Each year as National Adoption Awareness Month (NAAM) rolls around, my feed is filled with opinions, thoughts and notes from people connected to adoption in many different ways. In the past I have been vocal about sharing our experiences. Over time, I have grown (hopefully wiser) and have paused to reflect and emphasize the AWARENESS part of NAAM.
I am not a proponent for adoption. At one point, I have had the words “open adoption proponent” as part of my social media bio. As each year passes, I realize I know little to nothing about anything, leave alone adoption. What I do know and in great depth is what it is like to be a women faced with infertility. I know well what it is like to feel desperate and what paths that desperation leads us to. I know well enough how murky the adoptive parent side of adoption industry is. I know well enough what it is like to raise children who are not connected to me by DNA. I can talk a lot about my experience as a parent.
All this then means that there are things I should not be the voice for – like what it is like for my children to be raised by me. That is their story, their experience. I have no idea what it is like to walk in shoes other than mine like those of my childrens’ birth families. I have no clue what it is like to be in reunion other than as the mother who watches her children ache and hurt. I cannot say with authority what it is like to be in a closed adoption, a semi open adoption or a fully open adoption because I am not the adoptee. It is not my experience. I can, however talk about what it is like to be be the onlooker, the facilitator of contact and the emotions and complexities that come with being an adult who is responsible for some of it.
I can talk with some authority on how it is like to be part of a family that is multicultural, multiracial and complex. I can talk about how the current climate politically and culturally affect our daily lives. Some of these are tangentially linked to adoption. I can call out stories and news articles that do not speak for my experience. I can comment on views and opinions that give me pause in good and bad ways.
This November, that is what I will be doing. I will be talking about the things I have lived experience of. I will be amplifying the thoughts of those who speak from experience. I will not be sharing or amplifying anything that shows adoption as unidimentional.
As always, I would love to engage with those of you who understand this is about awareness of something that affects a good many of our families.