Many people believe adoption is a wonderful event that leaves all involved happy and healthy. On the outside, it looks like a child has been saved from an uncertain future and everything plays out like a Hallmark movie. Even in families with perfect circumstances, adoptees have questions and search for answers. In other situations with no so perfect circumstances, there are more than questions to be answered but also trauma to heal from. Behind the scenes of adoption, are children, adults, and biological and adoptive parents who struggle to feel good about their adoptive situation.
Why would someone want to heal from such a wonderful situation? One would think the child should be grateful and happy for being given a second chance at life. Right? Not always. There are many different reasons why a child or a parent might not be happy with the adoption they are involved in. Just as there are as many different variables that go into the dynamic of every family. That is why finding a counselor that understands adoption will be important for a family wanting to heal from adoption.
To begin the process of healing from adoption, the following list can help on the journey.
- Identify the issue.
The first step to any journey is to identify the direction you want to go. Ask the question: “What is the real problem here?” If your adopted child is experiencing unexplained behaviors, a drop in academic performance, increased anger or other emotions, it might be time to seek support and figure out what is causing the change.
As an adult adoptee, you might have difficulty in your work, personal relationships or unexplained emotions. Even birth and adoptive parents struggle to understand their own feelings after adoption. If any of this sounds true to you, seek an adoption informed counselor who can help you organize your thoughts and figure out the core issue.
- Ask questions.
Create a list of questions that seem to bounce around inside your mind on a daily basis. Writing them down tends to help you organize and focus on the real problem. Look at how your daily life is being impacted and if you are remaining successful in all life areas. If not, it might be something related to your birth history and life as an adopted child.
- Try to understand, both your birth parents and your adoptive parents had your best interest at heart when you were placed.
People don’t always make the right choices but sometimes they do. Because you were a child, unfortunately you didn’t have the ability to let the adults know how you felt. If you need closure, you might want to seek information from your adoptive parents or work on the issue with an adoption counselor.
- Forgive them.
Forgiveness might be the most difficult thing anyone can do for people who have hurt us. However, until you are able to let go of the hurt and forgive the choices made, it will haunt you the rest of your life.
- Don’t ignore the signs.
People often ignore their mental health until their life becomes completely unbearable. These issues do not go away on their own, and if ignored, will continue to wreak havoc on your daily functioning.
If you find you are struggling to maintain success in the following life areas, it is a good idea to seek assistance: Academic (grades falling, not meeting deadlines, lack of motivation), Family Interactions, Social Interactions, Emotional Health & Stability, Physical Health(unexplained headaches, stomach aches) and Financial Stability (lack of motivation, getting written up for mistakes, increased absences, loss of job).