"I need your help in grieving my loss. Teach me how to get in touch with my feelings about my adoption, then validate them."
I think I have mentioned in previous posts that one of the things that I have learned so far is that no matter how much we desire our child, no matter how much we love her, and no matter how much she means to us, we can not change her circumstances. We can not change the fact that she will have suffered such a great loss before she was even born. This is astounding (and hurtful) to me. Oh, how I wish I could make it better! But, since I can't remove the hurt, I must help my child grieve and deal with their circumstances. The first key to this is to help her verbalize her feelings. We, as adoptive parents, must make absolutely certain that we provide a safe place for our children to share with us their feelings...regardless of what those feelings might be. Adopted children need to know that we love them just the way they are, and that there is nothing that they need to do to "deserve" our love.
We need to be in tune to our children, and take their ques. We need to know when to talk with them about their adoption, and to let them know that we are here for them whenever they want to talk. But what about the kids who don't know how to put their feelings into words? One of the book's suggestions is to help your child work through their feelings through play. It can be acting out stories like what it was like at the hospital on adoption day, or playing with dolls or barbies and pretending one of the dolls is adopted, or even writing a story together about it. I really liked those ideas. I think those are some creative ways to help a child walk through their grief.
Some other suggestions to help the child work through his grief in the book are:
- Create a Lifebook
- Let her write letters to her birthmom. If you can't mail them to her, keep them in a box or a scrapbook.
- Give your child privacy. He may want to work through it alone at times.
- Expose him to other adoptees.
- Always remind your child of his strengths.