Saturday, November 7, 2009

Adoption is not an event

"Adoption is not an event Adoption is not a snapshot in time. It is a moving picture that goes on through this life and into the one that follows. " Pavao, Joyce The Family of Adoption

I came across this quote in a workshop I attended this week and it kept floating around in my mind. This is such an important concept. It's simple, yet so many of us focus on the act of adoption and then stop thinking about the rest of the process. Just like giving birth it is part of an experience of life. However, it is easy to forget that life began prior to the moment that adoptive parents entered the scene and the impact of it will continue on into the future

In biological families, it is a given that children learn where they came from and come to understand who they are in the context of their family.  Adoptive children need help to come to know who they are, where they came from and support to form their own, unique identity.  They have perhaps, several families, and many people, known and fantasied who comprise them.  All of these people combine to have an impact on one's sense of self.  It's really important to acknowledge their existence.

I guess the message is: talk, talk, talk...listen, listen listen...all in due time.


  1. Thank you for that wonderful quote Dr. Dorf.

    I guess many of us adoptive parents dance around our childs' adoption. There is an underlining fear that my child will resent us as well as their birth parents for our actions. I love my Son with all my heart but this is such a difficult process.
    When to talk about it and will it upset him? Also how do you listen to him when he says nothing?

  2. I believe talking about adoption can be a natural part of everyday life. If you have a sense that your son is struggling, but does not yet have the words to express himself, perhaps you can say it for him....he will let you know if you are right....or wrong. just as with anything else.