THE TRIAD IS A FIVE-LEGGED STOOL
I bought the party line that adoption consists of the Triad because it’s repeated so often and so reverentially that it takes on the quality of a sacred litany… however you want to call it out: adoptee/adoptive parent/birthmother, adoptee/adopter/natural mother, etc etc ad infinitum world without end. But then it dawned on me… probably after attending another moribund conference dedicated to truth in adoption (where 99% of the presenters and 60% of the attendees were therapists and social workers)… the Triad is a shell-game.
Adoption actually consists of five legs, the adoptee, the adopters, the first parents, the full gamut of adoption professionals, and the state. Adoption professionals, a category in which can be lumped social workers, facilitators, attorneys and therapists, may disagree within their class on what adoption is, but are adament in invoking their privilege to define what adoption is to those in the first three categories (those to whom adoption is an existential reality). The state ultimately holds the power; the state created adoption out of whole cloth, and reserves the ultimate right to decide not only what adoption is and will be, but also the right to enforce its will on all the other four legs, through statute and regulation.
The beauty of the Triad, at least to the fourth and fifth leg, is that it renders their agency invisible. The state and its quasi-agents, the professional adoption class, can float divinely over the pell mell and gore, offering definitive commentary and altering the rules of the game. It’s a tidy racket.
Ron Morgan is a long-time adoptee rights activist and former Executive Chair of Bastard Nation. He is a late discovery adoptee and currently lives outside of Portland, Oregon.