In watching Chimamanda Adichie eloquently speak of The Danger of a Single Story, I couldn’t help but to reflect upon my own experience with Closure. Over the past year I have felt a nagging conviction that although Closure is affecting people positively and in droves (awesome!), I often find myself editing my words during the Q&A portion after screenings of the film. I am constantly searching for the words that help to reinforce the fact that my story is just one of many unique, valuable and beautifully tragic adoption stories. I’m often asked questions such as “…has being in reunion with your birth family brought peace and happiness or more struggle and confusion?” followed by “…would you suggest all adoptees to search?” I work really hard to consistently only answer from my experience only, hopefully helping folks to understand that my answer and this film shows only one story. That my answers are not every adoptees’ answers, and that my style of searching, the age I chose to start searching etc., was simply one approach. Chimamanda’s TED Talk beautifully explains the danger of attributing one single story to an entire subpopulation.
Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story
I found this TEDTalk to be a remarkably great reminder that although we learn a great deal by watching documentaries, reading memoirs, autobiographies and listening to keynote speeches etc., we shalt not think to apply these details to all who happen to fall within the same category. The danger in this is that by attributing my answer to all other adoptees you’re branding all other adoptees trans-racial adoptees as intensely curious, psychologically minded, introverted, basketball playing, pianists who are determined to respectfully find their birth families at all costs. Or that we read Night (Elie Wiesel), and that we then think of all holocaust survivors as people with a resolve to understand the inhumanity that man is capable of, or that we read The Reason I Jump, and attribute Higashida’s thoughts and words to all people with autism. There is a danger in hearing and interacting with a single story and that is the risk of attributing one’s story to everyone else within that category.
I am moved by the amount of adoptees I’ve met while since Closure debuted. So many of these adoptees stated that they felt ready and interested in sharing their own story. Please do join me on this liberating (and scary) adventure in vulnerability.