When I began sharing my story so publicly, I expected to be met with diverse responses. I assumed there would be a mix of support and questions; adoptees relating to my healing process, others inquiring about issues I have brought to light. But, I was not as well prepared for the opposite reactions. Reactions of disgust and reproach.
I have received numerous comments from strangers, friends and family that are laced with an idealistic view of adoption. Their remarks forcefully explain my experience as invalid, and they reiterate that adoption is purely beautiful and can only be full of joy and love. Their assumptions regard me as negative and ungrateful.
It appears as if some individuals can only view adoption as all good or all bad, that it can only be seen as a black and white issue.
This seems to be a very rigid way of thinking.
Adoption, to me, is more of a variety of color than black and white. Am I anti-adoption? No. Am I pro-adoption? No. I believe there are times in which adoption provides a place of safety, security and love for a child, while I also believe there are discrepancies within the multi billion dollar adoption industry that need to be challenged.
Every adoptee’s story is different. Some have had an experience they would describe as wonderful, speaking mainly of positive notions, while other adoptees have had a horrendous experience and the negative memories outweigh the rest.
Regardless of views and opinions, listening to adoptee stories with open minds and hearts is vital in hoping to change a broken system. Listening without a bias or judgement, allows adoptees to share what they have an expert level of experience in: adoption.
Instead of approaching an adoptees’ words through the lens of black and white, see them as a vast array of colors; a tapestry woven together of stories and experiences. Each hue is needed and necessary in creating a colorful pattern of knowledge, expertise and awareness. Without color, there is a refusal to challenge a current perspective and a lack of flexibility as it fades into a system of black and white thinking. Without color, adoptees are told their lives are invalid, their stories are untruthful, and their attitudes only display a sense of selfishness and anger.
Although the negative responses from others will continue, I have hope there will be more openness towards adoptees and their voices will be not only heard but upheld. Until then, I will keep sharing and keep elevating adoptee voices as we empower each other and strive to bring color into the black and white.