November is National Adoption Month, and as such, I’ve been seeing some new movements on social media surrounding adoption.

Yesterday, I posted about the #flipthescript movement, in which adoptees are attempting to raise their voices in the conversation around adoption, which is so often dominated by adoption agencies and adoptive parents. I linked out to the writings of several adoptees who wrote honest and sometimes painful accounts about being adopted, and I also featured a video of adoptees sharing their truth.

It caused some confusion with some of my readers. Do these people wish they had never been adopted? Do I think adoption is a bad thing since I shared their sentiments? If there is so much pain in adoption, should we ever celebrate it?

Then today, our family took part in #worldwideadoptionday, a campaign in which people touched by adoption from all over the world shared a picture.

This prompted more questions. If adoption is born of loss, why would we celebrate it? Why would we ever want to paint a rosy picture of adoption? I even saw a suggestion that the people participating in World Adoption Day “don’t give a crap about families in poverty, family preservation efforts, and first/birth parents.”

I thought I would try to explain my thinking on this one.

I believe that adoption is born of loss and I believe that adoption is something to celebrate, and I believe that both of those realities can exist at the same time. I believe that adoption is complex . . . and is never “all good’ or “all bad.” For a child to be available for adoption, it means that there has been a loss of connection to his or her birthparents. This is a devastating loss, one felt at varying degrees by adoptees throughout their lifespan. This loss is felt more profoundly by some adoptees than by others, but all of their experiences are valid. My children will have their own stories to tell about their adoption experience.

Adoption, at it’s core, is necessitated by loss.

However, I also believe that adoption is a redemptive experience to loss. Adoption will not erase the loss, but it does provide a loving family for children who have lost their own. Adoption should not be the cause of a severing of parents from their children . . . and I do believe firmly in family preservation as a top priority whenever possible. I’ve written before that I don’t think that poverty should be a reason children are orphaned. I would like to see a decrease in the number of children who become available for adoption . . . but at the same time, I’d like to see an increase in the number of families willing to take waiting children. Does that make me pro-adoption or anti-adoption? I think it makes me neither. I think that adoption requires critical thinking and nuance that is outside these binary boxes. But for the many children around the globe who have been abandoned or orphaned, I do believe that adoption is a beautiful and redemptive outcome to tragic circumstances.

So, yes. We recognize and mourn the losses inherent in adoption while also celebrating that adoption formed a family from that loss.