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Adoptee Futures on reframing the world's view on adoption

Annalisa and shania Adoptee Futures

Annalisa S. Toccara and Shania Sophia Dunbar Ives, co-founders of Adoptee Futures.

Hosted by a new organisation, our upcoming Adoption: What Are The Myths And Truths? event aims to break the silence on the many issues related to adoption by putting experiences, particular those of adoptees, at the centre of the narrative.

Shania Sophia Dunbar Ives and Annalisa S. Toccara, co-founders of Adoptee Futures, told us more ahead of the evening session on Thursday 27th May.

What is Adoptee Futures and what are its aims?

Adoptee Futures is a UK-based organisation run by adoptees aimed at everyone involved in adoption. Adoptee Futures was created due to the lack of mental health support for adult adoptees and the understanding around adoption and its link to developmental trauma.

We aim to help create a better future for all those involved in adoption by reclaiming the narrative, reframing the world's view on adoption, and assisting adoptees in healing through their trauma to evolve into the best versions of themselves.

What are some of the most widespread misconceptions and misrepresentations about adoption and adoptees?

The dominant narrative of adoption portrayed by adoption agencies and the media is that 'adoption is a beautiful thing.' A family "saves" a child in need or finally gets a child due to infertility issues. Adoption happens, and they ride off happily into the sunset.

This narrative misses out the most critical aspects of adoption; the mother-child separation, the life-long trauma caused by the separation, even if the child has been adopted as a baby or has grown up in a 'good' adoptive family, and the adoptees' lifelong journey to find peace.

We often forget that adopted children become adopted adults - who are four times more likely to take their own lives than non-adoptees - and usually have a lot of trauma to work through that they may or not be conscious of until later in their life.

Adoptee Futures Insta copy

How do the challenges faced by adoptees intersect with their race?

For adoptees growing up in families of a different race and/or culture, identity is often a huge issue.

As individuals, our race and culture are a huge part of that, and to have it taken away, for example, in transracial adoptions or international adoptions, while still having it within oneself is a massive struggle, especially if the family you are adopted into has a lack of racial or cultural awareness.

Adoptees of colour already struggle with the silent undercurrent of guilt, shame and rejection that stems from the 'mother wound', including feelings of unworthiness and the feeling that they do not fit into any race, leading to an imposter-like feeling in many aspects of their life.

What can people expect from the Adoptee Futures event?

Our expert panel will each bring a different perspective to the different types of the adoption experience, including lived experiences of the care system, which is vital for understanding it.

People can expect raw and personal accounts of what adoption means to each person. We recognise this is a sensitive topic for many and so the event will be handled with care:

  • Learning about how adoption affects people from a first-hand perspective.
  • Information for those interested in adoption on what the process is to adopt.
  • Discussing what the realities are for the adoptee, birth parent, and adopter and we can create a narrative that includes all three of the adoption triad.
  • Learning how and why adoption begins from a place a loss.
  • Learning why some adoptees may feel that their experiences of adoption are ignored.
  • Discussing hopes for the future of adoption and how adoption agencies can improve the experience for all those involved.