Every single adoption from any age commences with extreme trauma as a child's blood bond, heritage and genealogy is severed.
Today at the APPG adoption and Permanence session 3 meeting we discuss the importance of early Permanence, why is it important?
But first I wish to share my own views on adoption and discussion online, as since covid so much analogy and discussion has been able to take place, so many forums which is great, but also led to an eruption of negative comment.
I've noticed many adoption discussions on social media begin either casually, void of empathy or without any mention to the sheer weight of pain that lies ahead for the child waiting to be adopted. Its often all about the smiles.
Adoption is at times like a commodity as society talks and talks and talks and talks about adoption issues more in social media, and the media as a whole. This adoption banter doesn't dissolve the complexity or increase understanding.
Adoption issues now permeate into our everyday lives as the discussion increase, mental health, suicide prevention, obesity, crime and homeless I could continue. Adoption, fostering and care is a common root in all these areas.
It is important that we do discuss adoption, we normalise it and as a society we engage with it. *even saying this already I've been critized by angry adoptees! What I mean is.. some of the stigma and shame I experienced as an adoptee should be addressed, I believe to help young people integrate their stories into society. I stress.. adoption is never normal, and never casual.
Adoption I believe.. needs more diverse conversations illustrating more adoptees stories.. we must increase the numbers of adoptive parents and fostering families, but it should never be about watching the numbers of potential parents soar. To me the structure of individual adoptee needs should always be tailor made.
It's great that there's so many adoptive parents now with blogs and podcasts sharing stories and 'gotcha' moments... Its powerful there's so many people now talking about adoption, but I think it's really important that we don't lose the voice of the adoptee in all of this analysis and sometimes bravado.
Children grow up to become adults not commodities. The biological loss that adoption brings isn't a fairytale story. The early adoption of children can bring about less damage of the pain of moving around a struggling foster care system, but the loss and damage that is the nature of adoption is never eradicated.
'The wonderful thing about Tiggers.. is that he is the only one'.... winne the pooh sung.
Being the 'only one' with your adoptee story can take a lifetime to come to terms with, understand, process and explain to others.
Even as an adult I can testify that well meaning good friends most recently a newish male pal, still often 'chats' about my adoption story casually and not even realising that sometimes, I don't always want to talk about it. I'm regularly introduced as 'meet Joy an adopted African woman from Nigeria' without any consent, even though I'm happy to talk about my story but I want to choose who and when I share my story. Being introduced to others as 'the different one, the adoptee' is always awkward as people struggle to comprehend my story..! Do I speak Yoruba? Why haven't I traced my biological parents? If not why not? People chat through my life like flicking through OK magazine. Sometimes it bothers me sometimes I just own it and move on. Again. Controversial whatever I do.
Sometimes parents and friends don't realise the awkward pain of their adoption chit chat, but that's adoption. Always a challenge whatever you say.. someone gets offended!
Being the 'only one' is often isolating and painful when your young. Families should never forget that behind the smiles can be coping mechanisms and trauma. But support and advice gives strength and hope.
Adoption is beautiful but it is as challenging as it is beautiful.
The adoptee story and engagement in society is important as we have the true keys to change narratives in society. Why? Because we live this experience not just write or read about it everyday of our lives. Adoption does not define me, but others assumptions and ignorance can if I let it. I am forever challenging others beliefs about me.
Adoption can be another label another stigma to overcome for adoptees. Like bring gay, or black or disabled.
But overcoming is the journey into wholeness. I'm looking forward to today's discussions, much work is needed from all of us. Everyone has a role to play to help raise young people who thrive in the adoption arena.