Sunday, July 19, 2009

Adoption Chronicles I: A good and a not so good read

Adoption is different. Good different. There aren't many adoptions in New Zealand and even fewer Christian ones so navigating this particular sea involves a bit of guess work.
So I thought to start some "gatherings of thought" like I did with infertility so anyone coming here with adoption on their minds, can read my perspective on this incredible and stretching journey.

I should note that what I say is The-Truth-According-To-Me. Too often we are bombarded by people telling us "the truth". Sorry, but the only truth we have is the Truth (Jesus, the Word, God Almighty) Human truth is the truth as we see it.It is coloured by our experience, perception and our 5 senses. I don't deny that when someone tells their truth they utterly believe it to be THE truth, but how often do we turn out to be wrong? That's because its the truth according to them. So this, my friends, is a collection of my humble opinions and is the truth according to me....

The government social services agency handling adoption (CYFs or Child Youth and Family) put out a recommended reading list for potential adoptive couples. They base a lot of their philosophy on some of the books and in particularly a book called The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier. Nancy is an adoptive mother and writes about her experience and has formed some beliefs that are the basis for many of the processes and ways of handling adoptions within New Zealand.

The basis of the book is that when a child is separated from his/ her birth mother through adoption an irreparable (hold onto that word..!) wound occurs that cannot be healed. The birth mother vs child bond is so strong that nothing can replace/ break or be substituted for it.
The adoptive mother will never be able to be a true mother figure and this relationship will take the brunt of the adopted child's grief and trauma in trying to come to terms with this primal wound. Nancy Verrier describes a traumatic and emotional relationship with her adopted daughter and I think this pain is the underlying basis for her beliefs.

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) this book causes much damage among adoptive couples. It robs adoptive women of a sense of entitlement as a mother and strips away hope. This is the feedback I have had from others in the adoptive classes we went to. I read this book after our first failed adoption and it was like I was being physically hit. I could not believe that we would wait so long and then I would not be able to be a "proper" Mommy. It almost tore me apart.

Thank God I know the Truth!!!!

God showed me some Truth from His Word. Nancy Verrier is right. A primal wound exists. But we ALL have a primal wound. It's the wound caused at birth by the sin separation from God. The closeness we are made to have and enjoy is stripped away. We all need to be healed from our primal wound. Unlike Nancy Verrier I believe that healing though restoration with God Almighty through His Son, is completely possible. It is not irreparable. There is no wound that the blood of Jesus cannot heal.

I am not denying that adopted children face challenges. Challenges to do with identity and history and lineage. We MUST do all we can to help our children discover their past and where they came from. There are excellent books out there that give a balanced and more positive view of adoption. These books address how we as parents can help our children navigate adoption.

Sherrie Eldridge is a great author. She is an adopted child herself and speaks with wisdom and has a good perspective. She has written quite a few books that we have read and we have taken on board many of her suggestions.

I recommend starting with "20 things Adopted Kids wish their Parents knew". It's great for understanding what adoptive kiddies need and how they need to link back to their biological heritage. Much of the book is written from a closed adoption perspective but all adoptive children cannot help but benefit from applying these principles/ ideas.

Sherrie's writing has particularly made me appreciate open adoption as it's so good for adopted children. Her books have cemented our view that we will do anything to retain and build a link for My Small Man back to his biological heritage through the birth families. It's hard for us but will be so beneficial to My Small's Man identity and self awareness development. And he is worth it!

Happy reading!

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Simoney said...

Great post Sammy! I'm sure your insight will be of help to many mums-to-be out there. xx

Nikkey said...

Your Small Man is so unbelievable lucky to have you as his mum. Not many mums would put so much time and effort into understanding so deeply how important his biological heritage is and will be and work at keeping it strong in your lives. He will thank you for this one day .... but even more for being the best mum you could ever be for him and loving him so much : )