When you write books on adoption, adopting, have a website, facebook, instagram, twitter, all of which focus primarily on adoption, adopting, you being an adoptive parent raising adopted children, isn’t it a wee bit hypocritical to be worrying about whether children are adopted or were adopted? And what if your children decide they were adopted, will they get gold stars? Or, alternatively, they decide they are adopted, will they get lectured on allowing adoption to define them?
And I know this is a thing many adoptive parents seem to focus on making it only an event that happened in the past. The subject pops up on a regular basis as if it is the most pressing adoption question of all time. Dig deep, process the why it’s so important for you to even bring up the was or is adopted thing? Why it’s important to you that your child only views being adopted as an event that happened in the past. Getting past that is important because your child will always be adopted, and there will always be times when it becomes a pertinent fact.
Just the medical aspect makes being adopted a fact they can’t avoid. Specifically, every time they get sick and go to the doctor, every time they have a routine physical it will come up. If the one adopted gets pregnant the doctor queries their mother’s pregnancy and whether there were complications, the length of gestation, delivery, miscarriages, still births, then it comes around again when menopause happens too. Or when the one adopted feels the need to seek any mental health services, odds are, being adopted will be discussed, family mental health history will be asked about. When you go for surgery and the anesthesiologist asks if any family members had problems with anesthesia and you can’t answer that because you’re adopted.
Being adopted impacts the next generation too; when the adoptee takes their child to the doctor, the adoption legacy of lack of family health history rears it’s ugly head again.
I don’t think openness is going to mitigate that for many adoptees because most will have a bare minimum of knowledge, and not an understanding of how specific diseases have shown up generation after generation in their family because they grew up in it. The lack of interest I’ve found in parents on documenting and updating their child’s family health history shocks me to my core; but whether your child views being adopted as something that happened in the past or that being adopted is part of who they are, is a burning question asked that adoptive parents feel they need to chime in on every single time…
That then collided with a post by a new adoptive parent asking how to “foster positivity about the adoption experience for their child”, and it all made sense. All the mushy adoption memes also suddenly made sense, as well as why it seems so important that adoption was just an event that happened in the distant past. If you don’t view adoption as normal or an adoptive family as a family then you need to work on you. An adoptive family is different from a biological family, different does not equal bad, just different. Fix your view on what adoption and being an adoptive family is, because if you need to make adoption a “positive experience”, then you see it as a negative and are asking how to put lipstick on a pig because you don’t want to deal with the messy that adoption brings with it, and lipstick on a pig doesn’t help, it just tells your child you don’t want to deal with the hard. When you get past seeing adoption and being an adoptive family as a negative, then your goal listening to adoptees today is to spur you to get yourself educated on the seven core issues an adoptee may face at many points in their life, learn how each challenge can present, what triggers it, so you’re aware and can be there to walk with them, or just as a silent witness they know is always going to be there for them.