Thursday, February 18, 2010

Falling On Deaf Ears

I really need to avoid my Google Reader for awhile.  How many times have you heard me say that?  Lots, I'm I'm sorry, but I'm repeating myself again.  I found this little bloggy nugget of "goodness" yesterday and it touched off a commentpalooza.  Read the blog and the comments and then come back.  Go ahead, I'll still be here...

::humming the Jeopardy theme song::

Back?  So, I'm curious to hear your thoughts.  I'm throwing it out there.  Am I off base for being offended by the talk of trivializing first parents?  Am I off base for being offended to hear that adoption doesn't cause loss?  I have to be honest, towards the end, I WAS practically begging for them to listen to the voices of the adoptees, but I know in my heart of hearts, that that is a pipe dream. 

But there was a moment when I was sitting there, reading the comments of my fellow adoptees, and commenters that I didn't even know, that I felt surrounded by warmth.  They are the ones who "get it".  And many of the adoptive parents that read this blog "get it".  I'm not a hater.  I may not agree with everyone all the time, but I'm not a hater.  And to read the comments on that blog saying that the potential adoptive parents should simply ignore the negative stories and anecdotes and comments just really hurt me to my core.

I retweeted some of the tweets that Noel, her husband, and one of their friends posted.  Most memorable was this, posted by one of their minister friends:

"Don't know why people think they have to be heard.."

That one phrase really struck a huge nerve with me.  For my entire life, I've been stifled.  Been told that my opinions don't matter...been told to keep my mouth shut and just take whatever is thrown my way.  Well no more.  Fuck that.  I'm tired of being silenced.  You don't have to agree with me..but you should have the common decency to listen.

The blog author's husband ridiculed me for sharing anecdotal stories in response to his questions...but then when those that agreed with them shared stories, it was all good.

Peggy did nail it on the head though with the following quote:

"Sometimes the road to someone else's Hell is paved by your good intentions..." 

So true. 


  1. "Don't know why people think they have to be heard..."

    Well that boils my blood. Because when they say something like that, they are not simply silencing YOU, they are silencing my daughter, who is too young to speak up for herself at the moment.

    I am so grateful for the voices of first parents and adult adoptees. Without y'all... well, I wouldn't be the parent that I am today. I still have much to learn, but I'm further along than I would have been otherwise.

    After reading all of those comments, I guess that all I can say is - you can get far in life with humility and grace. I hope everyone learns that lesson at some point in their lives.

  2. Personally I agree with "don't know why people think they have to be heard". Not specifically in the context of adoption, I have no experience with that anyway, but in general, no, people don't have to be heard. It's not a "right" and it's not a necessity. We have the right to not be silenced, but in no way do we have an entitlement to be listened to. You have the right to speak up... but you can't expect to have someone listen. And I don't mean that as you personally, I mean in general.

    Moreover, entertaining an expectation that someone will listen to us and care is just setting ourselves up for disappointment and bitterness, and also, putting our fate in someone else's hands. Why is it that someone else needs to hear you before you feel validated? Or why do you need to feel validated? We can choose to do without "being heard." Which is good, since we can't demand to be heard.

  3. I couldn't get through the thread, Cricket, because I thought the husband in particular was rigid and dismissive . . . actually almost contemptuous. "As Christians we find things like 'genetic makeup' and 'first family' trivial" has to be way up there on the dismiss list. I thought you did very well on the thread. Completely agree with Tonggu Momma that as time goes on, comments such as these that reveal zero knowledge about adoptees (and zero willingness to learn) seem to silence my daughter as well and it infuriates me.

    I'm so sorry. It's pitiful.

  4. Oh, can I just add that on a theological note someone raised something that has intrigued me as well. It's not that I dismiss God talking to us. It's just that I get really suspicious when God's plan happens to be the very thing we were thinking about or wishing for.

  5. I couldn't finish reading the entire post or all the comments. I started out trying to give it a shot, but I just had to finally skim and then give up because it was breaking my heart. I was taking it personally because it WAS PERSONAL.

    It not only breaks my heart, but it makes me feel so defeated. It makes me angry.

    You know what? I am a Christian, and I most certainly do NOT agree that things like genetic makeup and first families are trivial. I almost had a stroke when I read that. How dare he be so arrogant to speak for all Christians?

    I wish that I had it in me physically and emotionally to go toe to toe with him on that one because I am not afraid to say that I can give example after example after example of how extremely important geneology and the concept of family is in the Bible. He is a total idiot. I am not often flat out mean to someone, but I have to call that one like it is.

  6. Hi Cricket -

    I'm a new reader/commenter here. I'm also a new adoptive mom.

    I read the thread and found it pretty naive and self centered. They're feeling pretty good about themselves for considering special needs adoption (nevermind that the fact that it's cheaper seems to be a main motivation) and have found religious zeal to back up that nice "we rock because we will consider adoption" feeling they're riding.

    I thought the comments were also interesting and for one or two scrolls down actually thought there might be a genuine discussion before husband started getting biblical. In my opinion when you start throwing bible verses around it's the same as admitting defeat. You can make the Bible say almost anything, sensical or not.

    I am, as always, amazed when people write about personal things in a public space and then respond with shock and indignation when they are challenged. (if you don't want to hear diverse opinions...don't blog about it!)

    Thanks for linking, and for generating such interesting discussion there. I appreciated it, even if they didn't seem to.

  7. Bear with me everyone...decided to do a comment to address all of your thoughts:

    Tonggu Momma,

    It boiled my blood the point that I was literally shaking my fist at the


    I guess what I personally mean by "being heard" is being treated with respect (even if you disagree with me). The husband of the blog author was particularly dismissive and honestly, not really being very Christianlike.

    I'm sad for them because they just have no idea what they are in for, and they refuse to even consider the fact that they may need to educate themselves better for the road they have chosen.

    I didn't have a choice but to be adopted..wasn't that putting my fate in someone else's hands?


    I'm sorry too. It's pitiful and sad and demeaning…and while I should be used to that by now, I'm not. My naivete and innocence sometimes still shines through because I think, well maybe this time my words might reach their hearts.


    What's scary is that that idiot will be a father to a special needs child if they get their way. I weep for that child..just as I weep for all children who are separated (for whatever reason) from their "trivial" first families.

    So glad you stopped by..but sorry it was on such a controversial blog post ;) I'm looking forward to reading your blog and getting to know you better. I think that usually, when AP's in particular (sorry folks, I'm not trying to offend!!!) write about the entitlement aspect of adopting, they expect that everyone will agree with them. And are horribly shocked when we (the adoptees and other kindred souls) show up and challenge them…because, in their minds, we just shouldn't read it. The issue is that once it's typed and hits the internet, it's fair game.

    I've been challenged on MY blog too…and yes, sometimes it's deserved. I let my emotions run away with me and get myself in trouble. But I would never think to tell someone that they CAN'T challenge me. Growing up in the household I did, I learned to avoid conflict at ALL costs. I'm learning that sometimes conflict can help though…as long as it's done respectfully.

    Gawd, that was a ramble, huh?

  8. "Don't know why people think they have to be heard."

    Because people need validation for themselves, whether they want to admit it or not.

  9. Wow. Just wow.

    I read through all of the post and the comments (great way to avoid studying for comps, BTW). I am still stuck on the author's comment "Moore operates on the basic thesis that as Christians we have no choice but to adopt or at least support adoption in some way. It is our obligation as adopted children of God."

    As a spiritual person, I don't understand where that kind of thinking comes from. When I read the Bible about becoming a follower of Christ, the metaphor is always about being born again, about literally becoming a new creature in Christ through the waters of baptism and the blood of the Atonement. I am left scratching my head again (I find myself doing that a lot lately!) - how are people are able to wrestle "adoption" out of being the process of being "born again?"

    And the patent dismissal of adoptees' And these people want to be adoptive parents? Really?????

    Then there was the demand for research, research, research to back up the adoptees' comments about the loss in their lives. Uh....Hey Ryan - there isn't much because research takes $$ and those with the ability to grant $$ to do research are cozily in bed with powerful pro-adoption lobbying groups.

    I think I need to go take some Tylenol and lay down for a bit now. That was some serious reading.

  10. The wife said some things that really frosted my cake, but it was the husband that left me feeling cold. He effectively dismissed anyone who dared say anything negative about their plans. Perhaps I am reading into it, but at times, it was almost as if his tone was haughty and mocking.

    Cricket, you really did an amazing job over there. I know it hurts, and is so frustrating to try time and time again and not be heard, but there's always that chance that someone will listen and learn from what you have to say, there's always hope.

  11. "I didn't have a choice but to be adopted..wasn't that putting my fate in someone else's hands?"

    You were a child. You didn't have control of your life then. Now you do. And I'm not saying this to attack you in any way, but you can't force or demand respect or for people to listen to you... All you can do is choose how you're gonna live without it. That being said, blogs are nice that way, they can connect you to the very people who are ready to hear what you have to say.

  12. I don't think you are a hater at all. Everything was very well-stated.
    Another couple who wants to adopt but doesn't want to listen to an actual adoptee. Big disconnect.
    I don't get it.
    At least you tried.

  13. Cricket-

    Wow - just wow. A total 100% validation of the worst you have communicated about PAPs in the past. I do have to say - you were amazing in trying to reach them and being restrained and reasonable - even when they were not. Please don't let these sorts silence you - others are listening and learning.

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  16. I felt compelled to comment on this post even though I made a decision not to comment on alot of blogs ~ ironically more than anything so I would listen instead of think about what I wanted to say ~ about a year ago. But I was led to the post you reference through three different sources so I felt compelled here to say something.

    It won't be much though (okay so it was more than I thought). I am a Mom through adoption to two amazing people. And I am a Christian (in fact, a member of ordained clergy). And on that basis alone many may just stop listening. I wouldn't blame them based on some of the things I've read lately. But I will go on in hopes.

    I am so angry I am shaking as I write at the presumptions made, not only in that post but the comments that follow. I hate that I might be lumped in as a non-listener but I know I fit into a couple of categories where some have made that stereotype exist. Nothing I can do about that except to keep listening.

    And make myself clear in the few times where I feel compelled. I am listening to your stories. And I believe you. Not because you need me to, but because my children need me to. And I can say with the utmost CERTAINTY that if I weren't willing to listen, then I would not have even the minutest chance of understanding even in the slightest the depth that is the little boy who right now "washes dishes" in the sink behind me. He (and his older sister) are so very beautifully complex (aren't all people?), and EVERY SINGLE DAY I am thankful I know what I know of their natural families. We don't have in this moment the very best of relationships, but I hope it isn't because I haven't tried hard enough. I need them. I need to know them so that I can fully be the parent I need to be to the children they placed in my care. And even more than that, my children NEED them. They need to know them and be known by them in order to have what they need to be fully who they are.

    There is no doubt in my mind that disregarding genetics for another person is one of the the most detrimental things a person can do to another. Debilitating. Or worse. Genetics matters. Yes, in Christianity we believe in the equality of persons, but no one ever said that came in denying another's heritage but rather in acknowledging it, and recognizing the extreme value in knowing and being known by the people to whom we are naturally related to. It's not how we were created. Adoption in and of itself is un-natural. I believe in the ways that it can work if it needs to happen, and work to those ends in my parenting. But the natural way is for a child to be in their natural family. So with that loss comes the increasing complexity of helping a child become an adult with all that they need to be who they are. I listen and hope that I am up to the task for the sake of my children. That is why I listen... for them.

    Thanks for allowing me a little space within yours.


Share your words of wisdom with the rest of the class. :)