Do you really need to share your adoption story to all?

20 Sep

Dear people adopting or even have already adopted – I watched one of the thousands of adoption video’s this morning. This is how I feel after watching it. Please listen to my words and consider them. 

I understand you’re excited to adopt a baby. I get wanting to memorialize it on video, that’s what most families do for special moments in life. But you don’t need to share it to the world on social media, keep that as your special memories, reserved solely for your family.

With adoption comes the responsibility to treat it with a great deal of awareness of all that adoption is, how it affects each party differently throughout life. You as the adopting parents can’t pretend that everyone comes out a winner in adoption, because they don’t, the other two parties to adoption deal with loss, different degrees and ways, but loss there is that ebbs and flows throughout life. I know you also had your fair share of loss before you adopted and understand you now just want to celebrate your joy, do that, but not at the expense of your new child’s privacy, or your child’s other family’s privacy.

The older I get – the more aware of how much suffering there is in adoption, how far the tentacles of grief spread through the family that lost a loved one, one they never got to meet, watch grow, create memories with over the years. We need to honor and respect that loss and try to understand that even with reunion or an open adoption – it can never be the same as if they were always there.

If you are on the adopting side, regardless if you’re doing voluntary domestic infant or through foster adoption of a baby, you aren’t saving that baby, you aren’t being rewarded by your faith in God, or deserve to have that baby because of what you’ve gone through, you are the beneficiary of one of life’s most tragic events – the loss to a baby when they lose their entire family just after birth, and their family losing them.

That baby didn’t do anything to deserve losing their entire clan within moments of entering the world. It’s up to you to recognise and honor that tragedy in how you act, what your share, the words you chose to use about that great loss. A loss you can’t understand or quantify if you’ve never experienced it, nor understand how that loss contracts and expands across the lifetime for the one adopted. A loss that appears when the one adopted least expects it, a loss that can take them to their knees in an instant and leave them reeling for days if not weeks, a loss seldom shared with those they love for good reasons.

Parent with adoption awareness, educate yourself on how your child will process being adopted at different life stages – that’s what’s important when you adopt. What’s not important now or later is whether your adoption video went viral, that your adoption blog or FB page is widely followed, that your story made the news, or the affirmations by church members. Its how you chose to parent the child you adopted, how you protect their private story, your preparedness for all added elements adoption brings to regular parenting. Do create memories all of you will remember, smile at, recount till you’re long in years, that’s what families do, but those aren’t memories meant to be shared, they are to be held dear. So ditch the savior language, decide not to share that adoption video to the masses, or recount to others the details of the day your baby lost their entire world.



Posted by on September 20, 2018 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , , ,

3 responses to “Do you really need to share your adoption story to all?

  1. sheryl

    September 20, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Very well said! Thank you for all that you’ve written that brings awareness to the loss that is inevitable with adoption.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa

    October 18, 2018 at 5:13 am

    I started following adoptees a while prior to adopting a 14-year-old because I wanted to learn as much as I could and do all I could to help him make the transition. I want his life (and adoption experience) to be as positive and successful as humanly possible. Honestly however, I sometimes wonder if following adoptees was a good idea because I am so utterly overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of disheartened adoptees.

    I fully understand that adoption is rooted in loss and trauma. But I also thought, perhaps naively so, that adoption offered hope and a chance at recovery but I walk away from these stories feeling like I’m crazy for believing that my son can ever recover and thrive.

    Anyway, none of that is what drew me to the comment section. I was compelled by two things. The first is that your hashtag says “stop unnecessary adoption”. That left me wondering what do you think qualifies an adoption as necessary or do you think all adoption is unnecessary?

    The other thing is the whole idea of how, or how not, to celebrate adoption. Since the internet is a relatively recent phenomenon I find it hard to believe that it played a significant part in the added grief of any adult adoptee. Yes, now we live our daily lives in the internet age. Marriages, births, home purchases, employment victories and anything else worth celebrating is now done on social media. But that wasn’t true 50, 40, 30, or even 25 years ago.

    Twenty five years ago everything, including adoption, was celebrated locally and generally in a private manner. My point is that none of the adoptees I read about were traumatized by internet celebrations. So if we altogether eliminate the internet we still run into resistance with the idea of celebrating adoption. I think I get it, but still it seems so questionable.

    I spend all of my time trying to help my son feel safe and loved and safe and valued and safe and safe and safe and safe that I’ve not even had time to celebrate but as I read these stories I can’t help but wonder what harm failure to celebrate an adoption will do to the adoptee. All your siblings and/or cousins and friends have these vibrant welcoming rituals recorded for posterity and shared with anyone who’ll listen but yours is hidden away because you were adopted. Don’t we risk sending a message of shame when we do that?

    The one thing I don’t ever want my son to feel is shame, not about who he is, or where and who he comes from, or about his survivorship and the sheer self-determination it took for him to make his way to safety, or about where his life is headed. I worry that not celebrating him might lead to feelings of shame.


    • TAO

      October 18, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      Lisa, I’m approving your comment, I also took the time to reread the post you commented on, and, it appears what I wrote is not what you read. If you think I’m wrong, feel free to quote from the post to show me.



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