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?"
Good question. For me, the quest for healing and wholeness is ongoing process. I sometimes say that adoption healing is something I "get" to do again and again. I work through one layer only to discover another.
I have met people, in real life and online, who truly grok the complexity and difficulty of my adoptee experience. I have also encountered many who don't. I suffer not so much from a lack of understanding from people close to me as from the discrepancy between my personal experience of adoption and the way it is held in the broader culture. I struggle, in part, because the very thing that has caused me pain is publicly celebrated by others as beautiful.