If your adopting…

April 10, 2006 at 9:00 pm 3 comments

It's come to my attention that a bunch of folks considering adopting or just recently adopted are reading my blog. Well… I am truly honored to have the opportunity to speak to APs about being an adoptee – part of the reason why I am really enjoying my internship as well. Thanks APs! I'd love to hear your feedback (and other adoptees too). (juliasworldny@yahoo.com  – if your shy about comments — but please do leave comments too!!)

So, this weekend I had an interesting agency experience with a man and woman in their early 30's surrendering their baby in an open adoption – healthy baby… happy couple. This happened in an area that was pretty far away and so I had quite the travel time prior to the actual "surrender and placement." So, I decided to re-read an excellent book. I highly, highly recommend it to ANYONE considering adopting or who have adopted. I think it is a life-saver for adoptees as it really is a great way for APs to understand adoptees and why they do what they do. It's called "The Primal Wound" and it is by Nancy Newton Verrier. She's an adoptive mother and clinical therapist. I promise … it's not the story of a bitter adoptee! It's a cheap book ($9 – new on Amazon). Here is what to look for….

 Primal Wound

John teases me that it is my "Torah" — but I have to say – it's a hell of a lot more useful for APs to read than the Torah (no offense to the Tree of Life).  In any case… I really wish I could meet Nancy Newton Verrier – I'd have an awesome convro with her!

Back to my experience… once I got back into my cab after an extremely emotional time of the birth couple saying goodbye to this infant whom looks unaware – but is totally having his life changed and believe me HE KNOWS (don't believe me? read the book!) — and this extremely happy new couple saying hello to this tiny stranger — I called John. John asked "so how'd it go?" and I didn't really know how to sum it all up. Was it "good??" no not really …. was it "fine?" — I have no idea. So I just said, "it went ok." "Just okay?", John responded. "Well, you know… " and before I could continue John softly said, "yeah I know." And he does. As an adoptee, he does. And even if he was a newborn when he was placed (which he wasn't – he was a toddler) he would still know. And it feels so good to be understood.

I love my parents. I feel extremely well bonded to them and lucky to have them. But that doesn't change the fact that I often think about that young girl who gave birth to me… and the gap in my life that she made by making the choice to let my life be taken over by fate has become this "wound" that all adoptees have. How it affects them is pretty varied … but I truly believe we all have it.

Once, late at night, John and I were talking on the phone about birth mothers and searches. He asked me if I wanted to find her. I told him that I really want to find her 22 years ago. I want to see her when she was a young girl who just gave birth to me. I feel like I know her face then – maybe it looks like mine now – even though I could never draw it for you (but could I pick her out from a crowd? hmm… maybe… wouldn't that be freaky??). But I don't want to see her now after all these years apart and everything we've been through. And I don't want to hear why. Maybe she doesn't want to tell me either and maybe she doesn't want to meet me now too. Maybe she is wishing and hoping for one last time to hold that tiny newborn in her arms — like I wish we could do just once more. I just want to look through that window of the hospital room and see her. For the first time in many years… I had tears running down my face when I told John this. I don't think he knew and I'm glad he didn't at the time. That gap … that wound…. that adoptee space.

John said, "I hear ya." Thanks for that John!  

And the solution isn't to search and find .. not for me (maybe for others). And the solution is not that I would have never been adopted – I don't think I would have rather never been adopted. There is no solution. However, it sure as hell helps to be understood. And it helps when an AP can acknowlege the reality of a "primal wound." It means more to me (and to other adoptees I know) than anything else. More than the Korean food and the pretty hanbook and bracelets from Korea. More than the role models and the asian dolls. More than the books and the movies. It means more than the photos from "before we knew you." It makes me feel like I do belong here and that I am understood here.

So read that book and let me know what you think, OK?


Entry filed under: Adoption.

My Favorite Boy I confess…

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brooke  |  April 12, 2006 at 7:24 am

    Hi Julia,

    I am an AP of a 7 year old adopted from China about 6 years ago. I really enjoy reading your blog. It has a good combination of good and bad things about your experiences as an adoptee. Many of us AP read these blogs and e-mail groups to learn from adult adoptees and hopefully use that information to become better parents to our children. So many of the things I read are all negative (which I know are true feelings and experiences, I am not invalidating them) it is just nice to hear the good things too. I for one need to hear both. So thank you for your blog, it is helping this AP and hopefully my daughter too. 🙂

  • 2. Margie  |  May 15, 2008 at 9:11 am

    “Primal Wound” has been in my to-read pile for awhile, but I’m bumping it up.

    I believe that primal wound exists, though, without having read the book. I’ve seen it in P’s eyes in those early photos, even though by then we were his third family, not his second.

  • 3. Kathrin Fox  |  June 5, 2008 at 12:44 am

    Primal wound is an amazing book. Our agency recommended it, but I didn’t want to face it. I didn’t want to believe it. I read it when another AP friend sent it to me, when my son was 6 or 7. It explained what was going on with our children. It allowed me to NOT flip out when my son said I wasn’t his REAL mother. I could say you’re right and I am so very sorry that she isn’t here raising you to see what a great boy your are. That was a big step for me. It was exactly what my son needed to hear. I had to grow into being a better mother who could say that and mean it. Primal Wound has been a tremendous help on this journey.


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Julia’s Jam

It’s just not that black & white. Not because I am taking a stand against. Just because, the issues I face are somewhere in the grey area and to weed through them, I blog. I blog. ~

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