I’m writing my memoir about adoption and recently I’ve been reading a number of adoption books. Last week I shared my review of Jennifer Lauck’s new book Found; I’ve also been reading Kasey Hamner’s Whose Child? and Zara Phillips Mother Me. Recently I also pulled out my old standbys: BJ Lifton’s Journey of the Adopted Self and Lost and Found, and Nancy Verrier’s The Primal Wound. All of these books speak to the common traits we, as adoptees, share. It’s comforting to me to know that many of the insecurities I’ve struggled with throughout my life stem from the wounding of being separated from our birth mother and denied access to our heritage and that I am not alone. That is part of the beauty of sharing our stories.
My goal in writing my story is to be a voice for those who have had no voice; I want to be part of the solution that ensures that today’s adoptive parents will understand the wounding their children have and will parent appropriately. Many adoptee blogs I’ve come across are angry places and, while I understand the anger, for me it would not be right to perpetuate ill will among the adoption community. In my case I was blessed with adoptive parents who loved me and gave me a relatively happy childhood. I am not, in any way, sorry for having grown up in the family I did.
That said, I cannot help but consider the woman I might be today had my experience been different and had the mantle of shame and secrecy not been put over me when I was born. Have I had to deal with anger in regard to my adopion? Certainly. But I choose to focus on the positive, instead.
Adoption is a joy! I know adoptive mothers who are incredible! They are open with their children and understand that they have wounding; they respect that wounding and take steps to help their children deal with it. Adoption educator Judy M. Miller is one such parent. In my conversations with Judy I’ve been vicariously blessed as I consider the understanding that her children are receiving. We need more parents like Judy who are willing to be open and understanding with their adopted children.
We also need more adoptees to speak out constructively about how the denial of their heritage, birth certificates, medical information, and birth mothers has impacted their life. Let’s form a community working together for the good of the children who are currently dealing with adoption issues, and for those who will be adopted in the future.
Adoption is a complex issue but I believe, as Maya Angelou does, that “When you know better you do better.” Maya also said “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
That’s the road I’m taking.