I don’t blog. I’m not really good at writing. I’m not good with words. I always hated English and was never good at it. I went back and forth on whether or not to write some blogs about my adoption journey. It’s a very personal subject. Things I mention are things I have never shared with anyone. But with this month being National Adoption Awareness Month (NAAM), I felt challenged to add my voice to the conversation. A voice that for years has remained silent out of fear of upsetting others, ruffling feathers, making others uncomfortable, and bringing judgement upon myself. I have realized that for far too long the voice of the adoptee has remained silent. My voice has remained silent.
I began asking myself why I was allowing others to speak for me. Adoption agencies cannot speak for me, yet they do. Birth mothers cannot speak for me, yet they do. Adoptive parents cannot speak for me, yet they do. The church cannot speak for me, yet they do. The only person who can speak for me is me. As great as these people are and as much as their voices should be heard, they are not my voice. They cannot truly give an adoptee’s perspective on adoption. They cannot tell others how adoption has affected my life because they have not lived my life. The sad truth is, many of these people have not even taken the time to hear the voices of adoptees.
Over the next coming weeks I am challenging myself to write about certain things that have affected my adoption story. Whether it is things people have said to me or things I have struggled with internally. Last year a group called The Lost Daughters started a campaign called #flipthescript. The campaign was geared towards encouraging adoptees to speak out about their experiences. Here is a little about the campaign:
#flipthescript sought to address social media’s inundation with messages about adoption in which adoption professionals and adoptive parents are overwhelmingly represented during the month of November, National Adoption Month. Whenever education is taking place about an issue or community, all voices of that community must be included. The world needs to hear adoptee voices included in the dialogue about adoption.
The goal was simple: for adult adoptee voices to be represented during National Adoption Month. #flipthescript sought to create a welcoming space on Twitter for adoptees to express themselves; to reach out to adoptees new to public discourse; to promote acceptance of all adoptee voices as important whether they express happiness, ambivalence, grief and loss, or anger—or all of these themes at once; and to unlabel adoptee narratives as “happy” or “angry” by accepting and expecting complex conclusions from complex life experiences
This is my story. My journey so far. It’s complex. It’s not black and white. I ask that you withhold judgement. I ask that you truly listen. I hope that through my story you can gain a deeper understanding of adoption that goes beyond the fluff and rainbows. Please realize that this is only one adoptee’s voice out of the millions out there. Don’t paint another adoptee’s experience and journey by mine. We are not the same. Our stories are not the same. We may share similarities, but we also have differences. Every person’s story is unique. Don’t use my story or other adoptees’ stories to generalize all adoptees. Instead, get to know adoptees as individuals, because that’s what we are.
My hope is also that adoptees will feel encouraged to share their own stories. I want them to know it’s okay to share the good, bad and ugly of adoption. I want them to know that whether their stories are filled with happiness, ambivalence, grief, loss, and/or anger that it’s okay. All of those feelings are valid. No one can tell you that those are unacceptable emotions. My prayer is that people will stop judging your story and start listening, start learning.
Honestly, I don’t know how many posts I’ll do, but I hope that you will join me on this journey. I want this to be a place where there can be open dialogue among everyone, a place where we can learn from each other. I want this to be a safe place. So please refrain from casting judgement. Trust me, I’ve heard a lot: the bitter, angry, ungrateful, over-dramatic adoptee. Adjectives given by those who fail to really listen. I won’t allow these people to keep me silent anymore, and I hope fellow adoptees, that you won’t allow them to keep you silent.