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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More to learn...

I'm reading a book called "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew" by Sherrie Eldridge. It is a book that I picked up several years back, but didn't finish. I recently picked it up again and started to realize that I now am interested in what she has to say regarding adoption. I'm in a different place today then I was a few years back. When I was placed for adoption at five weeks old, I was put into a loving family. A Christian family that lived an average normal life. We took trips, I went to school, I had friends, etc. They are my family today and always will be. There is no other. There was, though, always a piece of me that felt like it was missing.

As with most everything in life, adoption has positive and negative elements. None of us wants to acknowledge the negative, painful side-that is, loss. For the birth parents, the loss of their biological offspring, the relationship that could have been, a very part of themselves. For the adoptive parents, the loss of giving birth to a biological child, the child whose face will never mirror theirs. And for the adopted child, the loss of the birth parents, the earliest experience of belonging and acceptance.

I never really looked at the whole picture, there were times in my life that I was extremely angry, but couldn't figure out where it was coming from. Acceptance is a huge piece for me. I had to work through rejection and some times still do. I can't allow satan to use that to get to me. Jesus accepts me for who I am, regardless. He who created me knows me better then I know myself!

How can I feel this way or have loss when I was placed at such an early age?

Picture this...

Adoption day finally arrives, the day that at times seemed an eternity away. The home studies are over. The "what ifs" are behind you. Smooth sailing from here on out.
The birth mother tearfully signs the adoption papers as the nurse dresses the baby in the outfit you bought. The relatives gather at your house in anticipation of the homecoming. A meal is prepared. The mood is festive. Voices are loud and cheerful.
Cameras flash and videos roll as you carry the baby into her new home for everyone to see. "Isn't she beautiful!" they all say one after another. Grandparents hold her first, then the aunts and uncles and cousins. The baby lies quietly in each person's arms, seemingly oblivious to all that is happening around her. However, no one knows that beneath that crisp white dress is a tiny grieving heart... a heart that wonders where Mommy is. Her smell. The sound of her voice. Her heartbeat. Her body. Where did she go?

A key concept to remember is that your child's perception about adoption began not at birth, not on adoption day, but during the first nine months of life in the womb of his or her birth mother. This is where your child's core personality was mysteriously woven together. She writes on to say... The first part of your child's life narrative begins in utero and forms an emotional lens through which he interprets life from birth onward. While many birth mothers love the child they are carrying even though they must choose adoption, others reject the child and contribute to the pain he carries with him into life outside of the womb. If she chooses the way of self-protection, emotionally detaching herself from her baby, the child will sense this rejection and it may become the lens through which she views life.

Aw haw.. Could this be why I felt rejected at so many times in life or that I have been so sensitive to acceptance? But my family accepted me and has loved me, then why do I feel the way that I do?

When I was in my young teen years, I would get angry at my Bio-mom for the mistakes I made. I would get disciplined for something I said or did wrong and up to my room I would run. I would then proceed to whip things across the room, scream and yell, mainly at my bio-mom. She was the root of my problems, or at least that's what I thought. Why did she give me up? What was wrong with me, that she didn't like?

I also fantasized about her finding me, taking me back and bringing me shopping! Hah! Yes - I love to shop!! I had the desire to find my bio-mom, but didn't know where to start.

When I turned 18, my father helped me by getting for me non-identifying information regarding my bio-family from the agency where I was placed through. This information answered so many questions.

My bio-mom never married, but kept a son that was two years older then myself. Rejection again. Why did she keep him and not me?

Then a few years ago, I took the plunge and decided to find my bio-mom. I went back to the agency and asked them to help. I completed the necessary paperwork (oh yeah, there's always more paperwork!) and waited. Yes, waited again for "the call". The call finally came in a month later. My SW had said that she had found her, but she was not willing to meet with me because of my half brother. She had never told my H.brother about me. It was too messy and she was too old to try and figure it all out now. Rejection again! Oh well. I did get to ask questions and get answers via the SW. I was able to find out a little bit of medical history. I finally concluded that I didn't know her and had no emotional attachment to her. It was a loss, but didn't affect me the same as it had in the past. I was able to write her a letter and thank her for choosing life.

There is so much more to this story. I am still learning things regarding adoption.
My prayer is that my story can help another adopting family. There's more to come...

7 comment(s):

Maxine said...

Oh, Lori!
What a reflective, transparent post! And so accurate. You gave us something to think about-- something I at least had not thought about--the attachment in the womb aspect. Having seen the birth of my first grandchild, and seeing her attachment to her mother from the first moments, I now understand better how this can be. So now I can understand the feeling of loss better. I have heard other adopted people say they have had a sense of something that happened that they couldn't explain and some of those people had not known they were adopted at the time of these feelings.
As you know, both my girls are adopted. My youngest read this post a few minutes ago and it sparked a good conversation between the two of us. I'm going to tell my oldest to come read it. Thanks so much for opening yourself up to all of us, and for helping us from your own experience. Praying that the Lord gives you grace in the midst of loss and deeper insights as you parent your own two children. Our Lord is above all--His love surpassing all.
I pray for you often, Lori!
Just wanted you to know that you DID help another adoptive family.

Bekah said...

Lori--Thanks so much for your honesty and sharing your experience, feelings, struggles, etc. I starred this post because it is something I want to have as a reference as Eloisa grows. When my sister passed away right after giving birth to my nephew, I know that my nephew grieved. He just acted so different than other newborns I held. It's just amazing how perceptive tiny babies are.

Heidi said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I have always wondered how Carter will accept his birthmom giving him up. With Elijah the reasoning seems to be easier- "you were born in a third-world country and your mother couldn't feed you and bravely gave you up so you could have a chance at life" and I have hoped that will make his acceptance a little bit easier. I worry about Carter though- his birth mom was a high school senior who made a mistake and wanted to experience her life. Of course we won't spin it that way, but it is the reality that I'm sure he will figure out someday.

I have a question for you. What did your parents tell you growing up about your adoption? Did what they told you make it easier or harder to accept? I hope and pray that by talking about their birthmothers' virtues and how their decisions were made selflessly will make a difference in how they accept these emotions.

Wow- that was a long comment! I think I need to read this book. Thanks for getting my thoughts rolling in this direction!

Kim said...

That's one of the books I read as part of our education classes we had to take. I'll be honest - most of it was hard for me to read. As an aparent you don't want your child to feel any loss. After all, we wanted this child SO BADLY - that should be good enough, right?

I know - it's not. Thanks for reminding me. Even though Alex's adoption was the best thing that has happened to me - I have to be reminded that my happiness happened because of his loss.

Lori - I so appreciate this post - and you sharing your feelings and thoughts. Us aparents need to hear stories like this.

Andrea said...

What a wonderful post, Lori. I appreciate your honesty. I knew you were adopted, but to hear about the pain and rejection really hit home. It's amazing what our children go through at such a young age. We hate to associate loss with it, but for our kids, it's a very real feeling, and one that may never truly go away. Thank you for reminding us to be a little more sensitive about what our children may be feeling. God Bless!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for sharing, it was a very real and open post, that needs to get shared more! I was wondering about finding my birth mother, maybe you could help me, I have no idea of where to start. Could you email me? THANKS

Alleen said...

Wow, interesting post. I too was adopted at birth. I really never have had any desire to meet my birthmom. But, truthfully, I guess I haven't necessarily sat down and really, really dug deep to see whether I feel any anger or resentment. I feel like I don't, but maybe I do.