Adoption and Microaggressions

So, in my professional life, I work in higher ed on diversity issues. This week I’ve been attending a conference related to this work. I’ve given a lot of thought to what I’ve learned about diversity through this adoption journey but I realized this week that I haven’t been using diversity and inclusion terminology to describe the things I’ve experienced along they way.

I’m not the only one.

For every “Please don’t say this to adoptive parents or adoptees” list that I or my fellow bloggers publish, we fail to articulate what we are really mean. What we are really saying is that we folks in the adoptive community experience many microagressions.

Microaggressions are like mini forms of discrimination and oppression. Wikipedia (hardly a “scholarly” source but suitable for these purposes) describes these incidents as usually unintentional, but insulting and dismissive. They are hurtful. They make us flinch.

Usually associated with race, gender or sexuality, microaggressions can be committed by all kinds of people against folks being marginalized. Not sure what they look like in action? Here are some examples.

“I know you have a doctorate, but I’m stunned by how articulate you are!”

“You’re not bitchy like most women bosses I know.”

“That is so gay!” Speaking louder when there is a language barrier—the person can actually hear you.

“When I see you, I don’t see color!”

“I can’t be a homophobe, my cousin is gay.”

“Why are you people always so angry?”

myface

Yeah, for the record, all of the above are whack. Totally, unambiguously whack.

So, as I was sitting in a session this week on microaggressions, I found myself thinking about adoption, and what’s it’s been like the last year.

“Yeah, but what do you know about Hope’s real parents.”

“That’s so great what you did, but you know, I want my own/real children.”

“She looks just like you; I mean it’s like you picked her out of a catalog or something.”

“Do you think you’ll be as close as you might’ve been with, you know, your own/real kids?”

“You didn’t want to try IVF or surrogacy?”

“You couldn’t find a donor? Pretty girl like you?”

[disappointed] “Oh, I thought you would’ve really helped a kid by adopting internationally, but you know, it’s good you did domestic.”

“But aren’t you afraid of an older child? You didn’t consider adopting a younger child so you could train her?”

“Was she a crack baby?”

“Is she like, you know, messed up?”

“Don’t you worry she’ll seek out her real parents one day?”

ETA: “How much did she cost?”

JoselineEyeRoll Sometimes I gently correct and educate, other times just I let it go. But it’s those times when I have corrected and educated, and it happens again when I realize that something about my experience is not clicking in this person’s head or heart. As a speaker said today, you get a pass the first time because you didn’t know that ish you said was whack; the second time you say dumb ish after you’ve been told it’s whack, you’ve made a choice to ignore the new information. You’ve made a choice to ignore me.

As the realization settled in this week at this conference, I nearly cried. For nearly two years since I went public with my adoption journey, I’ve struggled to name these little cuts I’ve felt at least once a week. I’ve been shocked by how deeply they hurt, how irritating they are, how they offer unspoken commentary about me, my life, my Hope, Hope’s life and our family. I realized how some of these things unintentionally sought to invalidate our family, to invalidate my role as a parent and Hope’s role as my daughter, to invalidate Hope’s humanity by likening her to a pet of sorts and her unworthiness of a family compared to “truly suffering” international kids. And these microaggressions are piled on to the ones I already experience as a Black woman. The cumulative impact is exhausting.

And I can only imagine what microaggressions look and feel like for transracial adoptive families, birth or first families or for adoptees. Heck, during the height of the #flipthescript hashtag last fall, we saw adoptees labeled as ungrateful, inappropriately angry, aggressive, and one of the most egregious name-calling from a fellow blogger—adoption warmongers. #gtfohwtbs All because adoptees claimed their agency and their voice to speak about their lived experiences. Over and over again, we saw people marginalize and/or dismiss the authenticity and integrity of the adoptee voice. It’s shameful.

And *that* happened within the adoptive community!

External to the adoption community, I’ve seen us reduced to a bunch of Jesus-freaks…among other stereotypes and tropes. It all makes me feel so….icky. It’s sad. It’s also bull-dookey. I mean, personally J-man is totally my homeboy, but there’s a LOT of diversity in this community, just like every other.

It’s sad to realize that somehow I tripped into being another kind of minority (because being a Black woman wasn’t cool but burdensome enough) experiencing marginalization with an intriguing side of hero-worship. Because, you know, we adoptive parents are special folks (a model minority) because we are saving children from fates worse than death.

And sure we are giving kids homes, but really, we just want to create and expand our families through a non-normative path.

Are we really that different? In the grand scheme of things, no. We may embrace this adoptive identity, but it doesn’t mean that the microaggressions don’t get to us, that they don’t frustrate us, that they don’t somehow invalidate us as parents or as kids. We want to be seen, we want to live, we want to raise our kids and we’d prefer to be in supportive, inclusive environments where people don’t say dumb ish about adoption or anything else, for that matter.

Really it’s that simple…I tell students, faculty and administrators this all the time, don’t say or do dumb ish that might hurt people and make you look like an arse.

Don’t do or say dumb ish.

So, I’m not sure if I’ll ever publish another list of dumb ish not to say to adoptive parents, but I might write some more about the intersectionality of adoption with our other identities, and how discrimination and oppression affects us, or rather me, especially, as a single woman of color parenting an older Black adoptive child, since that’s my own story and the one I’m best equipped to tell. In any case, let’s just try to be kind and sensitive to one another and the families we’ve created, any way we’ve created them.

Thank you.

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About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted tween a few years ago, and this blog chronicles our journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2017. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

28 responses to “Adoption and Microaggressions

  • Mary Ann Barton

    Thank you. Microaggressions. I will remember this.

  • beth62

    Thank you for that comparison and word. I knew there was a word for “it”. Should have stayed in school longer! I think I am terribly jealous that you get to talk about diversity and inclusion at work 🙂

    I have had a hard time explaining this, especially when trying to explain that it’s the same as we see with racism, sexism, and comments with other ism’s. Some get highly offended and completely dismiss me when the racism comparison is coming from a white female with white parents. Many also get mad when second class citizen is mentioned due to sealed birth records.

    I’ve noticed that people who have experienced some sort of ism and have heard these type comments tend to “get it” far more easily than those who haven’t. At least they don’t argue it.

    I’ve been pelted with the microaggressions all my life.
    The aggressive! comments about adoption have given me that same lovely feeling as the comments about my work as a female in a typically male industry. Both have been awfully ugly at times. No one has tried to rape or kill me due to being adopted tho, yet. Ironskin should be my name.

    The micros, they do add up, it can get a bit exhausting if you let it.
    Sometimes it can help you feel like you just want to give up and quit.

    I know too many that believe the comments to be true, accept them as true, repeat them to themselves, not sure they know they are doing that, but it keeps them down, in “their place”, keeps them in the mud.
    I’ve learned to expect the ish comments and have finally armed myself enough to respond with some education – when I feel like it.
    This new word will help greatly, now I can begin with:
    Ohhhh how microaggressive of you to say so 🙂

    Your blog very often makes me feel better, like a hot and healthy meal, thank you for that!
    Love the dog pic, perfect. I have that expression too often LOL

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Wow, thank you for this. I am humbled by it. Yes, it has taken me a long time to realize that these comments are indeed microaggressions. Naming it gets us on the path of figuring out how to challenge it. I’m glad that making it resonated. Thanks.

  • Caitlin

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! I work for a university investigating this type of behavior. I always say that there is no shortage of work, because there is no shortage of bad behavior!

  • sp

    love this, i would like to say more but my brain is tired today so only: thank you for writing about this

  • Belladonna Took

    I hear ya. And what you say is so true. But … I honestly don’t think it’s limited to any one group. For instance, I get that shit because I met my husband online and moved to America to be with him. Do you know how many people assumed I’d done so in order to get the Great Holy Blessing of American Citizenship? I mean, seriously, how insulting is that to him – as though the only way he could get a wife was by dangling a green card??? And these are the same people who, any time I express an opinion that doesn’t line up with the Great Holy American Way, tell me to “go back home”. Hello? Is this not Freespeechland? And anyway, where the fuck is home if not with my American husband, who by the way was all gung ho to move back to Africa with me, only HE CHICKENED OUT … which is why, after living here for 10 years, I finally became a bloody citizen.

    Also, I’m fat. This means that anybody and everybody gets to tell me about food, and about the dangers of obesity, and about how attractive I would be if I lost weight. Anybody and everybody gets to comment on my body, any time. And I can’t object because they’re being helpful or complimentary.

    I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. Every single person on the planet is a member of some or other “minority”. It may not be a big deal – it may even be laughable (like the “I’m so skinny I can’t find anything to wear” club – sorry, can’t take that one seriously) – but if that’s the skin you’re in, it’s real.

    And also I know that sometimes I’ve said things that focus on ways that others are different from me, and maybe I’ve been insensitive, but shit, just talking about the weather gets BORING. Sometimes, if I’m interested in someone, I want to ask something real – you know, to get right down to the real person. I promise I’ll never ask to touch your hair, okay? But if we ever meet for coffee, which is something I would love to do if we happen someday to be in the same general location, I would find it very much more interesting to talk about your world view from the perspective of a professional black adoptive mom – because I don’t have any other access to that world view.

    Because here’s the thing, as I see it … You can have trivial, ultra-casual, absolutely-not-gonna-offend conversations about the weather and traffic and breakfast (ok, maybe not breakfast, because battery farming). Then, you can have getting-to-know-you conversations about what makes you and your worldview different from me. That’s where it gets tricky, because I’m blundering around without a map and possibly stepping on your tender places – but unless we traverse that space, we will never reach openness, friendship, mutual trust. And that might be a pity.

    I should totally make a blog post out of this but am too lazy to clean up the grammar, so hear ya go – a comment longer than your post… 🙂

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Belladonna,
      Let me start by saying that I always appreciate and value your comments. Your comment struck me emotionally on numerous levels, such that I’m going to really have to slip into my “professional” ABM persona to offer a meaningful reply.

      Yes, many people experience microaggressions. I’m going to insist on calling this phenomena microaggressive because that is the actual term for what we both describe and the specific subject of my post. It is not simply an uncomfortable or mildly offensive conversation. It is a behavior that is emotionally and psychologically harmful. Educational and psycho-social research is pretty clear about the cumulative effects of being subjected to sustained microaggressive behavior. There is a point in which it seriously negatively impacts performance and persistence and mental and emotional health and resilience.

      Additionally, as you describe we have multiple, layered identities some of which may be othered or otherwise marginalized. The more marginalized identities you have, the more microagressive behavior you may be subjected too.

      What I can’t do, won’t do and summarily reject doing is normalizing microaggressive behavior in an yway. I believe to do so is to accept it as somehow ok, and/or worse, to desensitize us to even more harmful macro-level aggressive behavior. I can’t co-sign on that. #nope!

      The subtext, perhaps unintentional, effectively blames to subject of this behavior for actually being too sensitized to offensive behavior and thus harmed by it. I believe it takes a fair amount of privilege to normalize the behavior in a way that then suggests the victim is experiencing an overreaction to the emotional harm experienced. In fact, it’s classically microaggressive.

      I don’t want this behavior to be ok for you to experience as a naturalized citizen or as a woman who self-identifies as fat or any other identity for which you may hear dumb ish about.

      I do not want it for me as a single Black woman who is also the adoptive parent.

      I do not want my young Black daughter, who is adopted and developing all kinds of other identities in this critical phase of life, to be subjected to this kind of behavior.

      Not wanting this kind of behavior, rejecting it and spending a career trying to abate it doesn’t mean that I want to spend my days talking about the weather. It means that I want all of us to step our games up and have the will and desire to develop skills necessary to have #realtalk conversations about our lives and our authentic lived experiences. Those conversations don’t have to be, nor should they be, offensive. Trust me I facilitate those conversations all the time. It can be done without me being expected get over someone being surprised that I’m educated, articulate, not a bitch, or Hope’s “real” mom. I’m not being over-sensitive; that ish ain’t funny, it’s mad offensive.

      So, I hear you. I do. I’d totally have coffee with you; without hesitation. And yeah, you had best not ask to touch my damn hair! 🙂

      • Belladonna Took

        I love that you take the trouble to respond so clearly and in such detail. Thank you!

        Upfront, I want to say that I think one of the most offensive things anyone can say to anyone under any circumstances is “You’re overreacting”. Sorry, but you don’t get to judge the happenings inside my head – and my reaction to whatever you just said or did is entirely appropriate for me, right now! So I would never accuse you of that… 🙂

        Secondly, yeah, I know I’m very privileged. I have been blessed beyond measure in so many areas of my life, and while I might not like that this is due largely to my pinkish-beige skin tone, that’s not something I can deny. So yeah, I get that I don’t fully understand how it feels to deal with the level of microaggression you experience.

        I guess what I’m wishing for – and this isn’t specific to you; it’s a general reaction to so many posts and articles and comments I’ve read lately – is for more grace. A greater willingness to allow people to be clumsy, and to not get it. A greater willingness to assume that people mean well.

        Yes, sometimes one has to educate people, and other times one has to apologize, and there are times when you have to accept that you and the other person simply don’t fit into the same space – and when that happens, you back away to avoid giving or receiving hurt.

        More over coffee one day, I hope… 🙂

        • AdoptiveBlackMom

          So, I thought about all of the microaggressions I experienced personally or witnessed today, just today, at a diversity conference where we are, at a minimum, *mentioning* the impact of microaggressions in nearly every session. For crying out loud at a session on adoption and higher education an attendee referenced “real” parents. And neither the publicly identified adoptees nor the adoptive parents, including myself, said a word, but several of us made eye contact and the grimaces and flinches were real. Our silence was an act of grace.

          And then I thought, gee, I think I’m pretty damn gracious every time I manage not to cuss someone out or rip their face off out of sheer frustrated, antagonized exhaustion, but instead gently educate or just choose to lie down and take it because it’s just too much to deal with. I can assure you, that is grace. I wouldn’t and don’t expect you to be more gracious if someone is persistently giving you ish about immigration or size. How many passes do folks get? Holy Homeboy might’ve said 70 x 7, but, Bella, I’m still working with a plastic halo over here! ABM has limits *and* last nerves–don’t bump up against either of them.

          The lack of open confrontation and rebellion *is* a graceful response to subversive oppression, even if the oppression is committed in blind ignorance of its own existence. We need look no further than Ferguson, NYC, or Baltimore to see examples of where grace has gotten us recently. I’m mad bitter about that ish.

          Please expect more grace from aggressors, since I’m damn near tapped out.

          So…Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf?

        • Belladonna Took

          I’m all Starbucked over here in The State Of Washington. CB&TL will be a new experience for me!

        • Jackie

          Agreed!

          The microaggression (I never thought of it as that until now, so thank you for the insight) I have experience with has to do with being disabled and/or often using a wheelchair or scooter, but looking healthy. People’s perception that a majority of people using mobility aids are lazy goes along with that.

          I feel it takes a lot of grace to kindly respond to people and educate them rather than act too irritated/offended they are asking why I am using a mobility aid or how I can be disabled but look healthy…. or when I hear people say people continuously on pain meds for chronic pain are drug seekers… or to not flip out when I see posts about how most people receiving disability are gaming the system… or when someone asks how a certain treatment could possibly not have worked… It all takes some grace.

        • beth62

          Couldn’t help but notice all of the microaggressions around me yesterday. It’s rampant here in comic sarcastic wiseass land. Oh dear, jokes that are funny, and jokes that are funny, but aren’t so funny.

          I can laugh at the funny and still point out the not funny and explain why, but I am not getting too far with my guys. I have a feeling they are thinking more about it now and how it works.

          🙂 I, and they, can name it now 🙂

          I don’t want it for anyone either, and I am as guilty as many others are for saying dumb microaggressive things.

          Although, I think the only way for me to avoid it in my immediate world is to go hide in the woods with the squirrels more often!
          To conquer it, holy moly, I feel like super bitch trying to educate the wise asses. I need a cape and a golden lasso, maybe a force field.
          It just stirs them up even more if I point at it. What big fun they have with it – and me.
          I’ve known for a long time that our guys, usually much more so than the gals, enjoy taunting each other with anything they can find that is different. Big nose, ears, “too” skinny, “too” fat, their hair omg their hair… or lack of it. It just goes on and on here. It’s a terrible culture! And the more diverse it is I think the more there is to pick at.

          I imagine they do it to toughen each other up. It’s good up to a point, but there is a line, it can get aggressive real fast. I have broken up many fights that come from it with the young guys… hmmmm old guys too.

          I do know I have been drowning in the comments for decades.
          I laugh, and sometimes taunt back, to keep from going postal. I also know (and so do they!) that I have one of the sharpest, if not the sharpest tongue in the neighborhood. Not to mention the teeth, and claws. So that is something I try to avoid!

          The sign “No Girls Allowed” still hangs on the boys club house out back. And now I’m thinking mostly for this reason – they think they don’t have to change their microaggressive ways if the “sensitive” and “female” aren’t allowed in. OMG it’s like the microaggressive shack, I may have found the source!!

          Alright then……. backhoe or fire??? or both??? I think I will enjoy this today. I think both. 🙂

          “”real” parent”… I would have had a hard time not flinching and then laughing in your meeting – especially if I made eye contact with you and others and got “the look”. I am pretty sure I could not get through that without a chuckle or a snort escaping. Probably not the best or healthiest first reaction? A reaction full of the only grace I can usually muster at this point?

          It is often difficult for me to know how to react, or if there really is an appropriate way to react.

          It’s not difficult for me to decide to obliterate and burn the nest of micronastiness tho, can’t believe I hadn’t noticed that before now.

          Ahhh the power of one word 🙂

  • Valarie Johnson

    I’d love to read more posts from you about intersectionality. I know how my status as an LGBT minority and a disabled person have intersected to make me who I am, and I always think it’s interesting to hear other people’s perspectives on minority intersections. If I had to deal with one more minority I think I would be a very angry chica indeed! (I pass for white and don’t consider adoption to be an added minority to LGBT because we all have to make our families differently than you heteros ; ) so I get the easy card on those counts)

    My own father told me, “I wish you’d have some of your own kids first.” I was like, um, you know how biology works, right? Two women can’t make a baby! I definitely can’t have a baby (because my body is tha worst), and if my wife gets pregnant (she might decide to someday), the baby wouldn’t be biologically related to me, so that kind of defeats the purpose of my dad wanting me to have *my* own kids. Sometimes people just say crazy things. Even the international vs. domestic thing – if you had adopted internationally, people would ask “Why did you do that when there are so many kids in our own country who need families?” When people question me about my choices, I just say, “You’re right, I’d love to hear about YOUR experience fostering children in the U.S.! Oh…oh, you haven’t fostered or adopted ANY children, domestically or internationally? Huh, that’s weird that you’re giving me advice then…”

    The microaggressions can be about ignorance, but sometimes it is just so the other person can reassure themselves that they are superior. We can help my reassuring them that they are not, haha!

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Thanks Valerie. I hope to do some more writing about it specifically. I’ve written quite a bit about race, singleness, single motherhood, adoptive parenting, so I think I’ve been doing it all along but I think I’ll try to be more deliberate about it.

      I will say that the adoption thing is so…multi-layered all by itself. Even if it isn’t *your* thing, it might be your kiddo’s thing. And issues of class seem to be a biggie in this area as well.

      As for the invasive questions or commentary, yeah, silently praying, Jesus be a muzzle. And yes, it is about supremacy and oppression.

  • My Perfect Breakdown

    Wonderfully written, and so incredibly true from my experience as well!!

  • beth62

    Now I have another word for another “it” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attributional_ambiguity

    Now I am dizzy and certain I have caught Attributional Ambiquity to some degree.
    And I am not alone, I am certain of that.
    How in the world does one deal with this?!?
    Especially with other people than myself?

    I think I could be so exhausted from ridding our little world of the horrible macro aggressions, that the micros didn’t stand out so much, many even went unnoticed. When you are fighting the swarm of big fast killer bees, the little slow regular bees don’t bug you as much… until the big ones are gone.

    I found the B A D boys club house to be a memorial to the death of several different Macro aggressions. So that was a good part. Didn’t have the heart to tear it down yet. Sat there reading and looking at all the pics and voodoo dolls of me – the evil mean female crazy heartless bossy dragon lady – and I’m not done snooping yet! I am pretty sure the voodoo doll covered in melted wax and stuck to the floor with many things and a stake thru it’s heart was me LOL

    All the macro hate and fear was too easy to see in their anger. The good part to see was the change, even if it took some of them a decade or more to find it. Death to the angry hate and fear, oh happy day.

    They wrote a song about me to the tune of the Daniel Boone song. The words got scratched out and rewritten over time. It really was too funny, now. Started out with Mrs B was a Bitch, yes a Big B……what a B, what a pooper, what a perfect dream crusher was she.

    They had all the verses and everything, and pictures of me on the hang mans noose with a beard, teeth and horns – every horrible word and picture a boy or young man could come up with – it was very creative and it was Awesome!!!!!

    It ended up – Mz B was a MOM, yes a Great MOM…. what a boon! what a do’er! what a dream comer TRUER was she!

    So I cried for a while in the dirty shack and called the ones far away and told them where I was, and what I was doing and had seen LOL I smell presents in the mail 🙂

    And then we went to the dreaded Moose Lodge for an event, then church where the micro aggressions were so horrible and abundant I had to leave both places early. At least they had booze at the Moose.

    Now I am just exhausted and a little depressed and plan to just sit here for a while in my own peaceful little world staring at dozens of gallons of strawberries waiting for me to decapitate them.

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Oh wow. This is heavy. I mean voodoo dolls??? Wow. Hope has her box of writings that talk about how much she hates me but I know she’s working stuff out in her head and I just ignore it for now. Can’t say it doesn’t hurt but I try not to assign a lot of emotion to it for fear that it might set us back. I’m hoping that you get lots of presents.

      Yeah, attributional ambiguity is also a thing. I know that I sometimes wonder if “being me” and all the identities that includes triggers certain responses/feedback. I know I’m more likely to feel that when I’m feeling a lot of pressure from lots of little cuts. It makes us wary and untrusting.

      • beth62

        Now that I am able to use hindsight, what I learned and noticed from my bunch is that they were most angry at the ones they loved the most…. or wanted to love the most, or wanted to be loved by the most.

        It’s very frustrating to want to love and to want to be loved when you can’t quite trust that or actually do it.

        I sort of knew this all along, but now it is so obvious. And now I feel “bad” for letting some of it hurt me at the time, but not too bad LOL that chit hurt at the time!

        Now I know for certain, the tortured dolls and ugly pictures and words and broken items of mine… that is some mighty big frustrated love 🙂

        Some big crazy love that is often best to ignore for what it looks like!

        I am so happy that I was the star of the shack 🙂 the star by far 🙂 Others were there too, but no way did they hate them more than me, not even close. Mean Mama wins again!

      • beth62

        I’ve decided to hide in my cave, I do not trust my reactions. Period.

        Feel like I am covered in little cuts, scratches, blisters and maybe even a bite or two. All from people I know care about me and intend goodness or comfort with their comments.

        It’s possible my Soul is choking on Chicken Soup comments. I’m past full, can’t take any more.

        I have fear of the fog. I’ve been in the fog in a few places, not a good place to be, i’ve found my way out, and am always fearful to slip back in it and not know. Or even worse, not be in it but think I might be.

        To stay silent at some of the things that have been said to me in the past few days would be wrong, and to answer with a blow out would be wrong. I can’t seem to find a good reaction that could be close to right. Pain and frustration are too strong at the moment.

        So much of it is about class and race… I know I have too many sore spots. I didnt ask for any of them. But those spots should be sore, even the ones that have healed well, it’s only right that they are sore. Hell, some of my sore spots are on someone else, anf i seem to be more protective of their wounds than mine. Yet I seem to come off all wrong if I react with pain no matter who the scar belongs to. Arrgg.

        Any ideas of anything good and helpful to read about this sort of thing?

        I do remember some things close to it in Women Who Run with Wolves will have to go hide there and explore some more.

        • beth62

          ABM, wanted to thank you for letting me rest on your front porch while I pulled myself together.

          Those dogs really shook me up, and I knew I was lost too.

          I realized I didn’t notice, with all of the new and exciting going on for me, that I had been transferred to Venus. I’ve been on Mars for so long, no wonder I was confused, the Mars map rarely works on Venus.

          I’ve gotten plenty of wounds on Mars and Venus. Climbing Mount Mother nearly did me in, but I got to know all the camps well and it’s not as big and scary as it used to be for me.

          I’d sort of forgotten what it was like on Venus.
          It’s no wonder to me now how and why I stumbled onto your porch and felt safe!

          I have my bearings now, found my old map of this planet, picked up some different tools and weapons, put medicine on some deep deep sore spots that hadn’t been poked at in quite a while –
          I think I am good to go.

          Thanks again, I’ll send a post card if I see any soulful or interesting things I think you may enjoy on my way 🙂

        • AdoptiveBlackMom

          What an incredible compliment to say that I have a safe porch. I’m glad you found it! There’s always a rocking chair and a cool beverage around these parts. Stop by anytime.

        • beth62

          I forgot to mention what helped me find my senses! Plus I am always interested in opinions of this book by Clarissa Estes. When I first picked it up it really woke me up, and when I found out part way thru the book that she was adopted too it really hit home for me.

          But any way it was the story of The Red Shoes that brought me back home. And chapter 8, Self-preservation: Identifying leg traps, cages, and poisoned bait… The feral woman.
          I’ve fallen for every trap she mentions, some even more than once, so I guess it speaks to me well because of that.
          I think you might enjoy it about now tho. It had everything Lol. Even a bit about being, attempting, or wanting to be part of a collective.

          Best Wishes, Beth

  • TheChroniclesofaNonBellyMama

    Friend, this post hits the nail right on the head! Most of the times I engage morons in those conversations, mainly because taking the opportunity to enlighten at least one person, could mean the different between it rippling out to 50+ people eventually, or leaving some people ignorant forever. I know I’m not the sole voice of Latino Lesbian foster/adoptive moms by ANY means, but I know that my family is special, and non-traditional, and I’m ok with voicing that. But when after I already told you, and you STILL think it’s ok to dish over that ignorant ish, I don’t think so homie! Lots of times I don;t realize until I’m running the conversation in my head again and again wondering why i feel so crummy about it. But you’re right. I ALSO have started guaging more about what I say when asking questions of people that are different than me. Was that too intrusive? Did that sound insensitive? Is there a better way to phrase that so it doesn’t come off like I’m a big sweaty d*ick!? Hopefully, all of those repressed microagressions won’t turn into a massive explosion…

  • onewomanschoice

    Lots of good stuff. Love the actual examples referenced so that “maybe” people can get a clue and understand. Some people never will. Was disappointed that you left birthfamily out of the “adoption community” equation. People can be pretty ugly to birthmoms who relinquished at birth (for so many various reasons.)

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Certainly unintentional, but easily corrected! I likely did it because in our family I’ve made a conscious choice not to refer to Hope’s birth family as such, rather I am deliberate about calling them family with no separate distinction. I recognize that not all families make this choice.

      • onewomanschoice

        We all are trying to figure this out and make it better, researching, learning and understanding (hopefully) and supporting each other but sometimes it just seems like there is so much to do.

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