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What Adoptees’ Stories Can Teach Us

Apr 18, 2019

This episode of ADOPTION NOW is a recap of Reshma McClintock’s incredible story from last week, because that episode was very heavy, April wanted to make sure that the things discussed in the episode were given enough attention. 

To continue to be a resource for the adoption community means to be flexible and open to any interpretation and story that is presented.

April says that is very important to listen to all stories and work to understand various perspectives because it makes our lives richer and widens the pool of adoption resources to draw from.

When April asked Noad what he thought about Reshma’s story, he couldn’t help but express how brave Reshma was to share so openly about everything. Noah also says it was unfortunate that Reshma faced those challenges, but they provide a great learning resource for the adoption community to draw from.

April agrees and when analyzing the moment that Reshma expressed her opposition to adoption, April understands her position. There are definitely moments when adoption has been extremely difficult for her and Noah:

“There are times when I look at our four children and I am sad for their families that don’t get to see what amazing little people they are.”

Another important item mentioned within the episode is the fact that adoptees don’t want to hear that they’re “lucky” for getting adopted. April says that’s a misconception that gets mentioned often within the adoption community. In reality, everyone involved is lucky! 

As April says, if you tell your child that they’re lucky, you are essentially telling them what to feel. Instead, allowing all adoptees to cultivate their own voice, and to communicate openly with their parents to create a safe space is important. That’s just one of the many things that Reshma taught us with her story.

To get the perspective from an adoptee, April and Noah invite John DeYoung back to the program. John, you may recall from his previous guest appearances in Season 1 and Season 3, is a South Korean adoptee who understands Reshma’s position and experience. April utilizes John’s experience to encourage people who may be asking themselves, “should I even adopt?” 

Like Reshma, John was adopted in a period of time with little to no resources for adoption. But John points out the limitations of taking that narrative and applying it to modern times.

John states that adoption is still just as difficult as it’s ever been, but with a larger support system, community, and pool of resources--like ADOPTION NOW--parents have much more awareness about the difficulties that Reshma experienced. In turn, parenting can be approached from a more careful focal point.

He also shares his journey back to South Korea and how in hindsight, John learned how much of a blessing adoption was for him personally. As he says, it took him a while to see that blessing, and he definitely didn’t appreciate people telling him what to feel. He says this about the early stages of his adoption experience:

“I was not happy when I was first adopted. I rebelled very hard. But now I’m like, hindsight and looking at my narrative now, I want to adopt...I want to be a part of another child’s story.”

April recognizes just how important the child’s story is. Not only telling the story and establishing open communication, but also knowing when to not tell their story. As April points out with Reshma’s story, a lot of her discomfort came from the fact that her parents told her story openly, even though Reshma wanted privacy in the matter. As April says, parents need to recognize that “your child needs you to notice when they feel small or excluded.”

April says a new adoption movement is taking effect to replace outdated thinking in the community. This means the parents are not seen as heroes and the children are not seen as lucky. Everyone is fortunate and blessed.

So with this being said, April reminds you that the whole point is to level the playing field between adoptive parent and adoptee to the outside world. Both are amazing and have stories that should be shared.  As well as taking the time to honor birth parents and hearing their stories as well! Everyone in the adoption story is important.

For more information on this aftershow episode, listen along! And be sure to check out last week’s episode on Reshma McClintock’s story, if you haven’t done so. As always, leave your questions and comments!