Saturday, November 21, 2009

National Adoption Month, Day, Whatever...

By David Biddle for Adopt-a-tude

As part of National Adoption Month, today, Saturday, is NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY. Normally, I hate the idea of honoring something important (like mothers, fathers, the earth, even our country’s independence and the love we celebrate every February) with a single day. Obviously, every day should be a day we honor our parents, the earth we live on, the freedom past generations fought to protect for us, and love itself. But National Adoption Day actually carries with it a level of celebratory activity that goes far beyond ritual and Hallmark cards.

Check out the web site for National Adoption Day and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Since 2000 when it was initiated, 25,000 kids have been adopted on National Adoption Day. Last year 4,000 adoption applications were processed on this day. Today as many as 6,700 applications will be filed.

According to adoption spokesperson, the actress and adopting mom Nia Vardalos (the star of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding), most of these adoptions are of foster kids, but the really impressive aspect of this day is that judges, lawyers, social workers, counselors, and other professionals give their time for free in order to make foster care and adoption in general more affordable for families and kids. There is no question that for 6,700 kids out there today (and probably 12,000 or more adults longing to become parents or extend their capacity to love), November 21, 2009 is a profound day of celebration. As someone adopted 51 years ago, I join you all in this celebration.

All that said, as a writer here at Adopt-a-Tude, and a resident adoptee (who is working diligently on getting some serious atteetude), let me provide an observation that I don’t see at many mainstream adoption web sites: adoption as a social phenomenon is only just now finding a purchase in this culture.

For years the focus has been on normalizing life for adopting families and adoptees. These days, a lot of adoptees are getting kind of uppity. We’re sort of proud of that. Check out some of the web sites referenced here to the right at Adopt-a-Tude. I particularly like Harlow’s Monkey. Also, you don’t have to agree with them, but the folks at Bastard Nation are probably the best source of information about leading edge adoption-oriented media and cultural offerings. Check out their reference to a transracial adoption film festival that just ended last week in Minneapolis (our bad for not reporting on this earlier). Also, pay close attention to the work being done at the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. Research in this field is spotty at best, but exceedingly important to pay attention to.

Finally, I want to leave you with two references that I came across this week well worth the time. The first is an article called “Shotgun Adoption” published by The Nation back in August. It details some pretty scary things about crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) that maybe the media doesn’t report on enough because the plight of unwed, young birthmothers is something most people don’t want to think about (although us adoptees can’t help ourselves…for obvious reasons).

The second reference I offer in all fun and jest, but as a final statement from an adoptee in identity flux (there are many of us, trust me). Alison Larkin is taking the adoption reunion situation to new heights with her comedy and writing. For a special treat, check her out at YouTube singing about that mysteriously important component of adult personality in The DNA Song.

Happy Adoption Day and may the rest of your holiday season be joyous, thought provoking, and self-transcending.


Martha Nichols said...
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Martha Nichols said...

This is such a fabulous post, celebratory in just the right key. Love the Alison Larkin song--why don't you post the YouTube clip itself on the blog?--and I intend to take a look at The Nation piece when I have more time.

Mostly, I just wanted to say Happy Adoption Day, Month, Whatever (I like that formulation, too: DMW) to all. David, you are very right that adoption is just starting to blip on the media radar as a social phenomenon. I hope we at Adopt-a-tude can keep it there.