A couple weeks ago, I opened up Facebook to a post shared by someone on my friend list. A post about a young, 5 year old girl, telling her adoptive mother her memories of her adoption story. I'll tell you what....this little girl was ADORABLE, but the viral oversharing of her sacred story was NOT. Did this young girl give permission to have such intimate details about her life go viral? That's the part that I think many people who are not adopted don't realize...that this so very sacred story ultimately begins with great loss. Whatever this little ones story is ( or my story for that matter) began with losing her entire first family, her heritage, ethnicity, and most likely a big chunk of her understanding of her identity. Reading the comments and the amount of shares this video got made me feel sad, misunderstood, and so alone in this world.
I can't share this little girls story, but I can share my own. I was once her age with so many emotions that ran through my little mind without the proper language or true understanding to explain any of it. I was a happy child and we loved one another truly, deeply, madly but no amount of love made me not think about my first family, wonder where they were, and as my young mind processed it, wonder why I wasn't enough. Something must of have been wrong with me. When people would ask " don't you want to know who your REAL family is" I would shy away from the question or say I didn't need to know anything because I already had a family to love. Do you see the half truth in that? Do you see how a little girl, who believes that if the one person who should love her the most walked away...that it's possible everyone else in her life might do the same? Don't rock the boat. Stick to the script. Be grateful. Smile and push it down.
When I hear this little girl telling the story that when her parents adopted her, that the first time she saw her adoptive mother, her heart "fell in love" with her I wonder if she could REALLY remember if that was what went through her little mind? It's more likely she was scared, confused, even heartbroken for all that she had lost. I have no doubt this sweet child loves her adoptive family, but what if her fairytale version of the story changes down the road 10-15-20 years from now, and this time she's wrestling with all of the hard emotions and questions of adoption. Will she still be considered adorable? In my experience the adult adoptee isn't invited to the adoption conversation unless they share a story of it being the best thing ever to happen to them, a Disney movie script, win win for all, God's plan for my life type of recollection. Bend from that narrative even in the slightest, and you are told to just be grateful you weren't aborted.
I want to throw up barricades to protect these young adoptees who's stories are being shared for the world. I'm sure the family is a LOVELY family, but the video didn't just magically turn on as the child shared her heart with her mother. There might of been some staging involved to capture the perfect moment, to place on the blog or social media platform of choice. All of a sudden the story turns from the child and it's really about the parent. You may disagree, but I see it time and time again in this social media hungry world we live in. Adoptive parents sharing away. No topic is off limit including the biological mothers drug problems, or the child attachment issues, or the financial costs of this child. All I can say is THANK GOD I didn't grow up in a time where my mom blogged about my separation issues or how horrible my birth family is and tagged it #adoptionrocks or that I might stumble across her social media trail later in life. What will we see from this next generation of adoptees? SMH
If videos like this make you have all the feels, I beg you to also consider it through a new lens. Think about if this were your child and while adoption brought you together, it was adoption that ripped her apart on the inside first. Consider your deepest pain and how you would like others to carry it. With great and gentle care or for the audiences appeal?
You might not be able to fix the pain
But sit with me through it
There might be hard truths, and messy understanding
You can give a soft place to land.
That doesn't mean trying to fix me, or avoid it all together
It means taking a seat in the back row and lighting a candle
It means less talk, and more listening
it's a YOU before ME mentality
This is holding space for the unknown...the path you've never walked
This is how you carry a sacred story