Today is the last day of National Adoption Month. Throughout these last 29 days I’ve filled the blog with stories of adoption from my family and other families across the world. These stories all have one thing in common-they are written by adoptive parents. But today I’m doing something a little different. My last post of the month is written by a woman who was adopted. I don’t know the details to Hattie’s adoption, but I do know that she had a difficult go of things with her adoptive parents. I’ve blogged before about my relationships with my children’s biological families, and how it differs from case to case, depending on their safety, and I’ve also talked about how I grieve for their loss, as well as the loss of their biological families. Adoption to our family is an incredibly beautiful thing, but it is also wrought with heartache on so many levels, by so many people. We’ve always been open with our children about their birth families (without EVER saying anything negative) and they know that when/if the time should come and they want to connect with the people of their past, we will help them do so. I want them to feel their heritage, whether they choose to accept mine or not. I want them to know how much of a blessing they are to my hubby and I. Adoption isn’t something you do because you can’t have babes of your own, working through infertility is a demon all it’s own. Each family has a different story. Each parent and child may view their adoption in an entirely different light, adopted or no. And today, Hattie is sharing her story. So please, welcome her to the blog.
some time, wondering what might be most useful for adoptive parents to hear.
Eventually I decided to simply write from the heart, as usual. Therefore, here
are a few things that I wish my adoptive parents had done differently.
your unspoken pain!
and anguish of infertility. Finding out that you cannot have your own
biological child must be heart wrenching and how one deals with this, I don’t
necessarily know myself. However, something I do know is that my adoptive
parents did not learn to live with and process their pain before they adopted.
Actually, the adoption was more like a sticking plaster over a hot red wound,
the consolation that may bring solace, the mothering or fathering that may make
them feel somehow complete. Unfortunately, it didn’t and we, my adopted brother
and I bore the brunt of their pain as it manifested itself in many myriad ways.
deal with your pain!
own mother, acted and behaved like her and generally soaked up her own mother’s
idiosyncrasies, behaviours, morals and beliefs from a young age. So it is fair
to say when she adopted her own daughter (me), she wanted a perfectly coiffed
mini version of herself. I fell short but rather than accept this, after all
there was a logical explanation, instead I was forced to conform, prodded and
poked until I visibly behaved accordingly, even if underneath it all felt
rather strange and uncomfortable.
perhaps many parents similarly to mine would rather not talk about it, instead
just happily gaze at the invisible elephant in the room. Frankly though, it
comes with the territory and adoptive kids need to know that they can talk
openly to their parents, without awkwardness, admonishments, tears or rigid
stances that this is not to be discussed.
extent of trauma involved when an adopted child is relinquished. The
relationship with their birth mother did not simply begin at birth, it began at
conception. Those nine months in utero, though not consciously understood, will
leave a lasting legacy on the unconscious mind and the subsequent severing of
this relationship often produces lifelong pain and trauma.
share with you my feelings.
adopted parents can be painful for the adopted child. Expected to be happy and
complicit in the celebrations, the pain they may be experiencing is often
ignored or overlooked and likewise to second birthdays, beloved of my own
adopted parents, joyous reminders to themselves of the day they legally became
my parents, were heartbreakingly sad for me. Additionally, I also struggled on mother’s
and father’s day.
in order to placate yours.
certainly did. My relationship with my birth family abruptly ended and I didn’t
know why. The natural assumption is to believe that you were rejected because
you were unlovable, unlikable, that there was something inherently wrong with
you. Whatever the rationalization, a child will feel that at the point of
relinquishment (or rejection), they were ultimately bad and forever afterwards,
will be busily trying to create a different self, a safer self that will not be
abandoned once more.
hesitant about connection.
to prior experiences but actually the weight of expectation on a child who is
somehow special (different from the normal child, above average, exceptional
etc) is enormous. I felt daily that I was failing my parents by not living up
to some confusing, fuzzy but rather grand ideal. How does one live up to these
expectations? We can’t quite simply; instead we panic continuously, that one
day you will see us for the quite ordinary, mundane child that we are and what
will happen to us then?
exhaustive, is simply my small and humble contribution, learnt from thirty -four
years of being an adopted child. I sincerely hope it helps or at least confirms
the things you already knew, not to do!
how is my relationship with my adopted parents these days? Well it’s all a bit
of a struggle to be honest. But do I believe it could be different for you,
with your children? Yes, with all my heart, I believe so!
need you to love them more than you will ever know!