Just stumbled in?
Wondering where on earth you’ve ended up? No problem, Bastards lives are in so many ways best summarized by a question mark.
(see Bastard Nation below)
We prefer answers, but after a few decades of living with the question mark, I suppose we grow unhappily accustomed to it. Doesn’t mean we stop asking though.
Every so often a friend of mine has been known to come up with a real doozy though, like “What dank political swamp have adoptees tripped into? I mean come on! The question alone is a classic!
Most of my blogging comes out of exactly that kind of stunned questioning, WTF? How the hell did Bastards end up here? But of course, I’m ahead of myself.
My “about” page will answer many of your typical questions, like “who’s Baby Love Child?” and “Do I recognize the words that are part of the main graphic from somewhere, (skritches head) were they song lyrics or something?”
This WTF? page is perhaps a little more basic.
Ok, so let’s say you’ve landed here via a websearch or a link and are wondering “ok, so now what?” “or What the heck is this place is all about?” or “What is she going on about?”
Put simply it’s a Bastard blog.
“Bastard” naturally, having its own long convoluted definition or definitions, depending on who you happen to ask.
Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization being not the but a CRUCIAL articulation of and implementation of Bastardy unto itself! BN’s work towards Bastard Civil, identity, and Human rights is a long overdue culmination of much Bastardy (see below).
For the moment, for the purposes of this blog and well, the way I’m going to use it here, (which is not by any stretch a common definition or usage), we’ll settle for my own definition scrawled off the cuff, no doubt it will evolve over time.
Note in the below I’m not making a value judgment between “Adoptee” and “Bastard” adoptees are just that, adoptees, and I’ll leave defining them for another day. Adoptees are adoptees, likewise Bastards are bastards. Whatever differences there may be are often imprecise at best. There are certainly areas of overlap, and other areas of distinctness, to my eye at least.
But I self identify as a Bastard, so it being a place I’m going to be writing about that, it’s probably at least a somewhat important that I define how I use the term when I use it.
To me, some core characteristics of a “Bastard” are;
1. An adoptee who is cognizant of and cares about ‘class Bastard.’ I.E. an adoptee who either inherently understands, or has moved beyond caring about issues of equality and access from a purely personal position of merely wanting equality for themselves, to understanding “personal solutions” are not the solution. A Bastard understands that ‘compromising away’ the person standing next to you in an effort to get something for oneself is simply unthinkable. We don’t jump in to get ours now by putting the Bastard standing next to us off with promises of “we’ll come back for you later.” A Bastard understands to the core of their being politically and interpersonally, “we leave no one behind/no one gets left behind or forgotten.” All of which is to say, Bastards have learned a number of lessons from history and incorporated such thinking into their everyday, perhaps now second nature, actions.
2. An adoptee who advocates changes in the way adoption is currently practiced as well as the political climate in which adoption sits. An adoptee working in and aware of the contexts adoption as a social institution occupies, as well as the underlying fact that those contexts will also change from where one sits in relation to it, and in relation to power both within and with out it, adoption contexts also change interpersonally geographically and through time. Thus adoptees advocating changes must likewise being willing to be adaptive due to external conditions and be resourceful and inventive, shifting tactically as conditions dictate (though responsively not reactively.)
3. Bastards are those who have been Bastardized by the state. Bastards are also bastardized socially in ways both overt and covert. But in relation to the state bastardizing Bastards, I’m speaking of measurable consequences, beyond being branded “illegitimate,” I’m referring to adoptees having received and continuing to receive unequal treatment by the state, or by governments, and who are both AWARE of such, and working to change such. (Yes, staying in the fight even long after perhaps they have their records, or have made their “reunion journey” or other such, see “personal solutions” above.) Bastards are in it for the long haul, and having shed any last vestiges of “illegitimacy” a Bastard refuses to let anyone ever treat them as “illegitimate” again.
4. Most of all though, Bastards (similar to Queers) are those who take back the words hurled at us, designed to hurt, or to engender shame in us, words utilized in attempts to get us to back down or self impose silence. Instead, we use such terminology with a unique pride, a distinctly Bastardly camaraderie, taking such words upon ourselves and wearing them well, thereby defanging any of the terms’ corrosive power. Bastards are also often noted for their particular use of ‘dark humour’ and are great fun to spend time with. (Big tip off- lack of humour and fun? Probably not Bastards! While there are certainly times Bastards can be dead serious, that wry sense of humour sneaks out at the most unexpected of moments.)
5. I may not always be able to articulate the difference between a Bastard and an adoptee, but I know it when I see it.
6. That usual cultural notion of being a “product” of or associated with some form of “illegitimate” reproduction, be that termed as being a child born of “unwed motherhood,” or a “shameful secret” pregnancy, or the “love ‘em and leave ‘em daddy” or the socially more fixated upon simply “absent” or null father. No matter how we came into this world something about us Bastards simply “wasn’t right” and likely wasn’t discussed in polite society in anything other than excited whispers hidden in corners. Apparently the best thing to do with such “dirty little bastards” was often to hide us lest our shame contaminate whole families and towns. Hiding, often translated to adoption, though it sometimes just meant sending the bastard off to live with a distant relative and hoping no one ever found out. Bastards, while the precocious scamps of many a tome, or central characters of Disney movies are rarely in day to day practice valued societally (bastards as key characters in religious texts being of course key counter examples.) Not all bastard existence ends up state entangled but for a number of us it most certainly did, often to ill effect.
Some site philosophy
So ok, it’s a Bastard blog what does that mean in practice?
Well for starters it means this tiny little corner of the net is not about providing further real estate to industry, or apologists, or adoption marketers, or just plain idiots to take up. There’s pretty much the rest of the net for that. This is my little corner, my space, my little blog living room.
Do me a favour and don’t come in trying to put muddy boots on the family heirloom coffeetable, ok? I tend not to take too kindly to such. (Hell, some days the virtual family heirloom coffee table has a deeper ‘pedigree’ than I do!)
Also, keep in mind I tend not to run on blogtime. No, I probably won’t have a piece written about that within 30 seconds of it having happened. Cope.
Further, time being finite and all, while there’s a ton of stuff sure I need to get around to writing that doesn’t mean I have or necessarily ever will, though it may still be important to me. Try not to judge me based purely on what I have or have not written about, I may have a draft piece on that very topic sitting in my folder that’s been brewing for the last month. Then again, I may not.
On my independence
As I pointed out over on the “about” page I’m just me.
I am what some of us in certain cultures have proudly referred to as a “GDI” or “god Damn Independent!” I don’t get paid to blog, I don’t work for the industry. I’m a lifetime member of Bastard Nation, though that’s roughly as relevant as my membership in Reef Relief (Had enough? Here, go be nice to a nifty underwater ecosystem or something.)
My links policy
Nothing I link should be misconstrued as any kind of endorsement. I’ve been known to link thoughtful clueful people, and complete idiots if they happen to be making my point for me.
You think “X” SHOULD be on my blogroll?
“Please” is a nice word. Even just approaching me civilly, “I thought you might also enjoy…”
“Why the hell isn’t my site listed? You idiot!” on the other hand may get you voted ‘most likely to not gain a link’ in this years yearbook. (Unless of course, it’s said in your very best Ren and Stimpy impersonation voice.)
I tend to go very light on the blogroll. There are certainly Bastard related sites not listed here, that’s what your friendly neighborhood search engine is for.
Sadly, there are also some sites relating to focusing on legal changes that are run by people I wouldn’t entrust to feed a goldfish, much less with crafting legislative policy or strategic work to restore Bastard access to their original documentation. They are very intentionally not being linked here.
That said, there are undoubtedly also a few other good efforts I’ve not linked either, so by no means should omission be considered active contempt, (except of course in the few special situations in which it most certainly is.) Most people who think they know the difference between efforts I actively disdain and efforts I have merely overlooked would tend to be wrong, though.
There are also plenty of great (and not so great) search, reunion, and my life as an adoptee blogs out there. That’s fine, they have their own living rooms, I just happened to have furnished mine in a very mid-mo scheme, as opposed to their cape cods, or Victorians, or Corinthian Columned monstrocities. If that’s more your cup of tea, head over that-a-way. I just happen to prefer my living room this way, this week anyway.
My comment policy
My blog comments are moderated. Part of that has to do with doing my little part to keep the net less spam littered, but it also has to do with the fact that this blog has a point of view. Doesn’t mean I won’t let comments that disagree with such through, it just means I’m not going to be overrun, and I’m not going to waste inordinate amounts of time. There are some posts that in order for me to let through moderation I need to write somewhat of a response to, which can take time, or can be not worth my time depending.
For what it’s worth, my policy is that I let some comments through, others I may not. Some I may feel are so important that I’m not going to let them through until I get a chance to write a response, so yeah, your comment may show up later, or never, depending. I also have a life, which means even though I may be BURNING to get to your comment, it may take some time. Or I may answer the gist of your and 5 other commenter’s similar comments all in a single blogpost, rather than a comment.
Just because you’re industry, or sitting somewhere else on the adoption pentagon than I do, or even saying something you know I completely disagree with that doesn’t mean I inherently won’t let your comment through, it just means you’d better be saying something. Maybe something I want to write a response to, or maybe some news item you think I may be unaware of, maybe yelling at me, whatever. I may write to it, I may write around it, I may let it sit in a folder for a while, that tends to mean I either care a great deal and am getting there, or that I’ve heard it 746 times before and find your comment irrelevant. Odds are, you may never know, try not to take it personally. On the other hand, write something interesting, whether I disagree or not, and it may go through. I reserve the right to be completely arbitrary.
It is after all, my room. Some days I may feel like letting it sail right through, other days I may not. Sometimes it’s me, not you. Again try not to take it personally. Doubly so in that sometimes I’m on the computer a great deal, other times it may be quite some time before I get back to it.
I have no policy on so called ‘obscenities’
I use ‘em, usually when I’m being emphatic. If you want to, try to use them effectively as opposed to nonsensically. They can be used to make a point, or they can be used to bore me to the point I don’t approve your comment.
Also, the things I consider ‘obscene’ have very little to do with ‘cussing’. The national debt, or certain adoption agencies profit margins on the other hand… .
Finally, on writing
I’m longwinded. Get over it. I’ve never claimed to be a great writer and I’m not about to start now. It may take me four pages to get through what some friends of mine can find the right words for in a paragraph. That’s fine. That’s their living room.
I also tend to document the hell out of whatever it is I’m writing, which means a fairly serious number of links. You want context, nuance, and an actual understanding of where I got that piece, follow them. If you don’t? Hey your loss, not mine. It’s an occupational hazard. I need information that comes with citations. Lack of citation? Sometimes the ‘information’ no matter how good may simply end up on the ‘dead end’ pile useless. (Comments leaving me further details are also best done with links to where you got that from. )
Writing for me is more a process of getting out what I do, when I do, how I do.
If it’s not your cup of tea google’s just a click away.