I default to not speaking up when adoption comes up in conversation. It is striking how often it does come up. Someone will mention a recent adoption by a co-worker, or mention a child they adopted, or an adopted relative.
I know if I mention being an adoptee that I will be reduced to a tidy box that fits their story, the one society built for them. Or I speak out and they look at me quizzically, as if I have said something wrong. Something that doesn't fit.
I prefer to listen. I hear all the things that aren't said. And, the things that should be said.
I want to share what I know, what I understand about the adoption experience. But it doesn't fit into the office banter or the party chit-chat. It's bigger, it's more important. It would be awkward, confusing, strange.
But, when someone says THEY are an adoptee, then I speak. I say, "I am too." We can banter in the office or chit-chat at the party while still holding the weight of our experience, knowing the importance of it.
Someday, I hope to be able to reach the same depth with non-adoptees, but we're just not there.
I hope to read more on this prompt of adoptees speaking out, speaking up and standing up for what they believe. I want to hear stories of the narrative changing, even a little, to listen to the adoptee voice. Maybe for now, the writing is enough. Maybe next, the voice will come.
Thoughts? Reflections? Opinions?
Thank you so much for this post! I am an adoptee myself, and I've had these same feelings many times. Very recently, a woman I go to church with -who adopted a baby a few years ago - was talking about how her daughter seemed to be searching for other people who were adopted. She keeps asking her friends if they were adopted, so her mother was saying that she felt the need to try to find some other adoptees for her to interact with, and I spoke up. This little girl is only 5, and she is already obviously searching for answers. I hope as the years go on, I can be someone who can offer something in terms of support to her and her parents (who are really exceptional people). I also hope it's an opportunity to expand the "normal" adoption dialogue that tends to leave out many parts of our side of the story. Thanks again... great post!ReplyDelete
Thanks Terri! It's great that the parents are open and supportive and that the little girl is already reaching out to know other adoptees. You'll be a wonderful support for them.Delete
Why not reach out to the natural family.? Now that would be exceptional people. The issues caused by separation is danced around as if its not there, as if that can be mitigated. It saddens me how this bolsters the image adoption need not be a last resort, that its "ok" to take economic & emotional advantage of others. One important question, where is the mother of the child? I do not mean amom. What kind of person supports the painful separation of mother and child? What kind of a society hides from such an important sadness? Where is this mother's child so that this child may be more whole and less broken? Is this such an evil question, an adoptee is silenced to feel its importance be asked?ReplyDelete