This is not to say that everything about adoption is wrong, but everything about adoption is painful. For our modern, legal concept of adoption to exist, families must be broken. Adoption is not, and can never be, a best-case scenario. It relies upon the worst-case scenario having already come to fruition. From there, youre working with what is instead of what should be. That should be will never go away. For the entire lifetime of everybody involved in adoption, that should be exists, and it hurts. What is can still turn out to be wonderful, beautiful, incredible, but what is will never be what should be.[Edited to add: Strongly recommend reading her entire post before commenting, as there's a lot of context for the statement above. She isn't saying that there are no good adoptions -- far from it. She works in adoption services; she believes that adoption is sometimes the best option for the child going forward. But she also believes that doesn't invalidate the above.]
I'd be interested to hear what others thought of the post, especially others with actual experience of adoption (birth parents, adoptive parents, adoptees). I have no personal experience of adoption (aside from having several friends who are either adoptees or adoptive parents or both), but I find the entire subject tremendously important to think through. Especially as a bio-parent myself, but even aside from that, just as a member of human society. It takes a village, folks.
And I perhaps liked even more Harriet's supplemental post about privilege / derailment / etc. I tend to be of the 'win hearts and minds' approach when it comes to anti-racism, etc. work, and I'm still personally struggling with more confrontational approaches. So I find it helpful when folks spell out what they mean by things like 'derailment' of the conversation. Yes, maybe it's 101, but even though I've been doing this stuff for a while, some parts of it are still 101 for me. Maybe that's true for most of us.
But if you read my adoption post and thought, Well, thats not true, because my experience was good, I dont give a shit and I dont want to hear it. That is you coming in here and demanding that the conversation be made about you. Im not going to argue your life experience with you; thats a losing goddamn battle from the start, which is why its called a derailment tactic. But the fact that your experience was good has no relevance to a discussion about bad experiences, unless you have a deep and abiding need to make everybody agree with and focus on your experience. Thats some privileged shit. Just because you won the jackpot in the oppression lottery doesnt make the rest of us rich.And I have to quote one more thing Harriet says about the often contentious term, 'privilege', in the comments to the second post, because I found it so clarifying and helpful, and sorry it's so long, but you need the whole thing to get sufficient context:
...I have always preferred the term entitlement. Thats a word that gets used a lot in recovery from abuse and recovery from addiction, and while it doesnt capture the motivations or invisible processes that privilege does, I think its a better word to describe the actions of privilege. Especially because people who are privileged often dont feel privileged thats the invisible process and can be very underprivileged in certain ways. Addicts, for example, can be tremendously underprivileged, but they are burdened with an overwhelming, crippling sense of entitlement that they should have the things they want at any cost, and shouldnt have to face the consequences of those actions. There are also plenty of abusers who are very underprivileged, but feel theyre entitled to terrify somebody into domestic and sexual slavery. Entitlement, to me, is a belief that you deserve a baseline that you arent willing to grant to others, and if achieving that baseline causes pain, inconvenience, or suffering to others, thats none of your concern, because your needs outweigh theirs. Privilege, to me, is what can insulate a person from seeing the reality of other peoples baselines, so that entitlement can become an honestly ignorant process. As in, coming into a conversation that is not about you and trying to make it about you and getting mad when you get shut down is an act of extreme entitlement, because its demanding attention without consequence from people who have never indicated they think youre worth attention. To me, privilege is the invisible luxury that insulates a person from observing that other people dont act this way, its not an appropriate way to act, and there are natural consequences to acting that way (like getting called an asshole). But entitlement is what takes that ignorance born of isolation and turns it into the act of shitting on a conversation and then being all, Come clean my shit up! I shouldnt have to.Edited to add: I just found this post of hers on transracial adoption, You should move. Fascinating.