I am honored to be among the panelists: it is a wonderful group. The subject is a tough one, and it deserves visibility. We are all focused on suicide prevention, and on hope and strength for our community.
Please tune in!
Resources (U.S.): 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255; counselors will respond.
You can also text 24/7 to 741741; counselors will respond.
I have known and admired Sara Easterly for quite a while. She is a warm, smart, generous person. During National Adoption Awareness Month, I posted about her adoptee-centric writing groups, Adoptee Voices.
Sara’s essay “Is Pro-Life Evangelicalism Killing Adoptees?” was recently published in Red Letter Christians. The essay captures both the vulnerability and power of her writing, as a Christian, as an adoptee, as a daughter, and as a mother. I am sure the essay will be controversial in some circles, and welcomed in others. She speaks her truth with love, and that is hard to do.
Here are two excerpts:
“There is little room for us in Evangelical spaces. At church, we’re often pimped as poster children for “the beautiful story of adoption.” In the Supreme Court, we’re often used as pro-life pawns for overturning abortion policy. Within earshot or to our faces, many of us are constantly hearing our adoptive parents gush about how adoption is “God’s will.” We’re frequently expected to be grateful for being saved. This is a reality though adoption has been riddled with corruption and coercion for over a century and many of us were not exactly saved, but rather, moved as objects into families of privilege—my own adoption an example of such.“
“Because adoption is so widespread in the Church, nearly every Christian working within a Christian institution has a friend, sister, brother, aunt, or other close connection who is an adoptive parent. They’d rather remain gatekeepers from the truth than hurt their loved ones or upset advertisers.
It’s been a sacrifice play, where the loudest, most privileged voices win. But if it’s killing adoptees in the process—whether spiritually or literally in suicide rates—is anyone really winning in the end? Where is the pro-life perspective on that?“
Sara is a U.S., same race adoptee, placed with her adoptive family as an infant. She is, per her website, “an award-winning author of books and essays. Her memoir, Searching for Mom, won a Gold Medal in the Illumination Book Awards, was named a winner in the National Indie Excellence Awards, garnered a Silver Medal in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, and received an honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, among other honors.
Sara’s essays and articles have been published by Dear Adoption, Feminine Collective, Her View From Home, Godspace, Neufeld Institute, Psychology Today, Red Letter Christians, Severance Magazine, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), to name a few.”
Here is the whole essay. Thank you for your voice, Sara.
Last night (October 26, 2021), United Suicide Survivors International hosted a powerful webinar featuring four adult adoptees. Suicide is a tough subject, and the connection with adoption can seem surprising and troubling. I hope you will watch the video, and listen to the wisdom of Amanda Transue-Woolston, Kevin Barhydt, Jessenia Arias, and Lynelle Long. These four amazing people include authors, founders of adoptee-led and adoptee-focused organizations, and selfless contributors to improving the lives of adoptees.All have experienced suicidal ideation. As an adoptive parent, I am grateful to and in awe of them.
They do not seek attention or congratulations for their work. At the webinar, they shared their stories with grace, and they offered information, resources, and hope.
There were several important points. One that struck me was that, for many, 14 years of age was an especially pivotal time. For those of you who are raising teens, be aware that this age, with its hormones and developmental awakenings, may be particularly vulnerable. I am not a therapist, and of course you should consult with professionals as needed. I was though struck by this.
Another takeaway might be that while therapy can be valuable and vital to adoptees, if a child/teen is in therapy, the adoptive parents should be going too. Dropping off the teen at therapy is important: going to therapy yourself, as the parent, is also. I’d add that adoptive parents could also attend therapy even when their child is an adult.
I was heartened to see how many adopted adults attended, as well as adoptive parents and agency folks. The Chat was full of comments and questions. The whole webinar had a compelling energy, of both vulnerability and strength.
We skimmed only the surface in this hour, and there are many subjects we plan to dive into in the future. If you have ideas about topics, please feel free to share them here.
Take good care of yourself. Exercise self-care. Learn how to ask and talk about suicide, as one means of preventing suicide. I’ll be posting more resources soon. Help and information are available here and here, as starting points.
Be sure to follow the work of United Suicide Survivors International. They are the first suicide prevention platform I am aware of that has presented a webinar connected with adoption, and I appreciate that very much. Stay tuned for more.