A chance conversation with my daughters’ mother yesterday had me thinking long and hard about the past eleven years that have defined my life, my identity and, influenced my creative work.
With so much focus on adoption this month surrounding NAAM (National Adoption Awareness Month), I have been a curious onlooker. Early in my life as an adoptive parent, I was eager to participate, acknowledge that adoption had changed my life. I was eager to inform and educate the world at large.
In the past few years, I have grown saner and, more reflective. I am no longer as eager to chime in each time I hear the word bandied about. I am more apt to listen than talk. Just in the past year, I have in the process of listening, come to unlearn what I thought was absolute.
I progressed from listening to other adoptive parents, then birth families (mostly birth mothers), adoptees who are vocal online and, now adoptees who are not online but are not reserved about their thoughts on who gets to define the adoption experience.
I think the biggest takeaway for me is not to prioritize any one set of voices over another. Each time I hear anyone in a triad share their story, their opinion and, their view on how or what adoption should be, I take it in, process it, and then apply filters on how my view of the world shapes how I process this information. Each account is just that, one story, one person’s lived experience. No two experiences are alike. No two families are the same.
If I parented from the place of fear, fear of damaging my already traumatized children, now I parent from a place of faith. I am hopeful that I am listening to my children, following their cues, and placing greater emphasis on how they are feeling over how I think they should be feeling.
If it feels like I am talking in circles, it is perhaps because the feelings in my head are a convoluted mess. It makes sense to me but articulating it is hard.