5 Things to Remember in Helping Your Adopted Child Through Self-Soothing

I was a self-soother. As a young international adoptee, I would rock myself back and forth on the family room floor trying to re-connect with the rhythms of my birth mother.

It was instinctual. Like a lost animal in the wild, searching for its mother, the rocking was a primal ritual performed by a child looking for her home.

I don’t remember having an awareness of why I would lay there, rocking myself. I just remember that the behavior seemed to calm and comfort me. It made me feel connected to something real inside of me. Something I could not openly express.

Looking back, the rocking gave me a sense of control. When I rocked, I could feel my mum. It was the only time when I could feel her close. Rocking myself offered me certainty.

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Living in the Skin of Adoption

I have my moments. Those times when I wish adoption was not part of my vocabulary. If you’re an adoptee, do you know what I mean?

There are times when I wish that I didn’t speak the language of adoption so fluently. I suppose, like every person of adoption alive today, I have my dark hours of doubt.

I’ve never pretended that I wasn’t adopted. What I have done is lessened this part of my story—skimming over my adoptee chapters. Many times, in the past, I’ve looked the other way…but, the skin still follows. I live in the skin of adoption and I know the challenges of feeling uncomfortable in that skin.

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Adoptee-to-Adoptee: Stop. Recharge. Begin Again.

Can I tell you something? When I first started writing this blogpost, it had a completely different energy. Initially, my thoughts were focused on writing the heavier side of adoption. My words were weighted. My heart felt burdened.

Maybe that’s because I’m feeling A LOT right now: preps for an upcoming surgery, planning for my recovery, and all the “mom feels” you can have when you’ll be away from your kids.

I could hear my self-talk whispering that I was “drained,” “depleted,” and “overdone.” Moving through the many layered emotions of this season has been demanding on my mindset and on my heart. Earlier today, in the middle of spiraling into limiting language, I heard an even louder voice that said—STOP!

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A Letter of Love to My Daughter, on Her Tenth Birthday

You’re almost ten, dear daughter. In two days, we’ll celebrate another year of life. It seems like only yesterday when we were celebrating your coming into our family.

I remember holding you for the first time, in Ethiopia. I recall the feeling like it was yesterday, your tiny body folded into my arms. I couldn’t imagine what I ever did without you.

At the same time that I held you, I was also holding your birth mother in my heart. I wondered where she was, who she was, how she was. Although, I couldn’t answer the questions swirling around in my mind, I promised to never let her go. Your mother of origin—she would always be a part of us.

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Attachment, Abandonment, and Adoption, 
by Kira Omans

Many people struggle to fall asleep.

As someone who lives a busy life, I consider myself like many people. Sleep often evades me because I’m running through my list of tasks for the week. Either that or my brain has decided to replay that embarrassing memory from first grade—one or the other.

Sleep didn’t start evading me for darker reasons until I moved away from my family.

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When Adoptees Push, Please Pull

Why do I write so transparently about the adoptee experience?

Because I know that there are other adoptees in the world, right now, who feel isolated and are frustrated by this sense of isolation. That’s not to say that these same adoptees are not loved and cherished by their adoptive families, it’s just that adoption—for the adoptee—can feel lonely.

Who do you talk to? Where do you turn? How do you grab hold of emotions and questions that you’ve stuffed way down inside of you and bring them up to the light? Will you still be loved, included, if you do?

Fear of rejection is real for the adoptee. Often, our initial reaction to this fear is to push with all of our might away from the rawest parts of ourselves. Pushing is a protective mechanism for the person of adoption.

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Adoption, Motherhood, & Lessons Learned Along the Way, by Bailey Batten

You are too new at this.

You have no knowledge or wisdom to impart.

Are you really going to share with all these people about your struggles with bonding with your daughter?

When asked to write this blog post, initially, I was so excited for the opportunity but then these questions crept into my mind. I found myself intimidated by my own inexperience and shortcomings. I thought there was nothing in my experience worth reading about.

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Never Too Loved: Moving from Closed to Open Adoption, by Lauren Lynch

Reflecting on my life over the last 6 years, some major events have taken place—four houses, three dogs, two children, and complete career changes for me and my husband. There is another significant event that also occurred, yet it is not visible or tangible like the others: a thought shift in how I view open adoptions. 

When we began the adoption process almost 7 years ago, I wanted this clear-cut, simple, closed adoption. I longed to be matched with a birth mother who would have a baby, hand him or her over to me sweetly swaddled, and walk out of the hospital without wanting any further contact.  I thought that would be the ideal adoption. It would be mess-free, drama-free, and easy to navigate. It would just be our little family of three.

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Dear Inner Critic, Let Me Show You The Door

In college, I took a literature course on female African American writers. It’s where I was first introduced to the writings of my literary heroes, Maya Angelou and Alice Walker.

Both incredibly strong and resilient women, Angelou and Walker have known the battle of the inner critic.

It was during this time as a college student when I read a quote by Ms Walker that said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

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The F Word: Learning to Forgive, as Adoptees

Forgiveness. That word. The F word. Forgive? Never. Not me. Not in this life. Maybe you’ve heard yourself think these thoughts, or even pose these questions out loud: Why would I forgive someone or something that has hurt me so deeply? Why would I forgive someone who chose to leave? How could I ever forgive?

Forgiveness can be difficult, as adoptees. We hold onto hurt. It’s hard to let it go. Yet, forgiveness—I have discovered—is the foundation for a life that is lived in love, and a life that is lived through love.

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