I have so much to say. This is only part one of a series. This discussion is too much for one post.
I know full well I am laying myself on the chopping block for what I am about to say, but it needs to be said. It needs to be clarified. Because National Adoption Month is coming. Because rhetoric is important. Making space for all trauma is important because all trauma is valid. Knowing it is the adoption industry that wants to divide us is CRUCIAL for those of us fighting for our VERY LIVES. Understanding that change is only going to happen if we link arms together is key.
Adoptees. As we go into National Adoption Awareness Month, we need to remember that while we are the people most affected… most changed… most violated… most abused… most hurt… most traumatized… the most marginalized… the most oppressed.
We are not the experts on adoption.
An expert is defined as: a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area (dictionary.com).
We cannot be experts because we do not have comprehensive knowledge on adoption.
We are only one side.
We do not know the journey of being a birth mother, parent or family.
We do not know the journey of being an adoptive parent or foster parent.
We do not know that pain. We have not walked in those shoes.
Even those of us who may sit in more than one camp do not know the full scope of adoption. (Yes. There are women who have sat in all three camps.)
Adoptees. We have every right to have our anger.
We have every right to demand change.
We have every right to hold people accountable and call out their hurts against us.
We have every right to tell our stories without being tone policed and silenced.
But we are not allowed to be selfish and vindictive.
I get it.
We want our stories fixed.
Gosh dammit if I don’t wish every day my fairy godmother wouldn’t show up and fix my damn life and my broken brain and body.
But that’s not reality.
Demanding change but then shaming people who are actually trying and doing work isn’t helpful. It’s selfish.
We can’t be selfish. We can’t use our anger to lash out or hurt.
Just like we tell the other members of the triad to do… we too have to deal with our own trauma before it deals with us.
We can write. We can speak. We can educate. We can tell our stories. But if we want legitimate change to happen federally, we have to sit with the other members of the triad. We have to have relationships with them. When push comes to shove, are you, the adoptee, willing to sit in a circle… on a legislative creative team… in a court room… stand on the senate floor arm in arm with other members of the triad in order to get these changes actually made?
We have to come together and work together because one voice is powerful, but a three corded rope is not easily broken.
Stop saying you are the expert in adoption.
Say you are the most marginalized.
And listen to the experts in each part of the Triad. My son said to me last night when I was talking with my husband about another situation in my professional work, “My teacher taught us about listening. She said you have two ears and one mouth. You need to listen twice as much as you talk.”
Start listening too.
We too have lessons to learn.