In Person Adult Adoptee Support Meetings
My name is Todd and I live in British Columbia, Ca on the island. I was adopted from birth and am pretty pissed off about the whole thing but in doing much research and soul searching I've established that there is no healing through my BFamily or my Afamily, friends, therapists, doctors, drugs, alcohol or any other such thing. The wound I carry I believe to be fairly unique to the adoptee specifically or at least closed adoptions in the sense we were taken from our mothers at birth to not see them for at least 18 years or ever again. Recently I have attended AA and feel that there are many similarities between the alcoholic and an adoptee. I feel a lot of my grief and past shames can be put to rest through that program but that primal wound is not going to go away with the rest so being the rather bright young chap that I am figured out that I will need other adoptees just like the alcoholic requires other alcoholics. I've looked for adult adoptee support groups but the adoption agencies don't fund them like they do for potential birth moms who they like to cultivate and brain wash. I know because I went to one of their meetings and was asked to never come back lol. Apparently I wasn't good for convincing moms to give up their children after getting to hear one of those children all growd up and pissed the eff off about it. Luckily for adoption agencies we're taught to keep our ungrateful little pie holes shut from a very young age because of the gratitude we should feel for being dumped by our moms and picked up by some sterile people yaaay hallalujah!!!
Anyways the point I'm trying to make is that I need other adoptees to talk to and share my triumphs, blunders, pains and tears with for me to heal. I don't think I'm going out on a limb here to say that some or even the majority of you do too. With help from wherever I can get it including the lovely people running this site I think we can make something happen to benefit all of us. The reason I know this can work is because it was looking for just such a group that I was dumbfounded that one doesn't exist yet besides online forums. It was the physical and spiritual bond between us and our mothers and families that was taken and although reading similar stories helps, I need a physical community of my bastard brothers and sisters and so will our young counterparts being born today and many years from now. Adoption isn't going away no matter how hard you rant and rave about our human liberties and today I'm accepting the things I cannot change and having the courage to change the things I can for our people. Sound hokey I know but I think it's true and lets face it we all have a bond almost as huge as the one we were ripped from. Thoughts, Comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated from adoptees; not really interested in what the rest of the triad has to say thanks.
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On "paper" I really like the idea of in-person support groups, especially for angry/abused adoptees, but I speak for myself... as much as I want personal relationships in my life, I don't want the physical work that goes with such things. I don't want to have to get up, and go out, and meet with Real people. Meeting with Real People means I would have to get dressed and put on my Social Face, and be well-behaved, (for a little-while, at least). I did that for my APs; I do that for my kids, and I do that for work. Do I really want to do that during the few hours I finally get to myself, alone?
In the end, I'd rather connect with people, from a safe distance ... (like through the internet)...without the obligation that goes with meeting face-to-face. But that's me. I'm 45, a mother to 4, (with no help), I work mid-nights, and I am a self-confessed anti-socialite (due to a measure of social anxiety). For me, sections like our own Adult Aftermath, or private e-mails, are enough for me.
On the other hand, I can see and understand the benefit such in-person meetings would have for those adoptees who are still really struggling with their own adoption issues. For instance, back when I was in my 30's, and initiating my Search-into-insanity I think I could have used the company of other adoptees... especially when I learned upsetting information, like I had an original birth name.
(Do any other adoptees have any opinions to offer?)
ToddYour situation is not
Your situation is not unique. In fact it's more common than you might think. The healing you seek will never come from anything or anyone outside of yourself. The only one who can heal you IS you. I'm 50 years old and had spent my life trying to drink and drug myself better. To no availe. Until you accept the fact that it happened and there isn't anything you an do to change that and start to forgive others for whatever mistakes you think they made. You'll never get past this. Trust me son I couldn't drink enough or shoot enough dope in my arm to numb the pain and anger I know your feeling. It took me 30 years to figure out that the balls in my court.
Don't make that mistake.
As for a 12 step program type thing for adopted people. I'd have to agree with Kerry. Who I've actually discussed this with. And she makes valid points.
But in all honesty. How can you sell the idea???
Anyways it's a nice thought and it might work for some people. Truth be told until we as adopted people start accepting what is. And forgiving the people we point fingers at. No group will help...
Optimism for the future
I like the direction of this discussion, because I think there are a lot of people (both in and out of the adoption community) who could benefit from a nationally-recognized support resource for adoptees.
For myself, a lot of self-healing came from very active-participation within the adoption community.
In my case, I was really angry and bogged-down by the cruelty so many adoptees have had to experience and endure over the years, and it bothered me that A) no one seemed to know about this suffering, and B) nothing was being done about it.
After a few years of some really intense sharing with others, I came to a very significant conclusion: no matter how much I share, confess, and let others know about my own personal life and problems, uncensored bitching, venting and sharing has it's limits... especially if it's going to be done with angry wounded adoptees, only.
After a year or three of really self-absorbed self-help and reaching-out to others, I realized, self-focus (and all the wound-licking that often goes with self-pity) will only make my own life-experience a very lonely shallow one.
I think for many of us, there is a time when we need to piss, moan, and complain about the life-experience that goes with being adopted, and I think ideally, that time and place ought to be safe from those who offer comments that can easily trigger rage-inducing reactions from those who endured very unpleasant or abusive situations in their adoptive homes.
In addition, as much as I believe adult adoptees do need a good valued support network committed to the needs of adult adoptees, I also I believe this program has to have a well-defined structure and limit.
After all, I believe if one really wants to experience a real change in "life-script", one needs to learn how to branch-out, and stop focusing on all that needs to be accepted and forgiven... and start doing something that can create effective positive change, for OTHERS.
For instance, in my own case, 10 years ago, when I was spending a lot of time commiserating with fellow angry/wounded adult adoptees, I realized the website I joined and helped moderate was RAD-oriented. Within this small group for adult "survivors" only, we each were encouraged to soak in our own miserable blood-baths, and share what it was we were thinking and experiencing (which felt great, btw.) But there was no goal to achieve. There was no light to reach. There was no end to suffering. In fact, the group started to become a place where addicts of all types were allowed to share, and repeat the process all over again -- all because their poor choices and actions were both justified, and "supported".
It's as if everyone in this group wanted and needed the suffering to continue. In fact, in order for the group to exist, bad behaviors and poor decision-making would have to continue, and never have to change.
What sort of attitude, from a "support-group", is THAT??
I always believed, as victims of horrible adoptions, it's our duty to speak-up and out, and bring out an awareness to our problems and issues. Unlike the many pessimists out there who claim adoption will never change, I believe change within the adoption system CAN take place, for the sake of future adoptees, and the many parents who keep getting hurt by current adoption laws and practices. But this change will take time, and a lot of work with compromise.
With this new-found optimism in my heart, (and after a few years of focusing only on my pain and my hurt), I decided it was time to branch-out from my own visceral group, and do more than pick at my own scabs and gaze at my own bloodied naval with the subsequent "ooooch", "ouch" and "boo-hoo"s we adoptees are often known to do.
Since I have been working on PPL, I have learned working for adoptees like me has been a real cathartic experience. Collecting cases and reading work being done by various governments and child welfare agencies has enabled me to accept what was, and continues to be (both good and bad) about the adoption industry, and it has allowed me to forgive certain players and policy-makers within the American adoption system. Because I have attained this knowledge... this type of awareness and forgiveness... I have been able to see there is much more I can do for those who want to see more changes within the adoption community.
In my book, this is a very good development... one that brings me many good optimistic thoughts and feelings.
I think for some, support groups are a very much needed form of life-support and instruction, especially during a period of personal crisis. And I most definitely believe there are not enough support groups for the angry adoptee. But like Anonymous mentioned above, until more adopted people start accepting that more needs to be done by adoptees, FOR adoptees, then no group is going to help the future fellow-adoptees that are quickly coming into our world.
Not as hard as I thought.
Thanks for the reply anon. I did state unique to the adoptee which would would make it quite common I agree. I also agree that what's done is done and there is no changing that. I'm nearly fourty and I have come to a place where I have quit drowning the pain and loneliness and have started dealing with it. There is certainly no reason that I shouldn't be everything I can be for myself instead of cutting off my nose to spite my face so to speak. The life I've had thus far has been difficult mostly because I made it so. There are certainly challenges that need to be overcome for every adoptee. It''s unfortunate that there couldn't have been more information available while I fumbled through trying to cope and understand my situation while surrounded by people telling me that I was so lucky that my Bmom was so courageous and selfless and so fortunate that my Aparents "rescued" me blah blah blah. Well truth be told if the system were more honest and didn't try to label our nightmare as a fairy tail I would have had a much easier time. That being said I am overcoming my addictions, I'm not afraid of my past anymore, I don't need norms permission to disagree or need to try and convince them otherwise. Today I'm great and I find I don't need a support group to heal "me" but I am going to start a support group anyways because people don't need to fumble along my path or yours Anon. I'll be here for when someone else has their first Bastard Moment, the realization that Bmoms won't love to hear they had a shitty adoption experience, the reality shift when they take the first step from fantasy to reality when searching their bparents. I may have made it through on my own but stats say that a lot don't. I can't cure another adoptee's hurt but I can certainly relate and when the shit is happening, that may make all the difference.
This site and especially Kerry have been extremely helpful in me making a huge leap from wanting a support group for me to wanting to offer one to others. In the mean time I'm simply going to live day by day, love the gift of my past and grow as a person free from pain. I hope and pray the same for everyone else.