So many years after the Primal Wound was written, it is still a controversial theory. However, it has been accepted by many adoptees and researchers. I applaud the book for the benefits it has provided to those who embrace the theory and feel that it explains their lives in a way nothing else has been able to do. Several adoptees commented that it had great relevance for them, and I think that is extremely important.
Finally feeling understood is a significant gift for those who have felt a lack of not only being understood by others, but by themselves. I find it interesting, however, that some adoptees are offended by the concept. Since the original intent was to help not hurt adoptees that is surprising to me in a way.
However, like many hard truths, they are not always easy to face or accept. I wonder too how much of a sense of not wanting to be labelled “different” or wounded some adoptees might feel. I can certainly understand that if you feel unaffected by adoption that the theory might not seem relevant to you. If adoption means nothing to you personally, you probably will reject the theory that it causes any damage to you.
The theory is careful to acknowledge that like adoption itself, people react to the primal wound in different ways. That is an important fact for those who reject the theory. It makes total sense to me that for both the adoptee and its mother that being separated so early in life can “wound” them. Mothers and babies are meant to be together, and it is circumventing the natural order of the world to separate them. Why would that NOT cause distress to them?
Several comments brought up a point that I think is really important as well. Being relinquished causes the wound, not adoption per se. We speak of adoption and relinquishment interchangeably, but they are two distinctly different events. Many adoptive parents seem less inclined to acknowledge the primal wound, maybe because they cannot or do not wish to recognize the bond between mothers and newborns. Not all adoptive parents feel this way. I know many accept the mother and child bond as being real.
At any rate, I enjoyed the discussion that the post sparked and appreciated all the honest input from everyone who commented!
African adoption blogger Holly, wrote a great blog called Do Infants Grieve? about the primal wound theory.