Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Adoption and Foster Care - Taboo Subjects???

Have you ever noticed there are certain topics, subjects, that seem to be taboo to talk about?  Like, for example: race, religion, sex, politics, money, sexual orientation and relationships, and for some reason, adoption.  Go figure that something that is so important to many, many people, could actually be on the list of taboo subjects to discuss!

As I have been researching and struggling through my own journey of adoption, I have found that there are many people who actually DO talk about adoption, almost on a daily basis.  There are a variety of blogs, websites, tweeters, facebook pages, myspace pages, articles, news broadcasts and stories all over the place when it comes to this supposedly taboo subject.

Now, you may be wondering, how this is possible if the subject appears to be so off limits.  I have wondered the same thing and decided that it was finally my turn to step out and really write about it.

Adoption, as it turns out, is a subject that is actually in the news a lot - the celebrities are all over the headlines with new children whom they have brought home, or Hollywood movies of recent that are based on adoption and foster care, like "Despicable Me," "The Blind Side," "Orphan," "Meet the Robinsons," and Pauly Shore's controversial film titled, "Adopted."   Then of course there are other stories like the one in the news where the adoptive mother took the child to the airport and left him there, alone, to go back to his country, as she was unable to reach him emotionally and couldn’t take it anymore.

So, what makes this subject so scary, so wary for people to discuss??  Is it because of the fact that infertility comes into play for some people?  Is it because people who have not been touched by adoption, or foster care, are afraid to talk about the realities of attachment disorder in children who have been placed in foster care and then adopted?  What is it that scares so many people and makes discussing it so taboo?  The realization that children who are placed into these realities are struggling through emotions, fears, anxieties, upheavals and so much more is something that can not be ignored any longer. These children are crying out for something, anything to aid them on their journey of recovery.  I will be that aid, now and always!

Even though these stories appear to be in the news a lot, the idea of picking up a story about adoption or foster care seems to scare a lot of publishing houses and literary agents - scares them so much that there are a limited number of manuscripts that are even picked up by the specialty publishing houses and very rarely is a small independent author picked up by a house and even more rarely by an agent - perhaps there is a small fear that these story ideas really wouldn’t sell and then how would they make any money??

Okay, I get that and I can even understand that.  Having said that however, the genre of books that is being offered through myself is one that has not been touched and is what is needed right now.

The children in the adoption and foster care world are being sent too many mixed messages - especially the transracially adopted or fostered children.  There is a message being ingrained upon them that adoption is alright for them, for now.  However... if they choose to look for their biological family, that is not always acceptable in the adoptive or foster parents eyes.  When I say this, I mean that a lot of the time the youth, and then young adults, are so afraid of hurting the parents feelings when choosing to look for any biological piece of them, that they choose to wait - choose to wait as so many adults have done for years now, until the parents have passed away and then finally go in search of something, someone - some biological connection to their world... to their being.

What is so harmful about that you may wonder... well, what is harming is that these youth and young adults are not free to express what they are truly feeling within as they have been growing up.  There is no real outlet for them to discuss the anguish, possible sorrow, that is growing within their hearts and souls.  Adoption tears at everyone in a different way, yet the most similar one is that of having been abandoned - the child growing up as an adoptee or foster child, has that initial feeling of loss attached to that adoption or foster care situation.

Are the children in foster care, and the children who are in orphanages across the world, asking to be adopted or fostered as part of their life journey?  Are these young children wanting to start their lives out with abandonment issues?  I don't think so.  I don't believe that any child would ask for the emotional upheaval that is experienced in foster care and then, more often than not, transitions over into the new life started when adopted.  When I was growing up, I know I never once asked to be in the situations I was put in and yet, now as an adult, I am asked why I can't get over them.  Why am I still bothered by issues that were from the past, from a beginning I did not ask for?        

There is a reality that so many are not willing to look at when it comes to children who started out their lives as being abandoned, given up.  This reality is one that, at some point in one's life, will have an affect on how relationships play out, how conversations are brought up, and even how certain aspects of daily life are fulfilled.  I have noticed there are a lot of fostered and adopted adults who gravitate towards the profession of counselor, or support worker, or volunteer to work in the industry that has had such an important impact on one's life.  I know I have and that is one of the main reasons I write... to help others who may feel the way I felt and who may not realize that speaking out for themselves is key to helping themselves heal, from the inside out!  

The books that are being brought forth by myself address these issues in ways that aid all children with the healing process - a healing that is necessary even in this day and age of adoption and foster care.  The children growing up today have so many resources to aid with almost every type of situation they may go through - when it comes to believing in what is inside of yourself, I have not been able to locate materials that will aid children the way I believe is necessary.  The resource I provide with the Believe In Me program, through the literature I have written (Why Can't You Look Like Me and Where Do I Belong) and the literature I continue writing, those materials are now becoming available!

I know what type of book I would pick up and purchase for my children - the books I am providing are in our collection and are making a difference in many lives as I speak.  That is what is key here and that is why I continue to write!  My illustrator, Jenn, tells a story in itself with the images she continues to come up with - the words flow with the illustrations so anyone can pick up a book and understand there is a huge message involved, not only in the words, but also in the images.  

My passion is for these books to be available to the children, to all of the children who may be going through their own personal journey of healing within.

So, are adoption and foster care taboo subjects???

Not in my world and not in any young person's journey through life as an adoptee or foster child!!   All you have to do is ask one of them...  

1 comment:

  1. As the white mommy of two black children, I am so excited to learn about these books! Can't wait to get them! Also, we encourage our children to talk about their birth family, and I truly hope that one day they will be able to go and visit with them. Yes, I am a little wary of the birth family... but I know in my heart it is best for my children to be able to have contact with them. We teach our children that their heart has enough room for both families.