Last year, NAAM sent me into an emotional tailspin. Everywhere I turned, people were celebrating adoption, perpetuating lies at worst or half-truths at best about the very thing that brings me some deep personal pain. As I browsed my facebook feed today, November once again smacked me full in the face. The celebration has begun! The confetti is already flowing freely. Here are just a few examples I saw this morning:
And also this, taken from a graphic:"November...A time to gather and give thanks. A time to give thanks for the blessings of adoption. Join us as we celebrate adoption! We remember those who are daily blessed by adoption and those who make adoption possible."
"November is National Adoption Awareness Month, however there is plenty reason to celebrate adoption and promote positive adoption awareness EVERY day."
"This November, give thanks by helping to find families for children. National Adoption Month. Peace. Love. Adoption. My family has been touched by adoption, will yours be?"
Touched by adoption? Indeed. But while growing in my adoptive family was generally a happy experience, there are also aspects of being "touched by adoption" that have left me battered and bruised. It is just not as simple as people would like to believe.
I could, of course, bury my head in the sand for the month and eschew all social media. Instead, this year I'm participating in NAAM by using my blog to bring greater awareness about adoption and the complex issues faced by those of us who live it. To that end, I'm going to aim for to blogging daily through the month of November, and plan to use many of the prompts provided by Lost Daughters.
Today's prompt focuses on stereotype. Rather than writing a separate post about stereotypes here, I'm going to send you over to Lost Daughters for a recap of an interesting conversation some of the other LD bloggers and I had on the topic.
National Adoption Awareness Month was originally intended to bring to light the needs of children in the foster care system. This is an honorable intent. Children's needs matter, and we should never become hard-hearted towards those who are most vulnerable. Sometimes families need various types of assistance in order to thrive. (And thriving families are good for children.) Additionally, while I believe family preservation should be the priority, I also recognize that we live in a broken world where children will sometimes need care by people other than their natural parents. My refusal to view adoption through a one dimensional lens should in no way be interpreted as a lack of compassion. On the contrary, it is because I have compassion that I want people to stop simplifying the adoptive experience.
There are many ways to make a difference in the life of a child. This month, in addition to writing about adoption, I'll also be highlighting different opportunities to act on behalf of children. Featured today is Big Brothers Big Sisters, whose mission is to "provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever." Opportunities to volunteer or donate are only a click away.