Adoption Adventures

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We’re Fine

It’s National Adoption Month, which means an uptick in articles and stories published in the news and online about all sorts of adoption. International, domestic, foster care, and private infant adoption are highlighted more in November than other months of the year. My favorite stories include National Adoption Day photo galleries of children formerly in foster care legally joining their “forever families.”

In addition to the happy stories, there also seem to be more and more focused on loss, written by birth parents and adoptees. There are also tales of adult adoptees from closed adoptions finding and being reunited with their birth parents after years of searching. I absolutely support these folks’ right to publicize their experiences with adoption, but believe that these only tell half the story. By promoting primarily the stories of those who have had less-than-stellar experiences with adoption, the stereotypes of the troubled adoptee, broken birth parent, evil adoptive parents, and manipulative adoption agency are what take root and become the norm. (To be fair, there are also stories that focus solely on happy adoptive parents with newborns or toddlers. Ignoring birth parents or adoptees is also problematic.)

The other adoptive parents/prospective parents-to-be that I’ve met who have not had a personal connection to adoption often expect their children to feel broken because of the stories they have heard. I’ve witnessed some speak ill of their children’s birth mothers who may feel like they need to step away from their open adoption from time to time. They’ve been led to believe that by doing so, the mother is dooming their child to a lifetime of “what ifs” and sadness. Thankfully, our child will have a mom who shares the adoptee connection with her or him, as well as an extended family who has a greater understanding of adoption because we’ve been there before. We will be honest with our child from the start, and since our adoption will most likely be open, she or he will know their birth family to the degree that the family wants to be known.

doing-just-fineAs I’ve written here before, I was adopted at two months old through a closed adoption. I’ve never felt abandoned, unloved, or “given up” by my birth family, nor uncomfortable in my adoptive family. The people who raised me are my “real” parents. My brother, who is my parents’ biological son, is my “real” sibling. I didn’t grow up believing that anything was missing from my life.

Acknowledging this does not denigrate birth families in the least. Although I know very little about her, I have great respect for my birth mother for making a choice that was undoubtedly difficult for her, and wonderful for me. I believe my story is exactly what birth parents want for their children when they make adoption plans.

There are many other adoptees like me, but we typically don’t feel the need to put our stories out there. Let’s face it: “We’re fine” doesn’t make for exciting headlines. But maybe it’s time for those of us who are OK to make time to tell our stories, too.

 

 

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