I am learning to alter my message based on the age group I am dealing with. Thankfully I realize this just as I am beginning my public speaking career. I cannot say the same things to adopted kids as I can to adults who were adopted. Dually noted.
Adults understand the “adopted kids have issues” statement I so often make. Kids haven’t gotten to the point in life where they connect their unexplained emotions to adoption, and they are definitely not at the point where they can accept their “issues” rather than see them as flaws.
A few experiences have really brought this to light:
1. An adoptive father brought his 10 year old daughter to the first That Adopted Girl event. In my address to the attendees I said “I was adopted so I know about the issues that adoptees deal with.” No joke, he basically fled the scene once I was done speaking. Whether that was because he doesn’t want to face that his daughter might face some adoption issues or because he doesn’t want her to think that she has issues is between him and the universe.
2. I had a young girl on Instagram write to me and say that her “friend” was adopted and was offended that the account’s headline says that adopted kids have issues. I explained that I was adopted and was not saying “issues” in a negative way but rather accepting that we have struggles and that those struggles are justified and do not need to be detrimental. Then she said…”I was adopted too.” I’m guessing that she was, indeed, the offended friend.
3. I was told, “I don’t think my daughter (13) is quite ready for your blog.
THE LAST thing I want to do is make an adopted kid feel like something is wrong with them. I am all about self worth, self love and self acceptance. These are the things that we focus on in That Adopted Girl Inc. Being at the age I am and having over a decade of experience exploring adoption issues, I guess i needed to be reminded that most kids aren’t ready to turn their wounds in to wisdom as they are still learning to understand their wounds. I only began to explore my issues when I was 12 and probably wasn’t ready for someone to call them “issues” until i was 17.
With the kids I like to be a person that they can find comfort in because I relate to their experience. I act more as a guide, talking only about what they are ready to talk about, helping them navigate what they are experiencing. I share my story so they can take the bits and pieces that they relate to and leave the rest. I trekked through the darkness to the light, and now am here to help others do the same, whatever stage they are in, whatever steps they are ready to take through the tough stuff.
LOVE always and forever,