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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Monday, December 22, 2014

What I Learned from #flipthescript

Every year, November is Adoption Awareness Month. It's purpose is to raise awareness of adoption. This year's National Adoption Month initiative emphasized the importance of sibling connections for the children and youth in foster care waiting for adoptive families.

Also this year, on social media a very powerful and important voice chimed in. It was a group of adult adoptees who banded together using the hashtag #flipthescript.

Today it is December 22, one month after National Adoption Day. November is over but these adoptees continue to promote their very unique perspective of adoption.

Too often, adoption stories are told only by the adopters and adoption agencies. #flipthescript allowed adult adoptees to have their side of story heard as well.

What did #flipthescript reinforce for me?

  • My guidance is important, but sometimes it is more important to just listen to my son and give him a space where he feels his voice is heard. The only way I can begin to understand how Buddy feels is to stop assuming and start listening.
  • My son's adoption isn't something to be celebrated. It was possible because he lost something very important, his first family. We love Buddy and he loves us, but he had a life before he met us. His adoption didn't wipe his memory of that, and we shouldn't expect it to.
  • Just because Buddy wishes he wasn't adopted doesn't mean he doesn't love Hubby and I. He can be both sad about losing his first family while still loving being a part of this family. It's complicated, but so is adoption. As his adoptive Mom it is my job to accept that complicated is ok.
  • My son's story is HIS story, I can help him find his voice but it is not my story to tell. Likewise, I can't imagine what my son feels, because I have never been in his place. Letting him think he has to hide his feelings wont make our relationship better.
  • Once people grow up, they are no longer children. Adult adoptee is a much more fitting term than adopted child. In the same token, even though my son is still a child, he is an adoptee. Of all the positive adoption language I was taught "adoptee" was never a part of it, unfortunately.
  • Adoptees have many different feelings about their adoptions. They should be allowed to express those feelings, especially to those who love them unconditionally, without guilt, shame or fear. Everyone has a right to their emotions. Just because it is hard to hear doesn't mean it isn't valid.

I know the purpose of flip the script was not to educate adoptive parents. But for those of us who chose to listen to the chorus of voices, there is no way to avoid learning. So I want to thank those adult adoptees who spoke up, and continue to speak up. I am a better Mom for it, regardless of your intent.

And you are paving a road for Buddy to follow and that means more to me than anything.

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