Grief and loss



Diary of an Adoptive Mom #11

Focus on Adoption magazine

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.

Extreme Parenting series

Focus on Adoption magazine

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. This series ran from 2013 to 2016.

Extreme parenting: Find your gratitude

Focus on Adoption magazine

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.

Extreme parenting: The little things

Focus on Adoption magazine

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.

An adoptee's bill of rights

Focus on Adoption magazine

I have a right to feel confused.
Who wouldn’t? After all, I have two sets of parents, one of which was shrouded in mystery.

I have a right to fear abandonment and rejection.
After all I was abandoned by the one I was most intimate with.

I have the right to acknowledge pain.
After all, I lost my closest relative at the youngest age possible.

I have the right to grieve.
After all, everyone else in society acknowledges strong emotions.

I have a right to express my emotions.
After all, they have been shut down since adoption day.

When Mother's Day hurts

Focus on Adoption magazine

All parenting has its ups and downs, and parenting adopted children is no different. One thing that is different is that there are certain times that tend to be more difficult for adopted kids than their non-adopted peers.

Holidays rank high as one of these difficult times. Like birthdays, the holidays are a natural time to reflect on family and the past, and this is often true for adopted children. For obvious reasons, Mother's Day and Father's Day are extremely common times for adopted children to feel down or to have a lot of questions about their birth parents.

Dear birth parents

Focus on Adoption magazine

A letter from an adoptee

For most of my life, I hadn’t thought about my birth parents: where I came from, who they were, or why they had chosen to give me up. For me, the only thing that mattered was that I had parents who loved me and who chose to be my parents.

When I met my biological father just over three years ago, I was overwhelmed by his reaction to reconnecting with me. He spoke as though he had known me and loved me for my entire life—this “stranger” who hadn’t crossed my mind even once as I had transitioned through childhood and into my adult years.


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