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On June 1, 2018 Rebekah Henson published an important thread on Twitter critiquing the hashtags #FamiliesBelongTogether and #Ke...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Narrative Demands of Guests in Adoptee-Centric Spaces

Recently, Adoption Today inquired on their Facebook page, "This question is for adoptees only: What do you wish your adoptive parents would have learned about adoption before they adopted you?" Unsurprisingly, at least to me, fewer than 20 adoptees responded within a space that has nearly 4,000 possible participants. The question itself is seemingly benign--that is unless we consider it problematic that mainstream media typically only asks such questions to support parents or professionals, not to support adoptees. But, don't look at the question; look at what's around it.

On the same page, the content surrounding the question consists of ads for professionals serving adoptive families and questions seeking advice for and from parents who are adopting or have adopted children. Notably, these questions did not need to be prefaced with "This question is for adoptive parents..." because it's a given in that space--an ambient sensation that goes without saying--whom the questions and content are intended for. 

Of course, that's not to say that Adoption Today is unique in synonymizing "adoption" predominantly with "adoptive parenting." If it was, I would not be writing this. No singular comment or space prompted this long-time-coming post; this is how it is and this is what I think guests in all spaces that have specifically chosen to be adoptee-centric need to know.

Discrediting adoptees like Betty Jean Lifton and Florence Fisher in your classic most adoptees do not feel the way that they do maneuver, a 1970's Child Welfare League of America changed their tune, "social welfare agencies have an obligation to listen to the messages that adoptees are sending...," they said. Unfortunately, change has been slow in including adoptees in adoption spaces. Thus we continue to both highlight our exclusion and carve out our own adoptee-centric spaces. 

My colleagues, my sisters, and I carved out Lost Daughters; we are one among many. We are one among not enough.