It’s hard to hide that I’m an adoptive parent. Anyone who would mistake Bug for a biological creation of G and mine would have to be a congenital idiot, so adoption issues are something we have to address on a regular basis. One that we don’t have to address regularly, though, is the thorny question of just who “owns” adoption.
Here’s what I mean. There are a lot of teen and adult adoptees who feel like adoptive parents think adoption is all about them– adoptive parents are narcissistic ogres who ripped them from their natural parents and only care about the parental end of the equation. Frankly, these adoptees have a point– I frequent a few adoptive parent web forums, and they can be pretty annoying exercises in adoptive parent preening. But when you think about it, we as adoptive parents are the ones who had all the choices related to adoption– for the most part, adoptees were stripped of all their choices, along with their first families, and in some cases their entire cultural identities.
It’s hard to hear, but we adoptive parents shouldn’t make it so much about ourselves, even though when are children are young and not as vocal about their feelings it’s hard not to view it all through our own lenses. But even at four years old Bug is starting to deal with her feelings about her multiple families, and it’s clearly not always easy for her. As her parent I have to make sure she feels like she can talk about the difficult issues. It’s part of the choice we made when we decided to adopt. These are her issues, she’s the adoptee, and I have to be here for whatever she needs. Frankly, it’s just not all about me, and that’s something more adoptive parents need to remember.