ABCS OF ADOPTION
A IS FOR
ADOPTION is a process by which an adoptive parent assumes full and permanent legal responsibility for a child and biological parents surrender their legal right to custody.
A also stands for ABANDONMENT ISSUES. These are very common amongst adoptees as the sense of abandonment and fear of losing loved ones can often manifest in the form of anxiety, trust issues and insecurity.
B IS FOR
BIRTH PARENTS - one's biological parents. Biological parent's are part of the adoptive triangle.
C IS FOR
CHILDHOOD TRAUMA is considered to be an exceptionally painful or distressing experience for a child which often has a lasting mental or physical effect.
D IS FOR
DENIAL can feature heavily in an adoptee's experience. While everyone's experience with adoption may be different, denial is a defence mechanism through which one represses unwelcome thoughts and feelings in order to avoid confronting them.
E IS FOR
ETHNICITY often confused with race. Frequent misuse in the media of the terms has muddied the waters considerably in terms of definition. In its most basic terms, ethnicity refers to shared cultural components while race relates to biological similarities.
F IS FOR
FAMILY is at the heart of adoption. It is giving people who might not otherwise have had the opportunity the chance to become parents.
FANTASY FAMILIES also feature heavily within adoption. Young adopted children will often create imaginary backstories to fill in the blanks of their story and make themselves feel special.
THE FOG is a term often used to describe a state of mind where the adoptee has not yet come to terms with the implications of being adopted and actively seek to repress the part of their identity associated with adoption.
G IS FOR
GOTCHA DAYS are often celebrated by adoptive families to celebrate the day which they adopted their child. A trend that has recently taken off considerably amongst pet owners.
H IS FOR
HOARDING is a common behaviour trait amongst adoptees and can manifest itself in the hiding and storing of either food, possessions or money. This relates to feelings of insecurity and a need to protect oneself against future instability.
I IS FOR
IDENTITY CRISISES are common amongst adoptees. A change in environment at a young age can leave one feeling at odds and out of sorts.
I, therefore is also for IMPOSTER SYNDROME, the feelings of persisting inadequacy or self-doubt despite proven successes. It is often characterised by the feeling that one 'doesn't deserve' one's position.
J IS FOR
JUST FOR FUN here are some people you might not have known were part of the adoptive triangle.
Steve Jobs was adopted as a new-born.
Viola Davis is one of many celebrities who have taken part in adoption.
Skrillex didn't find out until he was 16 that he had been adopted.
K IS FOR
KUNG FLU, thanks to a certain American president this term made its way into the vernacular last year. Since the start of the pandemic, sinophobia has been on the rise as some people have decided to blame East Asians for spreading the virus.
Clink the link below to read Emma's article on Kung Flu.
L IS FOR
'LUCKY'. Adoptees are often told how 'lucky' they are to have been adopted . This is not always the best thing to say to an adoptee as it can reinforce the idea that they have to earn or validate their existence.
M IS FOR
MYTH BUSTING. There are many misconceptions surrounding adoption. Part of Whatever Next's aims is to start off by debunking a few of these.
N IS FOR
NATURE V. NURTURE is a time old argument exploring whether or not ones genetic coding or environmental upbringing has a greater effect on one's person. There have been many studies on adopted siblings to try and explore this. A prime example of this is 'Three Identical Strangers'.
O IS FOR
ORPHANAGES are residential institutions designed to look after children without parents.
P IS FOR
PRIMAL WOUND Theory posits the idea that "severing the connection between the infant and biological mother" during the adoption process creates a deep 'primal wound' in the child. Whatever Next has reservations about this school of thought as it places a great deal of agency on the natural bond between birth mother and child and suggests any attempts at replicating this will inevitably fall short.
Q IS FOR
QUESTIONS! We are still learning and trying to improve ourselves. We are never too old or too wise to learn something new and if you have anything you would like to add, please do not hesitate to get in touch!
R IS FOR
REUNION. This is not something every adoptee will be interested in. Reconnecting with one's birth family can often be an extremely daunting prospect and one that takes its toll emotionally as well. If you would like to explore this with us please take a look at our GOING BACK section.
S IS FOR
SADNESS. It is 100% natural to have off days and days where you think about your past. It is important to give yourself time to process these feelings in a healthy way. We recommend reaching out to a friend or loved one, especially a furry one with four legs!
T IS FOR
TWENTY-TWENTY was a rough year. One positive that we managed to salvage was this project! We hope that TWENTY-TWENTY can also stand for clarity and better understanding as we try and make sense of adoption and what it means to us in the years going forward!
T also stands for THERAPY. Therapy is not the answer for everybody but many people manage to find solace through talking over their fears and worries or by joining groups made up of people with similar shared experiences.
U IS FOR
UNDER-REPRESENTATION in the media. Adoptees did not come off particularly well in the 2009 film, Orphan. While films and books often use the loss of one or both parents at an early age as character and plot development #Disney - the issues behind adoption are often glossed over.
V IS FOR
VALIDATION. Sweet, sweet validation. Self-worth is something many adoptees struggle with and so will look for validation from those around them in order to feel secure in themselves.
W IS FOR
WAP. Get your mind out the gutter. Within the Adoptive lexicon, WAP stands for White Adoptive Parents.
W also stands for WHITE SAVIOUR COMPLEX, not dissimilar in definition to Rudyard Kipling's infamous poem, "The White Man's Burden". The complex given to someone who feels duty-bound to help POC (People of Colour) in a thoroughly self-serving and performative way. Think the Flowers of War ft. Christian Bale.
Lastly, W stands for 'WHAT ARE YOU?' a question 9 out of 10 adoptees have heard and 10 out of 10 are fed up with hearing. We are not a puppy you've just met at a park.
X IS FOR
(E)XOTIC. See below. Fetishizing someone because of their race is never okay x
Y IS FOR
YELLOW FEVER is a term often used to describe someone with a fetish for exclusively dating Asians.