Seems it’s that time of year again, folks.
iBastard, Vietk and Kevin have put up their thoughts on “the bitter adoptee” with dead-on comments about how dehumanizing, invalidating and misleading it is to be referred to in such a condescending way. I don’t have anything new to add, but do feel the need for a little bouncy rant.
As far as the labels go, I think I’m pretty much with Vietk on its use, but even there, it totally depends on context. I can’t accept when other adoptees use phrases like “bitter adoptee” or “angry adoptee” in the same derogatory way as those who aren’t adoptees often do. Sometimes, they even use it to invalidate and dismiss the feelings of other adoptees.
iBastard’s post provides an interesting example of how labeling can be used to tip the scales, polarize a subject and all but put a stop to balanced dialogue. Like iBastard, I’m not sure whether all the bitter/happy adoptee mess is by design or a natural occurrence. Something tells me it’s a little of both with a touch of opportunism involved.
In any case, it’s a distraction that forces those of us who are critical of our adoptions and/or adoption in general into a defensive stance. It’s something we can’t ignore as an attack on our credibility, so while we’re busy defending ourselves, those wishing we would disappear can supposedly go about their business mostly unchallenged.
Throw in some divide-and-conquer strategies drawing a line between “good” and “bad”, gather as many “good recruits” as possible on your side and let them help you quash the rebellion. In the meantime, conflict and resentment builds up inside the adoptee community breaking down trust between us. As a result, the division become wider and is reinforced.
After countless exchanges that seemed to have made little difference, for me, it’s no longer a productive discussion. Sometimes, it feels too much like having to justify my very existence, and I’m just not going to do that anymore.