Who Owns Adoption?

“The problem is you can’t separate the corrupt system from the institution. And just because adoption worked for YOU doesn’t give you the right to call for the silencing of adoptees, to attempt to dismiss their point of view as just so much “political correctness” or a campaign by an “angry” minority. Adoptors don’t own adoption, and if you’re surprised and disappointed that the whitewash that has been National Adoption Month for decades suddenly just got an infusion of reality from people who were actually ADOPTED, well, I for one am not sorry” – Shea Grim, Bastard Nation
I doubt there are any who genuinely wish to understand adoption and what it does to adoptees who could be sorry for that “infusion of reality” that flooded the month of November. It was encouraging and refreshing to see adoptees have their say, speak their minds and tell their stories. To those who somehow felt ‘the beauty of adoption’ had been despoiled, tarnished or diminished we can only say that we hope you will use the next eleven months to think about your reactions, your feelings and your responses. Adult adoptees are not going away, they are not going to stop speaking out, telling their stories and revealing the truths of the adopted life and non-adoptees have a number of choices. They can stop listening, or start listening, or even continue listening, any of those will affect their adoptive parenting, if they are adopters and the adoptees in their care.
For most people it seems essential to learn as much as possible about any situation we are in, particularly if we have chosen it. Why does that seem to be different for adoption? Perhaps idealism, the need to do good or to be seen to do good and the heartbreaking situations of many potential adoptees carriers potential adopters forward into something they are not properly prepared for, have not thought through enough or believe they will be guided through by a higher being and that love will be enough. Love is never enough. We who have experienced adoptive parenting as consumers, know that it requires skill, intelligence, nous, humour, empathy, compassion, willingness to learn, the ability to recognise a wrong direction, an understanding of loss, grief, flexibility, ingenuity, dedication, commitment, reliability, quick thinking, kindness and all the usual parenting skills amplified, refined and well practised. Sadly it seems we not only lack adopters who can ‘do’ good adoptive parenting but we also lack parents who can do even adequate parenting in many instances. To take an example – many insist that children must be told they are special as often as possible. In doing so we raise a generation of people who think they have privilege and are deserving of praise for existing. We need to teach children how to win and lose with equanimity, grace and good will. We need to teach them to share, to be generous, to expect knock-backs sometimes, disappointments and to face their fears, to have courage, humour, compassion, along with practical skills and responsibility. Understanding the consequences of our actions is tough sometimes but not something we should be protected from or have hidden from us. When we are viewed as participants in family life whatever our age and given age appropriate tasks we learn to share, to work as part of a team and that we are responsible for what we do. We can handle our own money from an early age, learn to budget and to understand the value of money. All these things require the active and engaged participation of parents, but the effort will be worth it and for committed parents will be something they expect and welcome as part of the parents’ role and responsibility.
In light of the many recent tragedies in which adoptees and other children have been witness to brutalities, subjected to violence, abuse and trauma it seems we have a long way to go, not only in parenting, but in the way in which our societies view parenting, support parenting and understand parenting. We need ‘an infusion of reality’ not just about adoption, but about parenting, adoptive parenting and prospective adoptive parenting. It has been a year in which adoptees made good progress in bringing reality to non-adoptees. Many have worked hard and with great dedication to produce books, blogs, plays, radio and TV programs which have enlightened and brought new understanding. It is a long, hard road to traverse and adoptees have shown courage, dogged determination and perseverance. They deserve congratulations for that commitment and effort which is sustained and will be taken up in time by a new wave of adoptees. The very best of good wishes for the new year ahead to all adoption activists, would be adoption activists and adoptees, strength and courage to you all. Von ❤

3 thoughts on “Who Owns Adoption?

  1. This seems like some solid parenting advice — not that I’m a parent, but I was parented. This goes so much beyond adoption, really.

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