I was on twitter this weekend and an adoptive parent (or intends to be an adoptive parent someday) – started mixing it up with adoptees chatting amongst themselves. The title above was her go to response to explain her pushback. Which got me to thinking about the post from 2019 linked below.
I know an adoptee who is just fine being adopted….
And yes, many adoptees are just fine with being adopted. But it’s not just being fine with being adopted, it’s also about deficits, deficits of knowledge and how that can mess with you in so many different ways when you’re adopted; whether it’s family health history, what your ethnicity is, who your ancestors were, what paths they followed, what they did, the type of people they were – any or all of that can be important to your sense of self about who you really are.
And yes, I can hear some reading this saying “what’s the big deal – I don’t know ____________ and I’m fine” and I’m sure you are fine with it. But were you deliberately stopped from knowing anything about your family? Knowing your family? Not allowed to know to know anything about your history? Or that the family history you came with was likely not worth the paper it was written on? Likely, not.
Take something deeply personal away from people and see how quickly it matters to them when they aren’t allowed to know it, have it, suddenly it matters because they have missing pieces. Questions about themselves they can’t answer.
Is that same deficit of knowledge going to happen to children adopted in open adoptions?
You tell me, because despite me pleading with folks to write everything down about their child’s family by birth before memories fade, it’s doubtful they did. And unless you have a wide-open adoption and you and your child really know them like you know close kin, get together often, share holidays together where you sit around talking about everything, including family stories, it’s unlikely they will know them well.
And knowing them matters, it’s part of the guide to being the best you that you can be, it shapes who you are, it draws on traits and strengths you didn’t know existed, but know your grandpa had that trait, and come to find out, you have it too. It’s finding acceptance in being a worrier because your mother and grandmother both were, so it’s a trait, not a failing because you’re too weak. Finding the brave to stand up when another needs you to have their back because you know your father stood up for his country, so you know you can dig deep and stand tall when it matters. All of those connections make you stronger to face whatever comes your way.
And of course, if you know anything about me, finding the wisdom shown from my folks matter too, I learned what it took to be a good person, but I didn’t share their strengths, the traits they had that stood the test of time, adoption doesn’t make me their biological child able to inherit their traits, it just makes them my parents.
Hoping this made sense.