Through the years, my reading and research has shown me how grief can take many forms in an adopted child.
If I had only adopted my son Jaik, I could not have blogged about my experiences with him for very long. He was the “silent opposite” of his twin brother when it came to verbalizing, acting out, or dealing with any relinquishment or adoption issues he might have.
In this post I’m going to put my discussion about adoptee grief in the context of six basic emotions that I introduced in another blog post called “Emotional Literacy.”
I’m going to come back to this topic because it is so
important that all parents — including adoptive parents — to understand
their own emotions around this issue.
If you think deeply about adoption, it makes sense that one person’s happiness was the result of someone else’s loss. When adoptions are “closed adoptions,” as mine was, it is often times difficult to even think about the circumstances of your child’s birth mother.
Fears manifest themselves in many ways. A fear that is totally inconsequential to one person can be a major phobia to another. My daughter, Stacee, had the typical child’s fear of sleeping in the dark. My son Jaik, had a more serious fear shared by many adopted children — if he was not perfect enough, he would not be allowed to stay in our family. But as usual, my son Brandon taught me the most about an adopted child’s fears.
Sometimes adopted children act out their fear and grief and some times they give it words. I was so glad that so often Brandon gave it words, because he became my guide into the feelings and fears of his siblings who were not expressing a great deal of what they were feeling. He gave me a really interesting lesson when the kids were in preschool.
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