Pre-Adoption Classes: Day 1

Whew. We just spent eight hours learning about adoption. I think it’s fair to say I have no idea what I’m talking about. There are so many potential issues and so many potential things to consider. Certainly nothing to dissuade us from adopting, but it is an awful lot to think about.

I think one of the most helpful things today was a quote from the perspective of someone who was adopted. They were talking about the loss of their culture and their race that they experienced by being adopted. They said they weren’t “grateful” to be adopted–it wasn’t a situation they were thrilled to have gone through. But that was a statement about being adopted and had no impact on their love or connection with their adopted parents. I just found it helpful to consider the child’s perspective. It’s not about ‘saving’ a child.

And that’s another helpful issue–the language. What does it do to your identity to hear that your real mother gave you up for adoption? There’s a sentiment there that she gave up on you and that your adoptive parents aren’t your real parents.

There’s a lot more to think about and process, but those are just a couple things that came to mind today.

3 thoughts on “Pre-Adoption Classes: Day 1”

  1. Eh, the language of adoption. It is still somewhat puzzling to me, not being adopted myself, the sense of rejection felt by many who are. Instead of seeing themselves as chosen, they feel abandoned. Instead of feeling rescued, they feel disenfranchised. I have often wondered if it would make a difference in outlook if someone was told their parents had died instead of being told that their parents ‘gave them up’. I can’t even begin to get my mind around the whole thing.

    I can see what you mean, this all is very difficult to talk about without opening yourself up to gross and wild misinterpretation. May our ignorance and shortage of eloquence be quickly forgiven.

  2. In some ways the language is kind of the politically correct thing–but at the same time we’re talking about a child here. This isn’t to say every adopted child is going to feel that way, but they very well might.

    And ‘rescued’ isn’t necessarily the best lingo either. ‘Rescued’ from what? It implies a lot of negative things about the birth family, which can cause negative feelings in the child (nevermind the issues if you have close contact with the birth family, which is likely in a domestic adoption). The child never had a choice in that ‘rescue,’ so it may not feel like much of a rescue.

    The one that really gets me is calling your child out as adopted (or someone else doing it for you): “This is their daughter Lexi and their adopted son Joe.” Geez, could you single out Joe any more? You wouldn’t say, “This is their ‘oops baby’ Frank and their adopted daughter Jill.” When the kid already has identity issues making them feel separate from their siblings doesn’t help. It also undermines the fact that once we adopt them, they are our child. There’s no distinction between Lexi and the new kid–they’re both our ‘real’ kids, they’re both ‘our own’ kids, they’re both our ‘natural’ kids. One is biological and one is adopted, but they are both full and complete and necessary members of our family. To treat them in any other way would be insulting, like calling someone illegitimate.

    Yeah, so there’s a lot to be aware of. And a lot to get wrong and be misinterpreted and misunderstood. Which is how I feel every time I sit down to write about it. ;-)

  3. This is really interesting, Kevin. I’m glad you guys were able to attend such an insightful class. I have so many friends that I have adopted, which I think is awesome and amazing. We do have a propensity towards thinking the kid will be ever-so-thrilled that we helped them out, so this is a really good insight into how the child will feel as they grow up. I will enjoy reading about how you guys go through this process and will be praying for you!

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