Meet Ariana, a 4th grade, transracial adoptee. She's a purple loving, horse drawing, audacious and stunning gal.
Ariana (the only child in last night's audience) sat in the third row with her moms for the Closure screening and Q &A (hosted by Open Adopt). The Q & A was chock full of discussions about openness vs. closed adoptions, feelings around being relinquished and relationship building with new birth family members and other triggering and emotionally laden questions. Peppered between these carefully worded questions by people thirty years her senior, Ariana raised her hand and fearlessly made her presence known.
"Were you ever bullied for having parents that didn't look like you?"
"It might sound strange, but I actually like being adopted! It's like I just have more family."
In front of a room full of strangers, Ariana and I had an open dialogue about what it may look like for adoptees to love both their birth family and their adoptive family. The beauty of her questions combined with the strength that she brought to this group was not lost on me. Our conversation undoubtedly served as useful fodder for the other folks in the room to dissect and surmise over. Rather than focusing on correct terminology, or adoptive parenting strategies, Ariana allowed a peek inside the reality through a young adoptee's unfiltered lens. I couldn't help but think back on my conversation with Valeria and immediately notice one glaring and beautiful commonality - their adoptive moms allowing them the space to speak freely.
I am imagining a group of 10 tween or teen adoptees sitting in a circle around my living room having a dynamic conversation (facilitated by myself) about their experiences (filmed by Bryan?). I'm quite certain that a discussion between Ariana, Valeria and others may be more powerful than any of my breakout sessions or keynote speeches. Email me if you have a child that may be interested in being part of this project.
*** This post was written with the verbal consent of Arianna, and her moms.***