Perception. Adoption is one of those institutions in which almost every person has a view point. Maybe it’s because they were adopted, or their grandparents were adopted. Maybe it’s because you’re an adoptive parent, or you want to be one. Maybe, just maybe, your view point has been shaped by movies, books or the latest celebrity adoption. Ask ten different people what they think about adoption, and you are guaranteed to hear ten different answers.
Recently we asked families, both birth parents and adoptive parents, to share statements and questions from others that have left them hurt or discouraged.
None of what we heard was anything we hadn’t heard before.
Yet hearing them still, in 2019,was disappointing. It feels as if no matter how much education is out there, no matter the example our birth parents and adoptive families set, attitudes toward adoption are sometimes holdovers from another era.
Our adoptive families have been called everything from baby snatchers to saviors. Our birth mothers have been called everything from callous and cold-hearted to brave saints. Our adoptees have been called everything from orphaned to lucky.
Just how accurate are these pictures?
The answer probably depends on many factors. What generation are you from? What media has fed into your viewpoint? How many people do you personally know involved in the adoption triad? What experiences have you had with unexpected pregnancies or pregnancy scares? What experiences have you had in raising children? Where has the road of life led you?
Just as every individual carries their own unique, fingerprints and genetic code into the world, those touched by adoption are unique individuals as well. To paint any group with a single brush is risking limiting the individuals involved to a stereotype.
So we urge you to have a little compassion. Show a little empathy. Remember that there are individuals behind the stories and the words.
How do you view adoption?