Saturday, June 26, 2010

Adopted -- Past or Present Tense?

Adoption Mosaic's website offerings are getting better and better day by day -- be sure to bookmark it and visit often!  This video blog addresses a great issue -- is adoption a single event that happened in the past for an adoptee, or is it a part of an adoptee's ongoing identity?  Do adoptees say "I was adopted," or "I am adopted?"

I've addressed this issue before:

I remember reading something when Zoe was little that I thought was very clever -- say that your child WAS adopted, not IS adopted, because adopting is just a single event in the past, not part of who your child is now. I thought it very clever because it fit so neatly the "same as" narrative I was sure was right -- adoption is the "same as" having a child by birth, just another way to become a family. What a clever way to render adoption irrelevant to our daily lives, to my child's identity!

What I believe now is that adoption is a life-long issue, and cannot be relegated to a single event in the past.
I thought it was particularly interesting that Astrid says that when she was younger, she was comfortable with "was adopted," with the notion that adoption was an event, not an identity.  It wasn't until she became older and started to explore adoption issues that she realized how fundamentally it was part of her identity.


Mei Ling said...

The act of legally adopting a child only takes place once.

But once you are adopted, you cannot be unadopted, so the adjective form of "being adopted" is actually a reoccurrence.

Von said...

As I noted in a recent post what happens once your adopters are dead? Can you then say you 'were adopted'?
Adoptions can be annulled advice needed here by an expert.Would that render you 'not adopted'?
The legalities however are little to do with the feelings and how we perceive ourselves.Once adopted always adopted in my view.

Anonymous said...

Both....unless an adopted person is able to have the adoption annulled...then it is in the past tense.

Anonymous said...

Cannot not both be correct, depending on the context used?

One describes the single-event, the other describes a present "feeling" one may have.

I don't see a issue with allowing both to exist simultaneously and both be correct.

It is much like having two "real" sets of parents. Have we not learned that there are a lot of grey areas adoption?