Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Thoughts about adoption by an adoptee

This is a very different kind of post than I usually do. Recently, I asked an adoptive mom what she would like to know about adoption from the view of an adoptee. There were three main topics that she asked me about. Belonging in a family, embracing the birth culture, and information about the past are the broad topics that I will discuss today. I am not claiming to be an expert but I think it is important to hear from the adoptee’s view. My opinions do not represent all adoptees but I hope that my opinions can help adoptive parents.

Belonging in a family.

     This is a very important aspect to consider in adoptive family. Sometimes it can be hard for an adoptive child to feel a part of a family. Some children will have these feelings at various ages. It will depend on the child and their circumstances. My parents always told me that they loved me like their birth children. They don’t always point out that I am adopted daughter. They call me their daughter.  This is important to note. I believe this can help a child feel a part of their family. This can give a child a sense of being like the other children.

    My parents have told me how much work they went through to adopt me. This shows me that they loved me. Any adoptive parent will say how much work it was to adopt. Tons of paperwork, background checks, travel expense, fundraising, and etc. I can guarantee that those parents will say that is was worth it. I believe it takes as much work to adopt children as it does to have birth children.

     Gotcha day is a great thing to celebrate. It can show a child that their family is happy to have them in the family. Some children may not want to celebrate.  When the child is older, ask them if they want to celebrate it. When the child is young, I believe parents should celebrate gotcha day. There are different ways to celebrate gotcha day.  Parents could go all out to celebrate or do something small. Find something that works for your family.

Embracing the birth culture

     I believe that celebrating the child’s birth culture is very important. It gives a child a connection to their past they may not remember (depends on the age of the adoptive child). I do not think it is necessary to celebrate or do every activity from the birth culture but I think that parents should try to do some things from the culture. Cooking the food, celebrating the holidays, learning the language, and learning facts about the birth country are ways to embrace the birth culture/country. Depending on where you live, there may be culture events geared towards the child’s birth country. There also may be other adoptive families with children from the same country. The internet is a great place to find information about the birth culture. Youtube is also a great tool to find information about the birth culture. As the child gets older, they may not want to embrace their birth culture. It depends on the child if they want to keep learning about their birth culture as they get older. Do not force it upon then when the child is older. Let them decide.


Information about the past.

When a child is young, it can be hard to bring up the topic of the past. Every child has a different story. Some stories can be very sad and some stories can be very happy. I think it is best to tell the child information in an age appropriate way. Let’s say that your child is 2. Explain their situation in a simple way. As the child gets older, you can explain the details more. I would say teenage years is a good time to explain the details of their past. The child is older and comprehends more. Recently, I found information about my own past. The maturity level varies with children so it is the parent’s job to tell information in the best way. The thing to remember is to be honest with your child

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