Saturday, November 1, 2014

#FliptheScript on #NationalAdoptionMonth

Candles! The flash of the bulb! Signage! My mother’s attention to details … she sat up all night cutting those construction paper letters. I loved my birthday as a child.

As I have grown up and realized how meaningless my actual birthdate is, November has become a curse for me. The uncertainty of my birthdate haunts me ALL. MONTH.

To know that the month of my birth (most likely November as the Korean government doctor assigned me a very unimaginative mid-November birthdate) is also National Adoption Month seems like a slap in the face.

Each year, I am confronted with these hashtags on Twitter #OrphanSunday, #AdoptionSunday, #NationalAdoptionMonth, #nationaladoptionweek,  and the list continues.

Living in our Christian home, I felt blessed to be loved as a child. Don’t we all want to be loved and celebrate that one day where we believe we burst into the world saying, “Check me out! I am ready to be loved!”? Most people can say, “I was born at [exact minute] on this day!”

I cannot.

As a child, I could only look at that date on my paperwork and think, “Hmm. Is that really my birthdate?”

My reality is that I have no birth certificate … no amended birth certificate … no birth registry. All I have are adoption papers and my US naturalization papers (at age 5). There’s no written proof of my birth. Sometimes this fact gets the better of me, and I will quip, “If it really IS my birthday.” This sounds bitter, but it is my reality.

This October leading to my “birth month” (as I like to call it), has been particularly awful this year. This page and its writers, my sisters, have fielded some very tough questions and allegations in the last few days. There has been shushing and adoptive parents trying to parent those of us who are now adults.

Remember last year and #NPRgate? We felt its affect on our voices.

I worry what this will do to the next generation of adoptees. My sisters and I want to give the next generation the ability to feel free to express their feelings without ridicule. We want them to feel as supported as we do here among other adoptees.

Our stories vary. Some of us are in reunion; some are not. Some of us are birth parents; some are adoptive parents. But all our stories are valid and celebrated by all members of our group. When I need support, I know I can turn to my sisters here.

Adoptee spaces and communities are special places, and yet, many of us want to see our voices emerge in the mainstream media where struggling adoptees can feel validated. Our founder, Amanda, said it best recently in this video clip, “I think we need to flip that script,” as she introduced a new adoptee-focused project, Dear Wonderful You. This anthology of letters from adult adoptees to tween and teen adoptees begins the dialogue where no adoptee should feel alone.

It is time for the #NationalAdoptionMonth tag to include ours. If you tweet, please consider tweeting the adoptee voice once a day, and tag it with #FliptheScript and #NationalAdoptionMonth. Let’s elevate the adoptee voice!

Feminist columnist, Rosita is a transracial, Korean-American adoptee. She is married to a Brit who refers to himself as an Anglo-American and is a mother to two multiracial children. Rosita was adopted in 1968 at the age of one through Holt International. Her road has been speckled with Puerto Rican and Appalachian relatives and her multiracial sister, the natural child of her adoptive parents. While quite content with her role as a “Tennerican,” her curiosity has grown recently as her children explore their own ethnic identities. She considers herself a lost daughter, not only because of the loss of her birth family, but also because of the loss of her adopted mother, who died in 2001 as she became a first time mother. Rosita has recently started her search for her natural family. With the help of G.O.A.’L., she visited Korea in August 2014. When she is not supporting her children on their individual paths, Rosita spends her time as an art educator, ceramicist and an art photographer. She also shares her adventures as an adoptee and parent on her blog, mothermade.