Adoption Screams At Me

Does it scream at you too? If you aren't an adoptee, probably not.

It calls to me from all directions, becoming a painful cacophony in my soul at times.

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Adoption -- the teddy bear, rainbow and unicorn version -- clamors for my attention the way it seems to adore doing.

Communicating at me instead of with me.

The only place adoption usually communicates with me is when I'm surrounded by other adoptees, and a very rare handful of relationships of understanding . Otherwise, it communicates at me, and expects me to line up.

And when I don't line up, it can sometimes become the most ugly, nastiest beast I've ever encountered.


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In those moments, I long to escape. Pushed to the edge of an emotional cliff, I want to leap off and disappear, away from all the people wearing rose colored glasses and holding cups of kool-aid.

Why do so many TV shows and movies have adoption themes woven therein?
It could be a sitcom, or reality show, or anything really.  

On the first night of our recent family vacation to the Berkshires, my family wanted to get movies and settle in for a night by the fire. I said, "Great! I'm all in. But no adoption themes, please. No orphans. No babies out of wedlock. No birthmothers relinquishing and crying. No heroic AP's flying in on their magic carpets to save the day. None of that.  Pick something else."

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"No problem," they said. And they scampered off to choose two movies and came back convinced they had done just as they agreed to.

We settled in with hot chocolate by the fire, underneath blankets, snuggled up to each other. Popped in the DVD. The first movie began to play and imagine my shock when a horrific relinquishment scene was played out in front of my eyes. My family didn't bat an eye. They were numb, desensitized to the entire thing, even though a mother was transferring her baby to the arms of a stranger, while she sobbed and screamed, holding her arms toward the adoptive mother who walked away with her baby as a friend held her back.

It took everything in me to keep sitting on the sofa but I did.

Just like I always do.

Praise the Lord and pass the hot chocolate.

On the heels of movie number one, movie number two went in the DVD player and imagine my shock when in the first five minutes of the movie, there came a train full of orphans. Again, my family did not even notice. It did not even register on their radar. They just sat there happily watching the movie as if nothing odd has just occurred.

I wanted to get up, and go sink down into a warm bubble bath in silence.

Photo Credit: Deanna Shrodes

But I didn't.
I stayed there because I love my family. And I want to be with them.
And no matter how much I explain it, I'm really not sure  they will never grasp the reality of what this is like for me.
I'm starting to think maybe it's an unfair expectation for me to expect them to understand it.

It means so much to them that I watch movies with them. And,with the way adoption themes seem to weave into every show and movie these days to some degree, we may have little options otherwise.

If I got up and left every time they would probably just think I was overreacting.

As an adoptee, I don't see movies, nor the world with the same eyes.  I've tried to explain that I even struggle with animated movies. It seems most Disney movies have a theme of abandonment, adoption or significant loss somewhere in there.

Movies and TV are just the tip of the iceberg...

This week I visited two blogs that have been among my favorite for years. Neither has anything to do with adoption -- at all. Not even remotely close. But (drumroll please) it appears both blogs are shifting to a new direction as the writers feel the call to "redeem a child through the gift of adoption."

[sigh]

If I hear someone say redeem and adoption in the same sentence again I may need to be Baker Acted.


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I've wanted to go to a popular leadership conference for pastors and staff members for a few years now. It's huge, attracting many thousands. I've just never planned my schedule to attend yet. So a few weeks ago, speaking of that particular conference, a minister-friend says to me, "Hey, you're involved in writing about adoption...did you know this conference is largely focused on adoption now? They really push it."
"Uhhh...no..." I said, my heart sinking. "I wasn't aware of that. Why would a leadership conference for pastors and Christian leaders be focused on adoption let alone 'pushing' it?" He informed me that amongst their teachings on leadership, they are addressing two areas: human trafficking and adoption. (I agree that both are similar, though not in the way most people think.) The friend went on to explain that the pastors who lead this conference are trying to stamp out human trafficking as well as encourage all Christians to adopt, following Jesus' command.

Hmmmm that was puzzling to me as I don't remember Jesus commanding us to adopt.


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Yesterday was Valentines Day and friends who are neither adopted nor AP'S tweeted about their chosen way of celebrating the holiday this year: 
What are you doing for Valentines Day? Celebrate #adoption with me and so many others as we #spreadthelove.

I'm celebrating #adoption on Valentines Day! Join me! Link up your adoption story as we #spreadthelove!

Lord, we pray for families in the process of #adoption, for physical, spiritual and emotional provision.#spreadthelove

Today I'm praying for #orphans around the world, that they would find loving forever families. #spreadthelove

[double sigh]

Although I believe those in the orphan care movement mean well, many have no idea about this.

The world seems to have an absolute love affair with all things relinquishment and adoption.

It makes me want to move to a little cottage somewhere out in the middle of the forest.

I will still need wifi to stay in touch with my adoptee friends.