Adoption Microaggressions Parents Need to Know About

What are the microaggressions or stigmas in the world of adoption and how do they impact adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents?  We talk with Dr. Amanda Baden, a Professor and the Doctoral Program Director at Montclair State University in the graduate counseling program and a licensed psychologist in private practice in Manhattan. She is an adult adoptee from Hong Kong and an adoptive parent of a daughter from China.

In this episode, we cover:

  • What are microaggessions in general and how do they apply to adoption? 
  • These microaggressions apply to all members of the adoption kinship network (adoptees; adoptive parents, grandparents, siblings; first/birth parents/grandparents).
  • Where do some of the unconscious attitudes and stigmas toward adoption come from? 
  • Common microaggression themes for adoptees:
    • biology is best/normative is based upon the belief that biological ties are superior, more permanent, and more authentic than ties formed through adoption or foster care 
    • bad seed adoptees or damaged goods
    • grateful adoptees, a third theme, refers to the idea of adoptees as both lucky and privileged to have been adopted 
    • cultural limbo and invalidation of heritage 
  • What are some of the microagressions against birth parents?
  • What are some of the microaggressions against adoptive parents?
  • Lack of intent to hurt.
  • How can microsaggressions impact the mental health?

Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: Pavel Danilyuk