November is National Adoption Awareness Month (#NAAM), a time to bring awareness to all of the issues that adoption brings to adoptees, families formed through adoption, and natural families of adoptees. However one underrepresented voice in the adoption constellation is that of the male adoptee.
On the “Who Am I Really?” podcast only 30% of the adoptee guests have been men. While adoptees have the ultimate voice about the adoption experience, very few men have stepped forward to share their adoption journey. For #NAAM 2020 I gathered three male podcast guests online to share their inner thoughts and deepest emotions about their adoption journeys. Andre McCallum (ep 001), Tom Andriola, (ep 012), and Adrian Jones (ep 132) joined me to retell their stories of adoption, reunion, and the roller coaster of emotions they lived along the way.
Andre shared that his natural mother baked a cake every summer on his birthday for years, and his process of coming to terms with learning his conception was a violent act. Tom talked about the catharsis he’s reached in openly sharing he is a sexual abuse survivor and the power of therapy in helping him along the way. Adrian, a survivor of a “widowmaker” heart attack, made it clear that genetic medical information is critical for adoptees to have in order to make well informed choices about their health.
We chatted about the veneer of bravery men often feel they need to maintain in keeping their emotions bottled up. The group admitted societal pressures make us feel that we have to seem strong, holding back our true feelings. The fellas were vulnerable sharing their innermost thoughts about the need to open up and accept our own adoption experiences. I’m very grateful to Andre, Tom, Adrian and all of the other men who have come forward to share their adoption journeys for the benefit of others.
To watch the online event on YouTube, click here.
If you’d like to listen to theirs and other male adoptee stories check out this male adoptee story collection .