For those of us who have been at this for awhile, it’s not surprising anymore when people argue. It’s one thing being silenced by strangers, but something else entirely when it’s our friends or family members.
What happens when, in our efforts to educate, we end up hurting those we love? How do we balance truth and sensitivity? I don’t think it’s possible. I avoid my personal story. I rarely speak about my firstborn. I don’t talk about my adoptive or biological families. I speak on ethics and corruption and trafficking and equal/human rights and entitlement and re homing and trauma and class warfare and coercion and saviorism and all the parts people don’t like to hear. Inevitably, someone is wounded. How does one pursue activism if they can’t discuss the issues they are trying to change?
Silence is complicity.
Adoption is woven into the fibers of church culture, to speak against it is nearly blasphemy. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time searching scripture for a verse compelling enough to indoctrinate an entire subculture, a movement which promotes from their pulpits, proclaiming adoption as redemptive. (I’m now certain- the heart of Christ is broken each time a family is separated.) I grew up in an evangelical community and the gospel of adoption was infallible. I knew there would be resistance to my criticism, particularly when their arguments are armed in the will of God.
In the beginning, about 4 years ago, I held the naive belief that my lived experience and knowledge of adoption would eventually change the minds of everyone I personally knew. My voice carries truth, but not a lot of weight. For every example presented, there are 20 adoptive parents speaking on behalf of their “perfectly fine” adopted kids. This remains the dominant discourse, and until this changes, our collective voices will only scratch the shiny surface of adoption.
My transition was violent; ripped from the insulated place where most societal adoption perceptions exist, to a world with a little less peace, more responsibility, and a lifetime of explanations. Because, when you understand that all of it was avoidable, it would be irresponsible to remain silent.
Silence isn’t an option.
Photo cred: Anne Heffron