January 9, 2013

Do This With An Adoptee...I Dare You!

The two biggest victims in adoption are adoptees and natural mothers. They aren't the only victims but I believe they go through the most pain. Ironically, they seem to be the last two people anyone asks about. When I share about my adoption and reunion experience, even to this day, rarely does anyone ask about me.

Up until the recent experiences I referred to in this post, nobody has ever asked me, "What was it like for you, growing up adopted?" or "How are you now with everything concerning your adoption?" 

When I reunited with my original family, nobody asked me if everything was okay or how I was doing in the reunion process, which can be very challenging. Not one single time was I asked if I was alright or if I needed help.

Most times people ask: "how is your (adoptive) mother doing with everything?"  Curiously enough, they never ask about my father. It's not just people I know who ask me. Complete strangers who find out I'm adopted always ask about my adoptive mother and how she's doing, and they don't even know her.

I care about others deeply. I've been described by many people as a compassionate person. I've dedicated my entire life to serving God and serving others. This isn't about selfishness and "me, me, me." It is about giving a voice to those whose voices have largely been silenced or ignored for decades.

I really want to know when adoption gets to be about the kid. Not just this now-grown-up-kid, but all kids. Does it finally happen at 21? 36? 49? 72? When do we get our turn? When is somebody ever going to ask, "How did that feel for you?" And "How do you feel now?" and "What do you want?"

I am not on a vendetta against adoptive parents. I'm not against anyone. I am simply for adoptees.

I want our voices to be heard.
I want us to be first to be invited to the table to discuss adoption.
I want people to ask how we feel and what we prefer and what we believe.
Because after all, we were the ones who were adopted!

We were the ones who actually experienced adoption.
We are the ones living in this world as an adopted person.

What about this is so hard for so many people to understand?

They say it was "all in our best interest". Then why does no one ever ask us what our interests are? 

Was it first and foremost about our welfare, or was it about filling an infertile couple's empty arms?

Why are we rarely invited to the discussion and almost never invited first?

Why do adoption panel discussions most often include psychologists and social workers and adoptive parents, with adoptees as a concession or afterthought -- or worse yet...missing entirely?

Adoptees are the experts on adoption. We live it. Every single day, we wake up adopted. Whether we are six months old or sixty years old, we will always be adopted. When they say adoption is forever...it really is.

We dare to open up to share our truth and the first reaction we often get is one of  others scrambling to protect the feelings and interests of the people who adopted us or facilitated our adoptions.

We are encouraged to be grateful.
We are encouraged to accept.
We are encouraged to move on.

And above all, we must abide by the script we have been given. And if we do not, we are considered by society to be a bad, ungrateful adoptee whose adoption, "didn't work out."

It is evidently incumbent upon us to do all the changing and adjusting.

Not agencies, not our adoptive families, but us.

If therapists could bottle up the most powerful prescription on earth for healing adoptees, it would be a bottle labeled, "understanding." Unfortunately this prescription is rare to non-existent and is found mostly on adoptee blogs, websites and forums. And, sometimes it's found in the offices of therapists who specialize in post-adoption issues.

It could be so much more readily available. Things don't have to remain this way.

Dare to ask.
Dare to listen.
Dare to understand.

Give adoptees that surround you the gift of understanding.