Adoptee Narrative Expropriation: Some short thoughts

This is short, but not so sweet tonight!

As I’ve said a couple of times this NAM, our stories are ours; not somebody else’s.  If and when we tell our stories it should be our decision, not someone else’s. It’s about consent, a term that in the current reactionary political climate, is as foreign as Old Saxon or Ngandi.

That said, we know that our personal adoption stories are up for grabs.  First parents, adoptive parents, reporters, adoption agents, social workers, re-homers, facilitators, religious nuts, neo-libs, do-gooders, and outsiders of multiple stripes hijack our stories for their sometimes contradictory and oppositional, own agendas.  I call this Narrative Expropriation. Somebody speaks for us. Somebody pretends to be us. Somebody pretends we share the same histories, opinions, and desires. Somebody uses us to create their own stories.

Here’s an example out of Michigan:  Michigan girl, 5, shares her Adoption Day story,


I jumped at that immediately and am relieved to say, that little Olivia didn’t share anything.–at least that made it on air. (Maybe some high school intern wrote the header.) Actually, the news story is pretty benign compared to “events” I’ve seen in the past. Still, the deceiving headline tells a story itself. Adoptee stories are public and exploitable.  Olivia, without her knowledge, is used to huckster adoption mythology.

Of course, exploitation isn’t limited to children too young to understand consent and privacy or their own situations. Adult adoptees and even adoptee rights activists can get snookered, misconstrued, and misquoted, too. It’s part of the game, and we learn to circumvent and deflect   Small children can’t. They don’t know the rules yet. They can’t consent, so their stories can be invented.

No matter the individual agendas, our otherly-constructed stories transform into mythology. Our stories are the braces and girders, the beams, and bricks, and mortar, the planks, and nails that build the adoption industry. facade. We need to tear it down.

This is something I intend to write about later in more detail (and better) but not during NAM. The Safe Haven Baby Box folks, for instance, are especially good at huckstering kids to sell their spiel. Several boxees, now, toddlers, get pranced and paraded around at baby box celebrations to create movement mythology. I hope there’s some good adoption-competent therapists set up for them 10 years from now.


Day 23 of 30–
7 to go



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