Tag Archives: experience

Feeling Different

Today’s post is from John, an adopted adult who shares his views and feelings…

When reading the stories of other adoptees, I often feel that I am odd or unusual. Going for a walkTheir stories talk of a yearning to find out their roots, or of feeling a sense of loss or anger. Yet, I have never had a deep longing to discover my roots nor I have ever felt a sense of loss or anger. I have always just accepted my adoption as a fact of life and feel secure in my identity as my adoptive parents’ son.

I have met my birth mother. She gave me up voluntarily and clearly loved and cared for me. I wanted to let her know that things had turned out well. We do get on and I do see our similarities but, for me, there is not the deep connection others sometimes speak of.

I often wonder what makes my story different from so many others.

I was given up voluntarily by a loving, responsible birth mother who cared for me in the womb and for the first week of my life. I believe that I was given up because of her love for me. I am sure that she would not have given me up had she not felt it was in my best interests. I was also adopted as a month and a half old baby into a well matched, loving home by parents who were utterly devoted to me and who told from me from an early age that I was adopted. I cannot remember not knowing. I also look very like my adoptive parents so I could easily hide that I was adopted if I wished. I did have difficult times in my teenage years but I don’t believe these were any more difficult than any other teenager trying to find their place in the world.

I have been reading the Primal Wound. As an adopted person, I do not particularly recognise myself in it but I do believe what it says is true of other adopters. I see much of what it says in the experience of my sister. She has felt a deep sense of loss and anger which she has had to work through over many years.

Clearly, there is something subtly different in my sister’s experience of adoption and my own experience. We have both enjoyed a similar upbringing and much of what I describe above about myself is true of her yet her emotional response to her adoption is completely different to my own. I have my theories on why this is. From reading the Primal Wound and from considering my own experience and my sister’s experience, I believe that first few days after birth are critical. I was cared for by my birth mother for a week after my birth. She was not.

This is why it is so important to hear from adoptees. Each adoptee has their own, distinctive story of adoption. We need to hear their story to understand why one adoptee has one experience of adoption and another a different experience so that we can use this information to improve the experiences of the adoptees of tomorrow.

We must give adoptees the space to share their story. It will be in this patchwork of adoptee experiences that answers can be found that can help the adoptees of the future.

Getting experience

Today’s problem is from May, a prospective adoptive mum, can you help her?

My partner and I are currently in the system and waiting to meet with a social worker, but whenbedtime we spoke on the phone he suggested that we could help ourselves by getting some experience with children in the age range that we’re considering.

At the moment, we’re not entirely sure what age we’ll be thinking about, but probably under 3. So the obvious choice for getting experience would be to volunteer in a nursery. However, we’re also aware that many children are going to have difficulties and we’re wondering if working with untraumatised children is going to give us the experience we need? Yes, we might get to do the practical things like feeding, nappy changing and playing, but is that enough at this stage?

I’d be interested to know where other adoptive parents gained experience (if at all) and whether they felt it was worthwhile.

So, what were/are your experiences? Can you share them? Any suggestions?

Mothering Sunday

Here in the UK, this Sunday 30th March is also Mothering Sunday. We know for many of our children, this day is difficult – a conflict about who mum is, who should get the card, whether it’s disloyal to adoptive mum if birth mum is remembered, and vice versa or just too many feelings about ‘mum’ and what that means.

mothers dayWe recently had a question from a reader – a prospective adoptive parent – about how, as adoptive parents we handle Mother’s Day. And I wonder if readers and writers alike would like to share their own experiences, or perhaps talk about whether expectation and experience are in any way the same?

In my house, it’s always been quite simple. My son doesn’t remember his birth family at all, and all he knows as Mum, is me. So, naturally celebrations, gifts and cards have always been directed at me. However, this year, now he’s 7, he has more understanding, or knowledge at least of this other part of his family; but not quite enough understanding to make sense of it all. He’s asked if he can make his birth mother a card, which of course we’re happy to help him make. This is a huge acknowledgement for Mini, as he swings through wanting nothing to do with his birth family and insisting we stop letterbox contact, denying their existence and his own beginnings, and wanting to know more about them. We’re very willing to support him through the feelings and emotions that this very acknowledgement brings, although fear that even with help, he’s not mature enough to yet make sense of or handle those emotions. We’ve seen evidence of that in his recent behaviour.

I know in other houses Mother’s Day is celebrated rather differently. So what’s it like for you and your children? In some houses it’s not celebrated or remembered at all.

Do you think that Mother’s Day should be celebrated or is it just another opportunity for us to spend our cash? Should we just try to be thankful for our mums all the time?