Love it or hate it the UK is a country of diversity, family and spotting the difference, but should we?
Adoption is the ‘forever’ family dream that so many of us in the Western world never have to think about. But the truth is that family group structure of being surrounded by those we love was always a bit of a mixture. During the second world war in the UK for example it was commonplace to look after children who were not your own, and this sense of ‘pulling together’ and ‘doing your bit’ is the essence of what has made this country great.
Adoption Arena is committed to encouraging us as a society to widen our horizons of what we see as ‘family’ and embrace children either in a full time forever family adoption, or in a temporary ‘foster care’ family structure.
‘Where are your parents?’ I was often asked at school ‘Behind me’ I would quietly say trying hard to blink back tears of shame, as an 8-year-old girl… ‘Are they? I can’t see them’, was a regular inquisition I would suffer at sports days and school events. This a very common script to any child who is either adopted, fostered or just doesn’t look like their parents. Is this random curiosity to fervently enquire about genealogy just that or a more sinister social un-acceptance of those who do not fit into our ‘world order?’
What is funny is that as a transracial adoptee I do ‘spot the difference’ myself, as I love to see difference now and celebrate it! Finally after facing my demons I realised that I actually love seeking difference. My friends are all so crazily unique from their hairstyles to their vocal accents that I find myself constantly craving difference! I remember once coming home from a trip from the States and as I got on the London tube I saw couple sat opposite me… Well she had bright magenta hair he was a businessman booted and suited and frankly no one cared! Whatever! Difference? Bothered?
Diversity once overcome any negative elements of painful exclusion can actually ignite a positive defiance to see change. I have learned that it is better to ‘spot the difference’ and use that information positively rather than totally ignore the wonderful diversity that is all around us. Interestingly, in spotting difference it can actually help us celebrate the wonderful differences in ourselves.
So what is Family?
Family is made of of whatever components you choose, it is whatever you want it to be. From our pets to the old lady down the road we have always called ‘aunty’, family is the structure of life. Family is life.