The “Truth” About Adoption

Jesus Christ SuperstarI almost played a porn star in a play once. The play was Geniuses, a comedy about an Apocalypse Now-style movie being shot in the Philippines. Our venue became unavailable, so, without a place to put on the play, we could not do the play. I remember exactly one of my lines: “We are each the center of our own universe. You are the center of your universe, and I am the center of my universe.”

It sounds like bullshit, but it absolutely applies to the Internet, especially to blogging and online forums. Every person seems to think that her word is the most important, that his experience is the only true experience.

Which brings us to the truth. To quote another play, “What is truth? Is truth unchanging law? We both have truths. Are mine the same as yours?” ~ Pilate, Jesus Christ Superstar (one of my very favorite musicals)

There was a short time frame last year in which it seemed like every blog post I read purported to tell the “truth” about adoption. You will find excerpts from some of them below.

I think we all have our own adoption truths. I think each adoption is different from the next. I know that’s true of my children’s adoptions. I don’t think any one person can say, with 100% accuracy any of the following:

  • What adoption is.
  • How anyone who is affected by adoption should or will feel or react.
  • That anyone who doesn’t believe as the writer does is “drinking the Kool-Aid,” “in denial,” or lying to themselves. (I’ve seen all three lobbed at people who said that they were at peace with their adoptions, whether those people were birthmothers, adoptees, or adoptive parents).
  •  That adoption is inherently anything – good, bad, traumatic, a gift, a curse, God’s will, against nature.

I think we must allow room for all truths. But first, that means that everyone, no matter how wonderful or terrible they think adoption is, must allow that there are many truths. They must allow people who think adoption is wonderful to say it’s wonderful, and allow people who think adoption is terrible to say it’s terrible. And then, every individual person must admit that they might be wrong. Maybe the reality of adoption isn’t a lifetime of trauma. Maybe the truth about adoption isn’t that everyone is one big happy family.

Every one of us is both right and wrong.

Adoption is hard. Adoption is beautiful. Adoption is terrible. Adoption is all of it.

That’s the truth about adoption.

From Pink Shoes:

But the more voices, like those that are starting to crop up all over this space, there are telling the truth about adoption and what it can mean for all parties involved, the more that culture of adoption will grow.  

From Writing My Wrongs:

Can we truly make progress in adoption without teaching the current and future young women (tweens, teens, college students) about the reality of adoption? … If you are the mother of a young daughter, right now, what are YOU doing to change the notion that if you cannot have your own child it is a wonderful thing to go and take the child born to another and claim it as yours and yours alone?  Can we make any progress with this future demographic if the media and society at large continues to push the adoption Kook-Aid [sic]?

From Therapy Is Expensive:

I focus on the truth of adoption. I am no more obligated to balance these truths with the joy of adoption, than a blog, article or book about divorce would be expected to sing the praises of happy marriages, or even note the percent of marriages that remain intact and mutually enjoyable. Only the institution of adoption is considered so sacrosanct that exposing actual negatives is vilified as blasphemy.

I report the truth of adoption, which includes the lifelong pain and loss of separation that every adoption is predicated upon.

From Deciding for Life:

Here is the absolute truth about adoption – there is no absolute, applies to everyone, truth.

There are birthparents and adoptive parents who feel that their experiences were varying shades of positive, there are birthparents and adoptive parents who feel that their experiences were varying shades of negative. There are no two people who are exactly alike and likewise there are no two adoption experiences that are exactly alike.

From Birthmothers4Adoption:

It is unfortunate that many who have not experienced adoption as positive insist that anyone who has a different experience must be wrong. There are many common features to most adoptions: loss, grief, fantasies of lives not lived, anger at abandonment. These are all difficult feelings to deal with and overcome. It is easy to become stuck along the way and even easier to assume that, because there are many common experiences, all adoptions are the same and all involved feel the same way. Clearly, this is not true.

We need to make space for many voices, most especially the voices of change.

From Racilous, courtesy of the Open Adoption Bloggers Interview Project:

I want people to understand that every birth mother comes to this from their own perspective, some were coerced, some were raped and couldn’t deal with raising the child of their rapist, some wanted an abortion but waited too long to get it, some were single parents barely making it and didn’t think it was fair to any of their children to stretch themselves that much more, some didn’t think they would be a good mom, some feel like their children need two parents and they don’t have a partner, some like me just don’t have the resources to raise a child – there are so many different reasons people come to this place. There are so many different outcomes – some live in a world of regret every moment since they signed the papers, others find peace, others live in denial and never speak of their children, and some become advocates for reform in adoption – we all cope with the loss of our child in our own way.


Photo Credit: Jesus Christ Superstar logo. And by the way, Jesus wasn’t adopted.

5 thoughts on “The “Truth” About Adoption

  1. So very true. The lens in which a situation is viewed creates a perspective. Even in my own home the three of can experience something together and and come to three different opinions. Adoption has an extra layer of passion to it which I think makes it harder to take that step back and realize that we all are right.

    I often wonder what my childrens perspectives on adoption will be once they are grown. I believe that they likely will be different- but I guess I’ll have to wait to see.

  2. I really appreciate your perspective. It’s so true that “all” of us blogger think we are exposing the truth, when if fact there are many truths to adoption. Thank you for sharing!

Tell me what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s