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The Adult Adoptee’s Voice

by Dan Cruver Published Jun 5, 2013

Every adoptive parent I’ve ever met is very interested in listening to adult adoptees reflect upon their adoptive and post-adoptive experience. That interest in one of the primary reasons that I purchased Black Baby White Hands: A View from the Crib 5 years ago. Adoptive parents really want to know better how to love, equip, and disciple our children.

Nemili Johnson - gottcha daySo, I was very excited to learn that Sharon Lyon is begin a series of adult adoptee interviews over at her blog. When I heard that Sharon’s first interview was with T4A’s very own Nemili Johnson, I was even more exited. The interview is lengthy, but most certainly worth the time investment to read it.

Below are the questions to which Nemili provides some very insightful answers. I found Nemili’s answer to question 12 to be especially insightful: “Do you think being adopted has affected your ability to love or receive love?” I was not expecting that answer she gave. Visit Sharon’s blog to read the entire interview.

  1. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Adopted,’ and how does it make you feel?
  2. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Orphan,’ and how does it make you feel?
  3. What did your adoptive parents not tell you or share well enough, that you wish they had?
  4. How old were you when you understood what being ‘Adopted’ meant, and how did your adoptive family communicate to you what Adoption meant?
  5. Did you feel comfortable within your adoptive family to talk freely about any questions you had about your adoption, birth family, or any details related to your adoption? If not why and what were the barriers?
  6. What about your Adoption and/or your birth family do you wish you knew?
  7. If you could ask or tell your family of birth anything what would it be and why?
  8. What’s the one thing you wish you could tell your adoptive parents and why?
  9. What do you think is the most important thing for every Adoptive Parent and Adoptive Family to know?
  10. Did celebrating your ethnicity/heritage make you appreciative of the fact or make you feel “adopted.” How did you feel if you were constantly reminded that you were adopted as opposed to being a daughter, sister, granddaughter, etc.?
  11. While growing up within your community were there other adoptees you could share your experiences with? If not, do you think it would have been helpful to know other adopted children within your community?
  12. Do you think being adopted has affected your ability to love or receive love?

Nemili is doing the following breakout session at our October 4-5 National Conference in Louisville:

Big Brother/Adopted Sister: Then and Now (Nemili Johnson and Matt Wiebe) - Matt Wiebe and Nemili Johnson were both raised in Wyoming and are two parts of the same family! Come and hear Matt and his adopted sister Nemili talk about their unique perspectives. This session explores and reflects on both a biological sibling’s thoughts/feelings about getting a new sibling and adjusting to that transition, in addition to the adopted child’s perspectives about transitioning into a new family and some of the issues related to this adjustment. We welcome adoptive parents thoughts and questions!

You can also listen to one of Nemili’s breakout sessions here from our 2012 national conference (New Hope – Teaching Your Child about their True Inheritance).


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