There is great change occurring in the world of adoption and adoption policy. I mentioned some of them in my perfect storm discussion about Standards of Parents for Adoptive Parents. Margie Perscheid, my friend and also a wonderful person and talented writer, has a blog called Paradigm Shift, and has written an important post called Lead, Follow, Or Get Out Of The Way.
Like me, Margie is an adoptive parent; her children are from Korea. Like my children (who are from the US and Ethiopia), hers are now young adults. (Also, Margie and I both graduated from Georgetown University. Hoya Saxa.)
We both believe in adoption, and we are both troubled about adoption policy today. We both have seen a lot of changes and perhaps a bit of light over the years (decades) in which we raised our children. We are nice white ladies (I’m a grandma!) with really strong feelings about transparency and integrity in adoption practice, about race, about rights, about diversity, about marginalization, and about the rights of first parents. There are more of us than you might think lol. Revolutionaries with great manicures.
Here are some other adoptive moms writing for and about change in adoption. I can’t vouch for their manicures, but I can tell you they are insightful, discerning advocates for effective, respectful, transparent adoption practices.
Karen Benally’s site: Stories of Transnational Adoptees and Their American Parents. The site’s goal: promoting and facilitating dialogue between adoptees and their parents. Karen and her (adult Korean adopted) daughter, Lisa Charlie de Morais Teixeira, “are collecting survey data from a large sample and combining it with oral histories gathered from both adoptive parents and adult adoptees so that we can hear, compare, and combine those varying perspectives. Our goal is to open up a meaningful dialogue among and between adoptees and their adoptive parents on issues related to transnational adoption.”
Note: Along with many other adoptive parent-adult international adoptee pairs, my daughter Aselefech and I participated in this study. Karen interviewed me; Lisa interviewed Aselefech. The interviews took place separately. The questions covered race, identity, parenting, school, home and community life, and of course adoption. I don’t know how our answers will compare, but I feel certain that this study (to be published in a book) will be groundbreaking and hugely valuable.
Terra Trevor is mixed blood Western Band Cherokee, Delaware and Seneca, and is a contributing author of 10 Books. Her memoir, Pushing up the Sky, is widely anthologized with an excerpt included in Children of the Dragonfly: Native American Voices on Child Custody and Education. She explores themes of motherhood, race, culture, community, transracial adoption, raising a child with a life threatening illness, and the process of healing from the death of a child. She writes “from the perspective of a woman who has experienced a complicated motherhood, and straddles a complex ethnic and racial heritage.”
Cindy Rasicot’s site: Talking Heart to Heart. Cindy has a young adult son adopted from Paraguay. Her site is an online community that supports adoptive parents and adopted teens and young adults, particularly those involved with international adoption. It is intended to be a safe, grounded place for questions, listening, thoughtful discussions.
Adoptive parents hold most of the power in the adoption community. We can and should use that power in a new way today, to speak not *for* adoptees, but *along with* adoptees, and along with first parents, on issues like original birth certificates, access to medical histories, citizenship, the marginalization of birth/first parents, the realities of race, the need for improved post-adoption services for everyone, and more.