“That isn’t your real family”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/08/09/as-seen-at-the-olympics-there-is-still-a-lot-of-ignorance-about-adoption/?tid=sm_fb

I have written a lot about adoption and adopting yourself through acceptance. One of the hardest things for any adoptee to handle is being told “that isn’t your real family.” Some might balk at this actually happening in real life… because how much of an asshole can a person be? I’ll tell you. People can be the biggest assholes and say the most inconsiderate things. For many it is due to ignorance or a lax tongue. For others they say these things to hurt you intentionally.

I have had things like this said to me. The last time someone said this to my face they got punched in theirs. There are some things you just don’t say to people and we all have our triggers. For some they are racially motivated and for others they are aligned with their life choices. The thing about adoption is that NONE OF US chose to be given up. If you know of an adoptee that was sat down and given a choice please let me know and I’ll edit this post immediately. I’ve never met a single person that opted out of their family and decided on their own to be adopted.

The article I linked above is making the rounds in the adoption circles and groups I am a part of. I don’t normally interact much with adoptee groups, but I do like to know what the current topics and issues are. The conflict for me is that each adoptee is their own story and their life becomes the story. Because of that fact I find it overwhelmingly hard to interact and try to bond with other adoptees even though we all have an underlying sense that we belong to a special group. The differing sides to the adoption debate and the different views on adoption as a whole keep me from really jumping in and joining any of these groups. I have my own opinions on adoption based on my life and my experiences.

The reason most of us are so upset by what was said by the sports announcer is because it shows the carelessness and ignorance surrounding adoption and adoptees. In many ways it is the same attack made on immigrants when people tell them they aren’t really “American” even though they have lived here their whole life. Take that emotional topic and exponentially increase it tenfold. That is how much adoptees care about this subject because it is close to all of our hearts. Many of us have had a stranger, friend, ex-friend, roommate, or even a family member carelessly smash our confidence with some innocuous statement they didn’t think fully through. The problem is that while it is a passing remark for the doer, it is a stab in the heart to an adoptee.

We spend our whole lives working to be accepted. We spend an equal amount of time working to accept ourselves. To have some ignorant asshole tell us that we don’t truly know who we are or “you aren’t really a Cushman are you” is equal to a slap in the face. It is even more than that, you basically just went in time and kicked the younger me while I was in the orphanage and told me “no matter what you will never belong.” Remember that next time you talk to an adoptee and decide to tell them they aren’t really part of the family they have grown up with. Words do hurt and can last a lifetime.

-Opinionated Man

Jason C. Cushman

Ahn Soo Jin

@smokendust

44.1

leaving-airport

the next day

family w jason

37 thoughts on ““That isn’t your real family”

  1. About a year ago a woman posted on Facebook all the terrible things people had said to her and / or her two adopted daughters. I was absolutely appalled by some peoples complete lack of humanity. You really have to ask yourself – what is wrong with people? Your family is just beautiful. The sad looking tiny version of you makes my heart melt. I wonder what you were thinking. And your parents look so happy holding you.❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It actually staggers my mind to think that people would believe that an adopted child is not actually part of the family that adopted him. In fact, your parents had a choice, and with that choice, they chose YOU. IMHO that makes you an immediate Cushman through and through

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love Korean names, they all have interesting and beautiful meanings. Ahn Soo, do you know what that name means?

    I consider you my real family, Jason. Oh, and I read that Jason means healer. It’s kind of rare to be blessed with two names I think.

    I don’t have a middle name but Deon means god of the party. YEAAAHHHHHH!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember when we adopted out kids. They had been to so many foster homes. After about a year with them, my wife and I wanted to go out to dinner by ourselves. We left them with a couple that had also adopted children. When we left, my son turned to the wife in the couple and said, “They aren’t coming back, are they?” I can’t imagine what that feels like.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m trying to imagine how it is to be an adoptee and my second thought after thinking that identity must be hard is that actually you guys are lucky because someone chose to become your family in a fully conscious way while so many kids are received by their parents as an imaginary thing that starts disappointing their expectations from day 1.

    Is there something true in this or is it just my imagination running wild?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry but adopted kids are anything but lucky. The rejection that they feel. The love that they have for their bio parents that never goes away. As an adoptive parent I am the one that is blessed to be our kids parent. At least most days. lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think all situations must be somewhat different. I have a couple of friends that are adopted kids and beyond basic curiosity didn’t get too much trouble with the thought of their biological parents. Then I have friends and myself that had family situations we would have dreamed of escaping.

        Like

        • I read your blog and I can understand why you feel that way. 4 out of 6 of our kids went through so much trauma that we as a family live with it everyday. A child that didn’t get out of a bad situation would definitely been blessed to have been adopted. 2 of our kids have healed from reactive attachment disorder. They still have other issues that they have to deal with but where would they be if they weren’t adopted……….

          Liked by 1 person

  6. You know, Milord, dealing with adoption is not an easy thing to do. However, I do think that home is where the heart is….
    Love and acceptance from your family just makes it easier

    Liked by 1 person

  7. See, I totally struggle with this “it’s not your family” attitude. You come into this family. A family is a group of people that is put together in one way or another. It’s how you see each other, the way you treat each other and the support you give each other. Many blood families are no families at all in my picture. Your family is who you feel is your family. The people who love each other and are there for each other. The people you grow up with. The ones that teach you. It’s truly a stupid thing to say that “it’s not your family” because you are not blood related.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I keep seeing this on my time line from adoptive parents. It’s hard to believe someone could say that. He basically said none of our children are really our’s. I’m glad they made me take it down but the apology don’t mean anything imo. I never make my kids apologize because if they aren’t truly sorry then it means nothing. I have them to say they were wrong for what they did.

    Liked by 1 person

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