Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reunion

I know most of you follow Lorraine and Jane's blog  but in case you don't, or are, as we say in Australia, 'a blow in', here's her latest on reunions which I found most interesting and revealing.
I long ago came to the conclusion that only adoptees truly understand adoption from the adoptee point of view. Others try, make a good stab at it and often get the big picture, but fall short on some other aspects, like that of loss for instance. Our loss of attachment is not cured by reunion and in some circumstances might be made more difficult to deal with.
What Lorraine seems to bring out in her post is that adoptees are triggered by circumstances, events, remarks; nothing new to us, but clearly something not understood by some mothers who see and understandably feel it as something that makes reunion and establishing a relationship more difficult, if not at times impossible, inexplicable and painful. Adoptees too may not always understand the triggers and as most of you can state from your own experience, they arrive unbidden, unexpectedly and surprisingly when we sometimes least expect it or are prepared for it.
Perhaps the way forward is to begin a dialogue on such areas of difficulty, to seek support in reunion and to understand that it is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult things, we will ever do in terms of relationships.
 A comment, or part of one, from Kate Ingalls-Maloney, Adoptees Have Answers Manager on an article -
While the Star-Tribune article focuses on adoptees with challenging individual histories, let us not forget the multitude of adoptees whose stories may be less profound yet who nonetheless struggle with vestiges of their early loss - grief, abandonment and trust issues, identity confusion, and more.
Often adoptees simply need adopted peers to connect with to help them process emotions that, if unattended, can become immobilizing. AHA helps to fill this need. Families who provide their adoptees the emotional space to explore their own histories and psychology are our greatest partners in this effort.
The emphasis here is mine, while I certainly hope this group are doing a good job, as support is much needed from all quarters and wish them well. It is distressing to find a hierachy of adoptee loss indicated, in which some adoptees' stories and therefore lives and loss, are considered less profound than others.Perhaps all communities and communities of adoptees struggle with the fact that loss is loss, abuse is abuse and trauma is trauma and that those things cannot be rated on a scale of one to ten. We can never say 'You suffered more than I did' or 'My trauma was worse'. Where these ideas creep in, we know that we need to take special care not to be competitive, critical of the stories of others if they are unlike ours and judgemental where there is difference.
It is central to what is happening here in Australia. We are making some headway, but the attitudes of non-adoptees and the adoptees they influence, have resulted in a divided adoption community, sometimes in turmoil and trying to forge ahead to a new understanding and a new future. Change is coming; but as everywhere it is slow, laborious and sometimes difficult.
Congratulations on all of you who were in San Antonio and did such a wonderful job of promoting awareness, without it nothing changes.

2 comments:

  1. Oh, Lordy, Von. Your words cannot have come at a more needed moment. I have fallen into the blackest pit of despair again, and I am clawing my way out, not very successfully. It helped me to read what you wrote and to know I am not working through this alone. That the words of my friends, although well meaning, are blunt and painful. That it just sucks to hell and back. One fucking minute at a time. Half the time I know I am mentally ill. The other half I know I'm adopted. I cannot tell where they bleed together sometimes. xxoo

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  2. Oh Mrs M!!! So sorry to hear you are struggling and how true your words!!I don't know if you subscribe to the 'Being Adopted' idea of Stages in adoption.If you don't know the book, buy it, it may bring hope.We do get through it, come to terms as I can testify.You are not alone, ever.
    'Being Adopted - the lifelong Search for Self' - Brodzinsky, Schechter and Henig Von

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