Adoption Understanding from Friends and Family


How important is it to you that your friends and/or spouse can understand you and support you? Do you think they can ever really know what you’re feeling and going through? How do you help them to understand things from your point of view? Do your friends and/or spouse seem interested in furthering the discussion? Do they read books, blogs, or otherwise educate themselves about adoption issues? Do you disagree about any of the fundamentals? Do you agree? Do you think that your relationship with that person has altered their view on adoption in general?

Boof was actually one of the first people who understood and helped me name my sadness over losing my beginnings. He was working as a chaplain at a Veteran’s Hospital, and because of his experience opening up there, and having emotions come pouring out, he encouraged me to really explore my feelings about being adopted. We had many tearful conversations, where he was able to articulate empathy and understanding and mostly just providing a space for me to explore without being judged for the conflicting emotions. He has seen me through my most “angry adoptee” moments, and my sadness, and my manic elation upon a successful reunion with my biological father.

It took me awhile in the the discovery process, what my fellow adoptees call “coming out of the fog,” to begin understanding what I was feeling, and to begin sharing it with my best friend. All my worries about her being judgy were unfounded. In fact, she completely understood (as much as a “normal” person could), and we have had some amazingly beautiful conversations beyond that.

Some of my friends from graduate school have been incredibly understanding and treat me as their go-to for all things adopted. And then one of them learns she’s infertile and they are discussing adoption. Suddenly, my “authority” on the subject has become more of a “that’s her life experience.” That feeling kinda sucks, because I thought that maybe my introduction to how things work, the laws, the discrimination, the pain for so many involved. But when it comes right down to it, people want what they want and they believe the predominate story, becuase it’s convenient for them.

My in-laws have taken the brunt of most of my exploration of feelings on adoption. They have mostly been open to discussion and see things my way…at least to my face. I have a feeling that they are less rabid about the position if they were asked without me being around. My biggest concern, actually, is that my sister-in-law is infertile and will consider adopting. I think having it happen in our family will be a huge challenge to overcome.

I don’t think anybody reads anything about adoption, but Boof’s position has certainly changed the most. He has told me how his automatic reaction to adoption storylines or friends who are contemplating adoption is SO much different than it used to be. I feel like, in him, I have a true ally, and that is a good feeling. He allows me to hold the complexities of all my feelings about the situation, about all of my individual relationships with both my adoptive parents, biological parents, in-laws, and lets them just be however they are, without trying to make me try and change them into something happier or less complex.

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