November is an important month to me. It’s the estimated month of my birth, which as many adoptees know can bring conflicting emotions. This year is particularly significant in that I will turn 50, a big milestone in any person’s life but has made me particularly reflective this past year as I head toward my AARP membership.
November is also the month my oldest child was born and again, as an adoptee, having my children – especially my first – and knowing she was the first person I had a genetic relationship with was so powerful. My oldest was due on my birthday that year, but came a couple of days early. Still, sharing our birthdays so close together, has always felt like such a gift to me. Having my children and being able to raise them has been a healing journey and I feel so fortunate to have had that opportunity.
Finally, November is National Adoption Month. For a history of National Adoption Month you can visit the official website hosted by the Child Welfare Information Gateway (here). As an adoptee, as a former adoption professional, and as an adoption scholar, this month involves a lot of work – formal and informal – as I weed through the many news stories I am sure will be featured on every news site and online publishing venues and blogs and social media outlets.
This annual campaign to promote adoption has traditionally focused on adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents. As Maureen at Light of Day Stories writes, it has only included adoptee voices – particularly adult adoptee voices – in the past few years through the intervention of adult adoptees who have challenged the dominant narratives of adoption and advocated for an expanded narrative that includes adoptees and birth/first parents.
Here at Harlow’s Monkey, I have been wanting to post more and so I am going to use this month as a starting point to update more regularly. I have several things I want to write about and share; memoirs by adoptees that I have recently read (including Nicole Chung’s All You Can Ever Know and Susan Devan Harness’ Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption); new films and media projects including Glenn and Julie Morey’s SideXSide Project; reviews of other adoption books, my thoughts on the recent ASAC/AI conference; and reflections on some of the current research I’ve been working on including adult Korean adoptees and parenting, the displacement experiences of Intercountry adoptees, adoption professionals training and preparation, and how adoption agencies can incorporate stronger supports regarding open adoptions between adoptive and birth/first families.
Thanks for joining me on this month’s journey. As always, my blog will be adoptee-centric and will privilege and highlight adoptees voices first and foremost. I think we will have lots to talk about.