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  • Is This Father’s Day Card Offensive to Adoption?

    Dawn Davenport

    15

    My distance vision has always been lousy, but up until recently, I could see perfect up close.  That seems to be changing, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with my last birthday. I’m at the point now where I have to search for the sweet spot when reading–not too close or it blurs, but not too far away either. I’m trying to be philosophical about it–life is all about finding the sweet spot; kind of like “Life is like a box of chocolates” in Forrest Gump. (Oh Lord, tell me I’m not turning into one of those crotchety old people who references movies that no one under the age of 50 has ever seen!)

    Sometimes it’s hard in the world of adoption or infertility to find the sweet spot. Yes, we are tender and bruised from the journey, and thus perhaps just a wee bit overly sensitive. We love our children beyond reason, which makes us perhaps just a wee bit overly protective. (If you don’t believe me, check out my thoughts and especially the comments on my blog The Debate Over Adopt-a Programs.) But sometimes, dadgummit, things are just plain offensive, and we should call it like it is.  So, I ask you–is this Father’s Day card offensive or just mildly cute?Target-Fathers-Day-card-2

    Wendy posted this card at the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group . (It’s with her permission that I moved the discussion to the blog.) Opinion over there seems to be mixed, although leaning towards offensive. Here’s a sampling of what people think.

    CM: I don’t find it the slightest bit funny and find it incredibly offensive.

    NN: Ew. Poor taste.

    JW: Ok, I’m going to take the other side here. I see no malice in this card. Silly, but not intended to be hurtful, you know?

    DP: Whether it’s intended to be hurtful, and whether it IS hurtful (or offensive) are two different things. The decision to relinquish a child for adoption is not something to be made light of. I find this terribly offensive and likely very hurtful to both firstparents and adoptees. That’s not changed by the fact that they probably “just meant it as a joke.”

    CLM: I didn’t see the correlation to adoption. My guess is that it wasn’t intended to offend adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents or anyone else.

    What do you think? Offensive or are we overreacting?

    P.S. When I googled “dadgummit” to see if I had spelled it right, I read the following at Urban Dictionary.

    Western U.S. slang, similar to Dadblastit and Dadgummit, used to express frustration or annoyance. This word was often used by Hoss of TV’s Bonanza.

    Oh great, just what I needed to feel old! And for the record, Bonanza was before my time–or at least I think it was. My memory isn’t what it used to be.

    Image credit: Wendy

    12/06/2013 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 15 Comments



    15 Responses to Is This Father’s Day Card Offensive to Adoption?

    1. Geochick says:

      It’s an eye roller for me. Definitely poor taste and uneducated. .

    2. Lauren says:

      I think it’s cute. Sometimes (and I’ve had to learn this first hand) we have to stop thinking that everyone is trying to take a dig at us.

    3. Kimberly says:

      I laughed out loud when I read this card! I’m not going to accuse anyone of being too uptight… because each of us has a different humor threshold – my co-worker laughed too.

    4. I must admit that I kind of like it, in a twisted sort of way. Adoptees are often told that we should be grateful for being adopted, but how often are non-adoptees told they should be grateful that they weren’t? This card, for me, playfully turns the tables on the whole gratitude thing. It actually expresses something that is true for me: not being “given up” is a thing to be grateful for, rather than the other way around. Is the card in good taste? No. I suspect it was created by someone who has no connection to adoption and assumes intact original family as the norm — which, lets face it, it usually is. On the other hand, I don’t perceive my original parents as having “given me up.” There were a lot of complicated factors in my relinquishment — social, economical, etc. And there was a lot of heartbreak and pain, for all of us. Does this card make light of that? Sort of. But this card isn’t necessarily more troublesome to me than many of the other Father’s Day cards in the rack. Or Mother’s Day cards. As an adoptee, I face a unique challenge each year. Many of the cards I pick up don’t fit for either parent. They assume that the biological parent and the raising parent were the same person. Or they describe a relationship that I never had with either parent. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be difficult holidays for adoptees because they call attention to our fractured experience of family. So yeah, this card is in poor taste and appears to have been created by someone who doesn’t have a clue about what it’s like to be me, but it doesn’t really put my knickers in a twist.

    5. Jolene says:

      I think it’s in really poor taste. I’m not deeply offended (I am an adoptive parent) but I can see where some might be offended by it. I would never buy it, that is for certain.

    6. Oh RATs–see I told you my memory was slipping. I’ll change it now regardless of the optimistic outlook. :-)

    7. Sandy says:

      Yucky. I tried to take ‘adoption’ out of the picture and I just still don’t see any humor in this card at all. What a terrible thing to think or say regarding children; however they came into the family: Thanks for never giving me up. ?? Really? Did the child have to wonder if they would be given up while they were growing up due to comments made in the family/by Dad about finances? Even if meant to be humorous, the child “giving” this card would have to have a decent knowledge behind finances or lack thereof. Yucky.

    8. Josh says:

      I saw that yesterday shopping for father’s day cards. I definitely didn’t like it. I think it is offensive in that it makes light of the fact that some birth parents relinquish because of economic reasons. The next logical conclusion from this card (for those in the adoption world) is that the new parents “could afford” the child, looking not only at the on-going costs, but the cost of the adoption as well.

      I didn’t buy it.

    9. Greg says:

      I see the overall Father’s Day theme they were trying to hit on. However, I think they could have gone about expressing it differently. I don’t think there is an overreaction from the adoption community.

    10. I had to read it twice when the OP put it up, to see if I was missing something or if I “should” be offended. If I found it in a store and looked at it, I’d likely put it back down with a bit of a disgruntled sigh but I’d likely NOT dwell on it. In that context (taking my life as a whole), it ranks up with the many other greeting cards that I find to be in poor taste and would never purchase. In the context of adoption (a huge portion of my life now), I was a little more “huffy” about it but moved on quickly. All that to say, yeah, I think it’s “icky” but it falls into the category of “not worth getting my panties in a twist over.” There are PLENTY of other things IN THE CONTEXT OF ADOPTION that I will be more offended by and will put my offense to action by speaking up and/or speaking out.

      This conversation brings up a very current struggle for me: With a busy household and a passionate heart that is very “cause oriented” I have had to learn WHICH BATTLES I can choose. It’s not an easy journey to learning that and I still struggle to find my balance. I have lately been feeling quite disconnected and “out of the loop” as we are still in the early days of bringing our girly home and I’m so focused on establishing a stable, healthy, anchored routine of “HOME” for her and a new normal for all of us. I peek in here and other adoption related sites I love and sometimes even my eyelashes are just too tired to care. I know it’s just a season but it has been a good learning journey about how that balance for me has to be flexible and I have to be okay with it changing with the seasons of my life.

      Great conversation here – thanks for everyone’s perspectives.

    11. Suzy says:

      I’m not easily offended, but that card makes me feel yucky.

    12. Lindsey says:

      I’m under 60, I’ve seen Forrest Gump, and it is, “life is like a box of chocolates.” Dawn Davenport, your substituting cherries is a Freudian slip, I do believe, which shows your optimism ;).

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