The Flip The Script Backlash

*Anyone else who tried to leave a comment on this woman’s blog may publish it here. Just copy/paste it into the comment section below.*

I’m only surprised this didn’t happen during National Adoption Awareness Month:

This is my comment. I doubt it will make it past moderation, so will post it here:

‘Those who are “flipping the script” aren’t adoptees who are happy and content with their adoption experience, they’re the ones who are angered, feel like something was done to them.’

Hello. I’m one of “those” adoptees. One that you conveniently divided into two camps, content or angry. Only I am neither. I have felt both emotions, on occasion, but I cannot be summed up this way. My life continues, and every day of my life, I am adopted. I have a myriad of feelings about this and I always will.

If you had read more of Flip The Script, you would have discovered that adoptees want to be heard as complex, evolving individuals. Our voices are routinely silenced. We are expected to be content, grateful, and quiet, no matter how our lives have been shaped by adoption.

Yes, adoption should be a last resort. Most of the time, it is not. Yes, children like yours, who were actually at risk and in foster care, should be adopted or at least cared for away from their biological families. But you have to admit, most adoptees have not had your son’s experience. I was adopted simply because my mother was not married at the time of my birth and in the 1960s, that was an intolerable situation. Even though standards have changed, I am still expected to be grateful for being taken out of that situation, for being separated from my mother (who is and was a perfectly capable parent), for missing out on knowing my brothers and sisters growing up, for being placed in a home with a medically fragile adoptive mother and a violent sociopathic brother.

When people hear this, they say as a knee-jerk reaction, “Well I’m sorry for your experience, but *I* know an adoptee who….” Yeah, spare me. I know at least a hundred adoptees and there are a hundred stories to go with each one, and none of it justifies glossing over our collective pain.

Frankly, I’m sick of being told not only how to feel, but *what* I feel. I am in my 50s, but because I am adopted, I am a forever child. And I’d better be grateful about that.

So no, we will not take a separate month to express our feelings. We are the adoptees. We have finally found our voice. And we will use it.

Elle Cuardaigh is author of The Tangled Red Thread and contributor to The Adoptee Survival Guide

19 thoughts on “The Flip The Script Backlash

  1. You go girl! Every word you said is true. Sadly if your comment was on a super hyper pro-adoption site it’s very likely to be deleted. Those adopters really hate it when we, adoptees, speak our minds. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thank you, Elle! She posted one of my comments, but the other one is still “awaiting moderation.” I’m guessing it was a little too much for her. So here it is, in case it never leaves the moderation queue:

    I’m adopted and, trust me, it was not an “opportunity of beauty”. If I could UN-adopt myself, I would do so in a heartbeat. If adoption has to exist, it absolutely needs to be a last resort and too many times that’s NOT the case. People who fund-raise thousands of dollars to “bring our child home” from some distant country would do far more good by sending that money to the child’s country where it would help many more children; even, perhaps, allowing those far-away children to remain with their poverty-stricken families instead of languishing in orphanages.

    The people who fund-raise to buy themselves a newborn infant aren’t doing it because infants *need* homes. If that were the case, those babies wouldn’t be so expensive. It’s the simple economics of supply and demand, and the supply simply isn’t enough to meet the demand, even with the coercive tactics and unethical practices common in the adoption industry.

    Helping children isn’t the real goal for too many desperate adopters. It’s all about “building a family,” by whatever means necessary.

    And that’s not OK.


  3. From Shea Grim of Bastard Nation (with her permission)

    The problem is you can’t separate the corrupt system from the institution. And just because adoption worked for YOU doesn’t give you the right to call for the silencing of adoptees, to attempt to dismiss their point of view as just so much “political correctness” or a campaign by an “angry” minority. Adoptors don’t own adoption, and if you’re surprised and disappointed that the whitewash that has been National Adoption Month for decades suddenly just got an infusion of reality from people who were actually ADOPTED, well, I for one am not sorry. What’s truly disappointing is how you’ve managed to miss the entire point and instead turned it around to be about you, you, you. Your happiness. Your joy. Spare us the attempt to say it’s about your child. We can hear loud and clear the privilege, entitlement and tone deafness in every word you write. Let’s just hope that your child isn’t suffocated under the weight of your narcissism and emerges somewhat intact.

  4. As much as I applaud your words here and as much as value the connections and sharing of information, stories and life challenges among adoptees and natural mothers, I increasingly believe that adoptees and natural mothers must #flipthescript if they want some of their rights restored. This idea generally induces enormous silence but that no longer stops me.

    We will not get the small pieces of what is still available to us with our stories, as essential as they are to us. Likely for many of us it is all about the money. If we can’t get our unfettered open birth certificates, we need to demand money from these states that have damaged us. We need to hold our black marketeers financially responsible because it’s a route that’s tough and true. And it is our roots. aka Kathy Johnson #flipthescript

  5. Amen Elle! I didn’t bother to leave a comment on that blog because OF COURSE I am just one of those “few” ungrateful adoptees out there, since every adoptee she knows is grateful, happy and well-adjusted. News flash to that blogger: you only see what you want to, to justify everything that you believe. I have a wonderful adoptive family and still every day of my life is spent wondering what if? And why? I said it before and will continue to say it to the point where I get unfriended and people turn against me which they already have: for every thing gained in being adopted there is an equal or greater number of things lost. And you can never, ever get them back the way they were meant to be. No matter how hard or how long you try.

  6. The problem with adoption is the sealing of records and the “amending” or falsifying birth certificates. Not only can unethical adoption practices be hidden, but it also causes undue pressure on adoptees. Their personhood is redefined and they must deny their own profound loss of identity and family in order to receive love and care in a new family. This causes them to “split off” in a sense, denying parts of themselves that could be more easily grieved and acknowledged without the loyalty issues that adoption sets up for them. National Adoption Month being “celebrated” is like celebrating national amputation month by the prosthetic industry.

  7. My comment is awaiting moderation over there, so, please post here.

    “Ah! But you STILL adopted them! Take away sealed and falsified birth certificates and what do you have? You do not have adoption at all. Without the child’s actual birth certificate being sealed, and without the creation of a new amended birth certificate re-naming the child and two strangers named as siring and giving birth to said child, the legal relationship then becomes guardianship. When a child must lose family, all relationships with all family that she was born into, and when a child must endure the government sealing her birth certificate away forever, and when the government must make a brand new birth certificate stating false facts of a false birth, then these are signs of complete ownership of the child. Take away ownership and you have guardianship. Bet you didn’t even once consider taking in a child in need, respecting who that child is from birth, and loving that child anyway. Adoption gives you power and control and you like it that way. Your last statement above: “My children have it.” They became your children by legal decree. But what if you had mere guardianship? Would you still love them? And, what do you mean, “My children have it.” Have what? Their sealed birth certificates? Medical histories and familial history? Is that all? Because you “allow” it? How about visitation with father, mother, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles from family of birth? All of that would be part of guardianship. Adoption wipes that away as if the family of birth does not exist.”

  8. “The problem is you can’t separate the corrupt system from the institution. And just because adoption worked for YOU doesn’t give you the right to call for the silencing of adoptees, to attempt to dismiss their point of view as just so much “political correctness” or a campaign by an “angry” minority. Adoptors don’t own adoption, and if you’re surprised and disappointed that the whitewash that has been National Adoption Month for decades suddenly just got an infusion of reality from people who were actually ADOPTED, well, I for one am not sorry” – telling words and so true!

    • yes applause for all who helped to make #flipthescript what it was this November and what it will continue to be. Movements like this thrive on attempts to dismiss, silence and invalidate.

  9. So glad you’re speaking out! #flipthescript is about ADOPTEE voices – and we are not a “one size fit’s all” group. It’s about time adult adoptee’s started taking the lead in discussions around adoption. If an adoptee is happy about their adoption, great, let THEM tell it. Sick to death of hearing about the friend/person they know who’s adopted and is glad. With the opinion that usually follows that line, it would be very unlikely any adoptee would express anything but contentment because people’s difficulties and pain are usually not small talk. I can’t tell you how many people wouldn’t even know my feelings on adoption because they either don’t realize I’m adopted (it’s just doesn’t come up with people you are only acquainted with) or who know I’m adopted (it’s not a secret) and would say I’m the friend who’s happy to be adopted, because being adopted came up, but I didn’t go into all my feelings around it and I loved my adoptive parents (they have both passed on now). Let’s hear it from ADOPTEES for National Adoption Month.

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