Sitting here at my desk at the same adoption organization my parents came to is so surreal. Being a Social Work intern at Gladney right now is so special because it allows me to connect with where my new life with my family began. As a future social worker, my goal is to help others on their adoption journeys and support all members of the adoption triad. I just finished a big personal project of mine which was publishing my book called Through Adopted Eyes: A Collection of Memoirs from Adoptees – which includes my own thoughts and perspective on adoption as a Russian adoptee. The book also includes the emotional and amazing stories of 50 other adoptees and talks about the best and worst things about being an adoptee and what adoptees wish others knew. These adoptees of all different ages have differing backgrounds, perspectives, and adoptee insight.
As an intern working with cases and clients, my thoughts travel and I think about what my parents experience was. I wish I could go back in time and see my parents meeting with Gladney and talking about their future as parents. What thoughts were going through my parent’s minds? What did my parents think when they decided to adopt again and adopt my sister a year later? So many people at Gladney and in Russia worked hard to get me adoption ready. I think being adopted gives me patience for all of the different case worker tasks because they are all important parts of the adoption process. I am so thankful for my case workers. I go back and look at my file all the time.
Adoption. Many in our society do not fully know the gravity of the word adoption and all the thoughts, truths, and emotions that come with a seemingly simple word. I am so thankful my parents were always realistically positive when talking about my adoption. They spoke to my sister and me with honesty and love, not with a naïve positivity that ignored pain. It was, and is, important for me to continue to share adoptee voices through my book and give adoptees a safe space to communicate a lot of fun, deep, and emotional stories about their adoptee experiences. While being an adoptee does come with a lot of loss and grief, it also can come with much joy and a healthy way to look at life. Adoption is powerful and advocating for adoptee rights, voices, and reality is very important in helping the community understand adoption and where the adoptee fits in.
Being an adoptee working in the adoption field is still a new and exciting thing for me that I want to succeed in. While being an intern is already a very personal and emotional journey, it is encouraging to learn more about what adoption is like today. There are some things that are the same as my adoption from Russia back in 1995. My parents had to apply to Gladney’s program, get matched with me, and go pick me up. But, adoption really has transformed. Now, adoptive parents have the opportunity to show a profile book to expecting moms in hopes of being a perfect match for a baby. In my adoption, relinquishment had already happened and I was already born and my parents were matched with me by Gladney staff. It is really special that domestic adoptees today get to see their parents profile books, are likely to have access to more family history and medical records, and some even have some level of contact to birth relatives. I am thankful I have a platform where I get to share why adoption is more than a transaction or finalized court decision, adoption affects a whole lifespan in many ways. The heart of adoption has not changed; it is doing what is in the best interest of the child. A baby like I was. A child like those we meet today.
Спасибо (Thank you)
Check out "Common Myths and Truths about how Adoptees Feel and Deal with Grief and Loss" Elena wrote earlier this year.