How has adoption changed your life?
Too many ways to list; adoption has formed my life as a professional and father. I started working in child welfare in the late 80's and ended up working in adoption department. In the course of my work I met my son who came home when he was 14 and we struggled to survive; both trying our best (most of the time). We were abandoned by "the system" and post-permanency was still a new idea. The illusion was that once his adoption was finalized all of the trauma that he faced for years would disappear. I later went to help form post-permanency practices as an employee of the Statewide Adoption Network.
What is a lesson from your adoption experience that could be life-changing for all families?
Do not become isolated! Surround yourself with people that understand how to best support your family. We could not depend on anyone in the education, mental health, juvenile justice/law enforcement systems to understand our family. So many professionals said to me in front of him "why don't you just give him back" that we both became resistant to seeking help. Fortunately we had friends, family, and a faith community that understood.
What changes would you like to see made in adoption?
Smash the cycle of secrecy, shame, and isolation and replace it with a cycle of openness, truth, and community that promotes wholeness.