Adoption

  1. One of my goals for 2016 is to finalize my name change.

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  2. "I was always telling the same story. For years, I thought its real power might be found in repetition: If I just told it often enough, then maybe, eventually, everyone would see me—my family, my adoption—as 'normal.' I wanted the story that had once convinced me to convince everyone. I wanted to believe I could make the story serve me."

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  3. It wasn’t my mother's prejudice regarding her potential adopted offspring that struck me; it was this racism infecting my adoption origin story. She hadn’t waited years and years for me because there was some baby shortage in our small Midwestern town. She had waited to adopt because she wanted an "all white" infant girl.

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  4. Openness in adoption means more than acknowledging the fact of the adoption, "honoring" the birth mother's decision, celebrating "Gotcha Day." Openness means that everything is on the table.

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  5. Adoption has such a huge effect on how I see gifts now. If I am expected to be grateful for anything, I would rather not have it. I don’t want to feel in debt. I find it hard even to write the word grateful in an email. I feel both overly thankful for any offer, for any help, and yet extremely stressed out about having to pay it back.

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  6. It is profoundly disturbing to imply that adopted kids should feel lucky to be alive, which is exactly how it felt every time my grandmother (or religion teacher, or other various and sundry well-intentioned commenters) spouted off some iteration of “your birthmother chose life.”

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  7. I think a lot of adopted children feel they are Not Allowed to be angry; I think a lot of adopted adults feel, still, that we are Not Allowed to be angry. The predominant narratives of "National Adoption Month" explain why: most adoption narratives, particularly those available to children, leave no room for pain.

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  8. Last year, a couple in Florida – presumably hoping to distinguish their $45,000 adoption crowdfunding campaign from others like it – came up with a gimmick they referred to as the “Baby Draft”: If you donated, you could vote for your favorite football team, and the adopted child would be raised as a fan of whichever team got the most votes.

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  9. "We often think of intercountry adoption as this personal, private thing between an adoptee and their adoptive parents and birth parents. But adoption and intercountry adoption are also extremely public acts. They are influenced by large forces like national laws; ideas about race, gender, family; geopolitics, etc. In turn, adoption is used in the public sphere to signify certain things -- like America’s goodness or antiracism. A more complex view of intercountry adoption should lead…

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  10. When I was in high school, I saw myself as someone who moved between cliques. My main friend group included smart athletic types, potheads, and nerds (we wouldn’t have classified ourselves in that way—we would have said we were “normal”). Many of us were in Model U.N., mostly because it meant a trip every year. A few of us were friends with the more popular kids. A few of us who played sports were friends…

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  11. My mission is to find a photograph of all seven of us; my six siblings and myself, alone. Well; alone, together. My publisher thinks this would make a great frontispiece for my debut memoir, also known as the story of why my biological siblings and I were split up as children and how we found one another again as adults. I know, even as I respond to this request with a number of exclamation points, that…

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  12. 1. At first it’s probably not obvious that you are their only nonwhite friend. Maybe you can’t remember them hanging out with any people of color except for you, but you don't know all the people they know. All those tiny thumbnails of white faces, commenting on their political status updates and praising their selfies on Facebook -- that’s Facebook, what can it really tell you about someone's life? Sure, you might go over to your friend's place for…

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  13. Years ago, two friends sat across from me at their gleaming kitchen table and asked if I thought they should adopt a child. It might seem like a strange question to ask a fresh college graduate still years away from becoming a parent herself. But this couple happened to be weighing transracial adoption, and I was the only adopted person and one of very few people of color they knew. We had recently been introduced by…

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  14. Previously: Veronica Brown and the Indian Child Welfare Act. Though she is now a walking, talking preschooler, the headline read, "Baby Veronica Handed Over to Adoptive Parents." On the night of Monday September 23, 2013, Veronica Brown was removed from the care of her biological father and transferred to the custody of the couple who wanted her. The case that started in South Carolina Family Court as "Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl," went all…

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  15. Back in April, law student/author/friend to The Toast Meagan Hatcher-Mays wrote an article about the Baby Veronica case, which had just then reached the Supreme Court. The response she received was overwhelming. We asked if we could speak with her about the details of the case and the reaction to her piece. Meagan! Thanks so much for being willing to talk with us about this.  No problem! So you wrote this piece about…

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