Outside looking in and inside looking out on grief…

29 Oct

Why is it such a shock that a mother (and father) who chose adoption would grieve for what they lost?  I see posts about the birthmother is grieving, and the one I just read – not grieving appropriately, as if, for your comfort, she needs to grieve in a defined way, in a defined linear line, oh, and it can’t make you uncomfortable.

Also, that she has regrets. She gave you her baby to parent, raise.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise she has regrets, even though, it seems taboo for a mother to admit she has regrets, almost an indictment against adoption, you personally.  Regrets are a perfectly normal reaction to a loss the magnitude of which is not quantifiable.  Allowing space for mothers (and fathers) to have regrets over choosing adoption for their child is something the adoption community fails to do.  And, they retort with the standard #notall statements that their birthparents don’t have any regrets.  Regret is normal, healthy, and is part of everyone’s life.  It’s time for that reality for parents by birth to be recognised, accepted, honored.

I’d worry over a mother not having regrets about having to choose adoption for her child.

And you know why I’d worry about no regrets?  You adopted her child, genetics and all, and if she chose adoption, perhaps grieved for a bit until her hormones settled (or not), then quickly moved on, never had a moment’s pause, let alone regret, that isn’t typical behavior as we know it for a human being.

You adopted her child, her flesh and blood, her child who was part of her for nine months.  She’s not going to grieve according to what you believe is appropriate grieving – whatever that is.  Grief doesn’t work that way, it overwhelms you, it takes you to your knees, it cycles, it comes out of nowhere.  Mothers (and fathers) who have chosen adoption grieve just as hard as you do, regardless if they regret what was happening in their life, regret choosing adoption, regret whatever, in reality they are just like everyone else, sometimes life sucks really bad.

Don’t adopt an infant in an open adoption if you aren’t up for a whole lot of messy, pain-filled, uncomfortable messy.  A whole lot of grief permeating her life, a whole lot of you feeling guilty, just a whole lot of messy.  To me, if you aren’t up for it, you’ll be more likely to go back on your promises to the child’s parents by birth, and blame it on them at the same time. Don’t do that.


Readers – if you comment, don’t do ugly please, comment for understanding by others in a way that can be heard, taken to heart for those in the future.



Posted by on October 29, 2016 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child


Tags: , , , , ,

16 responses to “Outside looking in and inside looking out on grief…

  1. faithinflipflopssite

    October 29, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    I like the way you put this. I recently told my birth mother that her and my father’s healing is on their timeline and how they need it. Open adoption wasn’t possible for us, but it wouldn’t have been a good idea for us either. The healing process is not a ONE size fits all. We are all just now all realizing that we needed to heal and grieve for what could have been for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pj

    October 29, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Yes, Tao….and adoption, whether it be open, closed or whatever will always be pain-filled although not always apparent or at a consciuos level.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heather

    October 29, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Thank you for this. I was told numerous times that I “should be over him by now” and I always wondered “How would you know? You are raising my son”.


    • TAO

      October 29, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      It comes down to hierarchy in my mind…sounds like I managed to get my words out in a way that made sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ginny09

    October 29, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    I just had a long conversation with a neighbor regarding infant-stranger-adoption, and the huge amount of research my adopted cousin found and experienced regarding “life-long grief” He is 70. She didn’t believe it. After giving her several books to read, Primal Wound, Adoption land (Vance Twins), Birthparents, Chosen Children…Now she believes it.
    She are these “very important facts” being kept from the public at large?
    Why isn’t this information on the billboards across America for all to learn?
    There is social media..but what more can be done?
    Since there is no celebrity willing to be a spokesperson against domestic and international adoptions, can the community find a celebrity willing to be an advocate to preserve biological families? Who would be willing to aggressively use the words ‘preserving biological families’???
    Any ideas from anyone?


  5. eagoodlife

    October 29, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Parents who are ‘unfit’, who can’t or won’t parent grieve their loss. Parents who have their children taken away or who ‘chose’ to give them up for adoption grieve. Children grieve the loss of the life they might have had, the parents they don’t know. Adopters grieve for the different life they might have had, sometimes for the biological children they couldn’t have. Grief is unique, we all do it in our own way and there is no right or wrong, no rules. Surely that tells us something about adoption?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Nara

    October 29, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    I find it bizarre that the overwhelming narrative of adoption has been so whitewashed that nobody who’s not an AP is allowed to express grief or loss.

    To me, the way I try and explain adoption is this: Imagine if both your parents died on the same day. And you were given a new parent or parents and told you have to be happy and grateful about it. This kind of approach doesn’t make sense in any other context other than adoption. Adoptees often gain a lot. I have an awesome family. But it is strange to me that I’m not allowed to express any sort of loss for my first family without it being some sort of indictment on my feelings for my adoptive family.

    I love my family. (My adoptive family.)
    I grieve the loss of my first family and the life and language and culture I might have had.

    Imagine never meeting anyone biologically related to you. The reason most people can’t is that they’ve always had those people in their life. Imagine someone taking your newborn baby or child away from you. And you’re supposed to be happy about it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      October 30, 2016 at 3:13 am

      Completely agree with you, of course. It’s either/or not both/and – but a few wise souls are trying to also get that message across. Sometimes I feel like I’m banging my head against the solid brick wall. We, adoptees, are incredibly complex individuals who have survived, often thrived, even though we went through this. No one can we aren’t strong…

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Karine Cichocki

    October 30, 2016 at 6:21 am

    Well, messy is the right word. I feel too that avoiding the messy reality was the impetus around closed adoption and sealed records. As you say, today it is probably the driving force behind ‘open’ adoptions slamming shut.

    Honestly, those who become the best adoptive parents are those who have done and continue to do the most work on themselves. Those who have confronted their own messy feelings and have grown comfortable with and accepting of them can tolerate both their own and the messy feelings of others. That tolerance and acceptance is a gift beyond measure.


    • TAO

      October 30, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      Yes, yes, yes.


  8. necessarygrace

    October 31, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    The only edit I’d make to your last paragraph is I’d delete “an infant in an open adoption” … I’d say don’t adopt PERIOD if you aren’t prepared to deal with messy emotions and grief. And I’d love to see that whole paragraph in the brochures given to PAP’s when they begin the process of adopting. It doesn’t do anyone any favors to sell a fairy tale. Every family has their share of bumps and griefs – adoptive and non-adoptive families alike. The only emotions we have any control over are our own (and sometimes I feel like I don’t even control those) – my kids and my kids’ birth families don’t need my permission to grieve or feel any other feelings! Talk about a God complex.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      October 31, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Necessarygrace – how lovely to hear from you, and thank you for the compliment. I hope you are doing well, your kids must be teens or close to now?

      Liked by 1 person

      • necessarygrace

        November 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm

        Good to come back and read your blog! It’s been a while… Yes, all my kids are teens and up! And my education as a parent never ends, each one teaching me new life lessons. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Cindy

    October 31, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    necessarygrace, a thankful hug to you.

    Liked by 2 people


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