I haven’t had reason to think much about adoption and college applications — yet — but an article in AdoptionToday magazine by college consultant and adoptive mother Debbie Schwartz made me think a little bit ahead.
Evan struggled as he decided how to respond to the section regarding ethnicity and race. For those students who joined their families through adoption, like Evan, these questions often reveal deeper questions about identity that can be difficult for students and families to process. [pdf]
College as a trigger for adoption thoughts? It wasn’t on my radar, but as Debbie explains, maybe it should be.
As a college consultant, I knew that Evan could choose to identify himself as a Hispanic male on the application, and I understood the advantages and disadvantages of the decision at the time. But as an adoption educator and as an adoptive parent, I also recognized that what was more important in that moment was how Evan felt about himself and where he was developmentally in terms of his identity. [pdf]
Debbie explains that the college application process is tied up in identity. Who are you? What do you want to do with your life? How do you identify yourself? What do you know about your heritage, and in what ways have you integrated that information into your identity?
She left me with lots to think about.
Most of my thoughts on this, truth be told, aren’t about adoption at all. Rather, it seems like just yesterday I was changing diapers, wearing the baby and pushing the toddler in the stroller for long walks around the lake to induce naps. Years have flown by, stages have come and gone, and here we are in high school. In theory, I knew that my babies would one day leave the nest; I just didn’t get that an actual leaving would one day be on my horizon.
I’m starting to see that it will.