Bye, Bye Adoptee Bullies!

I am no longer a victim! I know how to make healthy choices...yaaay!
I am no longer a victim! I know how to make healthy choices…yaaay!
Adoptees are often good targets for school bullies because many still carry a victim’s mindset. We unknowingly let others take advantage of us, due to a sense of powerlessness resulting from the early-life loss of our birth mothers. We have lost our ability to see our options, our choices that will lead to an abundant life. We need to learn to take our power back and become responsible through making healthy choices!
Marilyn Schoettle, M.Ed., created a wonderful system for teaching adoptees, no matter what our age, to take our power back when misunderstandings and insensitive comments come our way.
A Win-Win System
It is a win-win system, for it not only teaches the one who is hurt to make the right choices, but it also educates the sender about the appropriateness of the message. It is also suitable for parents because oftentimes bullies can be adults. “How much did she cost?” “Who is the real mom?” “Why is his skin a different color?”
Schoettle named it the “Wise-Up Power Book” and based it on the acronym W-I-S-E, with each letter representing a choice to take one’s power back when misunderstood. Let’s go through examples of each option:
W— WALK AWAY! This provides maximum self-care for the child and inadvertently teaches the other person about adoption— that was a hurtful, inappropriate statement. For example, after your international adoption, a woman may come up to you in the grocery store and ask, “Why did you go way overseas to get a child when there are so many children that are waiting to be adopted here? If your anger was about to spill out and you were in an extremely vulnerable spot, you would choose to walk away.
I—IT’S PRIVATE! This sets a verbal boundary and doesn’t let the person go any further. Suppose an adult adoptee announces to his friends that he’s going to begin searching for his birth family. They say, “Why would you want to open that can of worms?” Simply using this option, with a smile, would stop further insensitivities. If not, you could resort to W.
S—SHARE! Here the adoptee begins the opening up process when he/she feels strong enough to reveal feelings. The adoptee may say, “I am so glad that I was adopted.”
E—EDUCATE! This is sharing knowledge about adoption to help the insensitive person grow. For example, an adult adoptee who was reunited with her birth mother, discovered that her birth mother was riddled with guilt. The adoptee could choose to educate her birth mother by saying, “Almost every birth mother I know has this kind of guilt. In fact there is a classic book about birth mothers, The Other Mother, by Carol Schaeffer. Why don’t we go to the library and find a copy?”
Ideas for Teaching the WISE-UP Method to Your Children:
• Purchase The WISE-UP Power Workbook, by Marilyn Schoettle:
• Purchase a stack of colored cards, loop them together, and put a situation on each card that would require a WISE-UP choice.As different experiences happen within your family concerning this topic, add them to the deck of cards. Role play the scenarios together, ahead of time, so that you and your children will be prepared.

4 responses to “Bye, Bye Adoptee Bullies!”

  1. Sherrie Eldridge Avatar

    Dear Judith,
    Your kind words are very humbling!
    Thanks for sharing your story….or a glimpse of it with the readers here. Tell us where to get your book? And, please put your blog address big and clear here so others can follow you.
    Big hugs to you, fellow adoptee friend!

  2. Judith Land Avatar

    Sherrie, You are a superhero in the adoption world, a spokesperson and sounding board for many people seeking advice. Thanks for asking about my book “Adoption Detective” a narrative non-fiction memoir. Over the years, before, during and after my adoption search, I often found myself at the center of attention around dinner tables and campfires whenever the conversation turned to the topic of adoption. Individuals of all ages seemed to find my life’s trajectory intriguing and appeared to benefit from hearing about various aspects of my adoption story. Feedback from others was always positive and the encouragement I received stimulated me to formalize my thoughts in a written narrative. Over the years, I had kept diaries, journals and copious notes. While my memory and emotions were still fresh, I even composed letters that I never mailed to the birth mother I had never known describing the pivotal events in my life and how I felt about them. Transcribing the telephone conversations and personal interviews I had tape recorded during my journey of self-discovery eventually allowed me to share with readers many of the exact words that were spoken. Sharing my thoughts with others has been a very rewarding experience because the topic of adoption resonates with people of all ages in every culture. My humble story is but one in a million—I share it with others because I seek not glory, wealth or fame, but only virtue and truth. Judith

  3. Sherrie Eldridge Avatar

    Thanks, Judith! Tell me again the name of your book. It would be cool to meet someday….another fellow adoptee friend!

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