Thoughts on “Flip the Script”

A movement to “Flip the Script” on what some people perceive as “pro-adoption” thinking is underway for National Adoption Awareness Month. Following is a quote by Laura Barcella, from the NY Times Motherlode blog: ”

Flip the Script, a new YouTube video by an adoptee writing collective, The Lost Daughters, attempts to combat the damaging cultural narrative that centers exclusively on shiny, happy adoption experiences… For years on end, our culture has whitewashed adoption (both domestic and international), only telling the story from the rapturous perspective of adoptive parents while ignoring the darker realities adopted children can face.”

My reaction on reading: We searched for and found each of our children’s birth mothers, maintain contact, and visit them in Guatemala annually. Thousands of parents of children born in Guatemala (the community with which I am most familiar) do the same.

I may be in the minority (?), but I don’t see adoption simply as a “shiny, happy” experience. Nor do I know anyone who does. Adoption is far, far too complex for that. Adoptive parents like me–I hope–have learned from the experiences and writings of those who have gone before us–adoptees and birth mothers and fathers–as well as by living every day as adoptive parents.

We don’t simplify adoption. Our reality prevents us from simplifying adoption. Sometimes I wonder if people think we don’t “see” the challenges our children face. The struggles imposed on them by adoption. We get it. Or at least I do. And I don’t think I’m alone among adoptive parents.

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6 Responses to “Thoughts on “Flip the Script””

  1. Heidi says:

    Thank you for writing this! I am a new adoptive mom and have been very dismayed by many things I’ve recently read as part of Flip the Script & First Mother Forum. So many seem so angry at us adoptive parents. I understand that years ago, adoption was very different, frequently closed & not discussed. It seems there has been change in this area, as our agencies were very clear with us about the loss the birth mother & baby experience. We do not plan to deny or minimize the struggles my son may face regarding his feelings about his adoption as he gets older.
    We have pictures of his birth parents prominently displayed in his nursery and their identity will be known to him as he grows. THEY chose to limit contact with us until he is at least 18 and we will help him find them, if and when the day comes that he wants to.

  2. Jessica says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Heidi. I feel as if we are part of a “new wave” of adoptive parents, who are open to learning from the experiences of others before us.

    My hope is that someday “the script” catches up with and reflects the reality of where we are today, instead of replaying old patterns and assumptions.

    Thanks again.
    Best wishes to your family. ~

  3. Kathy says:

    Thanks, Jessica. It was truly encouraging to read your thoughts .I’m actually an adoptee, Baby Scoop Era, who wasn’t angry at my wonderful, and in so many ways ahead of their time,adoptive parents. I’m just now able to search due to passage of law in my birth state and it has been a fascinating albeit very emotional journey. But as I speak with adoption professionals, try to advocate for passage of open records in my state of residence and talk with adoptive moms and those considering adoption, I realize that “the script” reflects a sad reality, at least locally. But I have hope, because you and others do get it.

  4. Jessica says:

    Thanks, Kathy. We live in the San Francisco Bay area, surrounded by like-minded families. We belong to an adoptive families group—we made tamales last weekend–and an adoption book group who meets monthly. We read books and blogs, and go to heritage camp. We study Spanish. We throw parties. We seek friends from Central America. Oh, and every year, we visit birth family in Guatemala. (In 2015, we plan to visit twice.) It’s to the point where sometimes my kids will say “Enough already, Mom.”

    So we are out there! Many, many of us do “get it.” And our numbers are growing. But I agree we may live in a bubble, and not everyone views the world the way we do.

    The fact that records remain closed boggles my mind. How frustrating that must be for everyone who yearns to know a true history. That desire seems essential and core to me.

    I’m by no means perfect, and never intend to set myself up as some paragon. But I’m trying with all my heart to learn from the past. To not repeat history. And I’m not alone. Our voices may not be heard amid the shouting, but we definitely exist.

    Thanks again.~

  5. Carla says:

    I think of you often although we have never met.
    i’m woman enough to admit I have read your book cover to cover the day it came out :-) as our stories are so very similar.
    A few years later I moved to Oakland, California and have met a few mutual friends and feel I know you already. I wanted to stop by and share that during this Thanksgiving thankful season.

    xo

  6. Jessica says:

    Carla: You are so nice to send me this note, which warmed my soul all the way through. Thank you!

    I’m trying to tell from your website whether or not you are in the Bay area now. (Because you were voted the fittest woman in Austin in 2010, I’m thinking you may be there?! I’ll have to read more closely to find out.)

    If you are here, I’ll send you an invitation for our annual May gathering of families with children born in Guatemala.

    Thank you again! ~

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