November is National Adoption Month. It is supposed to be a month to celebrate how adoption has touched the lives of all the people involved in the adoption process and also to bring families together. Unfortunately, we have started to notice a disturbing trend of segregation within the adoption community. With so many different ways to build a family through adoption there seem to be unfair judgments and misconceptions cropping up between families who choose different adoption routes.
Domestic adoption families may feel excluded or misperceived by international adoptive parents. Foster care adoptive parents may feel excluded from domestic families who adopted privately. The fact is that all of these families share adoption in common. Adoption should be the bridge, the common ground between all of these families.
While we understand the need for specialized support groups, we worry that many families are choosing this as their only means of support. Families who spend all their time with others who made the same adoption choice as theirs will have little opportunity to learn about the different types of adoption, thus perpetuating the misconceptions between adoptive families from differing routes.
Children benefit greatly from seeing the variety of experiences other adopted children have had. They learn that there is a bond between them despite their differing experiences. Adoptive parents also benefit from learning about the different types of adoption.
Adoptive parents should stick together to dispel myths and breakdown stereotypes of adoptive families. Adoption remains greatly misrepresented by the media; adoptive parents can change this. Adoptive parents can join together for lobbying and political purposes of improving adoption laws throughout the US, which would benefit all adoptive families.
We don’t expect families to stop attending specialized support groups. We agree that some adoption related issues are unique to the particular type of adoption chosen. These types of groups also help parents give internationally adopted children a way to honor and experience their culture. We suggest that you don’t limit this as your only means of support. Remember, no matter what type of adoption you chose, you are all adoptive families. Together you can encourage, change and dispel misconceptions about adoption. Apart, you help perpetuate them in the public eye.