Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Sisterhood of Adopted Women

by Julie

"You know what the secret is? It's so simple.
We love one another. We're nice to one another.
Do you know how rare that is? --Carmen"

From The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

I recently had the privilege and honor of spending time out in the actual world with one of my fellow Lost Daughters. It was our first time meeting in person despite knowing each other online for many months. And we did something that normal women do all the time--lunch and shopping.

What struck me during our outing was how comfortable I felt in her presence. We discussed all kinds of things from motherhood to career to religion and yes, adoption. The connection and sense of camraderie was wonderful because for the first time in my life, I was able to exist in my entirety as an adopted woman.

The more we chatted, the more I realized how, for me, the typical conversations women have when getting to know each other often end up being tempered somewhat because I don't feel free to let my adopted woman out. It is sometimes difficult for me to make small talk about such seemingly inane topics like where I grew up or where my family lives because there is an underlying current to subjects such as these to which non-adopted women can't relate.

It was so freeing for this to not be the case because I was lunching and shopping with another adopted woman. We threw out terminology that mere mortals would not use. I was able to say things like "my n-dad said this" or "my a-mom did this" with relish because my companion spoke the same language. I didn't have to explain how adoption played into anything because she already knew. I didn't have to temper myself at all. Spending time with her was like letting out a huge sigh of relief after the airplane has landed safely on solid ground.

The experience got me thinking about us as adopted women and how our life experiences influence the way we maneuver through life and exist in the world. Throughout history, women have often been expected to be demure and obedient; understated and accepting. This has changed a lot over time, but not really for adopted women. Our adoptions have no doubt impacted how we relate to other women, how we might approach motherhood, and how we present ourselves within society-at-large. Yet we are still expected to be grateful, accepting and quiet when it comes to a huge part of who we are as women.

Time to shatter those expectations ladies. Together we are strong. We are a Sisterhood of Adopted Women. And we don't have to be quiet and demure.