Before I became a part of the adoption community, I had an interest in adoption. I loved to read blogs about adoption and sometimes I would even peruse adoptive parent profiles, just for fun. I remember reading a blog one time in which an adoptive mom remarked that now that she had adopted a Marshalese child, they had become a multicultural family.
I remember thinking that was the weirdest thing. My thought was, "No you're not. She's a baby. She'll just adapt to your family's culture." I truly didn't understand what she was even really meant by that. I could see saying that they were a multiracial family - but multicultural? That didn't make sense.
Along those lines, I always thought it was a little weird when adopted people looked for their birth parents. "You already have a family," I'd think to myself. "Why are you looking for more?"
Fast forward several years later, however, and now these two ideas have come into sharp focus in my mind. As I have listened to adoptees talk about their adoption experiences, I have come to realize that biological connections and cultural roots are much more powerful than I'd ever given them credit for. Now when I interact with people at family gatherings - and extended family gatherings - I realize what a comfort it is to be surrounded by people who look like me, who have similar quirks to me, who share the same grandparents and great-grandparents and great-great grandparents. There is something very powerful and grounding about knowing WHERE you came from and WHO you came from.
When a child is adopted into a family, they still carry their birth families in every cell of their bodies. This isn't to say that there isn't a power in the family that they were adopted into - the child will become a part of that family, integrated by love and shared experiences and the daily weaving of being together - but now I understand how important it is for adoptees to have access to and experiences with the biological roots that shape them just as powerfully.
This is why I love open adoption so much. Adoptees can have the love and stability with their adoptive parents, but also love, identity, and answers from their birth parents. The best of both worlds! Although it doesn't solve every problem, it certainly does help