Let's Blow This Place Up
My biggest fear in starting this blog was making all sides angry.
I’m generally a person who likes to be liked.
I’m afraid that birth parents and adult adoptees will want to face stomp me for running my already privileged voice. Do we really need to hear from one more white adoptive mother? And I’m afraid the pro-adoption adoptive parents will hurl rainbows and unicorns at me until I bleed red—orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink.
A therapist I know ran a youth crises center for 20 years. She’s always encouraging me not to be afraid to do or say the hard stuff—not to fear conflict. She would tell her staff to do what needed to be done even if it upset others: “Let’s blow this place up.”
So to birth parents and adoptees, I know you are the least heard and have the least power in the triad. I know I did not experience the trauma of being ripped from my birth family as an infant or child. Likewise, I did not have my infant or young child taken from me. I came to adoption as an adult and by choice, and I know that’s a big difference. But I would like to work with you to change the broken systems. If you know of an organization or group working to change things, let me know. If you want to guest blog here, I welcome it. And I will try to highlight steps in the right direction, like Utah becoming one of the first few states in the nation to formally begin implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act in 2019. (At least things like treating parents for addiction issues and providing other supports while their children stay with them sounds like a step in the right direction to me.)
I’m a member of many Facebook groups that amplify the voices of adoptees and birth parents. I have learned a lot from these groups. I have also seen a lot of blame and anger placed on adoptive parents. I get that adoptive parents are part of a flawed system. But they likely won’t realize that until educated given the adoption narrative in our country.
In the case of foster care adoption, some of us didn’t adopt until long after parental rights were terminated and never even met the birth parents until we reached out for contact.
Most kids in foster care have Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) off the charts, and many adoptive parents did not receive the training or support needed and find themselves in way over their heads. Again, I want to work together to change the systems that put us all in these positions. I think adoptive parents need to be part of the solution to change our flawed adoption system in this country.
To the adoptive parents who think adoption is a huge blessing and all unicorns and rainbows, know that even if you don’t see it—and even if your kids were adopted at birth—they are dealing with loss and trauma on some level. Two books written by adoptees adopted at birth that helped me understand this are All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung and Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge. For other books written by adoptees and former foster youth, see my previous blog.
I hope my blog doesn’t create a war of words but instead a constructive dialogue. Either way, I will try and listen and learn. Thanks for reading.
Image credit: "Rainbow and Unicorns" by alwright1 is licensed with CC BY 2.0.