I read a blog today. It was written by a therapist who is an adoptee and an author who is an adoptee. Here is the link:
It made me think about healing.
The word itself gives the connotation that something is not whole, or healed. Healing truly means the effort of making one whole or well again.
Healing in reference of being adopted is becoming whole. How does an adopted person become whole if they are missing vital information about themselves? How can we heal if we continue to be shamed by our very existences and by our birth?
An adopted person, even in the best of reunions, may not have the complete story of their lives. There may be chunks of time missing. Such as my first 7 months. I have NO IDEA what was going on in my life. Others may not know the details, but they have some information, but how can anyone truly “know”their story if they have not been present throughout the making of their life? This causes shame – as if we were to blame for our missing time or our not being accepted by an adoptive family or that we were abandoned by our birth mother or given up….I could go on, but I won’t.
I have spent this past year in therapy. I began with my current therapist 2 weeks after finding my birth family on February 1, 2017. I was in new, uncharted territory and I needed someone to help me navigate these new, choppy waters. I felt as though I was at sea and there was a huge storm and I was the only one capable of righting the sails. I had to figure out who I was – now – because the person I was on January 31, 2017 no longer existed.
I found out I was #6 of 10 children, when just the day before, I was an only child whose adopted brother had passed away. I was used to being by myself. I found out that my roots are in Washington state. I felt pulled to go and see. I have gone and I feel so at home among the trees. I found out that I had a heritage, an ethnic background that I suspected, but was confirmed through DNA testing.
There was a lot of sadness to take in and a lot of “why’s,” that I truly can never answer.
My therapist has challenged my irrational thoughts. She has helped me find balance and find solace in my story. She has guided me to my own conclusions and answers.
But, healing is not just about therapy. (funny thing to say as I am a Therapist)
I have had to offer myself gentleness. I have given myself the gift of acceptance. For me, acceptance makes all the difference in my process. “I fully accept myself even though I struggle with grief….and sadness….and rejection…and longing…and…and…and” It is the act of accepting self that has helped me heal.
I have given myself time to think and to feel. I have not tried to push away my emotions. I have cried when I felt like I wanted. I have been quiet when I needed. I have talked when I felt like I wanted to be vulnerable. I have used “cuss words,” which, for me, is new and sort of exciting! I have allowed myself to ask for what I need.
But the one thing I have done, above all else that has helped me the most is I have not hidden my story. I have shared publically about my adoption. I have started an adoption story specific Instagram, which has connected me to the adoption community. I sought out adoption groups on Facebook. I have been very open to learning about my ‘adopted culture,’ more than ever before. I started writing and sharing this blog. And in all this openness, I have found myself.
I have not allowed shame to creep in and consume me, when, trust me, it could have taken over. Shame is the opposite of vulnerability. Many who are adopted have been born and given away due to shame. Some were born to unwed mothers who were shamed into placing the child in an adoption agency. Many women were sent away to unwed mother’s homes. Many were guilted by religion for being “easy” and getting pregnant. Some adoptees were conceived out of necessity and survival, which is shameful.
We adoptees have had enough shame. It is time to turn off the darkness and walk into our light. I have a big flashlight and I am ready to lead the way. Who’s with me?