Why I Focus on Adoptive Parents

Image Credit: LFSMusings

Why are all of my posts directed at adoptive parents?

My main goal is to support and advocate for the younger generation of adoptees. I’m not here to change your opinion on if you should adopt (though my posts will make you question the adoption system). There is a young generation of adoptees confused about their complex emotions and without outlets to explore.

I direct my posts to parents because I firmly believe support and safety need to begin within the home. The parents (in any family) are responsible for providing that safe environment. If the adoptive parent is not adopted themselves, how do they teach someone how to live life as an adopted person? If the adoptive parent is not a person of color, how do they teach a transracial adoptee/kid of color to how live life as a person of color?

They must use outside resources.

I don’t sit and write out facts and figures from academic journals… although parents need to be exploring those resources as well. I’m here to say, “This is what I experience and how I survive. If your child ever experiences something similar, you are already aware of it being a possibility. You are aware of at least one other person who has gone through it.”

We aren’t alone. Your adoptee doesn’t have to deal with it alone. You don’t have to try and support them alone. Just open your minds to adult adoptees. It’s much easier getting through the tough stuff when there are people laying a path of, “This is what has been tried and this was what was successful for us. Maybe start here.”

I don’t believe I can change everyone and how they interact with me. I can’t change if they will judge me or make assumptions about me. What I can change is my response to them and how I can prepare myself to deal with it in the future. And that’s what I want parents to learn. I want everything to be talked about so much that nothing comes as a surprise. Nothing is so offensive it’s unbelievable.

I know what you’re thinking…. “Lilly, your life is great. Your adoptive family is loving and supportive. You’re in graduate school in an awesome city. Why are you advocating?”

All true. There are adoptees who have experienced abuse and trauma by their adoptive families that I can only imagine. Well… society doesn’t listen to them either. In fact, I think society silences them even more than me because there are no positive, feel-good parts to latch onto.

Think about how an adoptee (me) with such a positive adoptive life can still experience these complexities and challenges rooted in a broken system. An adoptee acknowledges every part of themselves and realizes life isn’t just about suffering in silence because you have other things to be grateful for. When those complexities and challenges force you to leave behind a family and identity, you cannot just focus on the things that make up for it.

All of our stories are valid. All of them. And if you’re confused as to why so many of us seem angry and hostile, scroll back a few years to see just how long we’ve been fighting to be heard. Scroll around to see what happens when an adoptee tries to speak up about a personal experience in one of those adoption-is-the-greatest-blessing groups.

When I get angry, it’s not personal. I’m not calling out specific people. I’m calling out behavior that I see across the board. I call out the issues with a broken system, and I question how adoptive parents can turn a blind eye to key voices in that system.

To fix a system with flaws, we need to first talk about those flaws. If you don’t want your kid of color to experience racism, we must first acknowledge racism exists. If you don’t want your adoptee to be confused about their identity, we must celebrate who they are (pre-adoption). To fix a system that creates adoptees, we need to listen to adoptees.

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