discovers that he is a swan and thus embraces his natural state of beingness and calls it beautiful. However, one seldom asks the duck who watches the swan fly away into the celebration of who he is what her take on it is. I am convinced that the duck is saying to herself, "What a sweet bird, but how ugly are his feathers and his feet and his beak." The "adoptive" mother duck does not find herself in the swan and so there is a biological distance and a loss of recognition of the authentic being in the swan. I think this is so in adoption. How do we close this chasm? So the issues on the front page and the issues we bat back and forth around adoption talk about the symptoms and not the core. The core issues being our ability as human beings to embrace and hurtle the chasm found organically in the human condition. Having empathy and compassion is one thing, but living lovingly, equitably, correctly and in ways that honor adoptees is quite another story. Perhaps that is the remedy in many hear the stories of adoptees. Not the ones that bash adoptive parents or bash birth parents...but the stories that evenly show the challenges and pains couched in a sense of triumph over the odds. A story that shares the hurtles, the triumphs, and thus outlines the challenges we need to overcome in our society in regards to adoption and raising children that are not biologically our own. We relate to stories. Adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth mothers all have heroic journey stories to tell and in the telling of them people open their hearts when they are told in ways that show this healing and triumph. When we can see the struggle and relate with compassion people are internally motivated to make change. If we don't change the story from "us and them" or mistreatment and anelic adoptive situations then we miss the beauty and deeper meaning of the journey of those who find themselves among the triad. The movie reflects this misunderstanding. In a way it is a lack of maturity in people to embrace the subtlties of the situation and perhaps this is because they don't know the stories and so are not given the scoop.

I don't want to "speak out" and much as I want to get quiet and tell a story that is complete with emotion, invitation to the lsitener, and celebration of the strength of the human spirit to adapt, overcome, and to become the hero in their own tale. In this way perhaps people will engage in change for the burden of solution does not rest solely on their shoulders but embraces a "we" instead.


SusieNC62 said...

I had not heard about this movie as my son, at 21, doesn't go to Disney movies anymore. ( Really there are times I would rather.... ) So I had to go over to the USA TODAY and read the comments.

It is so odd....I never realized that, as adoptees, we are a "special interest group". I just thought we were almost like everyone else; except they never had to hear a story about how wanted they were, about how loved they were...but they were given away to have a better life. So basically, you cut, we bleed- just the same as every other kid. Only they know WHY they are HERE, they have issues/items that match their parents....down to signatures and handwriting.....they never sat through College Genetics and realized two blue-eyed parents don't have brown-eyed children.
(That was the viewpoint of the early 80s). They see themselves as a FIT in life...they match people known as parnets!

So that is what makes a "special interest group"??? People who want to know what happened with the "shady lady on the porch?" Who really have grown up, so ashamed of this fact, that there are only 4 poeple living who know??? To be an adult and still want an answer to why she kept the other 3, but left me behind? To hear my son say "You will NOT meet those people without me!" Oh...that is right....I need protection against them still???

I, very luckily, had a great life with my a parents ( and I HATE that parents have to have a term in this "life".) They are older now and support my search completely.They have always supported me unconditionally. And I made that really hard to do!!

I e-mailed every presidential candidate and ask if OPEN ACCESS could be legislated Nationally?!?!?! And if so, what was their position?????

Not one word back- not from any of them......So my take on the movie is the reviewer was right. Adoptees will internalize and say "I knew it!!" "I knew she could leave that easily!" "What IS wrong with me?" but as with most children, it will be filed in the "what is wrong with me" adoptee file. And they will continue to fill that file with all kinds of comments until at which point their brain can no longer hold all of the issues and the file breaks open one day. I REALLY GET THE PO issue and I recognized I STILL live that I just began therapy with a wonderful women who was featured in Ann's book....One of the "Girls Who Went Away" will help me with the damage I caused my own self....because I never bought the stories of my aparents....I never felt CHOSEN?!?!?!? And I knew better than to tell ANYONE....I held a shamful secret!!

Ok, back to the movie again, it certainly HIGHLIGHTS what it takes to find those first parents. Now I have to build a TIME MACHINE?!?! Yeah, that would be better than the TRY TO GAIN ACCESS TO A FILE IN NORTH CAROLINA THAT IS 44 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!! Of course, no one but other adoptees will even get that part. Disney has the search effort down!

As far as the interviews just validates what I always feared....what will I do that will make them "take me back?" But remember those other children will bury that as a TOLD YOU SO reponse. Those responses are so subtle, yet dangerous that we don't even know we are doing it.

Shame on them for perpetuating the myth and making children feel that shame more closely. And thanks for embarassing those that go with friends who don't know their shameful secret......


SIGNED: WOW WE ARE A SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP!!!! Nope, just ANONYMOUS BABY ISO BLOOD RELATIVES.....just as adoption, that is so bi-polar too. What else can we or have we been led to expect from those regular, "non-CHOSEN" children. Oh yeah, as adults they criticize us still!

Shame on anyone who cannot be kind to everyone, regardless of any differences! Will we never learn???