Dealing with loss

06 Aug

Everyone will be challenged by losses in their lifetime, some more than others.  How we cope, adjust, is uniquely based on our personality, learned coping skills, lived experiences, and our support system.  I’m ever thankful for the many adoptee communities that abound today, they are making a difference for many who were alone, who wondered if it was just them that felt that way, or couldn’t figure out why they reacted to things differently.  Adoptees finding their communities is beautiful to behold.  What is still lacking is an understanding from some (perhaps even many) in the other two sectors in adoption, as well as adoption professionals, even if it is better, it is not good enough, and in some ways deeply lacking.

I check in from time to time on a few FB adoption pages that are public pages, and on one, the following question was asked anonymously, seeking an answer that her child could accept:

“Why did she give me away?”

Some tried to provide ways to answer that could help, but a couple of the answers bother me more every time something triggers my brain to think about them.  Once I think about them I start silently screaming NO – don’t tell them that.

Because she loved you.

“because she knew how much we needed and wanted you! And that makes her very special person!”

There is no pat answer to that question, how could there be, and I can’t imagine being the adult trying to answer it, but the above aren’t good answers.  But let’s be real here, some of the reasons first moms state for why they chose adoption wouldn’t have been any more comforting to me as a little one (perhaps other adoptees either)than those comments quoted above, yet they are part of the narrative today.  Perhaps choosing adoption so you can finish your education is a good idea for that expectant mother, but translate that to a child as to a valid reason you weren’t kept, when being told to eat your vegetables because it will make you grow big and strong fails every time, and that’s a blip compared to being adopted and why you needed to be adopted and the emotions surrounding that event.

There has to be a good reason why you weren’t parented, and even then, it’s still hard to accept, even if you accept the why, and many of us do, I think.  But that’s just half the equation.  Yesterday, a casual statement was made (that I can’t find now) about how an adopted child learns to understand and accept why they were adopted and goes on to live a happy life no repercussions at all.  It left me pondering on how easy it is for others to assume it’s no big deal to be adopted – a simple conversation when their little and it’s over and done.  We can and do accept when there’s a good reason and it becomes our norm, but it’s also something that changed our entire life trajectory and involves deep emotions and ties lost.  Acceptance and feelings about it – aren’t necessarily in sync with the other, nor do they need to be.  It’s not once and done even for the most accepting adoptees, they’ll process it over their lifetime too.  If you question that, look at the adoptees in their 80’s who’ve lived full lives, yet still want to know who they were born to be, and why, the unanswered questions (or unsatisfactory reasons) stay with you.  Pat answers (trite answers) as to the why don’t work, reasons that appear to either tell you that you weren’t as important as X don’t either, because your parents are supposed to love you so much they’re willing to fight for you, run into traffic to save you, not to give you away.

“Rejection: Feelings of rejection can be felt by some adoptees, as they struggle to make sense of their relinquishment. Regardless of whatever logical explanations they have been given, some can still feel abandoned. After all, they see other families who have made other choices in which children were not placed. If poverty was an issue, they might ask, why couldn’t the parents find a way to make it work and parent their child, like so many other families do? Children who were unable to live with the birth parents because of addiction issues might feel their parents chose the addiction over them. The feeling of rejection can become especially difficult if there are other birth children still living in the home; the adoptee can’t help but question, “Why me? Why wasn’t I worth keeping?””

The above quote is from this article: Post-Adoption Services: Acknowledging and Dealing with Loss.  Please read the entire article, mull on it, try to walk in your child’s shoes and see how would you feel.  If your adoption service provider did not require you to learn about the possible ways your child may feel about being adopted, reasons for those feelings, then they did you a grave disservice and you should write them a letter.  That goes for both adoptive and first parents – they hold themselves as the professional in this area, tell them when they’ve failed.




Posted by on August 6, 2017 in Adoption, adoptive parents


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7 responses to “Dealing with loss

  1. Lara/Trace

    August 6, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    This might be the hardest question an adoptive parent will ever have to answer – it has lasting lifelong repercussions. The right answer (I think) is the truth – and age appropriate. “We will talk about your mother and what happened, as we learn more from your adoption file.” “And she loved you.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. bekahbug9412pranali23

    August 6, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    YES. I deal with my loss everyday. Some days it feels as though I’m drowning in my grief, and other days it feels like I’ve overcome it for the day. But it remains a daily battle. Thank you for helping to set the record straight–we do not forget our past that easily.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. maryleesdream

    August 6, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    What if the reason does not seem to be a good reason? I honestly cannot find the good in my story. It just seems like a dumb idea 2 people got, and they went through with it.

    I absolutely believe that I could have been kept safely with my family.

    Mom said, before she passed that the adoption was a result of “ignorance and stupidity”.

    That leaves me with a lot of grief.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Laksh

    August 7, 2017 at 12:41 am

    I realize there is no good way to answer this question. So far, I have stuck with the truth i.e., your mom was in a difficult time in her life and wanted to provide a better life for you. My children have not questioned why yet but when that day comes I will probably share the notes from their adoption file. It is never going to be an easy conversation to have.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Cindy

    August 7, 2017 at 1:32 am

    They want and desperately need to believe it’s “no big deal to be adopted”. They can’t handle the reality of the feelings that come into mind if they give it serious thought and consider it–to be hard and painful to be adopted–(surrendered, abandoned). Just ignore the adoptees that speak about having to live with that reality every day and have it denied, ignored, dismissed by the prevailing narrative. Adoption good, adoptee with problem about adoption/ loss….an anomaly, a fluke.

    Why is it so hard for human beings to understand that it is a horrible, UN-natural, painful thing to ‘lose’ your mother as a child? “But, but, she’s still living!” It’s hard enough to navigate life with losing your mother to death as a child. (I’m STILL trying to at 54.) To lose your mother because *somebody* or lots of somebodys thought it was a good *idea* is just not easy to wrap your mind around. Nor does it enter the realm of sensibleness, unless your mother was Lizzy Bordon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cindy

    August 7, 2017 at 2:15 am

    There’s a movie that can quickly reveal the feeling of impossible to resolve loss, the movie Hachi. Totally related to the love and loss, hope and grief that dog showed. It really triggered me. I think it made headway in his understanding when I explained to my hubby, after watching it, that it was how adoption often leaves me feeling. He gained some insight into it that day. I won’t ever watch it again. I can’t, but hubby thinks it was worth keeping. Sigh, maybe he still doesn’t ‘get it’. I don’t need to watch a movie like that to feel that way. I live it.

    I think he got a statue (Hachi that is, not my hubby). Adoptees?, Nah, they don’t get statues. Animals get way more leeway in regard to longing and loss than humans do. Aminals are given the realization that the young need to be kept with their mothers too, for awhile at least. Why do some humans think that isn’t necessary for newborn children? There is some massive disconnect there.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pj

    August 8, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Agree with Lara/Trace about truth…absolute (yes, age-appropriate )truth. Unconditional love,affection, and support…sounds like a no-brainer , but when the going gets tough, and your child hurts you and shuts you out…I’m proud of the person I’ve become ,despite adoption , and with much gratitude to mom and dad…

    Liked by 1 person


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