Wednesday, August 02, 2006

paper cut
I left the weekend papers behind for dad to read if he wanted to. Turns out he did as last night on the phone he asked me if I had read the Observer article on one man's search for his birth mother. Dad, quite hesitantly, wanted to know what I thought of it.
Where to start?
The temptation is to think because something is true for me it is true for everyone who is like me - I try to avoid this sweeping generalisation. My experience of adoption and my feelings about it are different to my brother's and we were adopted by more or less the same people (recognising that the parents he had were different people in some ways to the parents I had). Therefore, the likelihood is that, for all that there may be some similarities between adopted people, listening to other people's adoption stories with an expectation of identification or mirroring is only going to result in a feeling of alienation.
There were no parallels between my feelings/experience and his. I think dad was relieved to hear this! To be honest - and I am willing to imagine that this might be the result of the way the extracts were taken out of the context of the book as a whole - I thought him a self-ignorant, self-centred idiot. He combined a quite astonishing lack of self-awareness (or inability to recognise/reassess his motivations) with a breathtaking lack of empathy. And here I admit that my own empathetic abilities leave a lot to be desired.
Certain aspects of his story had me shaking my head with astonishment. Why on earth he thought adopted people - as a group - are drawn to other adopted people rather than wondering why it was he seemed to be drawn to adopted people (or even perhaps discounting the whole thing as coincidence), for example. I know lots of adopted people, I might hypothesise that I am drawn to them - if it weren't for the blindingly obvious fact that there are lots of adopted people around and that - if you say "I'm adopted" usually someone in the room will say either "me too" or "so's my cousin/friend/uncle/wife". The comparison I made to dad was that I come from a Catholic family, TA comes from a Catholic family. Although this is an interesting frame of common reference it does not have any bearing on why we are together. Those of us who have Catholic families are not necessarily drawn to each other because of it.
I could go on and on - and in fact I did rant rather on the phone last night - but I'll spare you.

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