How to find peace...

As adoptees, it is hard for many to find peace. Peace with unanswered questions about our beginnings--our adoption stories, birth family histories, medical information, our birthland. Who we are and where we come from. For some, on a daily basis, these unanswered questions are constantly with us, while for others, they occur from time-to-time. Perhaps when a stranger asks you, "You speak English real good!" or, when at the doctor's office and they give you a form to fill out asking for family medical history and you have to write, "Unknown--adopted."

Even if an adoptee finds their birth family, old questions may be answered, but may soon be replaced with new questions. Some of these questions may be answered, or never be answered by your newly found birth family. They may be purposely avoided, or perhaps information given to you may constantly change. It is hard for some adoptees to never know what truly is their story. Through all of this, how can we heal? How can we heal when we can never find answers to our questions? 

I recently came across a podcast by Adoptees On who hosted Katie Jae Naftzger, LICSW. The podcast discussed how to find peace when answers never come--especially at the end of a birth search process. The following steps were recommended:

  1. Find the words for what you’re going through (without trying to fix it, change it or help)
  2. Have someone to be a witness to your story (a therapist or friend)
  3. Document your story in a tangible way (book, blog, podcast, etc.)
  4. Help others along the same journey

Listen to the full podcast here.

Adoptees On has a series of podcasts and is an excellent resource for adoptees who are searching for support resources. 

Other places to help with the healing journey is to read from other adoptees' experiences. Jenna Simpson eloquently writes about her journey and reflections at, "A Memoir by Jenna." She writes:

My trip to Korea was not the answer to all my questions.  In truth, it actually dredged up more questions.  Nevertheless, I understand that my story, like everyone else’s, is comprised of unfinished pieces.  I may never know my complete birth history.  Or have the chance to meet my birth siblings.  But I can appreciate the fact that my story is an evolving work in process. 

As adoptees, our journeys and stories are constantly evolving whether it be through finding community with other adoptees, documenting your story/history, or supporting others who are experiencing the journey to discover their birth and adoption history.  

Adoption Reunions: 5 Things I Have Learned As An Adoptee

Having realistic expectations and proper support before, during, and after an adoption reunion is crucial. Proper support may come in the form of family and friends, or you may find you need further support coming from professional resources--a therapist or social worker for therapy. Some individuals find outside of therapy sessions, physical activity may be a good way to handle the various emotions that come with an adoption reunion. Whether it be going for a long run, yoga, Tai Chi, or meditation. 

Nevertheless, it's important to have both realistic expectations and proper support when facing an adoption reunion. An adoption reunion doesn't have to be only with a birth family member. We acknowledge how important a birth family is; however, a reunion or meeting with anyone involved with an adoptee's story/background can be an emotional experience--foster family member, intake social worker, child care social worker, orphanage caregiver, finder, birth clinic doctor, etc. 

Here's an excellent article from the Huffington Post which discusses Adoption Reunions:
https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_59cef48ce4b0f58902e5cc4e