Please read the rest at Lost Daughters.
Image courtesy of Pixomar at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If you are parenting a child, as I am, who came to you by way of the foster care system, your child may be needing extra support around recent events, but really all children are likely to need some parental guidance as they attempt to make sense of something that is beyond comprehension, even for most grownups.
Children who have experienced multiple traumas in the past are more likely to be vulnerable to the emotional consequences of this latest rampage. -- Parents Key to Easing Psychological Impact of Conn. Shootings
David Castillo Dominici FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When society recognizes the need for standards in the adoption field that protect the child: placing adoption practice in the hands of unbiased child welfare specialists, trained in the psychology of the adopted and without a profit motive. This would eliminate the need to advertise for babies and safeguard their interests.
When the child is seen as a real person--not a fantasy child, not an idealized child, not a special child, not a comodity--but a child with his own genetics, talents, and his own identity.
When the child is allowed to grow up in an open environment without secrets about who she is or where she comes from, including the right to an unamended birth certificate and to contact with her birth family.
When everyone recognizes the adopted child for what he is: a child with two sets of parents that give him a dual identity.
When the adoptive parents and the birth parents respect how they have filled each other's needs so that they can come together in some form of extended family for the sake of the child.
When everyone realizes that the best interests of the child are in the best interests of the adoptive family, the birth family, and society.
"Adoptees may never completely heal, but after search and reunion at least they have the potential for growth. There is a chance to move forward from the traumatized self to the revitalized and transformed self." -- Betty Jean Lifton, Journey of the Adopted SelfOne of the first pieces I wrote for this blog was a post called An Adoption Journey: From Trauma to Healing. It remains one of my most popular posts and is viewed daily. And this has bothered me for a while. Although much of what of what I wrote in that post still rings true for me, I worry that it gives the impression that my healing journey was over at that point. The reality is that adoption healing is more of an ongoing process; I work through one layer only to discover another.
I've learned that "I can't have kids" comes with its own set of questions ("What happened?" "Have you considered adopting?").... — Julie Ross Godar, Yes, Childfree Is Normal: Why I Moved From "Can't" to "Won't" TodayThere it is, that question: "Have you considered adopting?" How quickly it rolls off the tongue. How little, I suspect, are its full implications understood by many of those who ask it.
|My mother and my daughter in Cape Cod: One of many reunion moments.|
Even a reunion that is going well can bring an unexpected cycle of depression in its wake because of the emotions it releases. An adoptee can still have panic attacks and bouts of anger and grief, for issues are never completely resolved: they just get recycled and reappear when you least expect them. -- Journey of the Adopted SelfCan somebody please tell me who exactly it was who thought this whole closed adoption thing was a good idea. Sigh.
I met a therapist who had been invited to work with a group of adoptees.... He seemed puzzled. He said that the adoptees in his group, and the ones he has begun to see in private practice, seemed traumatized. They do not shed their symptoms like his other patients. Their trauma seemed deeper, as if it were very early—almost cellular. — Betty Jean Lifton, Journey of the Adopted Self
Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful. — The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBEThis thing that happened to me, that shaped my life from my earliest breaths, is no small thing. Nor is it something I can easily shake. As Lifton goes on to explain, "the adoptee who experienced separation and loss early in life, usually at birth, has no previous self—no pre-traumatic self—from which to draw strength. And so we may well ask: How do adoptees heal?"
A person has to have a good sense of self to be secure enough to get close to another without the threat of being unmasked as a fraud. Adoptees who have spent their lives covering over their real feelings often avoid intimacy for fear of being discovered for the impostors they know they are. Let down your guard, they think, and everyone will see that under the confident self you present to the world, there is really a weak and frightened child. -- Betty Jean Lifton, Journey of the Adopted Self
(I was wearing the cow hat for the
amusement of Erica's youngest son.)
Today's writing prompt from Lost Daughters is about adoptee connections. I've written about that topic here and here, so today I've decided to use one of the prompts suggested by Megan of Earth Stains:
Adoptive parent narratives about infertility: If you were adopted because your parents couldn't conceive a child: How did your a-parents discuss their fertility issues with you? What do you know about their medical diagnosis? Do you even know which parent had the fertility problem? How do you think your parents felt about not being able to conceive? How did your parents' dialogue about fertility make you feel? If you parents could conceive but chose to adopt anyway, how do you feel about that?
I believe that all adoptees have the right to their heritage and to meet their birth families. They had no say in being separated from them or any way of objecting to this crisis in their lives.... It doesn't matter if the birth mother hasn't yet told her parents, husband, or other children that she surrendered her baby. That doesn't change the right of the adoptee. -- Nancy Verrier, Coming Home to Self, pp. 240-41
Yet when an adoptee rights legislation is pending suddenly the rights that the mother surrendered (permanently) are resurrected by adoption agencies, adoption lawyers, adoption advocacy groups, as inviolate. They even include a new right not spoken of in the surrender document that is called confidentiality or right to privacy, and trumps the right of the adult child to their original birth certificate. -- TAO, The adopted ones blog
I’m angry about this. I’m pissed in fact. I JUST WANT MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE PEOPLE!!! How hard is that? -- Jenn, Insert Bad Movie Title Here
|123RF Stock Photos|
Intergenerational or multi-generational trauma happens when the effects of trauma are not resolved in one generation. When trauma is ignored and there is no support for dealing with it, the trauma will be passed from one generation to the next.
-- Wesley-Esquimaux and Smolewski, quoted in Eyaa-keen Centre's Historic Traumatic Transmission (HTT) Information SheetLately, it seems that almost everyone I know is struggling with some form of mental health issue. This might seem like a negative statement at first glance, but here's the flip-side: there's a whole lot of healing going on.
"Dr. Randolph Severson, a writer and psychologist specializing in adoption issues, explains that behind many kinds of reunion rejection lies a grieving for the might-have-been. And people respond to that grief in different ways.
'I think there is a stage that some people go through where they feel rejected, really, by life. [They recognize] that all these things that could have been -- or, along a different kind of life trajectory, would have occurred -- simply aren't going to be. Too much of life has already been lived. And people withdraw. The anxiety is just too great, the disappointment is too great.'
Simply put, as adopted adults we carry with us the same experience of anger and grief that we experienced as an infant when we originally lost our bonded first mother, but as we mature, we don’t translate those feelings into conscious thoughts and words. We feel without the words to express those feelings or the understanding of where they come from. This separation of what we think and what we feel as adoptees is the great disconnect of the adopted. It prevents us from finding the right words with which to explain what we feel. It inhibits our ability to comprehend, clearly, what happened to us making it difficult to resolve our thoughts and feelings. Some adoptees will throughout their lives try and build a bridge of understanding joining thoughts and memories while others will keep them hidden.This quotes hits on one of the main reasons why I write this blog. I am a word seeker. I am a bridge builder. It is a challenging task but one to which I am drawn.