5 Times I Have Felt Silenced in Adoption | Adoptee Perspective

The voice of the adoptee is often drowned out in adoption conversations.

Tom Andriola July 20, 2016

We all have our identities, our causes. Regardless of what they are, there are those who continue to embrace the status quo. They don’t want to rock the boat. Often, they fail to understand the genesis of the cause. Or they simply don’t care to, labeling those who evoke passion and righteousness into their particular movement troublemakers or complainers.  Adoption is no different. Those of us who continue to fight for our rights to unlock the unjustifiable secrets that seal our identities continue to feel silenced in many ways.

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Our birth certificates are lies.
1. Our birth certificates are lies.

What is a birth certificate? According to the Google definition, it is “an official document issued to record a person's birth, including such identifying data as name, gender, date of birth, place of birth, and parentage.” What other official document contains key information that has been altered? I can’t think of any. Changing our given names, changing our biological parentage, and perhaps changing other vital information on our birth certificates is silencing, erasing our true identities from the document officially used to demonstrate our very existence.

The secret is more important than our health.
2. The secret is more important than our health.

Great advances have been made in science in recent years. With family health histories, doctors can help prevent diseases and other health issues that are passed on genetically. We as adoptees don’t get that luxury. For some reason, the secret of our true identities is more important than our health. How ridiculous and silencing is that?

We are not allowed to know who we are.
3. We are not allowed to know who we are.

We’ve all heard the saying, “To know where you’re going, you have to know where you came from,” or something very similar. I believe there’s a lot of truth to that. But, unfortunately, many of us as adoptees have no idea where we came from, and a good number of us never will. To be denied the knowledge of our biological histories is just not right. It’s silencing, and it’s certainly not without significant impact to the direction of our lives.

Biological parents' rights trump our rights.
4. Biological parents' rights trump our rights.

It makes sense for children to have fewer rights and privileges than adults because of where they are developmentally. But once they reach adulthood, all bets are off the table in that regard. Human beings have a right to know their roots, their biological histories, and should be entitled to their own personal, unaltered official documents. Just because a biological parent might be uncomfortable or embarrassed by the truth doesn’t mean that an individual’s human rights should be impacted by that discomfort. It is silencing and it is wrong.

We are told to be grateful for what we have.
5. We are told to be grateful for what we have.

I love this one. “You’re so lucky,” some tend to say to adoptees, or “you should be grateful for the wonderful family you were adopted into.” We as adoptees can make our own decisions about when we want to be grateful and when we feel lucky. Please don’t do that for us! It’s patronizing and silencing.

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Tom Andriola

Tom Andriola advocates for adoptee rights and shares his personal experiences about being adopted and his successful, independent search for both biological parents. To see more of his writing, visit Tom's Facebook page.


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