Adoption Beat

April 18, 2013

Do we need to share our pain?

Filed under: Uncategorized — adoptionbeat @ 7:50 pm
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One of the common threads among adoptees is loss. It’s something we felt long before we could understand it. And we are exquisitely sensitive to losses that occur throughout our lives. I’ve suffered my share of loss, no greater than anyone else’s, but poignant to me. I think it’s important to find within yourself the strength to deal with that loss, or turn to someone who will listen or might be able to help.

I recently communicated with a friend who I had not been in touch with for a while and found out that while I was struggling with my own problems she had turned sour on the struggle to end secrecy in adoption and she accounted to a personal loss and not her frustration with the cause. I felt somewhat guilty that I’ve been so caught up in my own problems that I had not realized she was hurting. True, she hadn’t confided in me, but if I’d been better at keeping in touch, would I not have known?

I do understand that sometimes the struggle to reverse nearly a century of adoption secrecy can become overwhelming. It’s so frustrating that you want to scream, sometimes, and the consequences of your involvement can bring about bitter disappointment. It helps me to address my frustration it by trying to do something about it, even if it’s only writing a letter to the editor. “Never, never, never give up!” (Winston Churchill).

However, we all need a break from it, just as we sometimes need a break from search. If that wasn’t the case, I would blog more often.

My friend’s search ended in a brick wall as did mine many times before I finally caught a break. However, I don’t think that’s the “loss” she referred to. I tried to draw her out by admitting how I was coping, or not coping, with the loss since my mother’s death of my two dearest childhood friends and that I knew it could be unbearable at times. I reminded her that my ear was always available. She replied that I did “not have a monopoly on loss.” The bitterness in her reply wounded.

I don’t know why, when we hurt, we seek to lash out at people who wish us well. I’ve seen it happen dozens of times. I’ve even resorted to it when I was young and callow. I’ve never known it to help the situation. I rarely solicit sympathy and understanding, however, I don’t think I’ve ever pushed away someone who offered it. If I didn’t want sympathy, I didn’t advertise my pain.

This led me to wonder if that has something to do with our inability to bring about sweeping reforms with regard to adoption. Most of us are embarrassed, or otherwise reluctant, to advertise our pain. I think we should look at our successes and failures. Have we made more headway when our wounds showed? Have we been more successful when we maintained a stoic façade and used reasoned discourse?

What do you think?


I had to post something today. It is my “other” birthday. April 18 is the day that I joined the family that reared me. My late mother and I always marked the day somehow but there’s been no one to remember to do that since she died. Funny how I have been known to forget it was my birthday but I always take note of this day.


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