The more I learn about adoption, the more I see trends of oppression. The voices of adoptive parents — like myself — are the voices most often heard, uplifted, and shared while the voices of the adoptees and biological/birth families are often silenced, manipulated, abused, or changed.
If I do anything in this life, I hope I love well. I believe to my core that loving well is to lift up and amplify the voices of the oppressed. As an adoptive and foster parent, one of my biggest goals is to raise children confident enough to share their voice.
In my experience, if someone is saying something that makes other people squirm uncomfortably, it is something I need to listen to intently. Usually, when other people are defensive or uncomfortable when hearing about another’s experience or journey, it is convicting and confronting something inside of them. That discomfort is worth giving voice to, worth listening to, and then worth silencing enough so you can hear the heart of the hurting person.
Here are twenty quotes from adoptees about being adopted that every adoptive parent should read, sit in, and listen to:
1. “Finding my birth family was the single most important moment of my entire life, it was (as) if I’d been holding my breath my entire life and for the first time I could let it out. My ability to be a healthy adult depended on the chance to sit in a room with people who look like me and to feel truly known for the first time in my entire life.”
2. “We are not all the same.”
3. “Some share the same blood that pumps through one’s veins, but that does not make them family. It is the union of self-sacrificial love, willing to die for one another. That is the definition of true family.”
4. “I learned that I didn’t fit in no matter where I was. I learned that being mixed meant I wasn’t white enough to fit with white people or black enough to fit with black people. Being a foster child meant no one actually wanted me, even my family who said they “loved me.” Being an abandoned child created a long-term effect of needing to win approval from others, by any means, so that I didn’t feel like such a heavy and unwanted burden.”
—Christina Causey (source)
5. “Don’t tell us we’re lucky, tell us it’s okay that we’re sad, tell us that missing people we don’t know is okay and that loving two moms is safe to say out loud. Tell us that home can be a place we start and a place we end up.“
6. “My love for my birth parents in no way takes away love from my parents. It’s not a pie.”
7. “There is so much loss wrapped up in adoption that it is unfair to ask a child to be thankful.”
8. “Who we are and who we come from matter, raising a healthy adoptee is possible but you must be willing to embrace the entirety of their story, even the parts that challenge your deepest insecurities.”
9. “If I do not teach my sons to celebrate and rejoice who they are — strong. smart. handsome. important. black. — they will be at even greater risk of believing the many lies that say it is just too hard to stand up or stand out. They may fall victim to the narrative that tries to imply that they are somehow less than.”
—Christina Causey, adoptee and adoptive mom (interview)
10. “No matter what you may think, your adopted child will love you more for telling them from the start.”
11. “Don’t try to silence me or my thoughts on being adopted. I have a voice and everything I say is truth and valid. I been through it, therefore, I know. This is my story.”
—I Am Adopted
12. “We might not share DNA, but we do share soul.”
13. “Even if they show interest in meeting their birth parents as they grow up, you will always be mom and dad.”
14. “Being adopted is such a solitary experience, there is nothing more isolating than growing up surrounded by strangers who are uncomfortable by the parts of your story that make you who you are.”
15. “Imagine being the only person in the world that you knew you were related to.”
16. “Support them looking for their birth parents even if it hurts. That shows more love than anything you could do for them.”
17. “I wish people understood a little bit more about what it meant to be adopted, what it means to be adopted.”
— Ben (source)
18. “I was adopted. I wasn’t chosen. I was abandoned. At times I feel angry. At times I feel sad. At times I feel blessed. At times I feel thankful. I am adopted. And it’s complicated.”
19. “Will this feeling of being unwanted ever diminish? Is it possible for the positives in my life to outweigh the sadness that I feel?”
—Confessions of An Adoptee
20. “Being adopted is like having blank pages in the first chapter of your book of life.”
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