By Megan Monsour –
I believe in adoption.
I believe in the blessings that come from adoption.
I believe adoption should be celebrated.
However, I have come to know the complexities of adoption. I also know that my own beliefs about adoption contain holes and misconceptions and biases. I know I don’t have all the answers or even the right questions all the time.
Despite my passion for adoption, I am not an adoptive parent or an adoptee. Instead, I have been blessed to help hundreds of families realize their dream of adoption. Looking back on my ten years as an adoption attorney, my views on adoption have evolved. I have come to see that adoption is not just an event in someone’s life that is remembered fondly like a trip to the Grand Canyon. A person’s adoption is a part of the fabric that makes them who they are. A journey that will last their lifetime. It is a part of them for good or bad.
Whether an adoptee’s adoption is a source of pain or joy, depends largely on how adoptive families and adoption professionals frame the environment. November is National Adoption Month. A month to raise awareness and celebrate adoption. So, what can we do to ensure adoption is something celebrated by all?
Let’s be Real.
Adoption isn’t easy. It’s not simple. It can be wonderful and joyful and hard. We need to own the reality that some facts about adoption are difficult. These hard issues are best unpacked, discussed and processed. We need to have open conversations about the losses suffered by adoptees and their biological families. About the intimidation and fear that is at the root of some adoptive parents’ reluctance to have contact with the biological family of their child. About the rejection, isolation and confusion adoptees can feel.
Change the Focus.
The most important person in an adoption should be the adoptee. We must make decisions and gather information like the child’s life depends on it. We need to learn from adoptees and open our hearts to their truth even if it is hard to hear at times. Angela Tucker is an adoptee who I first heard speak at an adoption conference when she came to talk about Closure, a documentary about her journey to find her birth family. Angela is a leading voice in adoption and sees the vital importance of placing the focus in adoptions on the adoptee. Her credo: “Strengthening the Adoption Community by Empowering Adoptees.” You can watch her interview young adoptees here www.theadoptedlife.com/, illustrating the needs and desires of adoptees and how early the issues of adoption impact a child.
Only thirty years ago most adoptions were closed. It was widely accepted until then, that closing the door of the child’s biological family was the best option.
We understand now how incorrect that belief was. We must continue to learn and change in our views and even language of adoption. We need to seek others’ perspectives and listen. We need to give grace to those who are just beginning the adoption journey and find ways to provide information in a safe space. Check out www.adoptwell.com for a refreshing outlook on adoption and some ideas that might challenge you.
Despite the complexity of adoption, I believe in it to my core. I believe adoption can respect and honor birth families. I believe the heartache of a birth mother can be healed. I believe adoptees can grow and thrive knowing their truth.
I believe in the power of love to make a family.
This article was originally published on Wichita Mom on Nov. 9, 2018.