It doesn’t take long when one joins an adoption community to learn about trauma. Every adoptee has experienced trauma associated with having been adopted, whether they recognize that consciously or not. Being a part of such a community gives us a sense of support, nurturing, belonging and a sense of connection. This heals our sense of loneliness and isolation as well as impacting our culture and society.
Today I read an article in one of my sources of spiritual support, the LINK>Science of Mind Magazine. An assistant minister at a Centers for Spiritual Living location in Santa Clara California, the LINK>Rev Russ Legear wrote about Being Trauma Informed Is Being Inclusive. Recognizing that adoption will always have some degree of trauma attached becomes a place of inclusion for those who are part of such a community.
Having been separated from the mom who conceived and birthed us puts the adoptee into a survival response. So what is trauma ? It is the psychological aftermath of a negative experience which has either caused us an actual or even simply a perceived harm, injury or kind of violence. It may include an actual physical violation of our bodies or emotions (and simply being taken away from the woman in who’s womb we developed is that). Every adoptee experiences a loss of their power to choose as they are not old enough nor do they have the agency to make the choice that results in their becoming adopted.
Being traumatized stunts the emotions. The adoptee must create some way to cope, to protect themselves and to survive within a situation that is never natural. This affects the individuals ability to experience love, joy and it is difficult for them to entirely feel safe. Even an insensitive remark can make an adoptee feel powerless.
One of my own motivations in writing blogs each day is to build awareness in those who read these personal efforts that adoptees and their original mothers, often including their genetic fathers, carry this burden of of trauma to some degree. It is true that some may feel the sting of trauma more acutely than others but the effort is to help other people see that trauma was a valid experience for all adoptees (whether they would say that about themselves or not). That experience of trauma deserves to receive our respect. We can be aware that it has happened and have the courage to be open-hearted when it expresses itself in some behavior. By knowing that someone’s reaction has come out of the trauma allows us to be more heartfully open, compassionate, able to feel connected to what has been a truth whether it was our own personal truth or not. This attitude will help to restore power for the adoptee as we allow them the freedom to express their emotions related to adoption. We are more authentic and the adoptee is better able to find pathways to thrive, having been unburdened of the necessity of proving they have been traumatized by the process of being adopted.
Sharing the understanding that trauma has occurred creates s kind of unity, allowing us to transcend whatever seems to divide us. We have made space for the affected to experience some degree of healing and within ourselves to heal from misguided beliefs about the benign nature and “goodness” of adoption.