**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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