Dear Adoption, Dear NAAM
November is National Adoption Awareness Month. It is a time in which most people promote adoption and look to praise adoptive parents as they overshare the private stories of their adopted children.
In recent years adopted people have worked hard to reclaim NAAM and redirect the focus onto adopted people. The battle has been and continues to be an uphill one.
Adopted adults are infantilized, spoken for, minimized and labeled as angry when telling their own stories.
Oddly enough, adoptive parents of young children are often the greatest critics of adopted adults. Wouldn’t it make sense for them to be our biggest supporters? After all, the young children of adoptive parents do, in fact, grow up to be adopted adults. Most adult adoptees who talk openly about living adopted in books, blogs, movies, podcasts, plays, and other art forms do so with intent to educate non adopted people and create more understanding for young adoptees. That their parents are frequently so defensive and aggressive, dismissive and silencing to adult adoptees is shocking.
Unfortunately, these comments are a sampling of what we frequently hear in response to a shared adoptee experience:
“My children don’t feel that way.”
“I’m sorry you had a bad experiences, but…”
“My kids don’t want to meet their bio family.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“My children would be dead if I hadn’t adopted them.”
“We gave our kids better lives.”
“You should get over it and just be grateful.”
Every one of the above comments was copy and pasted from other Dear Adoption, posts. I just want to clear something up a couple things in response to a few of the statements above: I never told my parents how I really felt about adoption and still have a hard time as an adult and father, myself. I told my everyone I never wanted to find my original family while constantly hoping I could find them. I didn’t have “a bad experience”; adoption is a really hard thing for a human to deal with.
Dear Adoption, Dear NAAM
We will not quiet ourselves.
We will not stop sharing.
We will not lie for your comfort.
We will share openly, painfully, boldly (even if we must do so anonymously).
We will speak through our tears.
We will relive the trauma of adoption every time it comes up.
We will not be dismissed.
We will fight for adoptee rights.
We will tell the truth.
We will do these things so that all adoptees can benefit and be better heard.
I was adopted by inhumane abusive people. They should be in jail.
I was always told I should be grateful I was adopted. I never felt that way. My adoptive parents where physically and mentally abusive, especially my mother.
I adopted. Our daughter has 2 moms, one that birthed her and one that parents her. But most importantly, she has 2 moms that love her.
Thank you for sharing!
It is not easy to be vulnerable letting your real feelings show.
Especially when people say things like, “oh your so lucky you got two moms!”
I pray people will read and reflect on the deeply seated life long truths adult adoptees are sharing before another generation has come n gone.
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As an adoptive mom- I am sooooo very grateful for you as other adult adoptees speaking out. I must confess, in our ore-adoption class, I was a non-believer and thought of the adult adoptees that came in as a very angry adoptee who must have had bad parents and that was in no way, shape or from going to be out experiences I grew up with a childhood friend and a cousin who were “chosen” and “happy” and never wanted to locate their birth families.
Fast forward to when one of my adoptive sons was struggling at age 3. And the adult adoptees words and voice came back to me and that changed the course of my parenting. No share that so that maybe you can think of your words as laying down the foundation for some of your nasty commenters. Maybe your words are seeds that will blossom a long time from now?
I know that I am so very grateful to all of you that continue to speak out and educate us!
So hard to be an adult adoptee and try educate people on adoption. So many romanticize it and pretty much make it a religion. So much evil and money is hiding under the name of adoption. So much cognitive dissonance. So much gaslighting and invalidation. Adoption is everywhere and its hard to say anything bad for fear of losing your people or your livelihood. Thats why I stay anonymous.
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“Cognitive dissonance, gaslighting and invalidation.” Never have I seen the adoption experience summed up so perfectly!
It’s sad that so many who have lost to adoption have to live in fear of losing your people. Not able to speak one’s truth forces one to present a false self, which is not healthy. The truth will set you free.