Here's why this will be my final post for National Adoption Month unless my daughter chooses otherwise.
Ten years ago in November 2010, I excitedly opened my laptop and began pecking away on a post that would announce big news: We were adopting! In a world that was saturated with creative pregnancy announcements and surprise ultrasound photos, a blog post was what we had to share our news. It was one of the most exciting posts I'd ever penned. I had no idea that two months later, we'd be proud parents. It was quite the whirlwind!
10 years of national adoption month
For 10 years, I've celebrated National Adoption Month in some way. When our daughter Mae was younger, I'd post pictures and stories, and I even interviewed her as a 6-year-old adoptee (and her birth mom!) a few years ago. Last year, our friend Nikki, an adoption social worker, did a Facebook Live with me to answer the most common questions on many adoptive families' minds. My friends also let me post their photos and stories on my Facebook page.
Every November, I've posted about adoption to give hope to families considering it and to encourage fellow cancer survivors turning to adoption to build their families. I'm a big adoption fan, and will continue to be.
Last year I participated in an Instagram photo challenge under the hashtag #kneetoknee, which is an organization led by a birth mom who is one of many vocal leaders in the online adoption community. I enjoyed using the daily photo prompts as a way of reflection. I also learned a lot of new things from others in the adoption community.
Hearing from all sides of the adoption triad was my biggest takeaway. I wasn't too familiar with this term, but it made a lot of sense. In every adoption, a triad is involved:
- the adoptee
- the birth mom
- the adoptive parents
Adoption advocates urge everyone on this triad to recognize that each "corner" gets a voice. This triad is critically important and I hope it's making its way into all adoption education. Last year was the first time I'd heard adoption stories from birth moms and adult adoptees. It was eye opening.
Adoptees Get A Voice
Learning about the adoption triad was educational, and I wanted to apply its message to our family. I realized that when our daughter was younger, my openness about our adoption as an adoptive mom was my choice. But, as she is getting older, she's getting more opportunities to make her own choices. This year, that means deciding what we share about our adoption story.
So the other day I asked her, "Do you want to post or say anything for National Adoption Month?" She simply responded, "No."
It hit me: take her cue. It's time for her to lead out on what we share.
Her Choice to Share
Several adult adoptees have posted that they can feel overlooked, and even drowned out, by adoptive parents' stories during National Adoption Month. In the media, adoptive moms are often the subject of the story. If not them, it's the birth mom. I didn't see this until they pointed it out, and now it's really obvious. Adoptee voices are often missing in the conversations about adoption.
In light of learning this, mixed with my tween daughter starting to find her own voice and opinions, I've decided to pass the baton to her when it comes to what we share during National Adoption Month. When she was a baby, toddler and young kid, I told our stories. I even told the story of how she was adopted in Blush, my memoir.
But now, it's up to her. If she wants to talk about our life as an adoptive family, great. And if not, that's OK too.
This year, this post is all we're going to offer.
Find Adoption Community
I urge anyone coming to my blog to read our adoption story and learn about adoption after cancer to jump into adoption communities and search for education that prioritizes everyone along the adoption triad. Seek out adoption advocates—there's a lot out there–and create space to listen to birth moms and adult adoptees in addition to adoptive parents.
We all have some important, powerful adoption stories to tell.