Dear Adoption, I Just Want to be Heard
I think. Sometimes, I pray. I talk myself into it.
This is always the lead up to me beginning a conversation, hitting send on an email, or clicking post/share on social media.
The topic: Adoption.
And then, inevitably, with unwavering consistency, the pushback begins.
Why can I not share freely without someone interjecting their feelings about my feelings.
Yes, we are all entitled to our own opinions; on politics, education, parenting, etc. But we aren’t entitled to an opinion on how another person should or should not feel about their own experience.
Okay, Adoption (adoptive parents, adoptive families, non adoptees), allow me to give you a small sampling of what I’m talking about…
When I talk about something I am grieving because of adoption, you say:
“But look at all you have!”
“Those things weren’t meant for you.”
“This is better.”
When I say I’m unsure if adoption has been and is ethical, you say:
“Well, we did the best we could.”
“No one else was going to adopt you.”
“Would you rather be living in that orphanage?”
“You would have died if we didn’t adopt you.”
When I wonder about my first family and my culture, you say:
“We did the best we could.”
“God chose a different family for you.”
“Why aren’t we enough?”
“What’s wrong with us?”
“We tried to help you grieve. You were always allowed to grieve.”
“Remember who was there for you. We were.”
“Would you rather be with people who didn’t want you than with us?”
“You sound really ungrateful.”
Every conversation played out above has actually occurred in my life and there are many, many more.
Since I have the floor, this is what I want to say without any pushback:
I’m not ungrateful.
I’m not crazy for wondering about my first family.
I’m not dishonoring my adoptive family by grieving or desiring the things I am missing.
No one knows where I would be had I not been adopted. No one knows if I’d be dead, alive, thriving, suffering, healthy, ill, poor, wealthy, happy or unhappy.
My experience as an adoptee is personal to me and no one else should tell me how to feel (not even other adoptees, but especially not non adoptees).
I should be able to talk about adoption without adoptive parents, adoptive families, and non adoptees becoming defensive.
My need to explore my heritage isn’t connected to whether my adoptive family was good or bad. It’s a natural need.
I can be happy with the life I’ve been given and mourn the life that was taken away.
I can decide if I’m okay with adoption or not. Just because adoption was a part of my life doesn’t mean I have to be on board with it. I get to decide.
I just want to be heard without being judged and accused of ingratitude and looked down upon.
Can you hear me? Can you stop and just listen?
I just want to be heard.