April Dinwoodie is the Chief Executive of The Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI), co-founder of Fostering Change for Children, and a transracial adoptee. From the DAI website: “Everything we do and every action we take is geared toward safeguarding the best interests of children, enhancing the adoption experience and sustaining families – while achieving equitable treatment for everyone within the extended family of adoption.”
Dinwoodie wrote a wonderful article for the Huffington Post entitled, Thinking About Adoption: Lucky Me? In it she discusses what luck has to do with adoption. One of the most pervasive comments often made to an adopted person, even when they’re children is, “You are so lucky!” If a child is lucky to be adopted, that implies that she owes her (adopted) family something. The best response I’ve heard to that statement is when a parent replies with, “No, I’m the lucky one. My life is so enriched now that (said adopted person) is a part of it.”
From Dinwoodie, “This notion of luck does not only impact adopted people, it can be a burden to the extended family of adoption. For the first/birth family, it assumes that they would have been incapable of providing appropriate care — a fact that is not an element of every adoption experience. For some adoptive parents, being seen as rescuers can add unrealistic expectations to their role as a parent.”
Another aspect of luck that Dinwoodie tackles in her article is the luck of finding one’s birth parents. It is common now in domestic adoptions in particular, for there to be connection with the birth mother and occasionally the birth father. But years ago, and still in many international adoptions, there is no information or access to the birth parents. Sometimes finding a birth parent is lucky, sometimes it’s not. Each situation is different because each person is different.
Then there is the “luck” of being able to have access to one’s own original birth certificate. It is still illegal, yes ILLEGAL, to have access to one’s own original birth certificate. This article gives some background on the subject of original birth certificates and how they are revised after adoption.
There are so many wonderful things about adoption and there are many losses. Dinwoodie’s article describes the complexities of adoption and how some aspects are lucky and others are not.
Dinwoodie ends her article, “My hope is that moving forward we stop simplifying the adoption experience and put in the work to fully comprehend the challenges and opportunities. We’d all be lucky and better for understanding family from an evolved place. When we move from transaction to transformation, adoption allows us to do just that.”
If you were adopted, are thinking of adopting or have adopted and you are looking for support, let me know. I would like to help you. Feel free to contact me here.