National Adoption Month–“It’s Okay to not be Okay”

This actually fits pretty well with what I wrote about yesterday – in terms of how it’s okay to not be okay.   It’s okay to not be happy, smiley, perfect, wonderful and totally content.

My friend, Carissa Woodwyk, an adult adoptee and therapist, wrote this about National Adoption Month and posted it on her Facebook wall.   If you are on Facebook and you haven’t checked out her writing yet, do so.   She gave me permission to repost what she wrote in it’s entirety.  

I think it’s that important.

It’s that important that adopted children and adults know that “we” hear their side of the story.

It’s that important that those who don’t see “the other side” see the other side, realize that adoption isn’t all rainbows and unicorns and then ask themselves, “Now what?”

Without further ramblings from me, I hand the mic to Carissa:

i don’t even know how to start this, but here we go…

hello, “national adoption month.” you’re here again. ahhh! and to think that i didn’t even know you existed four years ago. and i have to admit, i don’t think i would even still associate november with adoption. because i mostly think of november as a month that holds colder air and my birthday and my husband’s birthday and thanksgiving and falling leaves and wet rain. but i’m reminded about how you show up with all sorts of adoption quotes and orphan sunday promotions and gratitudes and even platitudes – all over social media. all month long, people engage with and educate with and inform and celebrate and raise the importance of the act of adoption. and behind all the words and banners and video clips and redemptive and feel-good stories, i certainly believe there are so many hearts and advocates who care…so, so much.

and then i think about the adult adopted person i sat with this week. and how his beginning story messed with his brain and body – with his worthiness – so, so much. and how the things people said to him sent messages to him that he should feel lucky and grateful because who knows where his life would’ve been if he hadn’t been adopted. but how no one talked about the hard things – the losses, the skin color, the other adopted kids in their home. and then how all those feelings got tucked and stuck inside, behind a smile.

so, i stand WITH him in asking, “what’s with all the highlight and glory of this month? why is there an entire month dedicated to bringing awareness to the “plight of the orphan” when so many are still hurting from all that happened so adoption could happen?”

my tears roll down my cheek, on his behalf. because the ache and questions and shitty parts of his story still linger. (am i allowed to say the “s” word if i add a “y” to soften it? :))

and then i think about all that i’ve been learning these past four years about the adoption and foster care world. SO much. but i’m not going to write about that tonight because i just want to invite you to let what lingers in him – in SO many adopted persons – linger in you as he…as you…as we…step into “national adoption month,” together. may you FEEL on his behalf. feeling WITH him (not FOR him) doesn’t have to take away from whatever your feelings are about this month, about adoption, but it does allow you in some mysterious way to stand WITH him, with the adopted person. in solidarity. which maybe…could open something in his spirit – in YOUR spirit – in OUR spirits, that would allow us to move forwards, together.

it’s always a both/and, but tonight, i leave you with just one side.

may you let the tension take you somewhere new…needed…good.


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