I was so nervous cos it was the first time I had really talked to this many parents that had adopted from Vietnam. The way this talk went was that most of the time was used for Q & A. I spoke after Dr Elmarie Egan-Sage a Counseling Chartered and Research Psychologist that talked about separation anxiety, bereavement/ loss of birthmother and family, self esteem & trust. It was a hugely enlightening to hear her talk and I really felt that doing my talk after was a lovely contrast between a more psychological view and a lived one. I think it was important for me to be as open and honest as possible… and funny enough, I thought I was going to have some much tougher questions asked… but in the end it just felt like I had a nice conversation with 70 other people =P.
It’s still a strange concept to me that a whole room full of adults (though I know I am an “adult” I’m still pretty on the young side) actually think that anything I say has some importances. As I’ve said at the beginning of this blog… I’m no expert in adoption… at the beginning of my talk I also said the same… The speaker after (Mary D Healy Chairperson Irish Chinese Contact Group) said that even though I didnt consider myself an expert, I am an expert in a sense purely from my experience as an older adoptee (since there are not many older Vietnamese Adoptees in Ireland that are accessible).
To be honest I think it is the same across all types of adoptions, that it can be hard to find people that are willing to openly discuss their experiences because totally, understandably it is a privet subject in a lot of cases. I think the main reason I am quiet comfortable about it is cos when I took that leap to actually explore adoption through my art, I realized that my work would most likely be viewed publicly… so I think somewhere down the line I lost my fear and embarrassment about talking about my adoption with even complete strangers… and of course after checking that is it is ok with my parents and sister since much of art/talks have something to do with them too.
This was the second time I have been to Ireland and to do a talk of this personal nature. Both times I was privileged to stay with some lovely families that had adopted from either China or Vietnam… and I’m sure I’ve made some little friends for life =D. It really just shows me how developed adoptive family support organizations have be come and what they have learnt from other generations of adoption… things like Life books, attitudes and understanding have really grown…
Here are a few things that have got me thinking from todays events:
… So this is my message to anyone who has involved with adoption, be it adoptees, adoptive parents/families/friends or natural/birth families… speak up, cos there are a lot of willing and eager ears to listen.
– Friends can be a huge ally. Having someone outside your family support and understand you through your adoption journey can be extremely helpful. In my case my husband (a white British Yorkshire man =P) is so support of me which helps being all “grown up” and away from imedate family… and not just about his understand of adoption, but also with his genuine interest in Asian cultes, philosophies, realigion & even food… which makes me laugh cos he probably has a better knowledge then me =P.
– Cute adopted kids will grow up… =P I was a treible teenage…
– The languge we use can really change our attudes about the world, not even just from an adoption point of view… which in turn can help us inform the people around us that might know nothing about our situations. (Mardy D’s talk).