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Adoption, Uncategorized

Getting to the heart of adoptee grief

If you’re adopted, people are forever telling you how to feel: Be grateful. Don’t be one of those angry adoptees. Stop questioning things and move on already.

The truth is that for many of us, being adopted means forever navigating a roller coaster of emotions, none of which cancel out other feelings.

It is, as they say, complicated.

One critical emotion sometimes overlooked in the adoptee experience is grief. People fail to recognize that many adoptees spend a lifetime grieving as they work to process their relinquishment. Yet loss and grief underpin — even fuel — many of the other emotions we grapple with

In the latest installment of Haley Radke‘s excellent Adoptees On podcast, grief gets its due.

Haley’s latest guest, therapist Janet Nordine, speaks eloquently about grief, explaining why the current entrenched dialogue around adoption doesn’t always acknowledge that adoption is traumatic for adoptees. Her comments offer important context for adoptees and the people who love them.  Janet also unpacks the many ways adoptees experience grief; and pulls from her own experience to offer suggestions for coping and finding support.

If you’re adopted, you’ll likely see some piece of yourself reflected here. Definitely worth listening.

Tune in here:

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About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


2 thoughts on “Getting to the heart of adoptee grief

  1. Thank you for sharing the podcast which I found to be useful for others who are not adopted and are so insistant that we ‘fogeddaboutit’! Disenfranchised suits an adoptee too perfectly-and not only in the grief or sorrow we experience we have from the traumas of adoption, but from loss of our own identities and our DNA relatives, not the least of which is our mother and our father.

    For the abandonee it is also the loss of siblings we knew. 70 years ago I was abandoned at about 2 1/2 years of age along with my younger sister, left in a dog pound by parents who took our brother with them. My sister was taken immediately away from me by the adults, torn from my embrace and me from hers. She was barely 7 mos old so has no memory that she will ever recall. On one day I lost mother, father, a brother and sister, two sets of grandparents, aunts uncles, and cousins.

    In 1950 I screamed in fury at the county judge who dared take my name from me during the finalization of the adoption to ‘childless’ adopters who had just had their own child a few months before. I spent years literally screaming at anyone who demanded that I give my ‘brother’ this, that or something else-or to hu/kiss him , etc. I will dispense with the longer version of this scenario-one found elsewhere in my many musings on the subject of adoption and me. When his sister came about ten years later, I didn’t scream but by then I was about to leave the unblissful court-appointed home. At 18 years of age I left the domicile of my tormentors, never to return again as inmate.

    In 1969, my first child was born. Tragically she had severe and major congenital cardiac anomalies and lived not quite 4 mos. Her life could not be saved then, not would it be saved today, but we tried desperately to keep her alive. Man proposes, God disposes. Throughout my years of torment I never cried-not one tear, but when my daughter-the only thing in the world I loved unreservedly and the only one who resembled me-died, the skies were awash with my copious tears, tears no one could abate or stem -not even me. It was not until about ten years had past that I understood that my grief was not simply for my beloved daughter, but for me and the life stolen from me by parents who abandoned me and the society who condoned adoption and its myriad of traumas.

    Michelle would have been 49 years old on the 1st of September just passed…

    Adoption is indeed complicated and traumatic and disenfranchising.

    Posted by gazelledz | September 16, 2018, 10:31 am
  2. Reblogged this on Gazelle's Scirocco Winds and commented:
    Please read this blogpost and then listen to the podcast
    (link below)from today on grief and adoptees which you may find yourself -or pieces of you described… our ‘disenfranchised’ grief … I recommend that you listen to the podcast and read this blog


    Posted by gazelledz | September 16, 2018, 9:46 am

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