An Open Letter to Adult Adoptees
You were adopted? So was I.
I’m the girl on the right with the puff sleeves and the too-short bangs (circa 1980s).
When I was in the third grade one of the teachers at my school casually suggested I might be Canadian. (Her proof? I had blonde hair and blue eyes and was adopted just outside Detroit.) So naturally—given the reliability of that evidence—I quit saying the Pledge to the American flag and I quit singing the National Anthem. July 4th was dead to me.
Instead, I learned everything I could about our great neighbor to the north.
I even bought maple leaf earrings.
You can imagine my disappointment when I received a copy of my birth certificate in junior high and it said I was born in Pontiac, Michigan.
Fast-forward to July of 2016.
At the conclusion of a nerve-racking first phone call with a kindhearted biological sister, she said cheerfully, “Oh! One more thing. You’re Canadian.”
And I nearly dropped the phone. “What?”
Apparently, my birth family is from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I regret tossing the maple leaf earrings. So I am writing you with—
A sincere request:
Being an adoptee, a licensed foster parent, and an adoptive parent, I meet adoptive families and adoptees all the time. And I love it. Some of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met exist in the adoption community.
But it needs more adult adoptees. Specifically, it needs you.
Here is my request: Fellow adult adoptee, would you please consider getting more involved in the adoption community? To be clear, I’m not asking you to adopt, nor am I saying you owe it to anyone to get involved. Here’s what I’m suggesting—
Your experiences, empathy, and insight could be invaluable to a child or parent who needs to look someone in the eyes who understands adoption.
I regularly receive e-mail or Facebook messages from potential adoptive parents intimidated by the unknowns. I’ve been invited to support groups where I’ve heard the most baffling and unhelpful information perpetuated by sincerely misguided non-adoptees.
And I get it. Remember, I quit saying the pledge because of a casual suggestion.
YOU are needed.
Like anything else that truly matters, I believe the Enemy would like to breed fear and doubt among those who would otherwise passionately advocate for kids in need. How many potential adoptive parents have walked away because of misguidance or unanswered questions?
That’s where we come in. What if we—you and I, as adult adoptees—agreed to come alongside fearful or discouraged adopting parents to encourage and support? Can you imagine your potential to impact a young adoptee who has questions? What if we took the initiative to move toward families in our church or community considering or beginning the adoption process instead of waiting for them to approach us in a season of doubt?
Would you pray about what God might have you contribute to the adoption community? You have something somebody needs.
That’d be a great New Year’s resolution, eh?
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Trisha White Priebe is a communications coordinator for Lifesong for Orphans and is an adoptee and an adoptive mom. Listen to her podcast for list junkies here.