Last year, I wrote about Adoption Awareness month in November and provided informative resources to help increase education and knowledge for anyone interested in adoption.
This year, I'm going in a different direction to spread adoption awareness: the personal stories. I am a blogger, after all, and in addition to some of my family's own adoption stories you can find here at my blog, there are many others on the interwebs that will open your eyes to aspects of adoption that you may not have ever considered. In addition, the adoption community at large has a growing interest in the perspective of adult adoptees, and have even started the #FlipTheScript on #NationalAdoptionMonth hashtags to denote commentary from their perspective.
A great place to find a variety of personal adoption stories is a blog post collection on the ChicagoNow.com site: Portrait of An Adoption. The site provides thirty adoption portraits, one on each day of this month, as well as an archive library for November 2011, 2012 and 2013. Some of these stories are not for the faint of heart, but then again - neither is adoption.
One of the biggest concerns of adult adoptees is that the average person only understands the adoptive parents' side of adoption. This is often where public focus lies, and adoption for the adoptive parents is a love story. "You were conceived in my heart", "we loved you before we ever met you" and "you made our family complete" are all common romanticized interpretations of adoption described by adoptive families, myself included. We all like a happy ending, and for the adoptive families, it generally is a story with a happy ending - a child gets adopted and the adoptive family is created or expanded.
The stories that have fewer happy endings are those of the birth mothers, birth families and adoptees themselves. We are pre-programmed to turn away from their sadness, both pre- and post-adoption, because we have been conditioned to believe that once an adoption is finalized, an adoptee will live "happily ever after" with their "forever family."
Except it's not that simple. Yes, a forever family is great and sometimes necessary. Love, nurture and necessities of life are mandatory to a child's existence, but society and the adoption community are only just starting to comprehend that adoption has many more requirements than simply placing a child in the arms of a family who wants one. A child who has been adopted generally has complex emotional needs that can only be met with understanding and support. Sadly, not all adoptive parents are adequately prepared for this and have no interest in increasing their own awareness, which leaves many adult adoptees with a painful legacy. Two of the most informative and often poignant sites to provide the perspectives of adoptees are The Lost Daughters and Adoptee Restoration.
Birth mothers and families fare no better. Not all birth mothers live peacefully forevermore knowing their child is being well cared for by the adoptive family. Nor do the extended families of these women live unaffected, as they also experience a loss when a child genetically related to them is no longer a part of their world. You can check out First Mother Forum to read posts by birth mothers.
An adoption has permanent effects on so many people, and it's important to understand all of the perspectives, both positive and negative. If you're truly interested in the realities of adoption - and you should be, considering adoption touches the lives of over seven million Canadians alone - have a read of some of the sites I've shared. You may cry, you may smile and you may disagree with some points of view, but when you're done, you definitely will have some adoption awareness, and that's what this month is really all about.
Thanks for reading my blog! You may want to find out how to help children in Canada who are waiting for families or read how one woman decided to interpret my adoption of my daughter.