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Can We Talk? Adoptees are Missing from the Conversation Around Adoption

The reporter’s query called to me. Wedged between a Huffington Post come-on for “Boozy Coffee Cocktail Recipes for the Holidays” and Anonymous’ assignment for “Restaurants on Farms,” it was like a beacon in this morning’s HARO newsletter: “Things Adoptive Parents Think You Should Know About the Process.”

Curious to know more, I clicked for the details and immediately saw red.

“We’re looking for advice from parents who have gone through the adoption process,” the reporter writing for Woman’s Day had written. “What was the hardest part? The best part? What was the most time-consuming part? Would you do it again? What do you wish people told you beforehand?

“Requirements: You must have gone through the adoption process.”

SHH

Credit: Chiara Vitellozzi Fotografie | NuageDeNuit/Flickr

It’s National Adoption Awareness Month so naturally the world is very concerned about the adoptive parent’s experience.

Actually, it doesn’t matter what month it is, the adoptive parent point of view inevitably trumps all. The adoption narrative, with its promise of forever families created by selfless couples, is so ingrained in our collective psyche that few people think about adoptees like me who are at the center of the arrangement.

Our voice is purposely kept out of the conversation. No one asks what it feels like to be adopted — or considers that being adopted might not be a perfectly positive experience for us. And if we try to share our stories, our desires to know our roots and figure out where we fit in, the first thing people invariably ask is, “How do your adoptive parents feel about that?”

Sitting in front of my laptop, I decided this HARO query offered a teachable moment.

Swallowing some growing irritation with my coffee, I decided to reach out to the reporter writing for Woman’s Day and pitch a better story:

Lauren:
Your HARO query on the adoption process caught my eye — and made me sad. I’m a 52-year-old adoptee and wonder why adoption articles always seem to revolve around adoptive parents’ wants and needs.

Adoptees are the people most affected by adoption, yet our experiences are rarely represented in the conversation around adoption. Why is that? What about highlighting our thoughts and insights on the process? What we think is hardest or the best part, or what we wish adoptive parents and society at large knew about the lasting impact of being relinquished? 

Perhaps you’d consider an article that looks at our point of view? I’d be glad to chat with you and could connect you to other adult adoptees who would be willing to speak about how it feels to be adopted and why our voices should be part of the discussion.

You’re probably not surprised to learn that I never heard from her.
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