My Biological Mother

May 15th, 2013

mothers heartMother’s Day was always a time of year I would wonder about my biological mother. When I was younger I knew I was adopted but didn’t know details, like my parents’ names or birthdays, so Hallmark Holidays such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day usually were what would trigger reflection for me. Growing up, when I would think about my mother (biological) I would wonder many things. What did she look like? What did her voice sound like? Did she think about me too? Did she remember my birthday? Did she still love me? Did she regret the choice she made? There was a point in my life that I even went as far as writing a fictional story about… [more]

Grief, Pain, and Healing

February 12th, 2007

Recently, I wrote about the loss of my dear friend Nathlie. This entire weekend I couldn’t stop thinking about her. So as I am dealing with my own personal experience with grief I thought that I would write about grief. One of the things that I realized this weekend is that grief isn’t simply a mental condition. It is a sadness that affects our physical and emotional selves. My grief experience has been with finding a grave or the loss of a couple of close friends and family members through the years. I think that with every loss that we experience the grief is different but the five stages of grief are the same. For those… [more]

Crying a Million Tears

August 13th, 2006

Did your parents tell you not to cry when you were a child? If you did cry, did they ever allow you to cry, or did they always feel that they needed to stop the flow of tears by diverting your attention? Along with my change of heart about anger, reunion also changed my opinion about crying. More pointedly my opinion changed about letting others see you cry, and whether crying is positive or negative. Just as I felt it was not appropriate to show anger, I felt that it was not good to let others see you cry. I have since decided that at times, crying is an appropriate response to certain life events. So… [more]

Stages of Reunion and Grief Part 1

July 24th, 2006

The five stages of reunion healing go hand in hand with the five stages of grief. I had searched for my natural family for 2 years before I found a grave. It was a bitter sweet time for me. I felt relief as I found my natural mother after my long and frustrating search. After standing at her grave on that cold winter day I tried to resume to my life as if nothing had happened at all. There were some powerful emotions brewing inside me during this time. It is this time period that I was denying that I had found a grave and denied that I need to adjust to the reality that my natural… [more]

Dealing with Grief Guilt and Relationships Part 4

July 18th, 2006

The ninth stage of grief is hope. This is when every now and again you get a little glimpse of hope in one experience or another. The cloud of grief starts to break up and light comes through. Grief can last for a few weeks to many months to years. No two people are the same and we don’t know how long grief is going to last and no two losses are identical. Some may not express their feelings and don’t seem to need to. Some struggle with the various stages within themselves and don’t want others to help them with their grief. On the other hand there are some who need to express their emotions. They need… [more]

Grief and Disenfranchised Grief Part 3

June 30th, 2006

Effects of Disenfranchised Grief The effects of disenfranchised grief and consequent poor grief resolution are displayed in a variety of ways and in varying degrees. Depression, emotional disturbances, withdrawal from society, psychosomatic illnesses and low self-esteem are all symptoms. Many of those affected succumb to substance abuse and have difficulty in forming healthy relationships. Jeffrey Kaufmann is quoted in Disenfranchised Grief, "The loss of community that may occur as a consequence of disenfranchised grief fosters an abiding sense of loneliness and abandonment". Furthermore, people with disenfranchised grief often have trouble in coping with subsequent losses. Doka states "..the old disenfranchisement will affect the new situation and may enforce a repetition of the earlier inhibited grief pattern". In other words, how a natural mother learned to grieve… [more]

Grief and Disenfranchised Grief Part 2

June 30th, 2006

Resolution of Grief The goal in successful grief resolution is to reestablish emotional equilibrium. Ms. Robinson used Worden's model of grief counseling from his book, Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy, to demonstrate how the disenfranchised grief of natural mothers interferes with the successful resolution of grief. The four aspects he presents as necessary for successful grief resolution include: first, accept the reality of the loss; second, experience the pain of grief; third, adjust to the environment from which the lost person is missing; and fourth, withdraw emotional energy and reinvest it in another relationship. The disenfranchised grief that natural mothers experience interferes with the completion of all of these tasks. It is difficult for a natural mother to deal with the first task, to accept the… [more]

Grief and Disenfranchised Grief Part 1

June 29th, 2006

At the June 1997 Australian Adoption conference in Brisbane, Evelyn Robinson delivered a speech on "Grief Associated with the Loss of Children to Adoption." The speech was taken from Ms. Robinson's essay on "Bereavement and Loss", which was written for her degree in social work. Ms. Robinson also presented the material in August 1998 in Scotland and is currently writing a book on the subject. Much of the text below was taken directly from her work and this particular series was written by a dear friend of mine, Nathalie Troland. Nathalie is a reunited natural mother for 15+ years and has an ongoing relationship with her daughter. Grief is the emotional response to loss. The loss can range anywhere from the loss of a loved one… [more]

Grief, Loss, and Anger in Adoption

April 21st, 2006

A few weekends ago I encountered a searching adoptee whose anger is sadly getting the best of her. After a few email exchanges with her, I thought it might be good to write about the losses of adoption and grief. The thing with adoption is that there are gains and losses for all triad members. Adoptees gain parents while loosing their birth parents. Adoptive parents who are infertile become parents while losing the dream of giving birth to a child. Birth parents are relieved of the parenting while losing a child. Even in the world of open adoptions, there is loss. There is no way around it. No matter how we look at it, every adoptee losses their birth family, even in… [more]