National Adoption Awareness Month, National Adoption Month, or National Adoptee Awareness Month, however you choose to call it, is the month of November. If you search it, you get lots of results that explain how it began (often without a why) and how to participate. These articles are often also published by groups/companies/organizations who stand to profit from the traffic, and so are probably very optimized to appear first in your search engine’s results page.
For the purposes of what I am trying to accomplish, I first want to start with the name of the month. When I was first made aware of NAAM, it was after starting the Janchi Show and getting connected to a whole network of (usually Asian, transracial, and transnational) adoptees. I remember very specifically choosing to call it Adoptee awareness month, because our voices are too often silenced and shoved aside so the aforementioned groups/companies/organizations who make adoption their business can focus their content on adoptive parents. This month, then, also inherently centers adoptive parents’ voices, experiences and points-of-view. I leave it to you to search the hashtag (or whatever looking up those stories looks like for you) and get a sense of what parents say—my hunch is you won’t need to read many to get the dominant narrative.
Centering Myself, an Adoptee: My Voice, Experience and Point-of-View
In the years since, I’ve not really entered into self-expression during this month. Partially, this was caused by Life doing its thing and doing me any favors in terms of brain-space to do this type of self-exploration (or, ‘navel-gazing,’ as I often call it). In 2022, however, Life seems to have calmed enough for me to participate in this time of self-reflection—at least a little bit.
First off, I want to acknowledge that my journey and writings will be based around the topics and prompts provided by Mindy Tsonas Choi (she/her), previous guest of the Janchi Show and Artist in Residence at Collective Belonging, that she posted on Instagram (embedded below…unless it’s broken for some reason). I’m incredibly grateful for these prompts, because contrary to popular belief, adoption is quite nuanced, wide-ranging and hard to enter into without guidance. It is not the simple savior-narrative so often perpetuated by non-adoptee participants.
Thus, I begin with an unapologetic statement of intent:
- I will not be writing 30 days of posts.
- I will not be writing about every topic listed here.
- I will not go in order.
- I will not be disappointed in myself if this is the only article I write.
- I will not back down from centering myself in the context of these articles as much as they are self-centered.
I’ll not say I’m excited to be observing National Adoption Awareness Month, but I am grateful for the space to do so. As I continue my journey into defining who I am post-adoption-apocalypse, this seems an important and necessary step.