My post today forms part of the Weekly Adoption Shout Out theme – contact.
I make no bones of using this opportunity to plant a few thoughts.
However your family is made, imagine for a moment being together. There will be love and laughter, conflicts and hopes, truth and denial, loss and increase; celebration and heartache – all in one room. If we had to give that melting pot of experience a name, it would be something deeply evocative emotive; overflowing with depth and timbre.
In our adoptive families, they would have us believe the name of that gathering is ‘contact’.
Contact: a junction of surfaces, mutual tangency of the limbs of two celestial bodies, the junction of two electrical conductors, an association or relationship [Mirriam Webster].
Contact: an authority centric, institution focused, top down term that sanitises basic human bonds and strips them of all their wonder and emotion [Mumdrah]
Contact: a euphemism that tastes bitter on the tongue; tinny, awkward, hollow, municipal.
Contact: an instruction that communicates duty; an obligation to be endured.
Contact: a scene coloured with the grey of secrets, suspicion and partition.
Contact: a concept that turns a family encounter into nothing more than a meeting.
Contact: a word that transforms a family into alien nations struggling to overcome translation.
Words are powerful; metaphors for our cognitive framework. They inform our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. This policy wonk terminology of adoption sculpts the lives of everyone and anyone who enters. Unaware, we inherit this pervasive language and it shapes our families to its own design. Our use of it builds a restrictive cage around us, and perpetuates the trauma and isolation of adoption. It divides us and separates us, and upholds a system that is way off course.
These sterile words keep us all from a different way of thinking and understanding; one that could feed and nourish the road to healing and wholeness. By using them, we collude and ally ourselves with their negative values. The mindset these words creates seems to undermine and fracture the families they describe.
Indirect contact. Direct contact: all I can think of are those five iconic musical notes.
Think now how differently it would feel if instead of ‘contact’ we:
Gather. Visit. Party. Flock. Swarm. Throng. Huddle. Rally. Assemble. Powwow. Get together.
I work hard not to be infected by this terminology of adoption, and I reject their words #bethechange