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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How To Get Over Being Adopted

The open ended loss of adoption is distinct, unlike any other kind of grief. It is a lifelong issue that  doesn’t resolve itself and because of societal views, resolution is difficult to impossible. The grief is regularly re-awakened. Learning how to cope with the ongoing nature of your adoption isn’t unlike learning to live in a war zone, with no peace in sight, or surviving with PTSD. There are skills and techniques that can make coping easier for you and for those around you, and there are resources you can draw on as you build a life that can endure the constant highs and lows of unresolved loss. The survival skills necessary to deal with an unhealthy and painful situation for extended periods of time aren’t automatic, and many adoptees can’t find them without a little help from other adopted people.

All adoptions are NOT the same. There is a difference between the child removed from her biological home from horrible abuse and being later adopted by foster parents as opposed to the child given away at birth from an underage mother. Growing up knowing your real name and some biological family members eases the pain. Being able to reunite (whether good or bad ) with the biological family is also a relief for the pain, but because of current laws and shameful adoptive practices not all adopted people are allowed these two comforts. The adopted person who does not know his or her true origins is in limbo.

Many adopted people may have had good homes. Why then would they choose to search for their real families? While not wanting to offend the adoptive family may hinder the adoptee's decision to search, there are people who want to know and people who do not. Much like wanting to know the gender of your unborn child. 60 percent of people want to know what color to paint the nursery while others choose to live with the fantasy. The difference is you'll eventually find out. Many adopted people who do not search are very open to being found and put their info on reunion sites "just in case" but it really deals with the underlying issue of not wanting to be rejected or be seen as ungrateful.

Until you have come full circle and accepted the truth over the fantasy, you can not start to heal. The biggest mystery of your life is unsolved. Adopted people need to fill in the gaps in their own lives in order to feel more complete. Closure is very important to the healing process. Helen Keller said "The only way to get to the other side is to go through the door."

Grief is not a disease. What if someone you loved very much died and you were discouraged from crying? Adoption loss is a ROLLER COASTER. Some days you don't think much about it, other days you find yourself in the depths of despair. Non adopted people feel uncomfortable with your grief and will shut you down or minimize it. It would be like a white person telling a black person in the United States, fully knowing the history of slavery, that they are being overly sensitive about discrimination. Just because the white person may not be racist or treat black people differently there is no way they could ever know what it is like to be African American in America or to grow up not knowing a single biological relative. I can cover my eyes with tape and pretend to be blind for a whole day and that would not even be a drop in the bucket of what it is like to be blind in a seeing population. Don't get your advice from adopted people who come from the worst biological homes as they are in the minority. There is no single adoption experience and any number of factors, not just childhood trauma or age of adoption that influence how a adoptee deals with adoption loss. 27 percent of soldiers coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq report PTSD while the suicide rate among veterans is 4 times higher than the civilian population. This suggests the numbers are much higher than reported as is true for adoption loss.


So how do you get over being adopted? You don't, but knowing that is the key. For those who are unable to find their families for closure because of laws preventing them from accessing their birth certificates (which I have termed ambiguous adoption loss ) you must learn to live life as fully as possible despite the uncertainty and the persistent sorrow it can create. Remember that most adoptive parents wanted a child. No one knocked on their door and begged them to take you in and you don't owe anyone anything. You got the short end of the stick and you just have to make the best of it. Your mother most likely would not have given you away if she thought you would not find a good home. The universe is not punishing you nor is there a reason for your adoption other than the circumstances surrounding it.There are plenty of people who have it much worse than you although it is pretty sad you have to think about it that way. Get exercise, eat healthy, light a nice smelling candle, clean your house, organize your life and finances, take a walk through the woods, travel to new places, visit the grave of a loved one,  put little signs around your house like "It is what it is" or "don't let too much of yesterday take up too much of today" to remind you not to dwell too much on it. Most importantly don't let anyone tell you how to feel. If you are lucky enough to be in reunion you can always help other adopted people change the laws or find the missing pieces of their own self. Remember you deserve to be here. Most of the people on this planet are not planned pregnancies and more and more children are born to unmarried mothers. Happiness is relative to the observer.


3 comments:

  1. I am a REUNITED Senior Adult Adoptee of 65 yrs old. I STILL suffer with PTSD related to my Adopted childhood & LIFETIME of emotional duress.
    I have just in the past 5 - 6 years learned the whys of things I did & never understood WHY as a child...and my Amother obviously never understood it either, since she literally DISOWNED me at the age of 21!
    There are MANY stories I could use to relate to this article...but, it wouldn't erase the pain of the past that I live with every day of mt life. So, why relive it here in this post?
    FOR ME...Adoption was anything BUT a blessing! It was HELL!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes adoption was exactly that "HELL" Topped off with narcissistic mother. Never ending hell

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