In National Adoption Week, we send love to all the different people who are affected by adoption in different ways. It’s a time to celebrate all the joy & happiness that adoption has brought to so many new families. A time to advocate for good support for adoptive families living with the ongoing challenges that relational trauma can bring. And it’s also a time to remember the birth families that have experienced disruption, sadness & loss.
Since the 1990’s, adoption has become a more open process, with encouragement for children to know & understand their birth history from an early age. There is better support (although this still needs much more investment) for ongoing contact with birth family members & research indicates that any contact works best where there is a clear focus on the needs of the child.
As adults in the lives of adopted children – adoptive parents, birth parents, relatives, social workers & other professionals – we have a responsibility to recognise that a child’s sense of identity grows & develops over time, within caring relationships & communities. This co-creation of meaning together, continues throughout childhood & into adult life. At different stages in their development, a child will revisit their story with new levels of maturity & their story will evolve. They will ask new questions & develop new meanings. As a community, it is our job to walk alongside them & be there for them. To respect & honour each other & our respective roles in our child’s life. To be their safe base where they can connect, reflect & continue to grow.