November is National Adoption Awareness Month. The Lost Daughters has provided writing prompts each day this month for adoptees. I’d like to respond to their prompt for today.
Talk about what National Adoption Month means to you as an adoptee. What is missing from the traditional narrative promoted during each November? Why is it important that adoptees’ experiences and opinions are heard during NAM? What does it mean to you to Flip The Script on National Adoption Month?
I’ve been around the adoption community for about 2 ½ years, so I was only exposed to National Adoption Month (NAM) once previous to the #FlipTheScript campaign. That year (2013), I was so deep in researching adoption issues for myself that I wasn’t really paying a ton of attention to NAM.
But I started paying attention last year and what I see presented in the mainstream media is a completely different story than what I’ve been hearing and speaking about for the last couple of years in the adoption community. For the most part, it seems that the larger understanding of adoption seems to be centered on the “saving” and the “obtaining” of adoptees and adoption as a way of “building a family.” That has nothing to do with what I focus on and talk about.
My passion is helping natural families remain together when possible. My desire is to bring adoptee rights and original birth certificate access for adoptees to the attention of more people, especially legislators. My goal is to raise awareness about ethical issues in adoption to everyone, not just within the adoption community.
In practical ways, all of these things mean that I’m constantly experiencing adoption. I’m involved with Saving Our Sisters. I write and speak to legislators in my own state and in other states when needed. I speak often about Rob Manzanares, Carri Stearns, Kimberly Rossler and other parents who are fighting for their children who have been targeted by unethical adoption tactics.
My experience is living adoptions issues daily and I’ve found that by connecting with other adoptees and hearing what they have to say, I’ve grown as a person and as an adoptee. My own experience of being involved in the #FlipTheScript campaign last year (2014) was a game changer. This was when I found (via #FlipTheScript) other adoptees from open adoption. It was a moment I had been waiting on for years. To find others that had experienced adoption in a similar way as me and to finally know that I wasn’t alone was amazing. Those are connections that I hold close to my heart to this day and those are the types of connections that are there waiting for other adoptees.
National Adoption Month should not simply be about saving an orphan or finding an option to deal with infertility as the media would like to focus on during November. What is missing is an accounting of all of these ethical issues in adoption and the personal experience of adoption that comes from the adoptee point of view. These are the things that the mainstream media hasn’t embraced (yet).
#FlipTheScript has stopped that Saving/Obtaining narrative in its tracks and has brought the focus back where it should be – To the adoptees who have lived this life of being adopted. We are the experts and we are here to say, forget what you think you know and start listening to us. You might just learn something about adoption.