The Adopted Life: A Review

 

 

Holt’s senior director of adoption services — and adoptive mom — Susie Doig reviews episode one of “The Adopted Life.”

My husband and I adopted our son from Thailand when he was 13 months old, and our daughter from Thailand when she was 17 months old. My son is now 10, and my daughter is 7 and tonight we sat down and watched the first episode of “The Adopted Life” web series together. The series features Angela Tucker, an adult adoptee, interviewing other adoptees about their experience as transracial adoptees. I had watched the episode ahead of time in order to know what to expect, and was touched by the open and candid discussion between adoptees about their shared experience.

As my kids and I watched the video together, my daughter called out questions that kept popping into her head – questions like, “Do white kids get adopted?”, “Why does she want to learn to speak Chinese?” My son was much quieter, and only spoke to say “the same” when one Chinese adoptee shared that she feels like she should be able to speak Mandarin because she is Chinese. After watching the video, my son was quite emotional, deeply touched by the expression of many of the thoughts and feelings that he keeps inside himself. As a mom, watching him respond on such a deep emotional level had a huge impact on me. As much as I work to create an environment where adoption is talked about openly and often in our family, there are still lots of thoughts and feelings about adoption that my children hold inside that don’t have an easy outlet for expression. We talked about how it’s normal to have big feelings about adoption, and that it’s OK to feel sad at times. I explained to my kids that I had been asked to write about adoption in the media, and how I volunteered to watch this video with them and then write about it. My son said he would write about it, too, and my daughter decided to create a comic called “Life Being Adopted” to express her thoughts and feelings.

What did I learn through this experience? That all of us — adoptive parents and adoptees, and I believe birth parents as well — have a lot of feelings to process about being part of an adoption. The more viewpoints we can expose ourselves to and have meaningful discussions about, the more we can explore our personal feelings about adoption and not keep them bottled up inside where we are left to manage them by ourselves. I hope my son feels comfortable sharing his writings about adoption with me, but whether he’s ready to do that or not, I feel good that he has a way to express his feelings and that this web series is a way to connect him and my daughter with the lived experiences of other adoptees. It can be lonely growing up feeling different in so many ways from other kids. “The Adopted Life” gives voice to the adoptee experience from multiple perspectives in a way that normalizes and brings community to adoptees, regardless of where they are located or where they may be in their own journey with being adopted.

Susie Doig • Senior Director of Adoption Services

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