Simultaneous Frustration and Gratitude on Being Freshly Pressed

Over the past few days, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of attention my blog has received due to my mother’s guest piece on why she is not pro-adoption. Red Thread Broken has had 15,000 visitors in the past week. With more than two thousand shares on Facebook, my mother’s post quickly rose to the most viewed page on this blog, even surpassing my homepage by 3,000 views. I am constantly intrigued by the dialogue in the comments section and feel so lucky to have garnered such support, thought provoking questions, and an even larger adoption community.

Just yesterday afternoon, I was notified that my mother’s blog post was selected to be “Freshly Pressed” or showcased as an editors’ pick and community favorite on WordPress. The editor who contacted me wrote, “I found this post to be extremely cogent and compassionate — it does a fantastic job looking at a complex issue with nuance and calmness. The fact that it’s an adoptive mother writing on her daughter’s blog makes it an even more powerful statement. I’m thrilled to share it with our audience.”

When I first began blogging, I looked in awe of the bloggers whose pieces had been Freshly Pressed, singled out over 11 million new posts each week. I never intended for or imagined that my blog would be featured on the WordPress homepage. While I consider this a great honor, there is something quite odd to me about an adoptee blog being featured and spotlighted for an adoptive parent post.

I am so thankful for the many open conversations about adoption that my mother and I have had over the years and am so proud that she, too, wanted to share her voice via this platform. Though my blog’s traffic has increased significantly since the publication of my mom’s piece, she and I both recognize that her vocalized thoughts are not new. The same sentiments have been stated repeatedly by adoptees on blogs all over the internet (TAO has an extensive list here). That the highlighted voice being “Freshly Pressed” belongs to an adoptive parent reflects a much larger issue – that we have been taught to prioritize adoptive parents in common adoption discourse, often times over the adoptee.

 I’ve been thinking a lot about the editor’s words, “The fact that it’s an adoptive mother writing on her daughter’s blog makes it an even more powerful statement.” Is it such a radical thought that an adoptive parent could come out with a critical view on adoption? I wonder if my mom’s voice carries more weight because there are relatively few adoptive parents who take a firm stance against the injustices in the adoption system compared to those who like to see and write only on a Hallmarkified experience. The question then becomes why these few voices carry so much more weight than the swarms of adoptees who have been saying the exact same thing.

More than a problem of only voicelessness, there is also the issue of how the adoptee opinion is perceived once heard. While my mother’s blogpost was described as “extremely cogent and compassionate,” I have been called bitter, angry, maladjusted, and assumed to have had a horrible adoptive family for expressing similar concerns. I have been told that my birthcountry “could give two craps about their children,” that I was “nothing more than a number,” and that I do not have enough wisdom to discuss adoption in this way.  I have lifetime of experience as an adoptee, though, and I truly believe that we, adoptees, are the experts on the adoptee experience.

I am so thrilled that an alternative, multi-facetted essay on adoption is going to be “Freshly Pressed.” If my mother’s voice can captivate an even larger audience and promote some serious thought on adoption, I’m glad. While this past week has been extremely exciting and flattering for both of us, it has also reminded me of the power inequity and the issue of voice in the adoption community, and that we still have a long way to go.

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37 responses to “Simultaneous Frustration and Gratitude on Being Freshly Pressed

  1. No one wants to hear anything other than gratitude from an adopted person. How dare we complain about the kind people who took us in when our own worthless parents didn’t even want us? We have no right to feel anything.

  2. Wow. Quadruple Like. I couldn’t agree more, & I admire your openness & guts in expressing the point so (wait for it) cogently & compassionately! Thank you for your blog. Nothing against your mother (I’m a TRAP who does some writing as well) but it’s wonderful to hear your voice. I will keep reading!

  3. I admit that I linked to your Mom’s blogpost on FB. But of all your great blogposts, I am sad that this is the one that has gotten the most attention. Ugh. Doesn’t that just say so very much about what is wrong with adoption?

  4. I understand what you are feeling, it’s a good thing, it’s also a sad reaility on how people view the one adopted. Mixed feelings for sure. Thanks for the shout out, that was sweet of you.

  5. Great observation and response. Your mom’s entry was great, and it was really sweet you allowed her to express herself on your blog, but you’ve hit several home runs, including this one.

  6. Amazing post. I love your mom’s piece, too, but I get what you are saying. It’s rather unfortunate that the piece selected was your mother’s and not your own. When my daughter and I started our adoption blog, one of my pieces was Freshly Pressed, and it was a little disconcerting too. There are different reasons they/Cheri chooses pieces to be freshly pressed. I think many times the piece chosen is one she thinks will generate discussion. The way your mother’s piece was contextualized gave it a spark to generate that discussion. But your piece here does so even more for me, and I would wish that IT would be Freshly Pressed!
    On another note, when I started the blog I’m writing from, it earned a Freshly Pressed very early on–for the only guest blogger piece I had!! My friend gave me a beautiful essay to use. Then I was happy for the blog to be Freshly Pressed and really happy for my friend, but I was also a little worried that now my own pieces would never become Freshly Pressed. Lo and behold, I did get one Writer Site piece that I wrote Freshly Pressed. So don’t worry that just because your blog already got one that you won’t get another–and next time it will be your own writing, which well deserves it!!!

    • Thank you so much for reading! And thank you so much for your kind words about my writing. My mother has definitely been one of my biggest mentors, and so much of my love for reading and writing has been influenced by her.

  7. This is so perfectly stated. Thank you. Adoptees who express anything but supreme gratefulness and glee at their ‘good fortune’ are met with eye rolls and disgust by most of the unadopted masses. There is no empathy. “You were abandoned and then rescued. WTF do you have to complain about?!”

  8. Pingback: Another post of links… | The adopted ones blog·

  9. Pingback: Why I (An Adoptive Parent) Am Not Pro-Adoption | Red Thread Broken·

  10. This speaks to the propaganda entrenched in minds about adoption but I am glad there are readers now because of blogs like yours. Change is coming slow, so slow, but necessary.

  11. Interesting take! As an adoptive parent who adopted my child from foster care after he was removed from home as an infant due to being bitten by his mother with mental illness, I have to admit it bothers me somewhat to hear adoption and adoptive parents (especially foster adoption within the US) spoken about so negatively. I happen to know that my son’s caseworker gave his mother every opportunity (including giving her clothes and getting her GED and drivers’ license study guides) before her rights were terminated. I don’t know the specifics of the removal of his younger half-brother. However, my son has made and kept in contact with him and his adoptive parents.
    I guess each case has to be looked at on an individual basis though. Some private or international adoptions may be a little different. Anyway, kudos to you and your mom for working so well together on your blog!

    • I write to show the adoptee’s narrative, which is so often silenced by media whenever we are not unabashedly grateful. It’s great that you can say you know for sure that aid was given to your son’s birthmother before rights were terminated, but internationally many first parents are coerced by family members/social workers/middlemen into giving their children up or are forced to because of laws like the One Child Policy. In the Marshall Islands, for example, 80% of mother’s who had relinquished children thought that adoption meant their children would come back to them at 18 years of age. In the U.S., a major problem is with birthfathers not being told about their children or told after deadlines to retain parental rights have passed. Both internationally and domestically much needs to change in the adoption system.

  12. Stumbled upon your mom’s post on Freshly Pressed and know I was meant to find it. Thank you for your work (in yourself and in the world) and thank you for your bravery in sharing it with us all. It is through those of us who own our stories, ask questions, practice the work and speak about it that hopefully more and more compassion can be born. Thank you again! Justine

  13. Thanks to you both for these posts. It shows so well how the adoptees opinion is not heard and how easy it is to hear the same concerns and opinions from anyone other than an adoptee. My children can say it and be heard, believed, my husband, my parents, my adopted sibs, my half sibs, uncles, cousins – nearly any one else in my family can have these opinions and be heard, listened to as making valid, educated or experienced comments worth listening to. But Not the Adoptee.

    It’s not what I as an adoptee says, it’s the fact that I am saying anything at all other than how happy I am, especially anything deemed as “ungrateful”. With many people any suggestion to change things for the better for Adoption is assumed as ungrateful, bad experience, bad parents, not proper thinking. So often I feel as some people, especially aparents, project their parental attitudes on me, as if I am a child to be scolded, like their child, like their child thinking wrongly of the situation in their opinion, thinking that must be dealt with. Thinking that obviously hasn’t been thought through enough to get to the truth. Anger, anti, ungrateful is in the way to think properly about it.

    Many adult adoptees have experienced, researched and thought about their adoption, and adoption in general, for Decades – often for far more decades than the people-who-are-trying-to-parent-us-correctly-online have even been alive. We are not forever children, even my children are adults.

    I hope those who are Not Adopted, yet experienced adoption in their lives, will try to share like your mother did in her post. It’s the only way so many people will attempt to listen to the message.

  14. I understand your point. Of the three sides of adoption, the adoptive parents almost always trumps everyone else (adoptee/birthparent). As a birthmother myself, we, like the adoptee have laid silent or voiced our concerns with little or no regard. Somehow society allows those who have never experienced a similar life circumstance to speak or educate on our behalf. It seems everyone else knows better then we do of how we should act or feel. Sadly, though maybe unintentional, it comes across as a lack of respect for us.

    The media does not represent us as a whole and will only promote what they feel will produce more views, more traffic and end the end, more revenue for them.

    As for your mother, with her parenting experience as an adoptive parent, mixed with her experience as a social worker and I’m assuming a degree of some sort (maybe psychology), I can see how all of this could have been considered as a factor for a well rounded, educated, and experienced view. But again, not the view of the adoptee.

    It seems that society still needs the adoptive parent to validate these concerns. It’s almost as if the adoptive parent in some ways has become like the Pope in the Catholic religion. If the Pope says it, then it must be true. If the adoptive parent says it, then it must be true.

    But change is coming. Stay authentic and keep speaking your truth. People are listening.

    • I wanted to mention that people in general do not hear my mother either. In the beginning I thought they might be able to hear me, I am certain I am heard more than my mother is, but not much more.

      Many have heard us both tho, it seems to take a large group of us to be heard by a few.

      “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

      “But change is coming. Stay authentic and keep speaking your truth. People are listening.”
      Yes, people are listening, and change is coming, so, keep typing 🙂

      • “It seems to take a large group of us to be heard by a few.” Have you heard of Gazillion Voices magazine? I thought that immediately. It takes a gazillion voices to enact change.

  15. Pingback: Simultaneous Frustration and Gratitude on Being Freshly Pressed | One Woman's Choice·

  16. Chiming in a little late here….firstly, THANK YOU for sharing your gift of expression. After reading your mom’s piece, I see where the similarities in your voices criss cross and diverge continuously. As an adoptive mom of a son from Korea, I take great interest in writings by BOTH APs and adoptees. If this can be a pat on the back to make you feel a little better about the divided attention, it definitely is about the readers. Your mom’s piece resonated with both camps while yours may have been mostly with the adoptees/adoptee supporters like me. You have a pure, raw way of conveying the intricacies of being adopted which cuts right to the core of the human nature. I look forward to reading on…..grateful here.

  17. I’ve been reading your blog for years. I think it’s always been extremely well written and on point. “The question then becomes why these few voices carry so much more weight than the swarms of adoptees who have been saying the exact same thing.” I had the same thought even as I read the title of your mother’s piece. So, again, totally on point. Congratulations. Keep on.

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