There is power in story. There is beauty in story. The children I know who come from hard places have incredible, inspiring stories that deserve to be heard.
The details of such individual experiences are important for us in the adoption world to hear, both the celebratory and the hurtful. Triumph through adversity sometimes takes a while. It takes time to find families for children. It takes time to complete the work required to provide permanency. It takes time for healing to take place. But it can and does happen, particularly when we are honest with one another about our experience.
As any adoptive parent or adopted person will tell you, an adoption doesn’t end when a child moves in with his or her new family. No, there is much more to come. Adoptees spend a lifetime finding their place in the world and in a family to whom they weren’t born, managing their grief and working out identity. I imagine there could be a family reading this post – perhaps your family – who may feel lost, and isolated, and as though no other family is experiencing pain like yours.
You would be wrong.
You are not alone. You have a tribe of people who are walking this same road and who understand. There are people who “get it” because they’ve walked a similar path to yours. We adoption professionals spend a great amount of time communicating about the joys of adoption, and those moments are abundant and spectacular. I often wonder if, by glossing over the pain and the loss and the fear and the resentment frequently felt by adoptees and adoptive parents, we may be failing to create opportunity for healing. I wonder if, by focusing on the positive, we minimize the authentic experience of those we love so dearly.
The job of any parent is rough and is fraught with mistakes and regret and frustration. Every child would justifiably argue that theirs is a parallel experience. When adoption is mixed in to such a social gumbo, there’s guaranteed to be some hurt feelings and resentment living alongside the comfortable. As we move into November, which is National Adoption Month, let us at WACAP lead an effort to create space for every story to be told. Let us make room for each experience and struggle. And let us seek to find forgiveness and understanding and reconciliation in that place.
To adoptive families, and adoptees, we celebrate you – every bit of you.
About WACAP’s CEO, Greg Eubanks: Greg joined WACAP as CEO in December 2014. Serving children and families has been the focus and passion of his 20-year career in nonprofit executive leadership and business administration. With an extensive background in international adoption and foster care, Greg is committed to bringing hope to the children living without a family … and helping them home.