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Monday, March 3, 2014

Motivational Mondays: Adoption: If You Can't Say Something Nice Keep Your Thoughts To Yourself

From Facebook

Thought for the Day: I'm not sure if today's post is motivational or simply educational, but yesterday I saw a series of photos on Huffington Post which really upset me. As a psychologist over the years I have worked with children, adults and parents struggling with the issues related to adoption. It is one of the most complex issues that takes parents and children a lifetime to resolve. At each milestone in an adoptee's life they struggle to understand why they were given up for adoption. It leads to questions of self doubt, feelings of abandonment, and concerns that they may be unloveable even when they are raised in wholesome loving families. As small children, they may not understand the meaning of adoption, even when they are told that they were special and that their adoptive parents chose them, they have questions as to why their biological parents would give them to their adoptive parents.
 They wonder why their biological parents did not make the effort to raise them. As adults, they may begin to understand that sometimes, giving up a child is a loving sacrifice. It is hard on any parent to accept the fact that others would be more able to give the child a better life.

There is a wonderful book, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge which addresses the complexities of adoption. Every birthday raises questions in the child's mind, like "Does my birth mother even remember that it is my birthday? Do my birthparents wonder how I am doing?" It often leads to birthdays not being joyful events, without anyone realizing that the child is thinking about their birth parents. Another typical awkward situation for adoptees is when new doctors take histories and ask about family history of various illnesses. Adoptees do not know whether diabetes or heart conditions run in their families of origin. How often do people who meet an adoptee say things like, "You must look like your father's side of the family," when they are with their mother or visa versa. It often happens, innocently, when strangers do not know that a child is adopted. These issues hold true for all adoptees, however, innocence is not the reason people make these comments with interracial adoptions.

When a child comes from another race, the fact that they are adopted is obvious to all who see them with their families. In these instances, another set of issues enter the picture. Ignorance and prejudice add insult to injury. No child deserves to have their right to grow up in a loving adoptive family questioned in such a hurtful way. If you do not know what to say, say nothing. In the article, 37 Ignorant Things These Sisters Commonly Hear About Adoption, images which Kim Kelley-Wagner created & shared on Facebook show the hurtful questions people ask her daughters who were adopted from China. 

Here is a link to the facebook page or view all the images on the Huffington Post article. Please share and help fight the ignorance about adoption:

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