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Invalidating Feelings

19 Feb

I admit I am unlike other adoptees in many ways, I interact with adoptive parents. It’s usually a come and go situation. Many adoptees dislike interacting with adoptive parents. It takes a lot of patience to do this. It’s not the adoptive parents one agrees with, it’s an adoptive parents who assume things about you because you are adopted that makes it hard. It’s the adoptive parent that is not educated to have seen the range of adoption and in some way end up purposefully or invalidating the adoptee.

The first thing I hate is when an adoptive parent assumes since I talked a few times that they know me. Is it because I’m adopted that they make these jump assumptions and thus have the right to preach at me? Why aren’t they asking for the in between parts? Why aren’t they asking why I feel this way?

The second is to not read through the information I’ve given them, hunt for only the negative parts of the things I say. It’s as if they have only read the sob stories that adoptees have, and the anger and then expect me to echo the same. I wish they wouldn’t skim over the good parts and think that all adoptees are a walking tragedy.

The third thing is when they talk for their children. It doesn’t matter. That child has a voice. If they want to object, then let them speak. Give them that computer, have them call me up, have them communicate with me without direction. I’m fine with that. If they aren’t old enough, then why is the parent talking for them? Using these children as examples of how the adoptive parent feels is doing the same thing they are trying to do towards me.

This ends up in the feeling, “You should be grateful.” You should be grateful that you are adopted. Almost like the words I said were a suicide note. I do not look kindly on this. I hate that aspect above all else. I hate that feeling like that person feels that know my situation better than I do so they can make judgments on my life, beliefs and situation that they can impose and preach these feelings at me. I actually had an adoptive parent tell me I should be grateful because I talked about the process of adoption. In another words, it was my fault.

These things and experiences are no different from an outsider of the triad. An outsider of the triad after hearing my story of how I was adopted immediately thinks they can tell me which set of parents I should love. I do not see a difference between this and the adoptive parent that assumes that if I say my story that they can say to me, “You should be grateful.”

Invalidating feelings is not pleasant for anyone–adopted or not. Arguing that one should not feel this way and that everything this person knows is invalid, without first asking why is grating. It makes it hard on me to interact when a person is so convinced they are right that my feelings and thoughts don’t matter, so they can tell me what to think and feel.

Perhaps I say unwanted truths that shake them that they want a scape goat to put out into the desert. It’s my point of view that’s wrong, thus the facts that I give are wrong. So not asking for sources, barging forward, and telling me who to be is more comfortable. Facing unpleasant truths, even if gems lie beneath is hard.

Don’t misunderstand me. I welcome disagreement as long as I don’t feel like I’m being put on a trial. Where everything I say and feel is wrong because the adoptive parent doesn’t want it to be true. Because somewhere along the line if they don’t face that truth, their child will probably find it. I hate the idea of this division. There are grim realities and joy, and sometimes the joy is hidden underneath the grim realities.

I don’t ever act emotionally towards these moments. I stay level-headed, because emotion always leads to more emotion and no information is passed through that. I’ve seen such interactions, and they never are pretty.

I will mention there are many adoptive parents who aren’t this way. What I like is when the adoptive parent is full of questions, when they ask more and more questions than before. They ask for sources, try to find out what I said was right, and look at my answers without a sifting only for the parts they disagree with. They don’t take my answers as “The Guide to Everything an Adoptee Feels and Thinks,” but a part of a larger whole. They talk of their pride in their children and how much they are proud of them. I like it when they don’t use their children as examples or how they wish to parent them as a way to talk about their own beliefs, but rather talk about their own feelings and don’t use their children as a cover. I like the idea of an open mind over the pride of being a parent.

There is so much out there to be had on adoption. Invalidating what I say and what I believe isn’t going to make those thoughts, beliefs and actions go away. That history of adoption will still be there and sit people in the face even if I disappeared. So why spend time, judging me and my life as I’ve lived it? As I see it my life, beliefs and experience is small potatoes.

 
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