I have been really busy educating myself about adoption. I'm taking advantage of our long expected waiting time, and trying to learn as much as I can. I know adoption is beautiful, but it also brings heartache, frustration, and anger along with it, for both us and the adoptee. So, I want to be prepared for some of the challenges we may be presented with along the way.
I've finished reading "Dear Birthmother," which was a fantastic book and gave great insight into the heart and mind of birthmothers. I have since started reading "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew," by Sherrie Eldridge. FAN-TAS-TIC! This book is completely loaded with great information! Sherrie was adopted herself, so she is able to inject her own personal experiences into the book. I am finding this book so helpful, so I thought I would share my learning experience with you, in case you want to learn along with me ;)
I'm on chapter 6 right now, so I'll have to back track a little. Let's start at the beginning....
Chapter 1: Hidden Losses
This chapter just touches on the many losses involved with adoption. So often we think of adoption as a positive, happy thing, and it is! But it is also filled with loss. Loss on the adoptive couple's part, especially if they have struggled with infertility. The birthfamily's loss, which is pretty self explanatory. And, mostly, the adoptee's loss. The adoptee has lost the single most important person in his life...the person who GAVE him life...his mother. The most natural bond in the world has been diminshed.
The book states, "To deny adoption loss is to deny the emotional reality of everyone involved." While every child will not experience loss in the same way, all adoptees must grieve. Just like Brandon and I are still grieving the loss of our biological child, our adopted child will grieve the loss of his or her birth family. It's painful to think that my child will be hurt or saddened by their story, but this is reality. The last thing I want to do is pretend it didn't happen and negate his/her emotions. Some adoptees will show their grief through anger, frustration, or depression. Others grieve silently. Some will talk. Some won't. But it is crucial to keep the lines of communication open, and to let them know that it is ok to feel...no matter what the feeling may be.
Although adoption brings a sense of loss and rejection with it, that does not mean that your child's life is doomed to be miserable. There will be times when he or she will grieve...times when they will ask questions or want to talk, and there will be times that they don't even think about it. But it is so important to be in tune to what your child is feeling so that you can be prepared to help him/her.
On to Chapter 2....