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What does Allyship mean?

By Gayle Fidanzo, Executive Director at Choice Adoptions

Have you ever had a really great ally? Someone who you knew without a doubt was in your corner 100%? Not someone who “wanted the best for you” or presumed to know what “is for your own good”, but someone who honored you and the person you are, the decisions that are before you, and the process by which you choose one path over the other?

Allyship is a term that is currently flooding social media and the internet...but what is it exactly?

When I first heard it in reference to the LGBTQIA+ community, I looked up the definition.

Forbes described it in 2018 as "a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalized individuals and/or groups of people."

Now this word really resonated with me. At Choice Adoptions we have several goals, but first and foremost is to meet marginalized expectant parents and foster children with services that honor their right as individuals to be safe, respected, and loved.

Adoption agencies have a reputation to overcome in the United States. Agencies are known for pushing their own agenda to entice women to place their babies for adoption for the good of themselves, their child, and even their families. Marginalized expecting women are told placing their baby for adoption is a “brave decision”, a “selfish decision”, or “the right thing to do”.

What we at Choice Adoptions have recognized and worked hard to overcome is that language like this is manipulative. The attitude that one group of people knows what is best for another group of people can be coercive. Choice Adoptions wants no part of that. We recognize that every individual is unique and their circumstances are different. Dealing with an unexpected pregnancy is one of the most difficult decisions a person can make and no one needs a pat answer. What is needed is an ally.

An ally is someone who will sit with you, who will listen to you, who will act at your request and not before. An ally is not transactional, not presumptive. An ally will not desert you when the going gets tough or when the crisis abates. At Choice Adoptions, we have a birthparent advocacy department. Perhaps we should rethink the name, maybe it should be the birthparent ally department.

Join us as we explore the possibilities this quarter of what allyship looks like in the adoption field, and how it can change how we think, how we treat others, and the actions we take.

Adoption is sometimes the right choice. But not always. Let us come alongside you as you decide what’s best for you. You’ll gain an ally for life.


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