What We Don’t Want To Talk About – But Must
By Michele Fried

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I didn’t want to read the article entitled, Suicide and Adoption: We Need to Stop Whispering, but I did. I am glad I did. Yes, I know most adoptees do well. But this one is struggling…
Just a few very powerful words from this important article.

No one wants to talk about suicide or depression for that matter. Certainly no one wants to think their child(ren) will suffer emotionally enough to self harm. Adoptive parents especially struggle with the idea that it could touch their family.

The bottom line is that adoption is a form of trauma. We are only now learning more and more about how trauma affects us. Why do some adoptees do very well and others struggle? Well, take adoption out of the equation and contemplate the many tragedies and traumas that at individual can experience, why do some fair well after such events and others have life long struggles? Is it genetic or environmental? Every person is different and their experiences affect them in different ways. Now add back to the equation the fact that the person is an adoptee. Perhaps this person became an adoptee because of war, natural disaster, abuse, neglect, or abandonment. This brief description is overwhelming, isn’t it? How many of us can survive these experiences, let alone thrive? Yet countless children do everyday.

Adoption is the hardest word to define. It profoundly touches countless people in several families. Adoption needs to be talked about, education needs to available pre and post adoption ~ not just for adoptive parents and birth parents but for their immediate and extended family as well. This counseling and education should not be “used when needed” because often that is too late, it should be a part of the adoption journey. It should be a natural part of the fabric of adoption.

Adoption professionals must become better versed in trauma informed care and adoptive parents need to better appreciate the fact that adoption is life long, it is not just a saying but a reality. Adoption does not end at the placement of a child, but lasts a lifetime affecting the adoptee, the adoptive family and the birth family. An adoptee carries her story with her to the family she later creates.

The resources listed below may be helpful:

The Girl Behind the Door by John Brooks
– This book is a memoir that “chronicles John Brooks’ life as an adoptive father and his search for answers to his daughter Casey’s suicide.” This book heavily discusses the effects of abandonment and institutionalization for international adoptees, and how learning attachment therapy and bonding may be a solution to this issue. I believe this book perfectly matches the topics in your article.
The Girl Behind the Door

Under His Wings by Beth Miller and Sherrie Eldridge
– This book is a workbook for adoptees of all ages that focuses on healing adoptees with truth and counseling. This is a great book for children and parents to work on together. This book does focus on the story of Moses and his adoption, so there is a small religious component.
Under His Wings

How Do We Feel About Adoption by Regina Kupecky
– This was one of the workbooks released by Regina Kupecky earlier this year. This book focuses on making adoptees realize their feelings about adoption and how to better understand them.
How Do We Feel About Adoption

Adoption Therapy by Laura Dennis
– This book is written directly towards adoption professionals and suggests different ways on how to provide therapy and counseling for the members of the adoption triad. I feel this book heavily focuses on adoptee therapy.
Adoption Therapy