Friday, November 30, 2012

I May Never Completely Heal, and That's OK

"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 Self
One 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.

Most recently, I've shifted in how I hold "healing." I've come to realize it's not about becoming "whole" in the usual sense, as if I had never been broken. Rather, it's about seeing the mosaic that is created from the fragmented pieces, and recognizing the beauty in that. It's about letting go of the selves I will never be, and embracing the self I am: this strange being who stands in two families and yet can never fully belong in either. It's about seeing that unique position as an advantage rather than a tragedy, about understanding that the person I am today is a product of all of my experiences. And being fine with that.

And so ends our month of awareness. Thank you for coming along.

I close with shout-out of deep appreciation to my fellow adoptees, and especially the Lost Daughters sisterhood. In them, I find pieces of myself. In their stories, I hear parts of my own. Within their companionship and comprehension, I am no longer alone. 

6 comments:

  1. "It's about letting go of the selves I will never be, and embracing the self I am: this strange being who stands in two families and yet can never fully belong in either. It's about seeing that unique position as an advantage rather than a tragedy, about understanding that the person I am today is a product of all of my experiences. And being fine with that."
    Yes, yes, yes!

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  2. I research mental illness, and I came across this description of what "recovery" might mean for people with serious mental illness: "healing, with scarring." I think that's a powerful way to think about the process of dealing with a number of different traumas and life disruptions.

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  3. Yes, I think that's a good way to look at it. Thank you.

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  4. This post made me remember something from social work classes. A professor shared that the Chinese symbol for "crisis" was the combination of the symbols for "danger" and "opportunity." I think in a way, you're seeing that, too. No crisis leaves things exactly as they were, but the change precipitated by the crisis can be used for worse, or for better.

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  5. Wow, I love that! Thank you for sharing.

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