I began this blog in earnest in March of 2006. As much as the newer social media platforms offer so much to the adoptee community, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic for those early days of blogging when I felt much deeper connections to other adoptees – maybe because there were fewer spaces for us to have these much-needed conversations. But with the greater access to each other we are also recognizing the deeply entrenched ways society has successfully continued to erase and minimize adoptee voices, so much so that when I follow adoptees on social media I see the same issues raised – adoptees talking about the dissonance of coming out of the fog, realizing there is an adoptee community they never knew existed, describing lifetimes of adoption microagressions and gaslighting, being raised in racial isolation, and the list could go on and on. When I think about how adoptees today have so much to sift through, I imagine the information overload on top of just their growing adoptee consciousness may be overwhelming.
I wish I could say that much has changed, that the world was more adoptee-centered. I feel pangs of frustration that so many adoptees continue to say the same things we were saying 16 years ago, and back then we were just saying the same things adoptees a generation before us were saying. I remember when I first met Dr. John Raible, one of the adoptees featured in the 1998 documentary film, Struggle for Identity. I’ve heard Dr. Raible talk about how frustrating it was to hear from transracial adoptees and realize nothing had really changed – that their parents were raising them in racial isolation, minimizing and erasing their racial identities, and passing on harmful beliefs and worldviews about people of color and narratives of white saviorism. Sometimes I can’t believe that we still need to tell adoptive parents that keeping their child’s adoption is harmful. Or, to know that we can’t get our U.S. lawmakers to uniformly allow adoptees to have their original birth certificates, protect intercountry adoptees from deportation, or even prohibit adoptees of color from being placed with racist white adoptive families.
To be sure, there has been progress, thanks to the efforts of so many adoptees and some others who have joined with us. Adoptees are creating so many powerful platforms for sharing our voices which is crucial since we know adoptees are blocked from traditional platforms by gatekeepers who benefit from the dominant narrative.
At the recent Adoption Initiative Conference, I was heartened to be in an adoption conference space that was so adoptee-centric. I was thrilled to be able to moderate a session challenging the often-misused platitude of “best interests of the child.” I moderated a session in which the Redwood Collective presented a call for the abolition of intercountry adoption. I presented at a session where adoptee mental health was the focus and in which all of the presenters raised the concern that adoptees are often scapegoated in their adoptive families.
I’m trying to think of how to make this blog and website a more useful resource to the adoptee community. You may see some changes here, as I tinker with the format or content, but a few things will not change. I am committed to centering the adoptee perspective here and will prioritize adoptees first and foremost. Second, I feel strongly that for too long adoptees have been closed off to important resources and information about their experiences. I will continue to post articles and presentations I’ve created or written because I believe knowledge is power.
If you’re new here, welcome! If you’re returning, welcome back. I’m glad to have you along for the journey.
[ I’m @jaearan on Twitter and @harlows_monkey on IG ]