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Connected to Adoption

by Laura on September 27th, 2012

Is adoption everywhere these days?

It sure seems like it. The Jolie-Pitts are doing it, Katherine Heigl did it, heck, even the Queen of Pop adopted a baby.

Modern Family (love that show) has a gay couple who participated in a trans-racial adoption of a baby girl from Vietnam. Vampires in Twilight say they’re adopted to fit in with “regular” society.

Can’t forget the Fifty Shades series! EL James tragically glosses over the adoption experience, explaining away Christian’s emotional problems: He’s f*ed-up because he’s adopted. Nice.

Six of every ten Americans are connected to adoption

My baby and I, both of us are connected to adoption

And yet, more of us are connected to adoption than we realize. An Adoption Institute survey found that almost six of every ten Americans have had “personal experience” with adoption.

According to Adam Pertman, author of Adoption Nation

That means they, a family member, or a close friend were adopted, adopted a child, or placed a child for adoption. … More to the point, these figures don’t include the neighbors, the colleagues and friends, the teachers, the classmates, and all the other people whose lives intertwine with those of the extended family of adoption and, therefore, whose behavior and attitudes toward adoption can have a profound impact, positive or negative.

That’s a heck of a lot of people!

And guess what? In addition to being an (anxious) expat mommy, I’m adopted. So  … Congratulations! Just by knowing me, and by reading this blog, (drumroll please) bum ba da bum … You are connected to adoption. We are intertwined, joined, linked. We can share experiences and learn from one another.

One caveat: the survey included only Americans. My Serbian friends are always curious to hear my adoption story and reunion. It’s an uncommon concept for them.  If the mom can’t take care of the baby, the child is raised by other family members. They find it confusing that I would be “given away to strangers,” as one Serb friend commented.

Institutionalized adoption in Serbia is generally for orphans, and was more prevalent during the aftermath of WWII when Serbia was resisting the Nazis. Quite different from the closed adoption process that was popular in the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s. [Serbs, jump in here with insights, please. I'd love to learn more.]

Understanding Adoption

Today, things are changing and improving. Adoption agencies are encouraging open adoptions, and they want to learn from adult adoptees.

Counselor Brooke Randolph, LMHC reviewed Adopted Reality and interviewed me on MJH Adoptions. Their tagline is—Adoption: the Art of Family Building. Love that. Adoption as an art implies nuance and creativity.

She asked really great questions. My favorite one was, What would your childhood self have liked your (adoptive) parents to know? Click here to read the answer.

Adoption Activism through Writing

Land of a Gazillion Adoptees asked how I work for change in adoption. I’m still growing into my “adoption activist” role, learning how to talk about the troubling intersection of adoption and mental illness. While there are many ways to create a family, adopting a child has specific challenges that must be considered.

Speaking of family, my children are also connected to adoption. Read more at The Lost Daughter’s, where I wrote, My Adoptee Family Tree is Actually an Orchard.

In telling my story, I tried to do it honestly and openly. Monica Lee  said about Adopted Reality

It’s a universal story of our flawed humanness.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!


From → Adoption

  1. The way you describe your role – at the constantly learning new things – makes me feel like I'm by your side learning with you. Thanks for sharing in such an unpretentious, approachable way! I admit, I don't know too much about the adoption process and have never felt like I should pry into other mom's lives when they reveal their kids are adopted…
    BH mom recently posted..Don’t Embarrass Me or Else EtiquetteMy Profile
    BH mom recently posted..Don’t Embarrass Me or Else EtiquetteMy Profile

    • admin permalink

      Thanks for jumping in! Yes, it's one of those tricky subjects. … It's not like one could say, Congratulations you got someone else's baby! No, that doesn't seem socially acceptable. On the other hand, there are many ways to create a family, so just asking about that mom's experience can be a neutral way to continue the conversation (if you want to, that is!).

  2. John Hiner permalink

    There is nothing bad in this as you describe on this article. But to understand this is a big responsibility is really important. Before adopting any child you must be sure that you would love and care him for your own child which matters a lot.

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