In the quest for adoptee rights fear seems to be the most limiting factor. Not first parents fearing their child will find them, not adoptive parents fearing the effects of their adoptee reuniting, but adoptee’s own fear.
I don’t believe this fear is specific. Some may say they fear their adoptive parents reaction to reunion, some may say they fear rejection from their first parents, but I think this is not really the heart of this fear. Maybe something closer to the truth is when I hear adoptees saying they don’t feel safe discussing certain issues. Why is that and where does this fear really come from?
I’m beginning to think this fear stems from finally having to grow up. Having to stop being the adopted child, and start being an atonomous adult. It has to do with giving up the last shreds of being a foundling, and finding your own voice.
In order to demand equal treatment, you must first see yourself as equal. You must be willing of let go of all the things that you’ve been told and take a look at what you really are. If you see yourself as a victim, you may get understanding and support, but you will not be trusted with the tools of self-determination. If you think you need help, there are many out there that will help you, but you are in no place to make demands.
In all struggles for equal treatment, the biggest obstacle has been convincing the oppressed group that they truly deserved the rights that they sought. It was only when those groups could demonstrate that kind of confidence and self-pride that real changes could be accomplished.
The key to making gains is showing those who do not have a personal stake in your cause that you as a group are deserving of what you ask. To do this the non-involved must be able to identify with those seeking change. They must be able to see some of themselves in those who struggle for change. Those not effected must think that they would handle the situation as those asking for change.
We have to leave fear behind and present ourselves as equals, as a group deserving of change, we must show ourselves to be trustworthy with what we seek. We must show ourselves as they see themselves. We must leave the trappings of childhood behind and walk confidently toward that which we deserve.
We are no longer children. We have nothing to fear.