what does your adopted or foster child need?

What does your adopted or foster child need
What does your child need right now? Do they need a pacifier longer than other kids? Does holding them, feeding them a bottle, comforting them like nothing else? Does your older child still come into your room at night, frightened by a noise, a nightmare, or nothing at all, they just want to be near you? Does your child sit and rock in a toddlers rocking chair even though he’s far too large?

I read a great article that my friend shared, I’ll Keep That in Mind. In it, the author, Stephanie, talks about what she does about suggestions made regarding her hurting child that others make.  In response, she says, “I’ll keep that in mind.”

Because wouldn’t it take far too long to explain where her child came from, what eases his stress, or what he needs that he didn’t get in his first years of life? Adding in the question, would people really understand if we told them our child’s story? I do share my children’s stories when not within ear-shot of them, because I feel others need to know what life is like for children who are abused and neglected. They need to know about children in orphanages in other countries, the ones who had to fight for a place in line, a blanket to sleep on, a pencil to draw with, and food to fill their bellies. They need to know about the children in foster care who need them.

Because of all our children went through, they need different parenting, which is laid out in most of the posts where I write about foster and adopted children. We don’t need to worry about the advice of others who didn’t raise a hurting child: Don’t put her in the swing to fall asleep, she’ll get used to it and she may never fall asleep without it. Isn’t he far too old for a bottle? She should be out of pull-ups by now. Why is he sucking his thumb, that’s really not appropriate for his age. Why do you still allow her to _______? Why doesn’t he ________?

Hurting children don’t go by the same rules every other child does, and they shouldn’t. Their emotional age and chronological age most likely won’t line up, and we can’t force it to do so. Because of this, we meet them where they are. They’ll also need something different, their needs met in alternative ways than a child who hasn’t been through trauma.

So, do what you need to do, and don’t feel bad about it.

My son, Jeremiah, loved being in the baby swing when he came to us. His life had been tumultuous and frightening before he came through our door. The place he was happiest (which still included a lot of crying) was in the baby swing. People said, he’ll get used to swinging all the time, and you’ll never break it.

It’s comments like this that make adoptive and foster parents second guess themselves. Oh, gosh, what if? What if we can’t go anywhere without the swing? Well, for a while we didn’t go anywhere without it. My parents purchased a swing for when we visited them on weekends, and if we went somewhere else overnight, we took the swing with us. You work through it, and eventually, Jeremiah stopped needing the baby swing.

It turns out that he has Autism and sensory processing disorder, so that may have been part of why he needed that continuous swaying motion. Now, he has a big-kid swing in his room, and swings outside, as well as a trampoline. He also has a trampoline for indoor use in the winter.

We may never know what’s going on with a child, what their true needs are. I’m glad we used that swing until it was falling apart. It saved my son from pain, and us from misery.
Hurting children go by different rules

I received a comment on my post about sleep issues, the mom said her nine-year-old wanted to sleep on their floor. First, they’d recently moved, and this can be very disruptive for a child who has a traumatic background. The child may have gotten used to their new home, thinking this was finally permanent. They’ve had enough of moves, and living where nothing was their own. Now, they have to pick up and leave it again, and although the parents are with them, it’s still terrifying. They don’t know what to expect, so they’ll need extra reassurance that everything’s okay. They’ll take steps back, probably big ones, but you’ll likely recover a lot faster than you did before.

Second, as for allowing a nine-year-old to sleep on your floor…if it’s not wreaking havoc, let them. If they’re afraid, and need that closeness, let them be near you. (Foster parents won’t be allowed to do this.) I would suggest if your child is having sleep issues to read Why Adopted and Foster Children Have Sleep Issues and How to Help Your Adopted/Foster Child Sleep.

If you follow the advice in the above posts, relatives and friends, even you, may wonder why your child needs you to be in their room until they fall asleep, even when they’re nine or ten-years-old. The answer? Because they need you. They need you to be their safety net.

For children who are angry and push you away, which is also common, people will ask questions about that too. Your child needs time, they need your reassuring voice and actions reminding them you’re there. It may take a long time before they seem to need you, but trust me, they need you even if their actions don’t convey it.

For those who are being pushed away, and feel unwanted, I’m right there with you. My daughter, Payton, did that to me for years. It was hard, really hard, but I kept at it, showing her I loved her NO MATTER WHAT. No matter how she treated me, no matter what she said, no matter what she thought…and it paid off BIG TIME. Now she wants to be with me, she wants to know why I’m not going on an errand with her, her brother, and her dad, she wants me there! She wants to dress like me, wants me to be in her classroom, and eat lunch with her at school.

Because of Payton’s strong will, the aftermath of hardship LINK, we do things differently. We’re looked at, we’re questioned, but then we are used to it because our life’s been different since we brought Payton, and then Jeremiah into our home. Trauma and Autism need different parenting, and we do this. Every day. It’s what makes our kids flourish and our lives work.

What does your family do differently than others? What do people say when they see you treating your child differently than they expect?

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look for the “why” – Autism & ABA therapy

look for the %22why%22 - Autism & ABA therapy
“One of the keys to allow children with Autism to thrive is to understand how they process information, and adjust their education and activities accordingly.” – Dr. Mercola

Sparrow Rose Jones, an Autistic adult, wrote a guest post for A Diary of a Mom  about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. I was shocked by what I read. Do you know how ABA began, what the concept was behind it? You may know the premise of how it was started, but stick with me because I will give you some ideas on how to help your child, and how to tweak ABA to help your child more efficiently and respectably.

Dr. Ivar Lovaas is the psychologist who established ABA. Sparrow wrote an excellent article containing in depth information on the therapy and goes to great lengths not to make parents who’ve supported ABA for their child feel guilty. In the article, ABA – by Sparrow Rose Jones, she says, “Much has changed, but this core premise of Lovaas’ work remains solid. ABA’s core belief is that forty hours per week of therapy geared toward making a child externally appear as “normal” as possible will “fix the brokenness” inside that made the child behave that way. ABA believes in an extreme form of ‘fake it until you make it.’” Shockingly, Lovaas said, “You have to put out the fire first before you worry how it started.” 

This isn’t how Autistic people should be treated. And, frankly, that’s not how to best help a child or adult who has Autism. This idea completely ignores their humanity. 

Consistently looking at what needs to be fixed in an Autistic child is a bombardment of negative thoughts.

We have to see the positives in the Autistic person if we’re going to instill in them a sense of worth.

How would we feel if every action of ours was looked at as wrong, and in need of change? What would that do to our self-esteem? If all you ever heard was that you needed to fix what you do every day, it wouldn’t give you hope, it would be quite discouraging.

I’ve talked about it before, but forty-hours of therapy for a child is beyond what they can or are should be made to handle. Children need play, they need down-time, they need to be a child. Emma (age 12, not positive of her age, but it’s close to this, and non-speaking) of Emma’s Hope Book says, “Autism is not a developmental delay, rather it is a different road entirely.”

When you can see that Autism is a different road entirely, your mind opens to such possibilities. Life is smoother, brighter, and different, but in a good way. It’s acceptance, but it’s acceptance that’s good. 

We can’t look at it from Lovaas’ perspective, “putting out the fire first before you worry how it started.” No, we need to completely shift that idea on it’s head. We have to find out why FIRST, then move on to help our child.

If we don’t have the why, we really can’t help them in a humane way.

So, why? Why is your child irritated? Why aren’t they focusing? Why are they jumping or spinning? Why are they chewing on their clothes? Why are they crying or upset?

Is it sensory issues (because most children with Autism have sensory issues). Is their tag bothering them? Do they not like the person who’s teaching them (because if your child is nonverbal, they can’t tell you how they feel)? Are the lights too bright? Are the colors in the space too bold? Do they need a chewie to help with oral issues? Are they crying because they’ve been through this routine hundreds, if not, thousands of times and are tired of it because it’s hard?

Watch your child closely, watch their eyes, listen to their sounds, watch their body language to find answers to these questions.

When you find the “why” it will be a beautiful present you can unwrap. Autism is so complex, but so amazing.

look at your child's abilites
Lia*, the Developmental Interventionist who came to our home to do therapy for a few years taught me so much about this. She really looked at the “why,” and although she’d been trained in ABA, she knew how to modify it to fit Autistic children. She was amazing. One day I called her, in desperate need of advice. Jeremiah had been standing on the t.v. stand, table, counter, and on the back of the couch. I couldn’t keep him down, consistency wasn’t working.

Lia, knowing Jeremiah has Sensory Processing Disorder said, “He’s probably looking for a higher perspective. He likes what he sees when he’s up there. Put him on something high that he CAN stand on, take him outside to the top of your play set.”

I was so relieved. Could this really be the answer? I have back problems and lifting a strong five-year-old down from up high was really wearing me out, plus that’s not what I wanted to do all day. I tried it, and after being consistent with it for a few days, he stopped climbing on furniture he wasn’t allowed on.

Other Autism parents can give us great perspectives too, depending on which ones we listen to. I was talking with one of those Autism parents the other day and she mentioned that they teach their son in the way he learns. Her son learns through music, so they use it to teach colors, shapes, etc. She said he sang words before he talked. I love it.

Then I thought about how Jeremiah learns, and that is through sensory. We found this out through working with Lia. Yeah, she’s done wonders for us and Jeremiah!

Everything we can possibly teach him with sensory, we do. Meaning, when we asked him not to touch the t.v., we put our hand on his and removed it gently, while saying, “Hands off.” We used hand-over-hand when putting puzzle pieces in their places. We used hand-over-hand while telling him to put his snack back in his cup. When teaching Jeremiah how to swing, I put his legs back, while saying, “back,” and moved them forward when saying, “forward.” (While using hand-over-hand, if he resisted, we let go after a count of two or three, it wasn’t done forcibly.)

I can’t tell you what a difference it’s made hearing Autistic adult’s perspectives, having a therapist that saw who my child is and what he needed, and not looking at my son’s disability, but what his abilities are and how I can help him best. It’s taken some really amazing teachers, and I have a long ways to go, but I’m eternally grateful.

I received a comment the other day on Twitter from a mom that was upset by another post I wrote. She said in part, “My verbal son doesn’t love Autism.” I’m really saddened by this. Sure, there are bad days with Autism, but aren’t there for all of us? For the most part my son is happy, and I don’t feel he would be that way if I was more negative. When I’m negative, he’s definitely not as happy. I’m a large determiner of how my son feels about himself.

Here’s a great quote from Jess at Diary of a Mom,

“And it’s funny really (in a not funny at all kind of way) that we talk so much about the inflexibility, the rigidity of those on the autism spectrum when really, isn’t it US, the so-called neurotypical population, who are stuck in this frightfully narrow rut of perception? Isn’t it us who insist that Autistics conform to our version of… well, everything? Isn’t it us who are really so rigid in our thinking as to be capable of believing that other ways of processing, thinking, communicating, experiencing are wholly invalid? That’s pretty remarkable (and, in its practical application, horrifying) stuff, isn’t it?”

I’ve written two other posts on ABA, My Thoughts on Applied Behavior Analysis, and More Perspectives on Applied Behavior Analysis.

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it takes a village: how one organization takes the concept and applies it to adoption

it takes a village
Years ago, a group from Caminul Felix (Happy Home) came to our church to share about their organization and several children sang beautiful Romanian songs. Caminul Felix is amazing, and I wanted to share what they do and a story that was recently highlighted in their newsletter.

What exactly is Caminul Felix? They began in Romania and have since expanded to Thailand and are working to build a village in Africa. They have villages of adoptive families, each family having an average of fifteen children. The villages are set-up with homes in a circular pattern, having a gathering place in the middle, usually with playground equipment.

I love Caminul Felix’s concept of community and support. I’m also continually amazed at how well their children do considering the trauma they’ve been through.

In Caminul Felix’s latest newsletter, Veronica Butuc-Mayer shared Tania’s story. Although each newsletter has wonderful stories of healing, I thought I’d share this one with you.

Tania Gabriela Lupu was born on March 4, 2008 following a cohabiting relationship. When the father went to work in the Czech Republic, four children remained behind: Nadia, Eduard, Tania, and Ivan (all under age 7).

Their mother, saying that she was looking for work, often left home for two or three days, leaving the four children unattended. The children needed to fend for themselves, and Nadia was left with the difficult job of taking care of them. Neighbors and their kindergarten teacher notified the authorities, who sheltered the children in a transitional center until the court’s sentence. They lived there for a year, until they were entrusted to Caminul Felix.

Shy, the four siblings stepped again into the unknown, when, on July 6, 2012, they came to our home. They were received with much love by us, their parents, and their many brothers and sisters. They were given nice rooms, clean clothes and colorful toys, warm and tasty food, but most of all, they received our love.

Tania is now in the process of adapting to her new extended family. She is a very sweet, smart and friendly girl. She likes to dress up, put on beautiful clothes. She’s in the preparatory class at the local school. Her face radiates, and it’s always covered in smiles. She was born in the spring and she shows it: she brings a ray of sunshine to our souls.

I recently attended the parent’s meeting with Tania’s class. The lady teacher wanted to meet us and thank us for Tania’s presence and attitude in class. She is doing great, she’s the best reader of all, she has a spirit of leadership and, above all, she’s happy and cheerful as sunshine and springtime…These were the words that her school teacher used to describe Tania.

I wish to remain a witness of the miraculous transformation that Tania will experience, to encourage her to keep her springy smile, to be an example for her and to be there for her when the scars of her soul may be reopened.

I love to hear these adoption stories. A child who came from such darkness, such despair, and now has a family, a community, dedicated to their well-being. I have no idea how these large families do it, but many of them do.

In Caminul Felix’s newsletters you can see a picture of a child who came to a family, looking sad, still dealing with, not only their trauma, but their loss. Later you can look the same child and see immense joy in their eyes, satisfaction, and purpose. Beautiful.

Caminul Felix can use supporters and child sponsors.

I’d love to hear your child’s story in the comments below. Maybe you didn’t adopt a child from trauma, but an infant who needed a family, that child and your family have a story that’s just as amazing.

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the secret joys of Autism

the secret joys of Autism
When you have an atypical child, the little strides they make in life seem to be so much more monumental than if a typical child would have accomplished them. For example, a couple days ago, Jeremiah fed the dog from the table. Now, if he were a typical kid, I might laugh, and then teach him not to toss the dog food he doesn’t want. Jeremiah’s not typical, and first the fact that he recognized the dog and touched the dog without trying to move him out of the way was pretty cool in itself. The fact that he held food out to the dog, dropped said food, and watched the dog eat it, is awesome and I’m jumping for joy, just as with so many other moments in my sons life.

Because events in his life don’t come as expected, we really celebrate small, fragmented moments. They are rich, memorable, and worth celebrating. And we’ve been blessed to have many of these occasions lately.

I’ve been working on playing with a ball with Jeremiah for over three years now, not as consistently as I should but…This past summer he dropped a ball and picked it up, BIG deal! I worked with Jeremiah all summer on kicking a big ball in the backyard, he tolerated it some, and I didn’t push it when he was finished. Then, I found out that his school has been working with Jeremiah on rolling a ball back and forth with a friend. The teacher would sit behind Jeremiah and roll it with his hands. Well, before Thanksgiving break, he rolled the ball ON HIS OWN to his friend twice!

Not only is rolling the ball important, but he was playing with another child. This was the main component we focused on when making a case that he should stay in preschool another year. (Ha, question whether God exists? Read what happened with that in LINK (school boards decision).) We needed Jeremiah to have a foundation of play before he moved on in school, we know this essential piece would be missing if he didn’t have more time to engage with children his age in a play based setting. And here, three months after school started, he’s playing with another child. Utter elation!

Almonds…Jeremiah eats an average of two to three foods at a given time. Sometimes he'll add almonds to that mix - we celebrate each time he does.

Almonds…Jeremiah eats an average of two to three foods at a given time. Sometimes he’ll add almonds to that mix – we celebrate each time he does.

This summer play dough experiences didn’t go so well, but it’s been improving at school this year, he’s licking it, but not eating it – hey, he loves salt! Over Thanksgiving break, Payton was playing with play dough. I sat next to Jeremiah and I was able to press his fingers in it, roll the play dough, make it into balls, I made different sized squares and talked to him about biggest and smallest. He sat there and didn’t pull his hands away, or if he did, it was only momentarily, and he stayed, he didn’t flee from the fun. It was a blast! I was so happy, I sounded like a preschooler, making up songs with my daughter as we played – all three of us together. Lovely.

When Jeremiah was three, he would scream and cry when his play dough was squished or made into a different form, he couldn’t handle the change, so this is wonderful.

At his Grandma’s daycare she said he’s running with the other kids, they were flying toy planes in the air, and he was using his doodle pad as a plane. Love it.
doodlepad

Another day at Grandma’s, he wasn’t eating lunch there, but she had set the table for the other kids. He has his spot he sits at to eat, and it was empty. He moved everything from one kids spot to his; cup, plate, napkin, and silverware. I think things he does are funnier because he doesn’t talk. We talk for him, “Um, you forgot about me. I’m eating here by the way.”

These are things that so many parents take for granted. They take so many moments with their children for granted, even I take them for granted with my daughter. 

We Autism parents get to experience this exceptional joy when our child does something we’ve been waiting years for.

Maybe we don’t even know we’ve been waiting for it, but when it comes, we smile ear to ear, nothing seems more important in that instant. I wasn’t waiting for my son to fly planes through the air, I don’t have these dreams of my son playing football, or kickball, but when and if it happens, I can’t tell you the exultation I feel.

It’s beautiful. It’s exceptional. It’s Autism.

I owe my outlook on Autism to Ariane, Emma’s mom, and author of Emma’s Hope Book, and A Diary of a Mom, Musings of an Aspie, and other Autistic adults, and our past Developmental Interventionist, Lia*. If it weren’t for them, I feel I would be stuck in a “poor me, my poor child, my poor family” mentality. Although I hadn’t fully gone there, I definitely used to focus more on the negative and stopping behaviors than looking at the positive and working with those to help Jeremiah develop.

It’s because of these great advocates that I’m able to feel so much joy when Jeremiah gains a small skill or does something out of the ordinary. If I was focused on the negative I would be depressed and not able to see what’s really in front of me. Beauty. As Emma, the inspiration of Emma’s Hope Book says, “Autism is not a developmental delay, rather it is a different road entirely.”


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I wish the worlds view of Autism would change

I wish the worlds view of Autism would change
WARNING: Graphic information below, not for all audiences.

Justin and I were watching a past episode of Law & Order SVU last night. It was going as pretty much every Law & Order SVU goes, although I haven’t seen an episode in years. This time there was mention of the offender being “on the Spectrum.” Not everyone watching the show would know that “on the Spectrum” means Autistic, but I did, and it bothered me.

I pressed pause and looked at Justin. “I don’t think I want to watch this anymore.” Justin’s an awesome husband, but he didn’t understand why I wanted to stop it. I continued watching the show, but soon pressed pause again.

I told him this. This, which I was shocked I hadn’t told him. This, that our life has been too overwhelmed to talk about.

I told Justin stories I’ve heard in the past weeks that break my heart and make me fear for our son, Jeremiah.

A few weeks ago a mother killed her Autistic son, London. She threw him off a bridge.

Heartbreaking. Unimaginable. My heart cries for this six-year-old boy. Just one-year older than my son. In photos, he’s smiling, looks engaged, and is playing, flying a toy plane for the photographer. He didn’t know what was being done to him when his mother made this murderous choice, he was scared. The world hears that Autism is too hard to handle, it’s too much, it’s too difficult, so much so, that a mother has to kill her son to avoid whatever it is that she felt was stopping her from living her life. This is the worlds view of Autism, many times their only view.

A twenty-two-year-old Autistic man was in the news recently. He’s in jail, having spent most of his time (three-years) in solitary confinement because an officer didn’t know how to correctly handle Autism.

I cried as I told these stories. I cried for young Landon, because of the pain and fear he felt at not being accepted and loved as a child should. He viewed the world differently, and in turn was treated differently, he was treated as if his life wasn’t worth living. The isolation he felt must have been excruciating. The despair he must have felt every day, living with a mother who didn’t see who he was, agonizing. The terror as his mom threw him over the bridge into freezing, icy water…No words.

I cried as I told Justin about Neli, the young Autistic man who was arrested because someone thought he was carrying a gun near a school. He reacted to a cop asking his name and handling him, so would many Autistic people. They’re overwhelmed and some don’t want to be touched. I feel for him as he sits in solitary confinement, how uncomfortable he must be, how he’s going without things that calm him. I wonder what he’s eating, because people with Autism have very special diets.

In these stories I hear, I wonder what Jeremiah would do. I worry about him.

I finished watching the Law & Order SVU episode, but shouldn’t have, I felt horrible afterwards. The teen is shot in the end, when there could have been an arrest made instead of death. This is what the world sees of Autism.

Autism Speaks isn’t much better. I used to go to their website, share the blue puzzle piece, and lit it up blue. But then I started listening to the adult’s who have Autism (or “are Autistic” as they like to be referred to) and many have strong opinions on Autism Speaks. In a miniscule nutshell, they don’t portray Autism in a positive light at all, it’s very negative.
It's not sad that my son has Autism

The general populace doesn’t understand Autism. They only know what the news tells them, and most of it isn’t good.

What’s not in the news?

Autistic people like my son, the ones who are loving and kind. Those people with Autism don’t make the news, unless they’re savants, and then only sometimes. Autistic people aren’t murderers or law-breakers, they aren’t people to be feared or locked away, or treated with shock therapy.

I wish the world knew Jeremiah. I wish they saw his smiles, his laugh, his sense of humor. I wish they could see him for who he is, not what he can’t do, or what he can’t say. I wish I didn’t have to fear what will happen to my son. The bullying, the stares, the misunderstanding.

I can’t live in fear, but it’s so hard to keep out the loud voices. The what-ifs. So, I try to push out the worries, and focus on how we will take care of Jeremiah. We will be here. Always. And as I protect my son, I will strive to share the positives of Autism. I will share with hospitals how to treat people with Autism, and hopefully that will meld into sharing with emergency personnel. And, I will write, write, write.


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the war on National Adoption Month

the war on National Adoption Month
**Update at the end of this post.
Adoptees are “flipping the script” during National Adoption Month, sharing the other, unattractive side of adoption. It’s their right. I’m not an adoptee and can’t speak for them, but part of me doesn’t like seeing this opportunity of beauty turned into something that’s looked down upon.

Now, some will probably raise hairs at my mention of adoption being an opportunity of beauty, but for some it is. I see our story as beautiful. Sure there have been some really ugly, horrible moments, days, weeks, months, but we’ve come through it, and I’ve experienced such unparalleled joy and contentment. It’s beautiful.

Why is it beautiful? Because I can separate what my children went through, their abuse, neglect, and trauma, from their adoption. What they went through before foster care, I would compare with hell, what they went through while visiting their bio parents while in foster care wasn’t much better,but

now we see new lives, new people emerging. Beauty.

We know their lives wouldn’t be what they are now if we hadn’t adopted them. I’m not tooting my horn, saying I’m the best parent, because I’m not, sometimes I suck. But, this is the truth, their lives are drastically altered in a good way because of adoption. When my son was with his bio dad, he was crying himself to sleep every day as an infant, he wasn’t held, when temperatures were in the teens, he was taken around town in a stroller when it wasn’t necessary (his bio dad had a house). Jeremiah was developmentally delayed, his bio father, having the IQ of a six-year-old had no idea what to do with him and didn’t want to take advice from others. My son was dying, partly on the outside, but mostly on the inside.

At three-months he came to us with a horrible case of cradle cap, his hoodie’s zipper was melted together, and pieces of plastic were adhered to the inside of his hood, grime was stuck between his fingers and toes. At three-months he was still in the fetal position, and it took weeks of stretching exercises to slowly get him to relax.

I cry now when I think of his past, it wrecks me to think about what could have been. I now see a happy boy, despite his Autism, despite what others “think” he should be like because he has this diagnosis. He brings me joy every day. When he tumbles into the living room with his arms full of blankets to “nest” on the couch, I laugh and contentment fills my heart. When he sits on his swing, pumps his legs, and goes high in the air, my cheeks burst with bliss because I never thought he’d be able to do this.

If he hadn’t been adopted, he wouldn’t be.

That’s why “flipping the script” on adoption day is so painful. The world is taking what is often a positive event and turning the tables, focusing on those who don’t feel it was a good thing for them.

For all intents and purposes, I think National Adoption Month was created so people would see the need for adoption (153,000,000 children world-wide need forever homes) and for those who adopted to celebrate their children.

Those who are “flipping the script” aren’t adoptees who are happy and content with their adoption experience, they’re the ones who are angered, feel like something was done to them. The ones who feel they were ripped from their first family, from their country, are hurt by positive adoption language.

They’re blaming “adoption” in itself when in reality it should be the system they were adopted from (one that doesn’t allow them to search for their birth family), or a corrupt system (adopting children out under false pretenses). The adoptive families shouldn’t be blamed, and the good of adoption shouldn’t be attacked either.

The adoptees who aren’t speaking out (and far outnumber those who are calling out adoption) are the ones who are satisfied in life, the ones who accept their adoptive family as their own, ones who’ve found their birth family and either have a good relationship with them or have decided to let it be.

All the adult adoptees I’ve met and know personally are very happy, having been adopted, they aren’t searching for more meaning, and frankly, they’re grateful. I don’t expect my children to be grateful, but what if they are? Is that wrong?

I’m surprised at the negativity surrounding what should be a joyous celebration. Yes, there’s pain in adoption, I won’t deny it’s existence, but there’s so much good too.

I read on a blog post the other day that (in the authors opinion) God hates adoption. They’re reasoning is because “adoption means brokenness.”

There will be brokenness in this world, and adoption is a way to heal the shattered and try to make it right.

I feel really bad for parents who are looking in to adoption and find that first spark of excitement, they’re ignited with enthusiasm to start the process, to bring a foster child, orphan, or infant into their home, then they’re bombarded with how “bad” adoption is. The world is hearing these voices and they’re hearing adoption is negative, causes pain, and isolation.

In reply to the article, Adoptees Like Me “Flip the Script” on the Pro-Adoption Narrative, Renee says, “In my opinion, adoption does too much damage, and it should be a VERY last resort. As an adoptee, I don’t believe adoption serves the best interest of babies/children. No child should have to be legally severed from her family and heritage…”

In response to this, I would say, yes, adoption should be a last resort, but isn’t that what it is? What about the mother who decides she can’t parent her child and chooses adoption? Isn’t that her last resort? What about the children in foster care? Isn’t foster care the last resort, and then if the parent can’t get it together, isn’t adoption the last resort? I’ve heard an adoptee who was adopted from another country say her family was waiting for her back in “her country.” Where was her family when she was in the orphanage? Wasn’t adoption by a foreign couple a last resort? Because I hope we can all agree that an orphanage would not be the best solution.

I don’t want to belittle anyones experience, after all, it’s their own. I can’t speak as an adoptee. Maybe there should be separate months, one for National Adoption Month and a month for adoptees to share their feelings, like an Adoptee Awareness Month.

I don’t want adoption to be wrought with talk about how wrong it is, but the fact is, there is pain surrounding adoption. In most cases it isn’t in the adoption itself that causes pain, but in the events surrounding the adoption. Yet, there’s so much that is beautiful about adoption, and I feel it’s beginning to get lost in the muddle, in the anger, in the “political correctness.” Want to know what’s politically correct?

Most adopted children have a new chance at life. 

*For positive, supportive words from other adoptive parents, read to the end of the comments.

**I appreciate the many professional discussions (posted in the comments below) which have taken place because of this post. I will say that not all #flipthescript voices are angry, and I apologize for saying so. I was basing my comment on the tweets I read when I visited the # on Twitter. However, besides some of the decent comments made below, I’ve received a plethora of hate mail for my views, so I’m not shocked that I felt the movement was angry.
I will not be approving any more comments at this time. One columnist for #flipthescript told me, #getoveryourslef and #notaboutyou. I feel differently, I feel adoption is first about adoptees, but secondly it is about the adoptive parents, they are the ones parenting the children who need a home. Although there are some who fail, there are thousands who do an excellent job.
National Adoption Month, as I thought I had stated clearly, but others seem to miss the point entirely, was created to find adoptive families for the children who need it. When the voices of adoptees sharing their negative (only referring to those negative ones, not all #flipthescript) is the only thing prospective adoptive parents hear, they may be scared from adoption. Hearing things like, you will never be their real family, my family is waiting for me in my country, I never felt at home with my adoptive family, doesn’t make people want to adopt. Those stories can be shared, there are truths that only adoptees can tell us adoptive parents, however a balanced perspective of adoption should be shared, as there are a plethora of both. If you’d like to hear more about adult adoptees views on this matter, see #flipthescript on Twitter.

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