Adoptive Parent Fragility Self-Test

The following is a public post shared via Harlow’s Monkey Facebook page on December 16, 2018.

Shared from an adoptive parent friend

‘ADOPTIVE PARENT FRAGILITY SELF-TEST’

(Adapted from Ally Henny‘s *White Fragility Self-Test)

Ask yourself the following:

1. Do I feel defensive when an adoptee or (birth/first) mother says “adoptive parents tend to…?”

2. Do I feel angry when people tell me I benefit from AP privilege — that the adoption industry works in my favor, or that my socioeconomic class and/or race enabled me to adopt?

3. When an adoptee or mother talks about adoption, do I feel defensive because they’re describing things that I do or think?

4. Do I feel angry or annoyed by the above questions?

5. Do I have a history of embracing H/AP behavior that I now feel ashamed of, so I need to show people that I’m no longer “like that”?

6. Does saying “not all adoptive parents” or similar phrases make me feel better when someone calls APs out for something?

7. Do I expect an apology when I feel like I’ve been unfairly accused of poor AP behavior?

8. Do I feel better when I say, hear, or read, “every (adoption) experience is different?”

9. Do I try to convince adoptees and mothers that they’re wrong about adoption by pointing out people from their position in the triad who agree with me?

10. Do I feel the need to talk about my own hardships (such as infertility, a “failed” adoption, or a difficult childhood) when an adoptee or mother talks about their pain?

11. Do I think the adoption community would benefit if people stopped talking about the hard stuff, were more supportive, learned from “both sides,” or focused more on the positive?

12. Does being told that something I say, think, do, or otherwise value is harmful make me want to shut down, leave, or express my discomfort/displeasure in some way?

13. Do I feel the need to state that I have friends/family who are adoptees when someone points out problematic behavior?

14. Do I feel the need to prove that I’m one of the good ones?

15. Do I feel that my opinions and perspectives about adoption should be given equal weight to that of an adoptee or mother, that I have something unique and important to contribute to the adoption conversation, and/or that it is unfair to be told to listen more than I speak?

16. Do I feel the need to defend myself on any of the above points down in the comments section?

***

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are dealing with AP fragility. Take time to reflect on why you feel the way that you do. Take time to listen to adoptee and mothers’ perspectives.

AP fragility is a hindrance to healing because it prevents adoptees/mothers from being able to engage APs in honest conversation without also having to bear the burden of catering to APs’ emotional comfort.

At its worst, AP fragility can cause an emotionally unhealthy situation for adoptees/mothers because of the power dynamics and the weight of being responsible for APs’ feelings, while not having space to express their own.

There is also the weight that comes with people that you care about lashing out at and abusing you (verbally, emotionally, and/or digitally).

If we cannot talk honestly about the issues, then we cannot make progress.

*White Fragility, as defined by DiAngelo, is the result of white racial socialization. A state in which even a minimum amount of stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. This often applies to APs as well. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, and behaviors such and as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial comfort and status quo.

~Adapted by an adoptive parent

Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture Conference 2018

 Seventh Biennial Conference of Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture in cooperation with Adoption Initiative

*Formations: Thinking Kinship through Adoption*

Oakland Asian Culture Center and Oakstop

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ASAC 2018 Complete Schedule

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Notes:

Misdiagnosing adoptees youth with learning disabilities

First mothers signatures are forced on adoption records

We also need to challenge the adoption industries in sending countries

Poverty and lack of resources is the most common reason expectant mothers choose  to make an adoption plan

Adoptive parents do not naturalize their children are are being deported as adults

Gatekeepers to original adoption file include, but not limited to adoptive parents, judges, social workers, orphanage owners, legal corporations

School counselors in Virginia are not trained or personally related to adoption, and they are usually the first contact foster youth and adoptees have with counseling professionals.

Common messages given to international adoptees about their countries of origin are that they are dangerous and impoverished

The need for adoption language as a young child

Illegal international adoptions are still happening

Adoption is run on a business model

Trickery, manipulation, and fraud in court deceive first/birth families

Adoption is a colonial practice

Adoption is a construction of cultural genocide of indigenous people

Adoption profits off of mothers in poverty

Children were /are stolen from their daycare and placed in the international adoption industries

Demand for infant adoptions is greater than there are infants available… Supply and Demand

First/ birth mothers healing begins when they know where their child(ren) are and that they are doing well. “I just want to watch her walk by.”- Costa Rican birth mother that lost her child to poverty

Kinship- Deconstructing the competitiveness of parenting and ownership of children. I have four mothers. Which one is your real mother? Again, I have four mothers. European/white culture?

How am I representing myself today and archiving it?

Very Few Understand

Nigel: Did your parents have any information about your biological family?

Me: No, they were not given any information. Although, I received a birthday card on my first birthday from the women that worked in my orphanage. My parents informed the adoption agency and all communication was discontinued.

Nigel: Thats kidnapping.

Me: Exactly.

Pact Camp 2018

It felt so good to be back at Pact Camp

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This year has brought new dear friends into my life.

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Its always tough to open myself up to strangers, but I do it because I absolutely love the adoptees and foster care youth that walk this path with me.

Transracial Adoptee Panel: What We Wish Our Parents Had Known/Done

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And after we give our hearts, we must rest

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Until next time…

Birthday Dinner

Every year on my birthday I think more about my first mother. Over the years, I have honored her presence in my heart with either a thought, a prayer, or a birthday wish as I blew out the candles. This year I did something a little different.

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It was just a few years ago that I met a woman via Facebook. She shared her stories of when she was a young Brigham Young University student volunteering at my orphanage in the 1990’s. The one detail that I kept dear to me was the food the women, mothers, and children ate; “dal and rice almost every day.” The budget was tight, but if they had extra money, they added vegetables.

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So this year, I decided to spend the evening of my birthday alone, honoring her by making dal, rice (not pictured here) chapatis, and coconut chutney. I said a prayer and sent a lot of love around the world.

 

Family Medical Hx?

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Everyday, I express gratitude to the heavens above for my health. With all my medical history being unknown, I am truly grateful that I haven’t experienced any serious health threats yet.

I have taken my health very seriously since adulthood forced me to. Up until about a couple of years ago, I kept up with all my visits with my OBGYN at Planned Parenthood.

It all starts with paperwork before the appointment. Sitting in the lobby, checking of boxes swiftly, and then get caught up at the family history section. I take a deep breath, and write in “unknown“, and lastly my signature.

I turn in my paperwork to the front desk and verbally request that they review the medical forms to include an “Unknown”, or “Fostered/Adoptee” option when asked about family medical history. I drop some knowledge, they have an excuse, I roll my eyes, and then I take a seat and wait for my name to be called.

Minutes later, I am undressed with my paper cover-up over my bare chest, laid on my back, breast exposed.

Lump is found

Mammogram is provided

Benign

I am now living in Oakland and monitoring is suggested by my new Kaiser team. My most recent appointment was with the Breast Clinic.

It all starts with paperwork before the appointment. Sitting in the lobby, checking of boxes swiftly, and then get caught up at the family history section. I take a deep breath, and write in “unknown“, and lastly my signature.

I turned in my paperwork t othe front desk and verbally request that they review the medical forms to include an “Unknown”, or “Fostered/Adoptee” option when asked about family medical history. I drop some knowledge, they have an excuse, I roll my eyes, and then I take a seat and wait for my name to be called.

Minutes later, I am undressed with my paper cover up over my bare chest, laid on my back, breast exposed.

The doctor paced and asked me three times if I had information on my medical history within 15 minutes. THREE TIMES, I had to breathe and say no, calmly.

Lump is found again

Mammogram is ordered

Benign.

Everyday, I express gratitude to the heavens above for my health. With all my medical history being “unknown,” I am truly grateful that I haven’t experienced any serious health threats, yet.