Grief, grieving and the societal consequences of sharing your feelings…
I see some great parents who recognise that to be adopted means you lost your family and that is the greatest tragedy anyone can have. How or why you lost your family is always different, it is a loss, it is never a gain. Granted some feel the loss more, some less, some will have more tragedy in their story of loss, some not so much. But loss of your family is loss no matter how it came about or for whatever reasons.
I see those same great parents discuss ways to ensure their children know they have the right to feel grief over their loss. They discuss ways to ensure they regularly check in while not trying to make their children feel the loss if they are not ready to do so. I think these parent truly care and are willing to go outside of the norm and deal with it…and I am thankful they exist.
But a part of me is also hesitant, simply because I don’t believe you ever heal completely from a loss and am worried that they expect their children to heal and get over it. Perhaps not consciously but rather subconsciously some or even many of them may they feel if they ensure their child can talk about their feelings openly without judgement and have the tools they need…they will get over it and will grow out of it and have a happy successful joy filled life having dealt with the loss early on.
Many of my friends tell me that they are like me and did not really feel the depths of the loss until they had experienced life as adults and that events triggered the deeper feelings of loss. So that is also part of what makes me hesitant about the expectations of these parents who do their best to ensure their child has the right to grieve and expects them to be healed, what if the true depths of grief does not happen until their child is middle-aged? Will they be just as non-judgemental then or will they act the same way some parents act when commenting on adult adoptees blogs? That is my fear. That their children who were given the tools to learn how to deal with their loss early may not find the same compassion as when they were young, because they were supposed to have dealt with it as a child.
I have healed from the death of my child so many years ago but I have not gotten over it. The loss is always there, a shadow hovering close to me every day. No matter how hard I try to continue on there are triggers like birthdays and anniversaries that remind me that he was in my life no matter how short a time we had together. And society allows me to always have these moments of sadness. It is justified, accepted that I will feel this loss for the rest of my life. It is okay to be sad.
And the same applies to my initial loss, the loss of my family. I am a survivor and will always continue on but the triggers of that loss show up in my daily life, every day, there is no avoiding it. I deal with it like I have always dealt with it. But those feelings of loss never completely go away. And because I will never have the chance to hear why I needed to lose my mother and father from the two who also lived it, that loss compounds the initial loss so much more.
But somehow society has decided that adoption loss is something we should be able to get over, move on, deal with it and put it to rest. Society cannot accept that adoption is less than a win-win-win. Adoptees and mothers and fathers who surrendered their children to adoption are not allowed to feel loss. That is the saddest reality of adoption. Mothers and fathers must be okay either because it was a choice they made because they did were not able to parent so they did the next best thing (and coercive tactics never happened…). As adoptees were taken into another family so we lost but we gained so get over it, heal from it, continue on.
Society believes that in adoption loss plus gain equals good, a formula for success and everyone comes out a winner.
It’s just not so easy when it is your life society is talking about. Parents and society in general, please don’t be snowed by the win-win-win all will be well message provided by the adoption industry…life does not always work the way they say it will. Sometimes life just sucks – learn to be compassionate.