Assembling Self

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Adoption is not a one-time transaction, it is a life long journey.

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.
Read more at:
When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.
Read more at:
When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.
Read more at:

I haven’t blogged in a long time as I felt after five years of writing about adoption and my adoptee story I’d said about all I had to say. I still carry my portable verbal adoption soapbox with me, everyone knows that. And, I frequently end up encountering those who have some connection to an adoption experience.

Adoption is always based on loss. The loss for an adoptee of their original family and or being raised by them, the loss of a child for biological parents, and often the loss of having a natural child or more children by adoptive parents. Whether that loss is minute or overwhelming it is always there and plays a part in every individual family scenario to some degree.

So many of us know how quickly adoption reunions can go from wonderful to sour and non-existent and visa versa from no contact at all to morphing into relationships. The entire journey is pitted with emotional land mines and quick sand and unfamiliar territory. And so very often search and especially reunion outcomes long term can be dependent on the support system, or lack thereof, that adoptees or first mothers (first is the term we utilize now instead of birth in respect to mothers who relinquished a child to adoption) have. So, my first reaction when I find someone new to adoption search and reunion is to determine if they are connected to a local or online search/support resource to help them in whatever capacity they need. I know how vital it is.

Recently, as I posted on Facebook, I had a brief exchange with a TA agent at the airport over a common last name we shared and found out she was a first mother whose son has just found her. It ended with a hug and her giving me her email address to contact her. I had relayed to her that I was part of a wonderful network of adoptees and first mothers that could provide assistance that either her, or her son, might need.

I emailed her when I got back home and had time and immediately that day she emailed me back and friended me on Facebook with the information I had provided her. The next day I noticed she had unfriended me. I sent a message asking why. I was a little shocked but I really in my gut knew what had happened.

I had posted an article an adoptee had written on birth mother rejection and heartache. It was a gut wrenching and emotional article and for many of us who have walked those shoes yet it also brings a sense of feeling you are not alone. It’s a sister/brotherhood you don’t really want anyone else to belong to but if you have to be then you are in good company.

I waited all day with a slightly sick feeling waiting on her response, if there was going to be one, and it came that evening. I won’t quote the email verbatim but it went something like this:

“An article you posted upset me greatly as a person who had to give up a child to adoption. I’ve had 40 years of pain and I don’t need to read or hear anymore about this subject. There are two sides to every story. I’m sure you are a great person. It was really cool how we met and talked. I hope you find what you are looking for and have all the happiness and can reunite as we have."

It was a very decent and nice response until I went to reply and realized she had blocked my messages.

The posted article was not about her, not about her experience she was a welcoming mother, and was not indicative of anything other than what I believe is a large amount of unresolved grief. I believe she is carrying 40 years of guilt and shame and the article triggered the depths of the emotional baggage she has been dragging around for decades. I so wish I’d had enough time to connect her to some of the amazing first moms I’ve known for a very long time that could have offered her their stories and experiences that might have lent a hand to guide her toward healing. We adoptees and first moms who have been at this for awhile (20 years for me) know that reunion is not the immediate cure all for adoption loss and certainly can bring other issues up along the way mostly when you least expect or understand them.  Unresolved anger, shame, pain, guilt, and unrealistic expectations can quickly derail and destroy relationships before they've had the proper amount of time to develop.

We all work towards healing in our own ways. Groups, individual support and or counseling, writing, laughing, music, art, all are useful components in facilitating personal empowerment to over come pain and grief. Life trauma suppressed can lead us down paths of denial, depression, addiction, the suppression and avoidance of truth and reality, and the ultimate loss of self actualized lives. Adoption is not a one-time transaction, it is a life long journey.

Do I regret posting the article? Absolutely NOT. I am by now used to hearing from adoptive parents, or first parents, or adoption agencies/entities, and the public or someone who knows, has a friend, or a cousin’s best friend's sister who is adopted and is “just fine”, how adoptees need to get over things, or be grateful, move on, and all the comments and advice that invalidate our experiences as adopted persons. That’s why as adoptees we need to keep on speaking.

The point I am trying to make with all of this is that adoptee experiences are valid whether they are similar, different, or the same. I applaud adoptees who step out of their comfort zones to speak their truths and risk, almost always risk, condemnation, judgment, ridicule, or a lack of compassion. It makes a difference for the rest of us. It always will.

Sometimes all adoptees are asking is to be heard. Even if you don’t comprehend our experience or you don’t understand it that’s o.k. too.  Adoption is a much misunderstood subject....and verb even to adoptees who live it every day.  We just yearn to be seen and heard for the way adoption has impacted us and changed us, the people that we truly are.

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