Yeah, thank you for that, Captain Obvious.
A friend of mine who is a transracial adoptee (adult), therapist and writer brought up a point that I’ve been wrestling with since then. Especially as we head into November.
And what “point” did Carissa bring up?
I’m only going to scratch the surface of the issue with this post, but here’s what she was wondering……
November is National Adoption Month – but it’s also the month in which many many churches in North America have “Orphan Sunday” events. What is “Orphan Sunday?” It’s a Sunday when many churches have events and activities and worship services focused on getting the church involved with caring for orphans.
This is a good thing. A very good thing.
So what point did Carissa bring up?
The use of the word “orphan.”
What does it say about the children who need help?
What does it say to children who have been adopted?
What does it say to birth parents who were not able to provide for their child(ren) and either voluntarily or involuntarily gave them up for others to raise?
What does it say to adopted children who are now adults? What does it say about their life experiences?
What does it say to adoptive parents? What does the term “orphan” say about adoptive parents? What does the term imply to “others” about adoptive parents?
It’s a hard word. It’s a word with a lot of negative conotations.
And it might be damaging relationships and hurting self esteem and preventing healing in the way that we use it.
I’ll be exploring this word more as time goes on, but for now, think about the term “orphan” and what it means. Think about what it says, not only to the child who currently “is” but also the children who used to be, the adults who used to be and the parents who have taken children from being “one” and making them part of a family.
Words mean things. Sometimes words mean things we don’t want them to. Sometimes words can cause pain that shouldn’t need to be there.
Think about it.