Recently, I had the privilege of moderating an adoptees-only forum hosted by the NYC based organization Also Known As (AKA). This amazing group of adult adoptees and friends works to give a voice to adult adoptees by providing innovative post-adoption services, educational programs, and community building activities. Please go to their website and FB page, learn more about them, and lend them support even if it’s just a like.
One of the community building activities that AKA runs on a regular basis is adoptee-only, adoptee-led discussion forums. The forum I moderated was focused on the topic of gratitude. I have to admit that part of my interest was because I was struggling to write this article. It had progressed in fits and starts (more the former than the latter), but my desire to write this article and the series it hopefully starts, hadn’t waned. The Universe aka Internet must’ve been listening since out of the seeming blue one of the AKA board members that I knew messaged me about moderating an adoptee forum on Gratitude. I leapt at the chance and I’m grateful (haha) to her and to AKA for the opportunity.
The forum went better than I could’ve hoped. The discussion flowed well, I kept my blathering to a minimum, and everyone listened as much or more than they talked. I’ll be writing more on the topics of adoption, adoptees, and gratitude in the future, but the following thoughts, in no particular order, stand out for me:
- Every adoptee has thought about and sometimes struggled with Gratitude and their relationship to it. It is a topic that can bring adoptees together.
- There is no one correct answer. Some adoptees feel grateful for their adoption, and others don’t. Some are in-between. All viewpoints should be heard and evaluated in the discussion.
- Related to “B”, adoptees have a collective frustration in being told by outside forces how we should feel. This is what I call the “obligation to gratefulness”. Whatever our personal feelings and ideas, they are ours to form, and nobody has the right to dictate them to us.
I am exercising my voice, my power, through this ongoing series. I will explore the dimensions of the gratitude issue through as many lenses and perspectives as I can. Mainly, this means listening to my fellow adoptees, but I am open to ideas from all sources. I don’t promise my reception of these ideas will be charitable or magnanimous, but I won’t be blindly dismissive. I’m excited to see where this goes.