Erin E. McEndree
Adoption Reimagined: Chapter One: Perspective
What's your perspective on adoption? There are many. Are you the adoptive parent? The adoptee? The birth mother? Or someone who loves one of us? Are you in a black hole of feelings looking up towards light and harmony you can't reach?
If I ask 100 people to describe their part in adoption, I will get 100 different perspectives, many different details, a distinct focus from each and diverse parts of a single theme. None are wrong. Each is explaining from the same foundation, but because of past experience, personalities and upbringing, all will focus on different aspects of the same situation. That which ties us together is only a blip at the beginning. After that, so many factors mold us, change our trajectory and present many paths. There is not one aspect, emotion or characteristic of adoption that 100% of those dealing with adoption issues have in common except for the word adoption.
Even the word adoption means so many different things to people. Depending on which area of adoption you are dealing with, definitions change. It all comes down to perspective. My mom said adoption was a blessing that allowed her and my dad to have children; they could not otherwise. My birth mother said adoption was a necessity her parents chose, but the hardest thing she ever had to do; she had no voice and no choice. She still deals with the decision others made for her to this day. I say adoption is a fact in my life, but never defined my life and didn’t cause difficulty in my life. That is three perspectives that are true for us, but there are more perspectives that differ that are also true.
Being able to hear others different perspectives, views and feelings about their story and at the same time, not inserting yourself into their story, is the most helpful quality each person with adoption issues can do for one another. Sadly, being able to say, “I hear you. I empathize with you,” is hard for many. This chapter focuses on the characteristic of goodness even when there are differing perspectives, feelings and circumstances.
Goodness is the quality of being decent, having integrity and showing qualities of virtue. I have heard a definition of integrity as what you do when no one is looking. I would also add that integrity is not caving to differing ideas when attacks or pressure is applied. How would anyone even know if you had integrity or not? They will observe your actions, comments and reactions. Goodness is not debating over disputable matters, trying to get someone on your side of a matter or trying to change their views about a commonly shared subject.
The overflow of your heart pours out integrity and goodness or indecency and iniquity. Your character pours out largely based on what you stand for and what you value? Are you divided in how you present yourself to others? Do you portray certain qualities for certain people and other qualities for another? Goodness is not divided. It is having the same characteristics with your family, at work, at the grocery store and on social media and even with the adoptive parents, adoptee or birth mother/parent in your life. Not knowing what you stand for and what you value will propel you into a fake life trying to please others, compromise for others and lobby for their approval, all the while feeling devalued, used and unimportant.
Challenge: Be the light in the darkness so that you add light to where you are. You just may find out there is a ladder you never noticed. Your light will shine on everyone around you and seeing their 'light' (perspective) may help you with some darkness of your own.