I can not untie from the term, the title, or the truth of being adopted.
It is me.
It is lifelong. It is experiences which are real. It is a wish of education and advocacy of potential parents, current parents, and adults throughout the world touched by adoption; adoptees need trauma acknowledged and triggers to be mindfully navigated.
It is belonging,
and beauty all at the same time.
It unfolds in quiet moments when no one could guess it is on my heart. It uncovers layers publicly when I write, interact with adoptive families, or traverse the race and culture conversation.
It shapes my understanding of family and contributes to my confusion of what family is simultaneously. It guides my interactions with my children as we talk about the world and we consider what our family make-up may look like someday.
It is in songs. It is in art. It is in loss. It is in joy. It is stitched to me like sexuality, spirituality, and physicality.
I am never without it, how it helped, and how it hurts.
Adoption, it is me. As I make sense of my own stories and hundreds, thousands, also do the same in self-development and actualization, I yearn to feel one thing, that I am loved. In this, I am human. Differences in my story and yours fade a bit and we find that the hunger for home and connection is a commonality we all share.
I sent an email to my adoptive parents last week so they could brace for the post of how adoption hurts me . I read your comments and private messages with slight guarding for when I met someone wrong with my words. I cringed to think of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, who cared for me in my birth country, thinking I was discouraging adoption or ungrateful for their role in my story. I cowered at the kick-back from adoptive parents, including my own, for reaching into the tough conversations without a long list of resources, cited research, or consideration for the timeliness of the topic in America’s spectrum of thought on how and when to keep families together. I crumpled a bit considering that I may portray a victim-mentality when I hold more of the forged resilience and hope for humanity end of mind-sight. I could not cover all my basis and I did not give disclaimers or view of other adoptees’ stories.
But I ask for grace. I can stand in the affirmations the post last week and the series have received. I do not have the perspective of an adoptive parent, yet. But, I learned more in sharing a part of my heart than I could have known on my own. So many of you are wise and thoughtful. My fears were silenced and I now know that writing was the correct choice. My childhood has its layers of trauma, hurt, and inescapable consequences that ripple into my present day…
But a step at a time, in claiming adoption, in knowing it is me, I find new truths and edges of healing.
I have submitted my story to the National Council for Adoption and will continue to find places to contribute to resources and join forces with others who are learning and living near the touch of adoption. Thank you to all who have commented, liked on social media, shared with others, and engaged with me over the last few weeks… it is emboldening and important. Keep letting me know you are here.
Adoption has beauty, so continue on, all of us– lead with love and also follow with knowledge, informed stances, tender compassion, and constant belief that we do belong, however wide the definition of family is.
Allow me to conclude with this:
My adoptive mother, I invited her to contribute to this post. Her voice should not be absent from this space, yet sharing takes some courage. I don’t get to choose her words, her claims, her joys, or her sorrows. I do get to acknowledge that I am only one perspective. She is another. We need adoption. My heart feels much to know things could have or would have been done differently. But we, she in her way, and me in mine, get to find ways to encourage and educate about adoption now.
Will you, too? Will you contribute to hope in the imperfect and hard places, very personally, how you can?
Adoption matters, lead with love.
“Adoption is a commitment that is entered somewhat blindly, but is no different than adding a child by birth, but instead granted by desire.
I often thought of the tragedy the mothers of my adopted kids must have endured, and have been humbled and honored to call them mine. Looking forward to your post tomorrow. I was so grieved to read again of your hurts in your adoption.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently.
As imperfect as adoption can be, this sinful, broken world needs adoption more now than ever.
So glad your are using your voice and words to encourage and educate about all the different sides of adoption.”
–the one I call mom