When we know better, we can do better.
So let’s start at the beginning. I am grateful adoption exists.
Adoption advocates and those who adopt have long had their voices heard. We’ve applauded their efforts, their generosity, their love.
And that is not wrong.
There is also another participant in adoption.
A child without a choice. An unwilling inhabitant of a family created without the consent of the most vulnerable member.
It is how adoption works.
And it is not wrong.
There will, however, come a time when the child can speak, when they wish to make sense of their experience.
And at that time, this adoptee voice must be heard.
Always remember, regardless of age or experience––unless you are adopted, you do not know how the adoptee feels.
But if you listen.
They’ll tell you as best they can.
Listen without judgment. Listen with an open heart.
Acknowledge them. Ask questions.
Understand they will be unpacking their feelings with every passing year.
Life events and milestones affect adoptees differently.
If you grapple to make sense of what they tell you, know they are struggling too.
Be patient. Be open.
This adoptee voice needs you to hear them.
So please, never ever stop listening.