Talking about adoption with members of the adoption triad (child, birth parents, adoptive parents) shows the different experiences and aspects of adoption. You can learn something from all of their stories. They come from a variety of circumstances: open adoption, closed adoption, transracial adoption, international adoption, and adoption from foster care. . I love hearing about other people’s experiences with adoption; it is a good way to open our life views and show empathy and compassion for them. One way I do this is by watching videos on YouTube about adoption. The questions and answers about adoption gave an intimate look at the thoughts and feelings of the members of the adoption triad.
Adoptees vs Birth Parents
This episode of Middle Ground by Jubilee was done beautifully. There was a panel of three birth parents and two adoptees. One adoptee was born in Korea and then adopted internationally, and the other adoptee was adopted at 20 hours old. Each of these panelists had a different perspective about adoption.
One of the adoptees talked about how listening to people’s stories is some of the best advice you can receive. She knew that it was helpful to come together with other members of the adoption community and learn from their stories. Based on the comments from other viewers, they enjoyed listening in on the conversation. The viewers appreciated the learning and understanding that took place between the panelists. These panelists created a visible bond over their conversation about adoption.
The panelists were asked questions and separated based on whether they agreed or disagreed. The individuals who agreed came together and had a discussion about the prompt that they agreed with. After some time for discussion, the individuals who disagreed joined them and talked about why they disagreed with the statement. These individuals tried to show compassion and empathy for each other’s stories.
The first prompt was, “My life is better because of adoption.” One of the birth parents agreed with this statement. He placed his child when he was about 18 years old and indicated that he knew his son was better cared for than he could have done for him at the time. This birth parent is also an adoptive father. This gave him a special perspective and felt like he had come full circle.
Two of the birth mothers said yes and no to the statement. One birth mother said that she wished that her son was sometimes with her, but being 15 years old at the time, she felt it was her best choice and would give him more. The decision sometimes caused them to have an internal struggle or turmoil.
I adopted my three sons. For me, my life is better because of adoption. Because of adoption, I am a mother. I have asked one of my son’s birth mothers this question and she says that there are times when it is a struggle, but she is happy that she placed him because she was not in the position to raise him at the time. She loves him and misses him, but we frequently text, call, and visit.
The two adoptees both agreed with the prompt, “My life is better because of adoption.” One of the women talked about how she was in a better financial and educational situation and home than her birth siblings because of adoption. The woman who was adopted from Korea felt like she was given the best opportunity to thrive.
Another prompt in this video was, “Birth parents should stay in touch.” Those that agreed with this statement felt like this enables adoptees to know the whys surrounding the adoption. It helps them have more closure and the knowledge of where they came from. The woman adopted from Korea said that she was not able to get in contact with either of her birth parents, but she was able to go to the town and hospital she was born in. This gave her some peace and closure to know more about the circumstances surrounding her birth and adoption. A birth mother said that her son met her when he was 6 years old. He came up to her and poked her in the belly and said, “God put me in your tummy because my mom could not have me.” This birth mother held onto that encounter.
Adoptive parents can help teach their children about adoption in a way that helps them understand on their level. In my home, we frequently talk about adoption and my children’s birth families. It is a great way to connect with them and show my sons that they can ask questions.
In one of the last prompts, some of the best comments were said and tears were shed by the panelists, many viewers, and even me. The statement was, “Birth parents and adoptive parents should be seen as equal.” One of the adoptees makes the statement that both birth parents and adoptive parents are needed. There is a sacrifice on behalf of the birth parents and the adoptive parents who open their home to a child who is not theirs. The adoptive father quickly jumps in to say that adoptive parents are not adopting out of the goodness of their hearts. “We need you, we needed you to make our family. We are not some kind of superheroes, you are our superheroes. We need you, and our lives would not be complete without you.”
I loved his words and how the women who were adopted both cried because they may have never looked at it this way. One birth mother talked about how birth parents and adoptive parents come together in the adoption triad to help, support, and do what’s best for the child. I feel lucky and blessed to have each of my children through adoption. It was not an easy road to bring them home, but I would do it over and over again for them. They complete our family and make my life better because they are in it.
Do All Adoptees Think the Same?
In another Jubilee YouTube video, “Do All Adoptees Think the Same?,” there were six individuals who had been adopted. These individuals were of different races, cultures, backgrounds, and family circumstances. The producers of the video gave the panelists a prompt and they were encouraged to physically move to one of the seven lines: strongly agree, agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, disagree, and strongly disagree. The adoptees then were able to explain their ratings and share their opinions and adoption stories.
One of the prompts was, “I want a relationship with my birth family.” I was surprised by the response that four of the panelists disagreed with the statement. One of the panelists said that she did not feel like she was missing anything and that her birth parents had given her a better life. There may be some curiosity for adoptees to find out more about where they came from and why they were placed for adoption. Many agreed that they had healthy relationships with their adoptive families. They expressed that they felt loved and accepted.
Another prompt was, “I struggle to connect with my cultural heritage.” Many of the panelists agreed with this statement. One of the women was adopted from China. During her childhood, she felt ashamed of her Chinese heritage. She did not want other people to know that she was adopted. But she expressed that she wished that her adoptive parents would have helped her connect with her cultural heritage. She felt like part of herself was missing because she did not have the ties to her Chinese culture.
One of the many questions I remember answering in the pages of adoption paperwork asked about how we would allow our children to connect with their cultural heritage. This is an important question for all adoptive parents. Culture is an important part of adoptees, and embracing it and seeking out ways to help them connect to it will bring many benefits. There should be a responsibility to connect the children to their birth heritage.
One of the women talked about how once she was adopted, her family became a transracial family and that meant that each member of the family should be embraced and learn about people in a family of different colors.
Truth or Drink: Adoption Edition
Another engaging adoption YouTube video was Adopted kids and their parents play Truth or Drink. In this game, the adoptive parent and adult adoptee sat across from each other and asked each other questions. They were allowed to pass answering the question by drinking a shot. (I’ll warn that these videos have language and questions with mature themes so they might not be suitable for children.)
One of the questions that was asked to the adoptees was, “What do people say to you when they find out you were adopted?” One response was, “So many people immediately ask me, ‘Where’s your real mom?’” The adoptive mom jumped in and talked about how she was the one who raised her daughter and woke up with her in the night. The adoptee told her mother, “You raised me, you are my real mom.”
I understand when people ask me about my sons’ “real mom,” they are not normally saying it to offend me. I usually answer, “I’m not his fake mom.” Or I will say, “I think you are wanting to say, ‘Where is his birth mother?’”
Another response to the question was that so many people say, “I’m so sorry,” like adoption is a bad thing, but she says it was the biggest blessing in her life. I think that this can help all of us to think before we say something in many different situations. If we don’t know what to say, indicate that you might not know the correct language, but you are genuinely interested in the person.
Another question posed to the adoptive parents was, “Why did you choose adoption?” This brought varied responses. One adoptive mother said that she always thought it was something that she wanted to do. An adoptive father said that after his vasectomy, he met his wife and they realized that they wanted children. Adoption seemed like the best option and he was so happy that he was able to adopt his daughter. His daughter expressed her love for him. She indicated that she always felt wanted and expressed gratitude for showing her compassion and teaching her.
Another video from this channel featured an adoptive mother from Denmark and her son she adopted from Vietnam. She said that she loved him from the moment that he was put into her arms. He was asked if he considers her his real mom. He says that yes, he does. He doesn’t go around thinking that she is not actually his mom. I like what the mother says next: “I think it is really important to not forget about your Vietnam mother. I think about her as much as you do. I’m the one who lights a candle for her on your birthday. And tell her, somewhere in the universe, how you are doing.” This is such a special relationship between the birth mother and adoptive mother. There is an adoption quote that I love by Desha Wood, “He is mine in a way he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way he will never be mine. Together we are motherhood.” This shows the importance of both the birth mother and adoptive mother.
The people in these videos represented the different thoughts and attitudes surrounding adoption. It was good to watch and consider how I would answer some of those questions, but then I also think about how my children will answer those questions in the coming years, and how my children’s birth parents would answer them. Having productive and open conversations is important in adoption. This gives everyone the chance to be heard and express their feelings, whether positive or negative.Considering adoption? Let us help you on your journey to creating your forever family. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.