I’ve been mulling on the reactions by the public, not only to the author of the article in my last post, but other recent articles written by, or about, adoptees. The solution is to change the public view of adoption. If it can be done, it will take honesty from the entire adoption community. Right now, how the public sees adoption isn’t real. I can see why they view it that way, when an article has a title about taboo topics of adoption, when it isn’t anything close. The title intrigued me, so I read it, if those topics are taboo, then I now understand why anything hard in adoption is met with such dismay. Dismay may be putting it too mildly, perhaps running screaming in the opposite direction is more realistic. How can we ever hope to get the public to understand that adoption is complicated for the adopted person when people inside of adoption, think these are taboo topics in adoption?
If the adoption community joined in with the adoptees talking about the actual taboo topics in adoption, the world might well be a very different place to be an adoptee. Articles would not be met with disdain, telling the adopted person in a superior voice of how terrible, and horrible, they are, if adoption was presented to the public as something that can be good for the child, and also, very hard at times throughout their life. To have compassion for what has been lost, while acknowledging what is gained with equal sincerity. Both are equally important. The public needs to know about both sides, but one side seems to be taboo to the public, and even inside most of the adoption community. Off the top of my head, here are a few of those topics.
Race, racism, transracial adoption, specifically white parents adopting children of color. How growing up in a noticeable family affects the one adopted, not from the adoptive parent view. How prepared they are for not having their parents white privilege protect them once they leave home. So many more challenges and layers are added to being adopted. This topic is not one I can speak about, but there are many who can, such as Kevin Hoffman at My Mind on Paper. Seek them out, listen with the intent to just listen.
Family health history not available to many adoptees, the problems, stresses, and challenges that creates throughout your life. There are also costs for early screening tests, or genetics tests need to be done, simply because, insurance doesn’t pay if you don’t have a family history of what they are testing for. Even lack of knowledge for mental health or addiction concerns can impact the adopted person.
There is a segment of adult adoptees (adopted internationally as children), not having US Citizenship because their parents never completed the requirements for citizenship, I believe, this is still an ongoing problem for adoptions today on certain visas if the citizenship process doesn’t take place. These adult adoptees are at risk for deportation back to their home country where they may not have citizenship, likely not speak the language, nor have any family. When this topic is brought up, people say the right things, and then it is disregarded, not their problem. The National Council for Adoption (NCFA) does recognise this problem, and addresses it each year in their advocate publication. What I don’t hear from them when legislation is tabled, is a rallying cry to the adoption community to contact the legislators to tell them how important this is, like they do when the adoption tax credit is about to go away.
Adopted people at a higher risk for attempting suicide than non-adopted. Read about it in this recent study here. This is a problem that isn’t going to get better without a different view on how being adopted can affect the person. We need more unbiased research, and knowledge, about what we as an adoption community can do. This topic deserves honest conversations and services made available.
Corruption in International adoption. The most recent (but not the first) is the guilty pleas by top employees of IAG, read all the posts on this subject here. I’m not saying all international adoptions are unethical, or corrupt, but I do expect (but don’t see) many talking about how to rid adoption of people who would do bad things, and make sure they can’t ever work in adoption again. Where is the leadership, and where are the adoptive parents pushing the leadership to lobby for laws that really punish people doing this.
Father’s rights in domestic infant adoption continues to be a problem. This is not right. Laws designed to cut timeframes, or make it hard for a father to assert his parental rights, should be an affront to every person in adoption, because adoption starts on a foundation of loss, and no one should wish that loss on a child.
There are so many other taboo topics in adoption that I’ve barely scratched the surface with this post. What I do know is that the public has this view of adoption on a surface level of what a good thing it is, how can they not, when ‘taboo’ topic articles like the first link above is published. Adoption can, and is, a good thing – but it is also something very hard, complicated, and full of so many different complexities, that no one should ever be able to say adoption is always wonderful and good without acknowledging all the challenges the can come with being adopted. You can’t.