Did you know that November is National Adoption Month? KFT will be throwing our first big fundraising/gala event, “A Home for the Holidays,” to celebrate adoptive families in Ventura County. I’m really excited to bring more awareness to adoption and some of the specific challenges that adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents face. I think sometimes people who don’t have experience with, or know much about adoption think, “Oh how wonderful! A child is being saved and provided with a loving family!” But I think they forget about the tremendous loss that all three (adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents) had to experience first. Remember, adoption is not possible without loss. Check out the Having Faith column for more on loss and the seven core issues in adoption.
One message we work hard to share at KFT, is that adoption should be about addition, rather than subtraction. These kiddos have already lost so much (family, friends, homes, schools, community, toys, pets, etc.), adoption should be adding a family, rather than taking away their birth family. We believe kids need to be connected to their birth families when at all possible. Some benefits to openness in adoption include strengthening the child’s sense of identity, encouraging attachment to adoptive parents, and decreasing their sense of abandonment by their birth parents (Ryan et al., 2011; Lowe et al., 1999). Check out our column on Openness and Searching for more information and support!
Even when they’re not able to have contact with birth family (if they’re unsafe, incarcerated, live far away, or are deceased), there are still creative ways to help kids feel connected. Adoptive parents can talk with their children about their birth parents and wonder together about them. “You’re getting so tall! I wonder how tall your birth father was?” “You’re so creative, I wonder if you get that from someone in your birth family?” Or, “I’m so proud of you for doing well on your math test, I bet your birth parents would be proud too.” While adoptive parents may not know if their child will be able to have contact with birth family in the future, they can hope together that someday it will be possible. Both adoptive parents and birth parents have a very special and important role in their child’s life. My pawrents send pictures back and forth with my birth mother and siblings, and I still get to see them occasionally! Having all the pieces to my puzzle helps me know who I am and where I came from. It also makes me feel more connected to my pawrents knowing they support me and understand how important it is to have connection with my birth family.
My hope for our event is to bring more awareness to our community about adoption, raise lots of money to better support our adoptive families, and have fun together! I’m also really excited to get dressed up in my fancy tuxedo and hopefully sneak some fancy food when no one’s looking 😉
Happy Fall and happy National Adoption Month, furiends!