Adoption: Loss and change

What has she lost in the short course of her life?

- Her people:

Severed not simply from family and close ones, but from the connections she had to the web of her whole community.  Vaporized in a heartbeat, leaving a bottomless and profound grief that sits alongside the acid sting of whole-scale rejection.   Forsaken and discarded by the people she loved:  ”I’m rubbish.” she says.

- Her things:

Torn from all that was familiar and reassuring.  Her favourite armchair, the mints in the dish, the hiding place in the garden, the hum of the boiler, the crack on the ceiling, her most precious teddy.  Every aspect of the personal landscape that etches into a child’s mind, wrenched away like a thief in the night: “I don’t care anyway.” she says.

- Her culture, her sense of belonging.

Cut off from everything that reflected a sense of place back to her. Her accent, her habits, her mores, her customs her traditions, the taste of a shepherd’s pie, all came suddenly to an end, leaving her an outsider to her own life: “I don’t know what you mean.” she says.

- Her means to share experiences.

Cut off from all her stories and every event that ever happened, she found herself pushed into isolation.  With no common ground, no memory lane, she became a mystery to herself, with no one to answer questions about: how she got her name, her first word, what happened the day she was born, her close encounter with a hedgehog: “You just don’t get it.” she says.

- Her willingness to trust.

As we dare to pick apart the loss, we uncover a shame that infiltrates her very sense of self.  In doubting her own self worth, she also questions the legitimacy of anyone to care for her. Fear thwarts the intimacy that trust demands, and mistakes it for control and blame: “I am just a bad baby.” she says.

- Her openness to love and be loved

Every meaningful intimate relationship and connection she ever made resulted in neglect, abuse, and – eventually – abandonment.  Her willingness to trust, to be cared for and helped, was decimated; replaced with a pain that keeps her pushing hard at arms length from the very love and security that would help her move forward. “I don’t need you.” she says.

And then – as if this isn’t enough – comes the final blow; a total lack of understanding from a society that celebrates adoption with a blindness that negates and opens old wounds time and time again: “You are lucky Mumdrah chose you”, society says.

At the moment she joined me, she lost Everything.

CHT’s adoption song of loss and trust

11 thoughts on “Adoption: Loss and change

  1. All social workers, teachers, health professionals and politicians should be made to read this every day that they go to work with, or make decisions for children who have lost their birth family.



    • Gosh; thank you. I hope so too. We all go through this journey, and our discoveries along the way are lost if we cannot share them and learn from each other. I hope the change makers listen too! Mx

  2. I adopt and have also lost family to adoption … There is no contact despite the fact u am capable to look after different children.
    Your post made me cry. You are soo understanding thank you x

    • Thank you Rachel; i’m touched that you came here to read and share. I am certainly not always understanding – i get lost, i get mad, i get frustrated. But i do get it, as much as i can in my ‘not an adoptee’ shoes. Mx

  3. I love and admire your ability to reflect so honestly and with such clarity. This is such a well written post.
    I’d be interested to read a post about things you think CHT might have gained too…

    Thanks for linking up with the Weekly Adoption Shout Out x

    • Thanks Vicki, i am so glad we have liked up. I’m already working on a post that balances out this yin yan. I am very positive about adoption for the children that really need it. The hard side of what i write about is not – to me – a negative. Its a necessary leap of understanding to face in order to underpin and inform the laughter, the love and the lighthearted. Mx

  4. There is harshness and beauty in your post. The harshness is the reality of the loss and the pain this causes but the beauty is in your understanding of that and immensity this will mean to your daughters future. I love the way you write.

    Thanks for linking up again with the weekly Adoption Shout Out.

    • Thanks Sarah for your lovely comments.

      You are exactly right. As adopters we need to open up to the harsh reality as best we can; in order to inspire and inform the support love we give to these children. I am aware that what i write can seem negative, but it isn’t. At all. There is no room for escapism or fantasy in adoption. Mx

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