January 13, 2014

Do Adoptees Who Fight for Change Have a Victim Mentality?

"Aren’t you just playing into a victim mentality by talking about the effects of adoption on your life?"

I’ve gotten this question before.

Photo Credit: Bilal Kamoon, Flickr

This is such an interesting inquiry, as I consider the courage it takes for an adoptee to address issues rather than deny them. 

Perhaps adoption is the only subject where affected people are considered whiny for admitting their need, rather than brave. 

Tremendous courage is required  for an adoptee to speak openly. Developing relationships within the adoptee community, is another brave step. Speaking for reform is huge. Some go to therapy to address post-adoption issues, which is another decision requiring strength. These are not the behaviors of a person with a victim mentality but rather one who is becoming empowered for change.

Admitting you need help or that you don’t want to go it alone is a sign of strength not weakness. One of the first steps to overcoming and living empowered is realizing what you need and asking for it. Calling for reform so the rights of children are protected is a great thing, changing history for the better.

Although adoptees are victimized, one is correct in assuming we don’t have to remain victims throughout our lives. What happens as we take steps toward empowerment is that those who are threatened by our actions accuse us of everything from a victim mentality to being ungrateful.  Our empowerment makes some people extremely uncomfortable. When this happens adoptees need to remember someone else’s insecurity is not a sign that our strength is inappropriate.

Never let someone else’s insecurity squash your courage.

We are often accused of possessing a victim mentality as we rise up to affect reform in adoption when in fact it’s the very opposite of playing the role of victim. Adoptees who speak up refuse to be a victim any longer and take great effort in trying to ensure that more victimizations do not follow.