Whether you are a birth parent, adoptive parent or adoptee, adoption changes you. Of course, the most obvious shift is that adoption adds a new member to an adoptive family. But adoption begins transforming your life as soon as the idea to pursue it enters your mind. The emotions it immediately introduces reflect your heart’s adjustment to the idea, and from then on, you will never be the same. You may think once you place your child with his or her adoptive parents or bring your child home that your adoption journey ends there. I would really hope that is not the case for your family or for any other parent considering adoption.
You are now a part of the adoption family. This tribe is unique in that only the people who are members can truly understand the dynamics of adoption and how greatly it alters your emotions, your priorities, your family, and your life. There is also a group of people outside of adoption that know bits and pieces about adoption, but their connection with the adoption community is very limited or non-existent.
If you have been involved with the blessing of adoption, here are eight reasons why you should choose to share your adoption story with the general public (those who aren’t involved) and with the families and individuals who share your passion for adoption. You may be surprised what details in your story will connect with someone.
Before diving into the depths of an adoption, you don’t realize what all is required, what options you have, the commitment it takes, or even where to go to get the process started. By sharing your story, you will enlighten others, especially those unfamiliar with adoption, to simply gain more knowledge on the subject.
2. Bring awareness to adoption.
Not only do people need to be more educated on the practical process of adoption, but many people need to be made aware of the details from your point of view to bring attention to what it takes. Adoption demands legal, financial, emotional, and physical commitments. The more people who are aware of these needs, the more we will see a heart (and even legislation) leaning towards adoption because of the publicity yours or someone else’s story can have.
3. Give someone hope for their future adoption plans.
Adoption can be intimidating. Jumping into it without some sort of guide or supporter can make it seem that much more daunting. Share your story so that someone around you knows they can come to you with questions or concerns if they decide to pursue this ride.
4. Encourage those who are in the middle of adoption.
Just like jumping into adoption with both feet is intimidating, being a prospective adoptive family or woman making an adoption plan will bring you new experiences, conflicting emotions, and unending questions. To have someone encouraging you throughout the process is invaluable.
5. Change the language used when talking about adoption.
All parties involved in adoption will be affected differently by the language we choose. Saying “real parent,” “giving a baby up for adoption” or “biological child and adopted child” can cause unintentional harm to birth parents and adoptive families. Therefore, when we use positive language when describing adoption, we will be helping others to understand what is acceptable in conversations.
6. Strengthen your sense of community with others.
We were not created to be an island. We were made with purpose to go through life with others. As uncomfortable as it may seem the first time you do it, sharing your story will ultimately affect someone else’s life and connect your relationship on a deeper level.
7. Explain the highs and lows of adoption.
Adoption reality isn’t just the videos you see of people getting off the plane and introducing their family to their new baby meet for the first time. The process that comes before and even after bringing the child home is filled with highs and lows. Let someone hear that even through a low point, the experience on the mountain top is worth enduring both.
8. Remind yourself of how you’ve been blessed.
Each time you share your story with someone, you will be reminded how all the pieces of your adoption came together for the blessing you have experienced. In order to grow today and be prepared for tomorrow, we have to be willing to examine yesterday.
Interested in sharing your adoption story with American Adoptions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can share your adoption testimonial with our readers! You can also read other adoptive family testimonials and birth parent adoption stories here.