I don’t know why Frederich Nietzsche was thinking about this. I don’t know that much about him other than the famous “God is Dead” written everywhere on university walls in the 1960’s.
But, according to Joanna Ravenna in The New Yorker, Nietzsche said that the best way to enrage people is to force them to change their mind about you. Joanna’s piece was talking about writers. How there is great resistance from all quarters when a writer breaks loose and writes something that is not basically the same as everything else they have written thus far.
We “Moms of the Adopted” understand that reaction. We, too, are forcing people to change their minds about us. And in the process we are ticking people off. So much so that sometimes they feel compelled to attack us.
Yep, there is no question about it: we are pissing people off plenty and they get enraged. We are forcing them to look at us and, therefore, adoption in general, and in particular, differently.
We are no longer those terrified, abandoned, young women. We aren’t afraid of what society or our parents or the adoption industry or the church or adoptive parents think. We are older and a whole lot wiser and we know what happened to us (and our children) was not right. We will go to our graves saying so in the hope that we may just stop it from happening to anyone else.
– We wouldn’t have been good mothers: We don’t buy that.
– We have no right to know our children. We don’t accept that.
– We were promised confidentiality: No we weren’t.
– Our children don’t have the right to know who they are: We and our adult children don’t accept that.
– Our children are ingrates if they want to know us: We and our adult children don’t accept that either.
If people don’t like it – too bad. If they get enraged, well too bad about that too.
Sometimes the attacks (frequently anonymous) almost make me laugh. I know the women they are aimed at. These women are strong, well-educated, and otherwise happy, with lots of supportive people around them. They know who they are. They won’t have much trouble withstanding a little name calling.
They now see the name calling for what it is. People don’t seem to realize is that it was the name calling that got most of us here in the first place. Name calling was part of a multi-pronged attack on our motherhood. Just part of the ethos. Having succumbed to it once most of us now will just pick up a metaphorical baseball bat and hit the name calling grenade right back out of the park.
Sticks and stones etc., it’s a childish rhyme that holds a great deal of truth.
Anyone who has ever worked for the government knows that whenever government does anything, civil servants spend a lot of time in meetings worrying about who the stakeholders are and what the stakeholders’ reaction will be.
Sooner or later in the meeting somebody will say “Well… whose ox will be getting gored?” Civil servants know that if you identify that group, you will know where all the objections will come from and make an educated guess as to what the objections will be.
Somebody’s ox is getting gored with the rethinking and re-examining of all things related to adoption. (See the recent apology in Australia.) In my view, the ox belongs to the stakeholder group that has had exclusive access to the podium (and the media and the law makers) for way too long, adoptive parents and adoption agencies. In fact, I would go so far as to say they were the only stakeholder group who were actually recognized as stakeholders for way too long. The rest of us, mothers and kids, were just along for the ride.
We want to change that. We are changing that.
That’s what we think. That’s who we are. If that enrages any of you out there – we’re sorry. :-)