What Causes The Trauma ?

A question was asked – what causes trauma in adoption ?  I think it is valid to ask about that.

One adoptee responded – The separation in itself is traumatic. Example: I was separated from my birth mom right after I was born. She didn’t even get to see me. Now I know when babies are born it takes time til they understand they are a separate person. They still believe that they are A PART of their mother. It’s like someone cutting off a part of your body. And you have no recollection of who or why. Wouldn’t that be traumatising for you?

Another adoptee shared that the trauma came from not being able to understand why the original parents, or at least the mother, didn’t try harder.  Often an adoptee interprets that to mean that somehow they were not good enough, not lovable, defective somehow.  Children especially cannot appreciate the complicated situations many adults must navigate and how they arrive at difficult decisions that may even leave them with a lifetime of sorrow.

This frequently leaves the adoptee believing as they mature that no one could ever love them. They explain it this way – if the person who was naturally supposed to love them the most, as their own flesh and blood, couldn’t find it in themselves to love their own child, then why would anyone else be able to love them ? The concept of love is broken for many adoptees. For many, it is the ultimate betrayal and cannot be explained as anything less than a profound abandonment.

Many adoptees are given the standard narrative that their mother loved them so much and didn’t think she could really give the child the best life and so, she surrendered her child to someone else to raise, believing that would give her child the best possible outcome.  And I think a lot of these mothers have become convinced one way or another that this is the truth of their situation.  I try not to judge.  But personally, I do find this sad.  It arises from a self-deprecating and poor self-esteem that is preyed upon by agencies and lawyers who make money when they can get a child released from their original family to allow a more wealthy couple to technically “buy” that child.  I realize that most adoptive parents do not see it as baby selling and buying.

There is trauma too in this narrative. This teaches an adoptee to equate love with abandonment and betrayal.  The effects can diminish the opportunity to have strong, stable and healthy relationships later in life.  Some will go through several failures (and one does not have to be adopted to have failed romantic relationships, some of it is learning what it is that one needs and what one can give to another person, including when and how to compromise) before they finally find a relationship that can help them heal from such misunderstandings.  Some sadly never heal.

4 thoughts on “What Causes The Trauma ?

  1. Very tough and trauma causes so much distress for many years. Really therapy helps the healing process and looking at several things. Looking at implementing gratitude, meditation, yoga and therapy. It’s is definitely a variety of strategies that begin to help heal our souls.

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    1. My everyday practice is gratitude and I think highly of meditation though not great at it. Love yoga but haven’t been in therapy. Yes, so many healing modalities and accessible (though maybe not so much at the moment – haven’t been able to go to a yoga class since early March). Sometimes, a person doesn’t realize that their behaviors originate in a trauma and do not know how to correct them.

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      1. Have you ever looked at reading some self help books? Or create a gratitude journal to help reach the positive moments to create a calmness in your body.

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      2. For over thirty years I have deeply studied spirituality through a variety of modes, some of which could be considered “self help”. Gratitude practice is as common to me as breathing. I did morning pages for an extended period of time but developed carpal tunnel, since corrected with surgery. Journaling just has never really been the kind most people do but I am writing every day, so there’s that kind. My writing retreat which I go to 6 days a week, for several hours a day, has the most incredible peace – no internet, no telephone, no family demands and the natural beauty of a wilderness forest. It doesn’t get any better I believe. I am calm. The trauma I write about is generally adoption related but I am NOT an adoptee, simply the child of two adoptees. Maybe that gives a bit more context.

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