Today’s prompt from Lost Daughters asks the question of speaking up about my adoption experience in a room (or online space) where what I have to say may not be welcome.
Not too many years ago I had no problem adding my adoptee narrative to a conversation because I had the attitude most people want to see from from an adopted person. I was grateful to be alive, happy to have parents who love me, thankful to my birthmom for the life she gave me, and for the most part oblivious to how being adopted has effected me. These responses bring questions but no pushback-there are no guards put up.
The way I feel about my adoption has changed in the last two years because I’ve finally let myself feel. The above things still fit to a point but now I’ve embraced the pain and difficulties as well. I’ve found an adoptee community who have felt similar things and suddenly I’m not alone. Now I tend to be fairly bold on social media about my journey. I am still very cautious about where I speak up. I’m sure my family and friends were quite surprised by some of the things they learned but no one said much. There are still things I won’t say to many and I don’t bother (unless a huge line has been crossed) to approach people in an adoption friendly place where my voice will quickly get crushed and invalidated.
In person I have stopped bringing up my adoptee status. Now I’d rather pretend I’m not adopted. Unless someone directly asks my opinion I’m probably keeping my mouth shut because most people are not ready for what I have to say- And I’m often not ready to hear what they may say. I hope to become braver in this area but it is all to fresh for me still.
The last moment I had where I opened up to strangers that I am adopted was so triggering it won’t be happening again anytime soon. With a small group of ladies discussing adoption and the wait and the cost I told them about myself. They went on to say as I stood there in shock, “I’m just so glad there are people out there who are willing to take in all those unwanted children.” I stood there realizing that without knowing it they had reduced my value. They didn’t know my whole story and they didn’t mean to harm- but they did. In reality I have never been unwanted- but plenty of times it has felt that way. These are the comments that keep us quiet-that flow into our subconscious as we grow-that shape our self-worth.
So for now I will let the adoption elephant stand in the corner of the room. I will pretend I have nothing to say. I will speak out when I am able. I will value myself.