In a recent post of Sandra’s, she mentions the possibility of a family wanting an “invisible adoption.” Her comment triggered some thoughts on the mere concept of an invisible adoption. I wonder how much the adoptions of the past followed this theory? I am aware that in the past some so-called “experts” agreed with the theory of adopting a child who would look like the rest of the family.
On the surface, the idea of adopting a child who would feel as though they fit in by looking like everyone else might make some sense. However, I wonder how much of a temptation to carry the invisible adoption theory even further might be. Closed adoptions definitely can make the birth parents invisible. Except these days, you cannot be certain that they might not magically reappear with adoption searches becoming more acceptable.
However, the whole theory of an invisible adoption makes me squirm a bit. No offense to Sandra, she was just presenting the realities of what some people want. There is no doubt that some adoptive parents want to play down the idea of a child that they adopt having a past. Honestly, I hope parents wanting to pretend that a child has no past are rare.
Trends seem to indicate that parents who adopt these days recognize the folly of the pretense of an invisible adoption. Particularly when adopting internationally, adoptive parents seem much more aware of the potential harm of ignoring a child’s culture and home country. Many parents adopting internationally now get as much information as possible at the time of an adoption about birth family as well. Some adoptive families now undertake searches for children that they have already adopted from other countries. I see all these developments as healthy for children.
Mo, Korean adoption blogger, often talks about presenting opportunities for her son to be exposed to his Korean birth country. Interestingly enough, Mo and her son were both adopted from Korea, so that puts her in a unique position of understanding the benefits of not pretending that a child has no ties to their birth country. At least physically, she does have an invisible adoption, but I can tell that she is solidly based in reality with no need for any pretense.
An invisible adoption reeks too much to me of pretense and trying to ignore the idea that a child has a past, another family or sometimes another country. I think on many levels, it is a faulty concept to pretend that a child was not adopted. Many adoptive parents tried to do that in the past, and too often it backfired on them.
Although I do not believe it is necessary to mention a child’s adoptive status every second of every day, I think it is natural and healthy for it to be referred to on a regular basis. Adoption takes on tones of mystery, intrigue and darkness for a family if it is never discussed. An adopted child’s entry into a family should be celebrated as the unique event that it is, and making an adoption appear invisible is a bad idea.