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