It’s National Adoption Month! If you didn’t realize that, no worries. I didn’t know it either until a few days ago when I was catching up on posts from other adoption-related blogs I follow. After I engaged in a bit of self-shaming internal dialogue about my failure to recognize the significance of this month, I continued to read post after post from adoptees who sounded downright angry about this special recognition. The writers frequently referenced a hash-tag mantra (“FlipTheScript”) and I grew more curious about the vitriol that seemed to drip from each post.
That’s when I saw it – the official presidential proclamation about National Adoption Month. And, that’s when the frustration and anger I had been perceiving made perfect sense. The first paragraph reads:
Every year, adoptive parents welcome tens of thousands of children and teenagers into supportive and loving families. These mothers and fathers provide their sons and daughters with the security and stability of a safe environment and the opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve their full potential. During National Adoption Month, we honor those who have opened their hearts and their homes, and we recommit to supporting all children still in need of a place to call their own.
I guess I’ve always known that the adoption story most often focuses on the adoptive family. After all, they are the ones willing to step in and make a child part of their family. It’s a good story. And I was blessed to have one of those families, so I don’t want to appear ungrateful about what adoption does for kids.
But, there are some key people in the adoption “triad” missing from much of the story as it’s told traditionally. And I, like many of my fellow adoptee bloggers, believes it’s time to put more focus on those people. For every adoptive parent we applaud, we should consider the emotional turmoil experienced by many parents who choose to relinquish. For every story we tell of the blessing of children being placed with a family, we should consider that many of those children will still deal with feelings of loss and abandonment and may have a desire to know their natural family regardless of how amazing their adoptive family may be.
There’s so much more to the adoption story than a child being placed with a family. And I agree it’s time to “Flip the Script” and talk about the entire story and all of its characters.