Welcome to 30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days, hosted by Portrait of an Adoption. This series will feature guest posts by people with widely varying adoption experiences.
By Gloria Oren
What are the A B C’s of adoption?
For the purpose of this post, the A B C’s of adoption are acceptance, being there, and communication. For other purposes, they may be other things, depending on what the person wants them to be, but to me, these are the three most basic things in an adoptive household.
Acceptance is a two-way street. The adoptive parents must accept their adopted child unconditionally, with whatever baggage he or she brings along, and acknowledge his or her adoptive status. Accept that your child is not your flesh and blood, but is yours to nature and nurture.
Accept that your adoptee has a right to acknowledgment of the truth, no secrets to hide this. The adoptee, on the other hand, should feel comfortable in acknowledging his or her status as an adoptee, that you are his or her parent(s), and that he or she is appreciative of being given the opportunity of having a family to call his or her own.
In my book, as an adoptee, acceptance and appreciation say a lot more than simply being grateful.
B is for Being There, an important step the adoptive parent(s) must strive to achieve. The adoptee must know that they will be there if he or she requires comforting, needs someone to talk to, or needs help of some kind that they can provide.
The adoptee should also be told by them — if it is a known fact that the biological parents haven’t died — that their biological parent(s) loved him or her and would be waiting with open arms to accept him or her when the time comes, if at all.
The adoptee should be warned as well that should the biological parent(s) not act in such a manner, it isn’t his or her fault. Give it time. In many cases the issues resolve on their own. Sometimes though they don’t and it may be for their best.
C is for Communication, which helps all sides get through the tough times as well as the good ones. Communication between the adoptive parent(s) and the adoptee is of utmost importance. I missed out on this.
My parents used a foreign language to communicate between themselves so I wouldn’t understand. When I started picking up words here and there, letting on that I knew they were talking about me, they switched to yet another language.
Adoptees need the communication of parent to child. Give it to them. If parents want to discuss something the adoptee shouldn’t hear, wait until the child is asleep or the adult adoptee has left. There is no need to sneak discussions in a foreign language in their presence. It makes the adoptee feel strange, suspicious they’re talking about him, and could lead to lack of trust.
So help build a great relationship. Remember the three basics: acceptance, being there, and communication. You’ll never go wrong with this!
To see a sample of Gloria’s blog, here is an excerpt from her series 10 Things Adoptees Want You To Know:
We’ve now come to the last item on our list, number 10.
Don’t tell us we look adopted.
Heck, what is an adoptee supposed to look like?
Did Michael Reagan look adopted? How about Babe Ruth? Or George Carver Washington? Charlie Chaplin? I could go on and on. The list is huge. Did all these as a group have a special look that called out “I’m adopted”? Don’t think so.
So why do you think adoptees should look adopted, whatever that look might be? Until you can answer these questions, think before you speak. Adoptees will see you in a different light.
Has anyone ever said this to you? What was your response?
Gloria Oren, author and award winning editor, blogs at Family Links Matter and maintains a Web site at http://gloriaoren.com. Her recently released memoir Bonded at Birth: An Adoptee’s Search for Her Roots is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bonded-at-birth-gloria-oren/1124050017?ean=9780692722282) .
Are you looking for some awesome children’s chapter books? The BRAND NEW second book in the Jazzy’s Quest chapter book series for adoptees is HERE!!! Be sure to get your copy of Jazzy’s Quest: What Matters Most, the sequel to Jazzy’s Quest: Adopted and Amazing!
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