As writers, we have an intimate relationship with words; we feel their weight and recognize their significance on a daily basis. For those of us touched by adoption, this relationship becomes even more complex. Often, joining the adoption community means learning a new language; figuratively – as old words take on new meanings and others become suddenly insufficient, and literally – when adoption brings a foreign language to the family.
Vocabulary, phrasing, and naming become delicate matters that often require not only great sensitivity, but an abundance of creativity as well. We work together, within our own families, and inside the greater community, using words to educate and support one another. Communication is essential for adoption relationships to thrive, and while there are numerous tools at our disposal, words can be both the greatest and weakest of these.
I asked three fabulous She Writers to share some thoughts and memories from their own experiences with adoption. I picked and probed into some very personal issues, and all three women were generous in both their willingness to share, and the honesty with which they did so.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Adoption as a Second Language
A roundtable discussion about adoption language with three writers who are also a birth mother, an adoptee and an adoptive parent, introduced as follows: