These are just a few of the things that have been said to me over the years:
What is, “You look like your adopted mom / dad?”
What is, “I bet you are glad your mother wasn’t pregnant after Roe vs Wade!” (seriously, this was said to me….)
What is, “I know an adoptee and they would never search for the people who gave them away…it would hurt their parents”
What is, “You seem so angry.”
What is, “Did your birth mother just not want you?”
What is, “You are so blessed to have found a good home.”
I once saw this Bingo Card. I wish I could give credit to the creator as it is ingenious.
I could continue with this list, but I think if you have read this far, you get the idea. We adoptees hear a lot of weird comments and questions. Most of which, are none of the askser’s business. Though, I am at a place in my life and my healing that I will answer and then use the question as a teaching opportunity for the asker. So, if you are NOT adopted, please review my list and the Bingo card and use more supportive language.
Adoption is hard to explain to those who are not adopted. There are a lot of complexities, even in the adopted community.
Domestic adoptee – someone adopted within their own country.
International adoptee – someone adopted from abroad and brought to a new country
Trans Racial adoptee – someone adopted by a family with a different ethnicity or skin color
Post-Institutionalized adoptee – a child adopted from institutional, hospital, or orphanage settings.
As a domestic adoptee, I can not understand the complexities of other adoptees experiences completely. What I can do, is sit with them and be present, be their friend and support their process.
We adoptees have different stories, thoughts, experiences, levels of emotions, bodies, brains, organs, and they all react differently to stimuli, questions about adoption and even to each other as adoptees. One thing I think we have all experienced in our adoption, whether acknowledged or not, is LOSS.
We all had to lose something, someone, something to be adopted. To me, this one fact is the most bonding and divisive of feelings. It bonds us in a way that brings a knowing to our entire being as we look into the eyes of another adoptee. Loss divides us in ways that brings pain, hurt and ache so deep that we attack anything and anyone (including another adoptee) that does not fit into our adopted narrative.
Pain is Pain. We all know what it is like to hurt. To ache. To long. To hope. To be rejected. To feel lost. Even if these feelings are not related to adoption, all humans know hurt. My hope is that we all can acknowledge each other’s injury with an, “I see you. I won’t leave you. I can sit with the ache, yours and mine, and be present.”
Let’s all stop playing Bingo, and start playing the music of a love language for each other.