Adoption is trauma.
Trauma for birth mothers.
Trauma for the adoptive child.
Not acknowledging this truth would be irresponsible.
But can we not also acknowledge that for generations, people have suffered through terrible trauma—and thrived.
As an adoption agency, we have spent over 25 years witnessing women, families, and children endure trauma and thrive.
Indeed, we don’t wish to negate the trauma. Certainly, we don’t want to suggest that everyone shouldn’t take time to grieve and care for their pain.
As you care for your loss and go through the stages of grief, it is good to remember that you will survive and most possibly thrive. Families created through adoption typically thrive and flourish
Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that life comes with sorrows—wars, death, famines, earthquakes, and disease. Our happily-ever-after stories are not real. We all have hardships.
One of the problems with adoption may be that we have created a happily-ever-after story with a child getting a loving family. In the previous generations, we erased the child’s past and pretended that everything was perfect. We pretended that there was no sorrow attached to adoption. The final curtain always read, “they lived happily ever after.”
This, of course, created a backlash of adoptees from closed adoptions or secret adoptions. Adoptees felt hurt, and sometimes lied to.
If we are willing to recognize that pain and hurt are a natural part of life, we can accept the pain adoptees feel. This pain and grief is the same pain and grief that anyone feels with loss. This shouldn’t be threatening or frightening to us. Children, birth mothers, and adoptive families can overcome these traumas as humanity has overcome concentration camps, polio, apartheid, and numerous other trauma. Not only overcome these traumas but flourished.
Adoption isn’t perfect. It is problematic. But children and birth mothers should recognize they have the strength to overcome and survive.
Adoptive parents need to join their children and the birth parents to find joy and satisfaction in the journey. This does not mean pretending there is no trauma or there is no loss. We can’t compare their experience to any other trauma. But can we affirm their losses and, at the same time, encourage their strength.