It was at that point, we decided to go together to the American Adoption Congress Conference in Vancouver WA, hoping to gain more insight into our experience.
Now, seventeen years later, we got to experience the American Adoption Congress Conference again. This time, even deeper and longer into our relationship. And, we were going to present, as well as listen.
The introduction to the conference took me right back into the swirls of amazement in being with people who have an instant understanding of what you are experiencing. It's the experience of being enveloped in honesty. Considering that what we are experiencing - questioning the good of adoption, discussing the wounds and issues it causes - are topics that aren't acceptable in our society, it felt like an act of amazing bravery.
It made me realize that in presenting, I would be speaking those unacceptable truths. Despite my time and experience in reunion, and no matter how much of a rebel I may feel that I am, once I was about to cross that line to talk in public about something that's passive-agressively forbidden by society, my heart started racing and my head began swimming. I couldn't eat and couldn't sit still.
That anxiety morphed as we began the talk itself. We went into the very large conference room with lines of chairs and I worried that no one would come to the presentation (Kate and I joked that we would have one person there, and we could sit on either side of them, reading our parts to her one by one).
Once the room filled with people and we began our talk, I worried that people wouldn't related to it, or that we were droning on too long, or that this was all just ... wrong. Then we were done. And we had questions from the audience. And we had conversations. Suddenly, we were all there together, all going towards the same goals, holding similar values. I felt full, and right, and heard.
We were able to speak the unspeakable. Nothing came crashing down, the world didn't stop.
Of course, the world didn't change overnight to knowing the truth about adoption and reunion. But maybe our little talk will cause a ripple that will go out and on. I want people to talk about their experiences in adoption and reunion. Everyone's story is important. More than that, everyone's story is interesting.
What was different at this conference was the variety and depth of the adoption and reunion experience. No longer was long-term reunion unusual - there were lots of people in our talk who were in reunion as long as we've been. And there was a talk on donor-conceived children who have such a similar circumstance to the adoptees with so much of the same issues. They were all there because they want the openness and honesty about the experience.
I'm sure I'll still feel the pressure that we shouldn't speak out, but I'll just get used to doing it anyway. :)