Monday, March 2, 2009
Grieving our Way Back to Continuity
I am a poor substitute for a birth mother. At least it seems that way from my perspective. If I were asked as a child, "Would you like to be adopted, or would you like to keep the mom that gave you life?", I would have to answer, " I want my mommy(meaning my birth mom)!" Now being an adoptive mom that may seem hard to swallow, but really as I help my adopted children work through their different stages of grief I believe it is the only reasonable and loving attitude to have. Of course for various reasons each of my children's mothers were not able to raise them and if my kids were to have stayed with their birth moms I know that in some cases that it would not have been safe either emotionally, physically, and/or spiritually. Still from a child's perspective a heart yearns for that continuity. Each of my adopted kids have grieved the loss of their parents and as they grieve my heart grieves as well. I wish I could change it for them or at least carry their undeserved burden and give back to them what never should have been taken from them. But alas I am incapable, so my only option is to pray for their healing and simply hear their pain and remain steadfast in my love. And interestingly enough I have found that this is the road to find that continuity which they lost. Their pain has surfaced in each a little differently: Sometimes it looks like anger or rage, sometimes it looks like coldness or rejection, sometimes bed wetting, bad dreams, night terrors, under eating, over eating, depression, tears, running away. But make no mistake all these behaviors comes from the same spot...it is trauma due to a break in parental continuity. As I have worked through loss with each of my adopted children, healing takes place more and more. I believe that in some cases the best I can hope for is not total healing, but scarring. But with scarring comes strength in the broken places. We will see what God will do in the lives of my children that he chose to be the ones who survived the great difficulty of the separation of parent and child. Although I am no replacement for a birth parent, I have been chosen as well. And because God chose me for this job it is not hard to say to my children, " I am your mom and you are mine! God said so and he does not make mistakes! "Together we will forge the bond that is real, as real as any birth child and parent can know. These are my babies! Each one as precious to me as if they were from my own womb. And with time and consistency the message God has for them will be made clear..." You are loved, and you are home!" Once the bridge is built from birth parent to adoptive parent continuity is restored and trust and love can be reestablished in the heart of the child.