NO! I was literally sucking in the rhetoric that prompted this blog.
Once again, adoptee’s voices are being crushed left and right. Everywhere I go, I see adoption being thrown in my face, appreciation being required or else, and the “good adoptee” narrative being used against me as if I’m some kind of criminal for being opposed to this narrative.
Are there “positive” adoptions? Yes. I do believe there are. But this in no way means that loss, trauma, and sadness is not involved.
For Dave Thomas, his adoption must have been “amazing”. I mean, he created a family restaurant that is filled with racism, injustice, food that can be dangerous, and inconsistency with its message. I don’t think he intended to do this. However, when money is involved, people do interesting things. Intent vs Impact…right?
But why must he make other adoptees feel like Wendy’s would NOT have existed had he not been adopted? Because it could have. Because he was already empowered to create this. He didn’t “need” adoption to make him successful. Adoption needed him to look “good”.
I don’t even know if he believes in this particular narrative himself. Does he really think that because he was “taken” and raised by other people (possibly strangers), he was able to create a franchise? Did he not have enough faith in himself otherwise?
I don’t know his adoption story. It is his to tell and I can respect that.
But his company can’t use that rhetoric in this world where children are being separated from their parents. Children, innocent children, are being taken from their parents and put into foster care and maybe even adopted into families where the “new” parents are complete strangers. And one day they may become the president of the USA…
This kind of thinking is very harmful. Did adoption contribute to his success? Maybe. Did adoption help him become a stronger person? Maybe. Did adoption help bring him closer to his goals? Possibly?
Was it because of adoption that he became rich and successful? NO! It was in spite of adoption that he became rich and successful.
The problem with statements like the one written on the cup is that it puts all other adoption stories that involve pain, and suffering, and hurt, and sadness in a box. It puts us in the “we are angry” box and look how well HE did. It puts us in the “you should be thankful” box because Dave is thankful.
Is Dave thankful that he was not raised with his birth family? Do we know his story in full? Is it ours to know?
I am a successful Adoption Consultant, mother, teacher, Jeweler, wife, and so much more but it is not because of being adopted. My adoption was everything but rainbows and unicorns. Were there times of laughter, joy, happiness? Yes. Of course there was. But adoption and the separation it’s created caused a deep hole in my being. It made me wonder every day where my parents were, what they were doing, whether they were alive or dead. It made me wonder who I looked like, what did I do that was similar to them. It made me wonder if the health issues came from not being with them, if I would not have been sexually assaulted if I was living with them. Adoption made me dream every night that I was with them, somehow. Adoption drove me absolutely crazy. It made me sick at times, it made me feel like I had to be thankful for something I never chose. Then, as I got older and learned the truth about adoption and about my story in specific, adoption created hatred in me. The machine that allowed my APs to pay 50 thousand dollars for my body, but nothing for my soul brought me to a very low point. I wanted to die. I tried to die. I was unsuccessful.
Adoption didn’t make me a successful person. I (and some awesome powerful unseen entity) made me successful. My strength and desire to move on, to let go of some aspects of my sadness, to create a life while saying “no more” to certain people, places and experiences, allowed me to be successful. It allowed me to be me.
Every adoption story is indeed unique. I feel however that Wendy’s has crossed the line by implying that success in general comes from adoption. If his success truly came from his trauma and being adopted, that is great. But words like Face It, Admit it, Deal with it, Just suck it up…..those are all words that create division.
I think had he taken out FACE IT in big caps, it would be more palpable. The message in itself is pretty ugh…but to put FACE IT, right in your face….to tell adoptees that they should be grateful, thankful, appreciative. To tell adoptees that because he was saved he was able to create a franchise….this language is dangerous and very much unnecessary to get his point across.
I don’t see how one is directly related to the other. They are also in no way MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.
Adoptees all around the world have spoken up about their adoption. We want right. We want our adoptee rights. We want to be able to have our original BC that have NOT been altered. We want our real parents’ names on our birth certificates. We want to have our medical records. We want to be able to close our eyes at night and NOT wonder who we look like, and why we do certain things. We want rights.
Instead of supporting the adoption machine, let’s work on supporting adoptee rights. Did Dave Thomas have the right to feel differently about his adoption or was the “good adoptee” narrative something his literally sucked in too?
Success can force you into a box that you don’t even fit into. And success can’t be measured by a machine that does not work to keep families together.