We are ALL being forced to live through perhaps one of the most extraordinary times in our collective generations history. It will certainly be long remembered and remarked upon. We can not see clearly where all of this disruption will leave our country and the world, much less our families and our selves.
It is crucial that we learn to manage the anxiety. I had to recently make a point to my own husband that his anxiety was not healthy for me. That if I had a heart attack I could end up in the place where I really don’t want to be at this time (though truth be told, I never want to end up there for that reason).
It is a moral and social responsibility incumbent upon each of us to do our best to minimize our own role in and help to curtail the spread of this contagion. We are all having to make adjustments and modifications to the way we would prefer to be living. We are having to give up those things we like to do best in favor of not doing much of anything that we can’t do in our very own homes.
This can be a challenge for anyone with children in their home. It is best to be truthful in an age appropriate manner. I heard a young child at the grocery store yesterday ask their mother, “why can’t I touch things ?” It is definitely a teaching moment and where day care is necessary for those who must continue to work – good hygiene and distancing can even be taught to young children.
So, I want to say to you today – It’s OK to be worried. It’s normal and it isn’t an overreaction. If that is how you feel, it’s your feelings. Feelings can’t be wrong.
It has helped in our family to have a plan. I am the most likely to become infected because I am the supply officer for my family. We are fortunate that we have always lived this way (though there are a few more inconveniences and necessary actions that weren’t necessary before). We have a home-based business and our children have always been educated at home. We have less to adapt to and we also live in sparsely populated rural wilderness. Not always an advantage but at the moment, one we are grateful for.
This is a topic I had not previously considered. An adoption disruption is every hopeful adoptive parent’s biggest fear. After all, prospective birth parents can change their mind about adoption at any time until they legally sign their consent — and when that does happen, it can be extremely difficult for the adoptive family that has invested so much hope and energy into the adoption opportunity. While adoption disruptions are not incredibly common, they do happen.
An adoption disruption is sometimes referred to as a “failed adoption.” It’s not surprising to know that older children adopted out of foster care would experience a higher rate of adoption disruption than younger children. Every adoption is unique.
A family whose adoption failed is left trying to piece together a difficult situation. From the perspective of an adoptee there is always some “back” place where they could be sent if the adoptive parents are unhappy with them.
One adoptee discussing this recently shared – “I wasn’t HIS kid. I was her kid and so anything related to me – she had to deal with because he wasn’t interested. As far as he was concerned, I should have been returned to foster care when I was a little kid.” The clincher was that this man was a religious minister.
While there are many causes – legal disruptions, children returned to care, adoptees placed in residential facilities or other out of home situations – it is also potentially caused by a breakdown in the parent child relationship.
Facing the death of loved ones is difficult for many people. I remember the first dead bodies that I saw as a public schoolchild. Two friends died while yet school age and my uncle died when I was a senior in high school. My young sons saw dead bodies at a very young age as their paternal grandparents died at home. We have also taken them to local visitations. It is good to view death as a natural part of life.
For the adoptee, especially while yet a child, death can trigger pre-verbal memories of abandonment. There was a first mother who gave you away to an adoption agency and then went away. The adoptive parents came and got you. Death can really drive home to an adopted child that their first mother has gone away and never came back.
Coming face to face with death can also create fears related to the adoptive parents – will they go away and never come back? There are other kinds of death – What happens then, if one of the adoptive parents does leave because they have filed for divorce ?
Under such circumstances, many families break apart and become dysfunctional. An adoptee may take this kind of loss harder than a non-adoptee would. If the result of the divorce is leaving and selling the place that was always home, this can also be harder for an adoptee – “I always thought I’d have some place I could call home and now I don’t.”
Loss is often a lifelong difficult place for an adoptee.
Searching for where an adoptee came from requires a special kind of courage. It might be opening up a “can of worms” has my dad always believed. There could be disappointment. The relatives one finds are real people with real flaws and also a kind of beauty because they are a connection. It is better to know who you are rather than live in a mystery.
For an adoptee, the connection to one’s ancestors has been broken. That matters. When adoption is in one’s family history, those impacted only want answers and the truth. There isn’t a desire to disrupt anyone’s life. If relatives want to meet – wonderful – those I have met have been very helpful in filling in the understandable gaps in my ancestry. Sharing the stories we weren’t there for can help us to heal.
Loss of the most sacred bond in life, that of a mother and child, is one of the most severe traumas and this loss will require long-term, if not lifelong, therapy. If not therapy, then answers and a knowledge of something that is real and not falsified.
Finding one’s roots does not deny the love and value that one gives to the people who were there in life thanks to adoption. The aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents in my own life are treasured and held precious even if there is no true genetic bond with these.
A life can be symbolized by a circle – birth, maturity, old age and death – completion, rebirth or heaven. Coming to know my roots has also been a kind of completion, a bringing the arc of my life full circle.