My daughter Libby was born as I held her birth mother Carla’s hand, breathing with her through the agony of labour. When her daughter drew her first breath, Carla looked at me and said, “Congratulations on your new baby.” Then she asked me to cut the umbilical cord.
Grief and loss
Advice from a counsellor on how to recognize and help wounded children and youth.
Trauma: adoption’s shadow
Many children and youth who are adopted have been exposed to highly stressful situations and traumatic events; however, the resulting special needs these children can experience aren’t always recognized or supported. It’s vital for caregivers and professionals to learn the signs and symptoms of trauma as they present in children and youth, and to know how to find and access age-appropriate trauma-informed care.
If you're adopted or in care, it can be difficult to make and keep friends. So many things are always going on in your life. There might be attachment anxieties, loss and grief, and issues with separating from what you were once comfortable with. Change is really hard because you're trying to figure out "why" all the time.
By the time their long-awaited adopted child is placed in their arms, parents usually--and understandably--just want to put all the heartache behind them and move on into the joyful realms of parenthood. But their very real feelings of loss need to have a place in the story of their new family, or they can cast ever-lengthening shadows on the relationship between parents and child.
In the eleventh of our series we present the, until now, secret thoughts of an adoptive mom of three kids. This time, our struggling mom faces her own feelings of loss over the life she had before the second adoption--a loss she feels is often not properly acknowledged.
I feel like such an idiot; I think I'm finally getting what the problem is. Or, should I say, what "my" problem is. You would think that will all the reading I did before the kids came home I would be a little more aware. Apparently not.
In this five-part series, we present the diary of Mary Ella, an intercoutry adoptive mom. She shares the journey she and her husband, Wayne, took to Korea to meet their long-awaited daughter, Leelee.
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Claire’s 10-year-old son, Adam, was adopted from a Russian orphanage when he was 19 months old. Her second son, Ethan, joined their family from foster care at age 7. In this 12-part series, Claire shares the “fast and furious learning” she and her family experienced when they adopted an older child.
There are few things more life- or soul-destroying than clinging to the feeling that you are a victim of your life experiences, and that the world owes you something for the pain it caused you. And there are even fewer things more life- or soul-destroying than not allowing yourself the space to really feel your loss, fear, and longing.
Lose your expectations
When Ethan came into our family, he was very angry. My family and friends wondered what he had to be angry about. All they could see was that he was part of a loving family. They thought he should be grateful. It was interesting to me that these usually empathetic folks couldn’t immediately see the loss suffered by this child. Before I could understand what was going on, I had to abandon my expectations of them--and of Ethan.
If you see any of these signs in your relationship before you adopt a child, work through the problems together or get a good counsellor.