Tell someone you’re “grateful for adoption” and you’re bound to get some widely-varying reactions.
(But believe it or not, that IS a good thing! Read on to learn why…)
Blessing #1: Adoption isn’t how it used to be.
American society used to view nearly all adoptions as a benevolent act of saviorism. Girls “in trouble” who were sent away to maternity homes and came back childless were supposed to be grateful for a second chance at virtuous living. Adopted kids were expected to never find out they were adopted, but they durned well better be forever appreciative if they did. And “barren couples” who adopted were not supposed to tell anybody where their child came from, and to count their lucky stars they could just pretend that child was born to them. It’s not that way anymore, thank goodness! Adoption no longer is treated like a dirty little secret. nor should it be. Parents who place and parents that adopt are united in their love for their children, not hidden from each other. Adoptees are able to grow up knowing and loving them both (at least they are at Abrazo?) And this is just one of the things that makes us extra grateful for adoption transparency these days.
Blessing #2: Fewer folks “have to” experience adoption nowadays.
We know this may seem like a strange thing, for any adoption agency to express gratitude for adoption numbers falling across the USA? But adoption isn’t always the best choice for everyone. The vast majority of kids who desperate need to be adopted aren’t newborns, after all, even if babies are still most desired. (Any adoption that occurs only to meet the needs of adults, not children, is not likely happening for the right reasons, at all.) Nationwide, child welfare officials are focusing more on family preservation, preventing kids from involuntary separation from their families of origin. If more bioparents are finding it possible to parent successfully because of greater resources becoming available to them, that’s likely a win for their children. And if fewer couples “need to adopt” because of improved reproductive technologies, that’s a good thing, too. So yes, we’re grateful for adoptions that happen when needed, and we give thanks for those who find other options that also secure children’s futures effectively.
Blessing #3: Our culture is more adoptee-centered than ever before.
No longer are adoptees expected to be silent and grateful victims of the placement plans made for them when they had no voice. These days, there are adoptee support groups, online meet-ups, adoptee blogs, adoptee rights legislative movements, adoptee memoirs, DNA tests, search angels. podcasts and other opportunities to find each other for peer support, and to express themselves. Adoptees now have the opportunity to educate birthparents, adopters and adoption professionals and to share their hard-won wisdom. We’re thankful that adoptees now have the freedom to speak their truth, and to know their origins and the people connected to them. .
Blessing #4: Adoption pros are becoming more educated and better qualified.
Avoid the influx of cottage industry adoption practitioners (like self-taught adoption facilitators, adoption coaches, adoption advertisers, profile creators and so-called matchmakers). Legitimate adoption professionals in most places are required by state licensure to hold bachelor’s or master’s degrees, and to undergo annual training hours to qualify them for the work of changing children’s lives. In Washington, D.C., federal lawmakers are currently considering something called the ADOPT Act, which would outlaw baby brokers and other bad actors from providing illicit adoption services to an unsuspecting public. We are grateful for adoption reform, and for people and movements that work to make adoption much better than it was, for the best interests of all whose lives are touched by it.
Blessing #5: More adoption communities provide post-adoption support.
Thirty years ago, Abrazo was one of the first adoption agencies in America to actually encourage its clients to know and draw strength from each other, rather than being isolated by a cloak of invisibility. Birthparents met each other at weekly support group meetings. Adoptive parents who spent a Parents of Tomorrow orientation weekend together became lifelong friends. Adoptees who met each other at Camp Abrazo have grown up with pals whose life stories resemble their own. Because of this, the Abrazo adoption community is one in which birthparents, adoptive parents and adoptees are all welcome, and where they know and truly care about each other. We give thanks every day for the AbrazoNation and all they do to pay it forward, throughout the years.
Blessing #6: Being grateful for adoption is a privilege, not an obligation.
Nobody has to feel what we feel or believe as we do, when it comes to adoption. There are some folks for whom adoption has been a very painful experience, and we feel their hurt. Yet there are also others who feel strongly that adoption transformed them, protected their children, or enabled them to have the families they do, and we salute them, as well. As a private, nonprofit adoption agency that has seen many changes in the adoption field and much-needed adoption reform over the past three decades, we are grateful for adoption. We give thanks for all the amazing adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents we are blest to serve; for all the dedicated staff who have worked for Abrazo; and for the countless others (like nurses, doctors, clergy, social workers, judges, drivers, foster parents, attorneys, and many more) who also play a part in the very special work we do here.
So Happy Thanksgiving Week, everyone! All year through, we’re grateful for adoption, and we’re thankful for you.