Sunday, July 26, 2009

International Adoption Day 2009

Today was IAFQ's annual International Adoption Day. Did you see it on Channel 9 news? Hurrah for positive press! I don't know the final figures yet, but I think there were about 900 or 1000 attendees. See pics and read about the 2007 one and 2008 one if you like.

I spent much of the day on the IAFQ table, providing info to members and prospective members, selling t-shirts, loaning library books to members and so on. I managed to take off for an hour in the afternoon to sit in on a film festival by adult adoptees. They shared a series of short films dealing with adoption issues, and I was so impressed. I'm relieved that our children will have a strong community of other adoptees to journey with and learn from. I'm also grateful that as prospective adoptive parents we can learn from the mouths of adoptees as they share their experiences.

One thing took me by surprise and I've been thinking about it since. Some teen and adult adoptees sat on a panel to answer questions, and when one of the panel members was answering a question she said she would definitely adopt if she couldn't have kids. Why is adoption only seen as an option when all other means to create a family have been exhausted? When will adoption be seen as a legitimate way to build a family regardless of reproductive ability? I wonder how the general public will begin to change their perception on this issue when people within the adoption community still haven't.

8 comments:

~*~Sandie~*~ said...

Yes, I totally agree. When we told people we were going through the adoption process, the most common response was "But... you can have kids!"

Anonymous said...

The floor was open to questions and some of the adoptees might have been happy to answer that question but it wasn't raised. Adult adoptees have a range of views, some pro and some anti adoption. Some have adopted, and some of those also have bio kids. However,the event was about their views for a change. The adoptees focused on what they personally bring to the practice from their own perspective. They did mention that they saw families as coming in all forms, but for some, not having even one family member in the whole world who was biologically related to them was at times, hard. This could be your adopted child one day going through such feelings so spend a bit of time thinking about that too.

Emma said...

hi Anonymous

I'm sorry that if my entry has offended you in any way - it sounds like it from the reactive/defensive comment you made.

I respect yours and every person's right to make their own decision when it comes to creating their family, and I do not expect adult adoptees to automatically adopt children themselves.

I am more than aware that not having a biological link can be a massive issue for adoptees, and one that my children will likely face. That is one of the reasons I have spent years reading countless books and blogs and watching films from the perspective of adoptees. The more that adoptive parents can learn from the views of adoptees the better.

My surprise was not that the panel member had not adopted, it was that the view portrayed was that adoption is an option only for the infertile. I've been working to combat that for years - I believe the opportunity to adopt should not rest on reproductive ability.

If you are part of the adult adoptee group that was there on the day, then you need to know that I have the greatest of respect and admiration for you, and I have sat through many similar panels and presentations that members of the group have been part of in the past few years, and each time I learn something that will help me be a better adoptive parent. As mentioned in my entry, I am grateful for your group and the work you do.

on the eastern journey said...

Hey Emma. I was just thinking of you the other day & I wondered how things were going. We're on month 19 of waiting (we have friends who also live here and they are on month 26 of waiting) so we know the wait will be longer. I've been struggling with this, but I haven't found the words to blog about it yet. Just struggling with the system... Anyway, good to know you had another successful International Adoption Day.

Liz said...

Having a prospective adoptee possibly go through the feelings of having no-one else biologically related to them is not a reason to not adopt. That issue, whilst an extremely important one, is usually far outweighed by the life, love and opportunities that the said child will experience because they were adopted. That too is worth thinking about.
I interpret that what Checking Boxes is saying regarding this issue is only that people generally think that only infertile couples adopt. She wasn't making specific reference to the adoptee at all. I guess she was pointing out that there are fertile people with biological children out there who want also to adopt and the public need to change their way of thinking.

Indigo said...

Hi Emma. This is Indigo (I was on the panel). Thanks for coming along to it. Would be good to chat if you get some time. My email is: adoptedvietnamese@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I agree totally.
Woodie

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