I went to Hallmark today! You can probably imagine all of the necessary backstory but I’ll tell it anyway. I went to Hallmark today, because I had a nightmare last night about forgetting to get my kids’ annual Christmas Eve ornaments, so I felt like I should remedy that. I got their ornaments and decided to look for a card for friends who recently finalized the adoption of their previously foster children.
SPOILER ALERT: NOBODY’S GETTING AN ADOPTION CARD. (Sorry).
There were exactly three adoption cards, which took a while to find.
Here’s one, that is nice enough if the person is adopting a singular infant child.
Here’s another… oh, also for a singular… infant… And this one is intense about being for a singular infant too. One little baby. Okay, Hallmark, point taken.
There was one other that isn’t online, also adorned with a baby carriage, also with a cute rhyme about… one singular infant.
Then wayyyyy down at the corner below a million other cards for literally every event under the sun (I took note of the “Congratulations on your doctorate” card and I’m going to need someone to send it to me if I ever decide Doing Things is something I can stomach again), there was the “Welcome New Family Member” card.
…except this one was very precisely for one new family member. That’s it. One. You get no more than that.
Hallmark. Get it together. People are adopting older children.
I was going to be nice-ish and semi-patient but you know what, no. I’m not. This is ridiculous. It’s 2017. Diversify your cards.
Infant adoptions are not actually that common.
Adopting an older child and/or more than one child (e.g., a sibling group) is not strange or rare. In fact, the majority of finalized adoptions are overwhelmingly of children over one year old. In 2014, in every state but Utah (and let’s face it, Utah is kind of wack anyway) children under one year accounted for less than 5% of total adoptions.
Less than 5%.
And yet every adoption card assumes that the parents are adopting a single, newborn baby.
Most adoptions don’t involve babies.
Where’s the card that says “Congratulations on your forever family?” What about a card that says, simply and applicably to all situations, “Congratulations on the adoption of your children?” Or a card that says, “Congratulations, now you can start buying clothes a season ahead of time and take holiday pictures without wondering what your family will look like at the next holiday?”
Where is the card that conveys the fact that what you have known in your heart for so long is finally, finally, completely official?
I want to send these cards, Hallmark. This is what I want to celebrate, this is what to say to my friends who have adopted. All of us have adopted older children. All of us have adopted sibling groups.
We’re here, and we’re buying cards… or would be, if all three of your cards weren’t based on archaic assumptions about adoption. It’s time to update your cards, and provide us some options, Hallmark. At the very least, even some generic “On Your Adoption Day” cards would be a start.