Friday, September 24, 2010

Attitude Adjustment

I wrote my last post quickly, relieved to have a prompt that brought forth thoughts that were (relatively) easy to put into words, because I'd already been musing on related topics.

But I wish I'd taken a bit more time to draft and post it, so that I wouldn't feel compelled to say more now. If you'll bear with me, I'd like to share a couple more thoughts related to my diversity/open adoption attitude analogy that I feel are important.

I believe that, as attitudes, neither diversity nor open adoption are quantifiable goals to be achieved. We shouldn't say "we've accomplished X" and then rest on our laurels. We shouldn't be satisfied that our community is "diverse" if we have X number of X people from X backgrounds represented. Instead, we should ask what it's like to be an "other" in our community, and consider how we view and act on our differences. Similarly, we shouldn't be satisfied that we have contact information for everyone in our adoption triad. Instead, we should ask what it's like for the other members, and consider how we view and act on the rather unusual circumstances that brought us together.

So, if it's about attitude, is it possible to have diversity if everyone looks alike? Hmmm...probably, because if we dig deeper than skin tone, of course we ALL have other differences, things that set us apart from the crowd, things that may stereotype us in negative ways, or cause others to draw unfair assumptions. If having those differences is viewed by the group as a strength, and they are accepted with open-mindedness, humility, and respect, than I'd say there is an attitude for diversity. (But don't get me wrong, I worry about groups that all look alike, and I don't think we should judge a group "diverse" just because it includes a few people of color. What I'm trying to say is that it's about a lot more than that.)

Reaching further, if it's about attitude, is it possible to have an open adoption if there is no ongoing communication? I hope so. Even if it were to come to pass that tragically we never hear from his birth parents, I'd like to think that because of our attitude, Dylan's adoption is open.

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