5 Ways to Support Adoptees During National Adoption Month

National Adoption Month is a great time to re-double your efforts to support your adopted children.

Rachel Garlinghouse November 07, 2015
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The adoption triad refers to parents (by adoption), birth parents, and adoptees.  In recent years, it’s been argued that adoptees are often ignored or silenced during conversations surrounding adoption. Because the triad isn’t a triad without all the parts, it’s imperative that parents who adopt listen to birth parents and adoptees because, after all, the parents’ children will grow up to be adult adoptees.

National Adoption Month is a great time to re-double your efforts to support your adopted children. Here are five ways parents can support adoptees:

1. Buy adoptee-written books. 

Some of my favorite adoptee books include Postcards from Cookie (Caroline Clark), Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey (co-authored by Madeleine Melcher), Taking Flight (Michaela DePrince), and In Their Own Voices:  Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories (co-authored by Rhonda Roorda).

2. Read adoptee-written blogs.

Some adoptees have explored their personal adoption journeys via their blogs.  I have especially learned from adoptees Carissa Woodwyk (One Voice Giving Voice), Christiana Romo (Diary of a Not So Angry Asian Adoptee), and Madeleine Melcher (Our Journey to You). Woodwyk has “therapist thoughts” offered to her Facebook followers that also worth reading!

3. Befriend adult and young adult adoptees.

Listen to their perspectives, learn from their experiences, and ask questions. Listen to their advice and consider their suggestions. There’s so much to gain from face-to-face conversations and authentic conversations.

4. Learn from other parents-by-adoption.

Parents who have children older than yours or children who have faced similar circumstances as yours can be an invaluable resource.  Getting the perspective of fellow parents can help you learn to better listen to your own children, respond to any challenges they may have, and answer their questions.

5. Listen to your child(ren).

As adoptee Madeleine Melcher shares, There are many adoptee perspectives, each unique to the person’s own experience with adoption. These perspectives can be insightful, but above all, it’s important for parents to be aware of their child’s needs, struggles, and joys, and focus on responding to those.

In what ways are you supporting adoptees during National Adoption Month?

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Rachel Garlinghouse

Rachel Garlinghouse is the author of "Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent's Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children," "Black Girls Can: An Empowering Story of Yesterdays and Todays," and "Encouragement for the Adoption Journey: 52 Devotions and a Journal" (co-authored with Madeleine Melcher). Rachel's adoption education and experience has appeared on MSNBC, NPR, Huffington Post Live, ABCNews.com, Babble, Scary Mommy, Portrait of Adoption, Slow Mama, I Am Not the Babysitter, and more. Rachel is a mom of three children, adopted domestically and transracially. Learn more about her family's adventures at White Sugar, Brown Sugar or on Twitter @whitebrownsugar.

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