Chances are that you know someone who is either an adoptee or an adoptive parent. Thankfully, adoption is becoming a topic that is more openly spoken about and embraced. In order to continue this trend, we all need to be mindful of adoption’s impact on the lives of people who have been adopted.
Here are a few tips on how to be an advocate for adoptees:
1) By supporting adoptive families, you are supporting the children they have adopted. There are moments in the lives of adoptive families when they are in desperate need of friends who will listen without judgment. The same goes for adoptees. Providing support and tending to their needs goes a long way.
2) Stay informed of the changes in adoption laws and statutes. These changes absolutely have a direct impact on those affected by adoption. If you are able to, write a letter to lawmakers about how changes will hurt or help adoptees.
3) Be willing to assist in research. If an adoptee asks for assistance in finding out information about biological parents or any other issue, be a partner in this. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
4) Don’t buy into the negative stereotypes out there about adoption, adoptive families and adoptees. Everyone’s adoption experience is unique and while there are some bad situations that have happened, these do not, in any way, cover the entirety of the adoption community.
5) If an adoptee is struggling, just be present. You do not need to know or have all of the answers. Your presence speaks louder than words.
6) If something is important (whether is a legal right or a decision needing to be made) to an adoptee, find out how you can help. You may have expertise in a particular area that would benefit an adoptee. Use it.
7) Don’t assume you know it all. Listen and learn from those who have been adopted. The more you learn and understand, the better you can share smart and truthful information to others. The last thing adoptees need are people who refuse to listen and learn.
Adoption is complex. It involves both love and loss. Adoptees need people in their lives who are willing to sit with them in the trenches and advocate on their behalf. Chances are, you could be that person.