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Adoption and Child Separation at the Border

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

Friday, November 14, 2014

ROUND TABLE: What are the Rules of an Adoptee-Centric Space? (part two)

In a world where some of the most common objections to any adoptee sharing any experience include "what would your parents think?" "did you have an unhappy childhood?" "don't you know she couldn't raise you?" the adoption discourse is framed with adoptees at the bottom of an upside-down triangle. At the bottom, the adoptee supports the weight of the complex experiences of two families, holding the families above them with both arms. Rather than a shared distribution of weight, adoptees are seen as entirely responsible for supporting the rest of their "triad." 

I will never forget hearing this concept for the first time at a support group. Yes, I thought. Is this why I feel like I carry so much weight when I talk about adoption?

The triangle is problematic too for its visual representation that all sides are equal in power; which, as explained at Harlow's Monkey in Shifting and Changing Structures, isn't true. JaeRan Kim went on to say that a triangle also evokes imagery of a closed family system, which adoption isn't either.

Today's adopted youth adapt their family trees into neighborhoods with houses, groves of trees, interconnected circles, or trees with many rings. In a post here, Laura Dennis wrote her family tree is an orchard. I see adoptee-centric spaces pushing back that idea of a triangle. Instead, imagine if our trees surrounded us like a grove. Defending us while providing us a platform to be seen, allowing us space to move freely in-between trunks.