“Forever Families.” It’s a term bandied about the adoptive community – parents and adoption experts (social workers, agency directors, etc.). I’ve been guilty using it myself, especially when my oldest daughter was a baby. But, times change and what once sounded good makes me uncomfortable now. I feel the term was created by a well-intentioned adult for the purposes of reassuring adoptive parents. I can’t and don’t embrace the term.
As my kids have become older, I realize that they and I have become more sensitive to some of the terms and accepted ideas within the adoption community. The well meaning terms can do more harm than good. “Forever Families” can create suspicion and distrust with the adoptee, evoking uncertainty. Let me put it this way, have you ever heard a non-adoptive parent apply the term “Forever Family” to theirs? I’m betting your answer is “no”.
I want my family to speak for itself by demonstrating that we‘re a family. My family and the relationships within it are built on sharing and trust of moments and interactions. There is no need to say “Forever Family”; our actions and our relationships show that we are a family, like any other.
Forever Families happen when parents love their child – even when their behavior isn’t the best. Forever Families happen when parents and children spend time with one another appreciating and embracing their interests, similarities and differences. Forever Families happen when parents show their children they are valuable members of the family. Forever Families happen when birth family, culture, race, and ethnicity are acknowledged and embraced. Forever Families. Don’t say it; be it.