There are so many beliefs that adopted children have and so many things that parents need to understand. Wherever I go in the world, this is the essence of what adoptees say to me: “It is very important to us to have our parents understand and validate our loss and the pain that it creates so that they can support and help us integrate our experience into our present-day lives.”
The title of BPAR’s book, Adoption Is a Lifelong Journey, sets the tone for the lessons it describes. It is important for adoptive parents to know that adopting a child is not the same as giving birth. It is certainly not the same for the child, and the parents need to understand this. The book is especially helpful because it explains the ways in which a child sees him or herself in the adoptive family and how the parents can validate, acknowledge, and empathize with the child’s experience.
It is important to know that, although the authors suggest that Charlie, the adopted child in the story, may have experienced some neglect, abuse, or cultural changes, all children who have been separated from their original mothers and placed with biological strangers will experience many of the same feelings and fears. The sensitive and gentle ways in which Adoption Is a Lifelong Journey presents these truths makes the book easy for children and parents to understand and accept. The authors remind parents that it is easy for them to get triggered by their child’s behavior and that they need to take care of themselves so that they can be the adults, be patient, demonstrate understanding, and be the support their child needs, without taking on his/her loss and pain. This is the path to true connection and joy.
It is my hope that these talented authors will write a sequel to this book so that even more adoptee experiences and beliefs can be explored and worked on in a truly empathic, loving, and transformative way.
Written by Nancy Newton Verrier, Guest Blogger.