My Adoption Wishes for 2016

These are the changes I'd love to see in the world.

Jennifer Galan December 26, 2015

As 2015 comes to a close I can’t wave a wand and put all the babies in the right and perfect arms, but I do have a few adoption-related wishes for 2016.

First, I want fewer headlines about guns and more about foster adoption.
1. First, I want fewer headlines about guns and more about foster adoption.

Can we all just agree that Sandra Bullock is amazing and we love her to pieces? When she pulled that secret foster adoption out of the ether this year, my Grinch heart grew three sizes. I know that we all have to find our children, wherever they may be, but let’s make 2016 the year we at least LOOK and see if our forever families are waiting for us in domestic foster care.

Also, everyone should get to know a birth parent.
2. Also, everyone should get to know a birth parent.

Want to feel utterly hopeless? Go talk to someone outside of the adoption triad about birth parents—I bet that you will hear some disheartening (and totally inaccurate) stereotypes and “Lifetime” movie stories.

In 2016, let’s bash those false perceptions and use our privileges as adoption advocates to humanize and love on all of the birth parents out there. Join a group, listen to stories, and love, love, love. And if you are lucky enough to have access to a birth parent in your immediate family, include them more often in your days. Even a little thing like a text with a picture of the child they placed can make a huge difference.

(Above is a picture of me and my daughter with one of our favorite birth parents!)

Along the same lines, I want 2016 to be the year that open adoption becomes the norm.
3. Along the same lines, I want 2016 to be the year that open adoption becomes the norm.

So many of us have open adoptions, they are recommended as the most helpful and healthful for all members of the triad—so why are they such a shock and surprise to those outside of the adoption community?

In 2016, let’s talk about open adoption. Let’s brag about our open adoptions. Let’s encourage all of those around us to honor adoption commitments and contracts. Open adoptions are not just a baby-stealing movie of the week waiting to happen—they are healing for our children and their birth parents.

And while we are changing perceptions, let’s change language.
4. And while we are changing perceptions, let’s change language.

It takes a small amount of effort and makes a huge difference. No more “gave up,” that momma placed her baby in your arms for adoption. And speaking of her, she is your child’s birth mother, not yours. You may love her like your own, but she doesn’t belong to you. And if she hasn’t placed that baby in your arms? She is an expectant parent who may or may not choose to place. And if she doesn’t place? She is choosing to parent, and we celebrate that because she has made a tough choice that was solely hers to make.

Finally, I want support for those who choose to parent.
5. Finally, I want support for those who choose to parent.

We should support them with legislation promoting access to maternity and paternity leave, infant and postpartum health care, and education for all involved. I hope for more understanding for all members of the adoption triad—from the cranky relative who just doesn’t understand why you would want “someone else’s” baby, to the writers on television who just can’t get past the “not my real dad” story arc. This can be the year we include all mothers, not just the ones who parent, and bring understanding and help to all the kids out there, no matter their family style.

Five things. Not huge, but doable, I think. What did I miss? What would you add? Comment below with your adoption wish list for next year!

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Jennifer Galan

Jennifer Galan mothers four kids (one adopted, three biological) all while living the nomadic life of a military wife. She is a strong advocate for open adoptions, education reform, feminism, kindness, and naps. Mostly naps. Her favorite Doctor is number ten, and she is a proud Ravenclaw.


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