Adoptee blogs & Harlow's Monkey

Squeezing in a little blog trolling this morning, and shocked to read that one of my favorite bloggers, Harlow's Monkey, is throwing in the blogging towel. This was one of the first adoptee blogs that I came across after we decided to adopt. Not only is Harlow a wonderful writer who shares her insight with thoughtful consideration, she's also a strong voice in the adoptee community, which is a tough thing to do.

Harlow has spoken out bravely and succinctly. She's a transracial adoptee and a social worker so her knowledge of this topic is well vetted. But the topics she discusses aren't easy to read. And her opinions are controversial.

It seems that adoptees who "dare" to express concern, disappointment or frustration at their adoption are labeled as bitter, resentful, ungrateful, or a failure. And the unfortunate thing is that the people who label them as such and give them grief are often adoptive parents.

I suppose it's because we carry this deep seated fear that no matter how much we want to do for, care for, or love our child, they might deem our decision to take them from their birth country/family as wrong. We can't bear the thought that by the very act of adopting and loving them, we might have hurt them.

Add to this the notion that everyone loves a good adoption story. It's much easier to hear the stories from adoptive parents and the touchy-feely-happy stories about adoption, rather than the you-had-no-right-to-take-me-from-my-heritage story. We prefer the myth that "love is enough" and any adoptee who isn't happy/grateful/thankful evidently wasn't loved properly.

So maybe this is why adoptive parents are often the ones who argue vehemently with adoptees who are expressing their truths. (No matter if we agree with them or not, they are speaking THEIR truth.) I admit, I get a bit terrified when I read blogs by adoptees who firmly believe that transracial adoption is wrong. But as much as I want to run from those stories and opinions, it's still important to try and understand.

Harlow spoke to her fellow adoptees, stating "For too long, our voices have been silenced, patronized and told our experiences do not make us an expert in our own lives. No more. We are the authors and experts of our own lives! No one else can speak for us." She's right. What better experts could there be on adoption than those who have lived it?

For every adoptee, their voice and story will be different. For every anti-adoption blog I've read, there were others who supported it. We can't know how our child might feel about their adoption. Of course, we hope to give them the support network and tools to work their way through the challenges they will likely face. And we hope that we can create a strong and loving family they will be happy to be a part of. Reading the journeys of other adoptees, no matter how painful, is a valuable way to understand how to be better parents and work towards these goals.

Please be sure to read THIS POST, where Harlow asks adoptive parents to be an ally to transnational adoptees. It will be hard to live up to many of the things on this list, but that's certainly the kind of parents The Man and I want to be.

And thanks Harlow's Monkey, for all you've done. Her blog is a great resource even though she's not continuing to update. Be sure to check it out.

Here's some links to other adoptee bloggers---
*chopsticks not included
Heart, Mind and Seoul
Hello Korea!
Holt adoption baby
Jane's Blog
John Raible Online
The Transracial Korean Adoptee Nexus
Twice the Rice
When I Touch the Land in Korea
안녕습니다 (annyong seumnida)


  1. Its too bad Harlow won't be contributing her voice anymore. As hard as it is to read sometimes, I think its so important to hear what adoptees' experiences. As an adoptive parent, its painful for me to accept that love isn't enough, that the loss of their biological families and birth countries may haunt my children no matter what I do. Yet I believe my children have the right to both feel and express their emotions and I want to learn the best way to allow them to do that - even if what they have to say is hard for me to hear.

  2. You're right that it's important to explore all angles of adoption, and it's easy to focus only on the good, or only the bad. I'll check out the post you highlighted on Harlow's blog, and am anxious to look at the rest too!
    I definitely fear that our children will one day resent what has happened to them, or worse, resent US. But if I let that fear be the predominant motivator in my life, life sure wouldn't be much fun. I love, though, the frequent reality check of different perspectives.

  3. It is definitely hard for me, as an adoptive-parent-to-be, to think that my child could feel this way sometime. (We're adopting domestically of course, but we don't know what race/nationality we may be lucky enough to adopt.)

    It breaks my heart that an adoptee might feel as if their adoptive parents did them a disservice, when what I'm trying to do (aside from becoming a Mommy for my own selfish purposes) is to love a child more than anything in the world and give him or her the best life possible. It's so hard for me to think that the child may grow up to feel like I wronged them by adopting them.

    That said, you're right. I do try - hard - to understand where they're coming from. I wouldn't be any sort of adoptive parent if I wasn't willing to at least try. Again, you're right, their truth is THEIR truth and perception is reality. All I can do is the best I can to love my child, keep him or her in touch with their culture/heritage regardless of what that may be, and hope and pray that it's 'enough.' :)

    Thank you for posting this!!


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