It has been such a beautiful experience and one of the best things I think they did was immersed me in the culture from an early age. Although I look very similar to the mother I have now, it was crucial for me to gather that sense of identity in the little bit of roots I know. Ukrainian.
I had the option to do Ukrainian dancing, school, and learn the language. Looking back, I can see how that decision shaped, and made
the adoption more normalized. I was surrounded by other kids who were adopted, and allowed me as a small child to open the conversation for myself, and for me to find my own language, and feeling around it.
One thing that has always troubled me with being immersed around other adoptees, and their families, is keeping up the facade that everything is okay. In both the public eye, and the similar families, there is such an expected gratefulness that the kids are required to possess, which can be quite harmful. I always received the message, "oh don't you know how lucky you are". "You could be on the streets, or worse, your parents are saints". "Dont ever be rude to your parents, they paid a lot of money for you". All of these crushed me, and continue to squander my voice. When severe trauma hit my family, and life, these comments made me feel unheard, and overlooked. I no longer had the space to feels all sides of being adopted.
The first piece is acknowledging more sides to adoption, and then allowing space for it. There is space for days when being grateful is the last thing you feel. I still grieve the loss, and the "what could have beens" years later. Birthdays are incredibly hard, and family tree assignments in school become more crushing every year. The social expectation of how the adoptee must feel creates such a divide, whether you are the parent or in the community. It is amazing what you can see unfold when you give a child the space for whatever comes. -adoptee @liliyahulse
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