Note from Danielle: This is the first time that I’ve hosted a guest post on my blog. I don’t know if I’ll do it again. What I do know is that I’ve been watching Twitter, specifically the #flipthescript hashtag, intently since the beginning of November. I’ve wanted to write about it, but I knew that in doing so I would be co-opting a narrative that doesn’t belong to me. That, of course, would completely negate the point of the hashtag. Instead, I reached out to Kat, and asked her if she would write something up so I could share here. What she has chosen to share is an eloquent summation of what this hashtag is, what it means to adoptees, and the importance of this movement, not only in this month but going forward.
Please welcome Kat kindly, be sure to comment, and share her words.
Last year, NPR did a story on transracial adoption. The problem: They neglected to include any adoptee voices in the piece. (You can search #NPRgate on Twitter to discover how adoptees felt about that).
Adoptees often feel left out of the adoption conversation. Many times, adoptive parents and those who have careers in the field of adoption are considered the experts, and their voices are utilized much more often than adoptees. This is unfortunate because adult adoptees are a wealth of knowledge with a lifetime of experience to contribute to the adoption conversation. Adoptee voices are important.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month (NAAM). It’s a month that many adoptees insulate themselves from media outlets because it can be a traumatic experience hearing others celebrate something that feels like a fundamental loss. #flipthescript has changed that.
#flipthescript originated with two incredible authors from the adoptee centric website The Lost Daughters, Amanda of The Declassified Adoptee and Rosita of mothermade. In response to the silencing of adoptee voices, they decided to “flip the script” and find a way for adoptees to take center stage. Use of #flipthescript on social media, most notably Twitter and Facebook has become a phenomenon and we’re seeing that adoptees are not feeling isolated and dismissed during NAAM2014. Adoptees are feeling included, found, heard and accepted.
#flipthescript doesn’t elevate adoption. It elevates the adoptee voice. It’s about adoptive parents, original parents and the adoption community listening to adoptees.
Adoptees are experts in adoption because it is the life they have lived. As they speak about the complexity of an adopted life, it is not as simple as “pro-adoption or “anti-adoption.” Adoptees don’t want to be labeled in such simplistic terms. They want to use the language they choose to express themselves about their experience. Adoptees don’t want to be criticized for their language choices or feelings when those don’t fit within the ideas the adoption industry has promoted. They want to be honest. Complexity is part of the story. It isn’t about one tweet or one day or one month of tweets. #Flipthescript is changing the conversation to an honest one. It is changing who is center stage.
The experiences are individual, but there is a collective of adoptee voices that want to be heard in expressing their complex experiences, feelings and thoughts about adoption.
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Now that I’ve shared why adoptee voices are so important, here are a few adoptee voices who have agreed to share their #flipthescript tweets.
“Conceived out of an affair w/ a married man, hidden and given away at birth, I needed my truth no matter what it was. #NAAM14 #Flipthescript”@FreeSimplyMe 11/12/14
“Adoption does not guarantee a child a better life. Only a different one. #WorldAdoptionDay #Flipthescript” @MizPotatohead11/9/14
“#Adoption is lifelong. Efforts that focus on pre-adopt images/stereotypes contribute to our invisibility #flipthescript #worldadoptiondy”@AmandaTDA11/9/14
“Feeling adopted isn’t solved in a month or two. It’s until I die. #flipthescript #adopteefeelings #adoptionawareness”@73JungSun 11/6/14
“If I told you I’d lost my mother you’d say how sad, if I told you I was adopted you’d say GREAT. It’s the same thing #flipthescript #NAAM14”@Kbela5011/12/14
“I’m not saying I don’t love my life, I’m saying I’m missing a part of it. #NationalAdoptionMonth #flipthescript”@imeesayswhat11/7/14
“The script said mother’s teen pregnancy was a horrible problem. I was a tiny baby. How could I be so horrible? #flipthescript #NAAM14”@MichelleWPD11/7/14
“I am 10 crying to sleep. What is this feeling? Am I good enough? Am I confident enough? Why did this all happen? #Adoptee #FlipTheScript #NAM” @Spoutnikya 11/7/14
“I’d share photo of my hand *. But couldn’t fit happy, sad, confused, angry, curious, indifferent faces on it. #worldadoptionday #flipthescript”@JulieStromberg11/9/14
Adoptees want to share our stories, experiences, complexity and perspectives. We want to be heard, understood and accepted. We would love to see our adoptive family, biological family, those in adoption related careers and the adoption community (which includes just about everyone) in the audience listening to our voices. We have much to share, and our voices are crucial in the adoption conversation. Please join us as we #flipthescript.
**In reference to the pictures of smiley faces on hands for World Adoption Day.
Kat is an adoptee from open adoption. She was relinquished eleven months after her birth in 1972 and legally adopted when she was eight. She is active within the adoption community as an adoption reform activist, family preservation advocate and adoptee rights activist. Kat also blogs at Sister Wish.