Imagine you go to sleep one night with your beloved in the spot next to you. You’re comforted by your beloved’s familiarity — everything about this person feels known and predictable.
When you awaken the next morning, that person has been replaced by another. Different scent, different voice, different everything.
Would you notice?
It’s absurd to think you wouldn’t.
I wish I could remember who originally offered this analogy to help me, a non-adopted person, understand what it might be like for a baby or child to experience the vanishing of an original mother and the sudden appearance of a replacement mother. It would be noticed.
It would be felt and grieved.
Mission: To See Adoption’s Complexity
My friend Sandy, an adoptee activist, has made it her mission to get people to understand that adoption is not just Win/Win. Adoption is complex. Yes, there is win, she acknowledges, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that there is also loss. How could there not be loss?
The crucial importance of Sandy’s mission hit me this month with the emerging situation at the border. As long as the prevailing adoption narrative leads people to believe adoption is Win/Win, we will keep acting as though parents ARE interchangeable.
As we know from the switcheroo scenario above, that is not true. Experience any of your loved ones traded for another and tell me differently.
From Sandy’s recent blog post:
Then there is this misguided statement by Laura Ingraham.
And we should make adoption easier for American couples who want to adopt these kids…Take care of them the right way. (source)
It seems clear we are enabling thousands of cases of avoidable trauma that will ultimately have high personal and economic cost. To all of society.
Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a teen daughter, blogs from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life.