Have you ever stopped to consider how and why things have changed in adoption from the 1950’s to now? The answer to those questions begins with: But for adoptees being willing to talk about their deepest feelings, parents would still be parenting adopted children the same way adoptive parents were taught in the 1950’s. I’m not saying that changes were always adoptee driven, only that if no adoptee had ever reached out, or spoken up, there would be no impetus for change. Change is scary, hard, unknown.
One would assume that at a certain point, the adoptee voice would no longer be the voice that is needed to be heard by adoptive parents and professionals. Instead everyone would have learned a more holistic and empathetic way to parent adopted children, and to know to ask what could be done better to each generation. Some did, and this post is not about you, because you will also listen to those adoptees from this era too, but some didn’t listen, and each successive generation will have ones that refuse to listen.
Right now, the ‘some didn’t’ group of adoptive parents that carried on with a thinly veiled layer of contempt for what adoptees have said, their entitlement to be parents whatever that took, stopped them from having humility to not only listen, but to learn from anyone outside of their position in adoption. They weren’t even willing to tuck the information away just in case their child seemed to be struggling at any given point, because they knew their child wouldn’t feel that way. To protect themselves they chose to self-select and close ranks, only letting in new prospective adoptive parents and stayed within their close knit ‘support’ group. Anyone in a ‘support’ group that wanted to open the door to talking about adoptees challenges, ethical practices, derogatory language, microaggressions, or any other topic would be quickly shown the door because they weren’t being supportive.
An adoption ‘support’ group should never be a ‘you do whatever you need to achieve your desires, whatever the cost, whoever you hurt, you are entitled to be parents because you jumped through all those hoops to prove you’d be superior to those ordinary biological parents’. That’s not support. A support group should be offering suggestions to help and challenging you to see the entire picture from start to finish, and understand why it’s so important to make the very best decisions, instead just shutting your eyes when anything questionable happens.
The ‘some didn’t’ also includes adoption professionals that still carry on with inappropriate terminology like calling expectant mothers ‘Birthmothers’ and for short ‘BM’ even when corresponding with expectant, birth, and adoptive parents. I’m only giving them a mention in this post simply because adoptive parents use their agency as an explanation of why they refuse to stop using ‘Birthmother’ before an expectant mother has given birth and relinquished her rights, and to use the two initials ‘BM’ when referring to the mother who chose them to raise and parent her child.
I’m sure many reading this post have looked at different adoptive parents today, and thought, I can’t believe they think that is the way to do that, we know that practice caused pain, and harm, to a lot of adoptees in the past, you may have even pointed it out to that adoptive parent. I’m also sure you get tired of reading posts by adoptees, and can start to feel that adoptees will always assume you don’t get it. It’s not you they are trying to reach. Adoption and knowledge will continue to evolve as adoptees from this new era bring a new perspective and will talk about what could be understood, or done, better. Support those posts and help those other adoptive parents who get uncomfortable and defensive about what is said by adoptees, help them dig deep to listen to the adoptees, to hear from adoptees with experiences of being adopted in this new era of adoption. There are many adopted people speaking, listen to all voices, it will help you understand the full spectrum of feelings, and examples of what challenges are still being faced today, despite all the progress that has already been made.