What if I am not missing a person, place, or thing? Rather, I am denied the words that are shaping my life. The absence of these words is no less heartbreaking than the loss of my first family, culture, and language.
However, these words can interrupt, resist, and heal the undeniable sickness of adoption trauma. Therefore, in an effort to stop missing that which cannot be replaced, I am calling out ADOPTEEPHOBIA.
ADOPTEEPHOBIA [uh-dop-tee-foh-bee-uh] (n.) The irrational fear and hatred of adoptees.
Origin: White supremacy, patriarchy, class subordination, disability injustice, Christian hegemony.
ADOPTEEPHOBIA [uh-dop-tee-foh-bee-uh] (n.) The restrictive, pervasive, and deadly assumptions that are upholding a discriminatory system targeting adoptees.
Related forms: adopteephobic
ADOPTEEPHOBIC [uh-dop-tee-foh-bic] (a.) With fear or contempt for adoptees who are resisting the myth of a singular adoptee identity and experience.
The ADOPTEEPHOBIC service provider is under fire for its failure to address the diverse and changing needs of adoptees.
Related forms: adopteephobe
ADOPTEEPHOBE [uh-dop-tee-fohb] (n.): A person who feels entitled to adopted bodies, intimacies, and imaginings of adoptees.
The ADOPTEEPHOBE was banned from the Facebook group for his disruptive behavior to the adoptee safe space.
Related forms: adopterism
ADOPTERISM [uh-dop-ter-iz-hum] (n.): The invisible box surrounding the adoption triad that positions adoptees, adoptive parents, and first families in opposition to one another.
Laura is concerned that the focus on mental health services for individual adoptees does not address the structural power dynamics of ADOPTERISM.
Adopteephobia can be internalized by adopted people. In such cases, adoptees may come to believe the restrictive mythology surrounding their adoptee identities and experiences. Adoptees who suffer from internalized adopteephobia may be more susceptible to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, disordered eating, and unhealthy relationship patterns.
Definitions of internalized adopteephobia:
ADOPTEEPHOBIA: The distrust of adoptee friendships, partnerships, and collaborations that have the potential to be healing, transformative, and liberating.
ADOPTEEPHOBIA: The acceptance of charity and service models that distract from finding solutions to the root causes of adoption issues.
ADOPTEEPHOBIA: The surrender to structures that position adoptees and adoptee organizations in competition with one another for resources, services, and access.
ADOPTEEPHOBIA: The reckless usage of language that perpetuates adoptee exceptionalism rather than solidarity with oppressed communities.
Adopteephobia is a structural power dynamic, not only an individual experience. Structural adopteephobia is pervasive yet largely invisible to non-adopted people. Adopteephobic structures include healthcare, education, and employment systems that are inaccessible and incompetent to serving adoptees.
Definitions of structural adopteephobia:
ADOPTEEPHOBIA: The systematic silencing of adoptees who are providing leadership to the adoption community by speaking out against the adoption industrial complex.
ADOPTEEPHOBIA: The active and passive exclusion of adoptees from policies, practices, and cultural productions that shape adoptee experiences.
ADOPTEEPHOBIA: The incompetencies of social services based on the inaccurate, uninterrupted assumption that adoptee identity is entrenched in trauma.
ADOPTEEPHOBIA: The positioning of adoptees as products for pleasure, fulfillment, and entertainment in a consumer-driven market.
Antonyms: Adoptee Solidarity Korea [ASK] (n.)
ASK’s mission is to effect change in Korean adoption policy and practice. Through education, research, and advocacy we aim to strengthen our community and create space for critical dialogue.
~Adoptee Solidarity Korea Steering Committee, 2014
To date, the most loving thing I have ever done for myself was to return to my homeland and get involved with Adoptee Solidarity Korea (ASK). Adoptee Solidarity Korea operates as a steering committee that honors relational processes as a leadership experience. It is my belief that the cornerstone of adopteephobia is isolation.
In our adoptee organizations, I see adopteephobia manifest as the fear of our own leadership and the willful or neglectful exclusion of adoptees from an inclusive leadership agenda. In my personal life, I experience adopteephobia as the distrust and rejection of adoptee friendships.
Thus, it is with great conviction that I invite us to all be more loving toward one another and join together in fighting against our common enemy: ADOPTEEPHOBIA.