November is National Adoption Awareness Month and Sunday, November 8 is referred to as Orphan Sunday and is the focus of services at many churches across the nation. Prior to our own journey through adoption, I probably would not have really even known about this month being NAAM or Orphan Sunday, as the churches I have been involved in over my life have not done anything to be part of this movement or to focus their services on the idea. Obviously, all of that has changed through our adoption of Eli. On my facebook page, I have chosen to post a link each day that focuses on some aspect of adoption. Thus far, the articles have been pretty short and non-controversial, at least in my own mind. The point of doing this is to hopefully inform people that are not intimately involved in adoption (through being part of the triad, working in the field, etc.) and to maybe open up a discussion. This has not yet occurred.
While we often hear about adoption through the voices of the adoptive parents (such as myself), it is important and vital that we also listen to the voices of the adoptees, especially those that are now adults that can help us, as adoptive parents, understand the perspective of our children. By reading material (books, blogs, etc.), viewing videos/movies/documentaries, listening to interviews, finding adult adoptees in the local community and developing relationships with them, we #flipthescript to privilege the adoptee rather than the adoptive parent. This is not to say that the perspective of the adoptive parent is not important or valuable; it is. But it is definitely a different view than the adopted child will have and in order to be a better parent, we must understand the child’s perspective. We must also understand that the child needs to develop their own story and voice. There are definitely things that we don’t share with most people as they are not privileged to know those details unless Eli decides to share those when he has the ability to choose to do so or not. What is most important for us is that we parent Eli well, both from a simple parenting standpoint, but also the added complexities of a transracial adoption.