There is a great need to explore healing in relation to our adoption experiences. To heal, we must acknowledge what is and what has been our experience, forgive everyone for everything, and then express gratitude for lessons learned and grace given. Until we heal the wounds in our hearts, there is no room to receive the joy in life or love in adoption!
Acknowledgement is ESSENTIAL to healing! One of my favorite yoga teachers, BKS Iyengar, teaches, “Feeling is healing!” I love the truth in this principle. If we don’t feel it, we can’t heal it. Healing requires acknowledgment and validation of one’s own feelings.
Acknowledgement can also be our biggest Achilles’ heel. We often get stuck before we even get started. Often, we have trouble wanting to look at how we really feel. And when we are highly emotional, we are not typically clear-minded, making it difficult to identify what is going on. We can usually tell things are not going well or the way we want, but any enlightenment beyond this may elude us.
Once I had terms (such as the 5 Stages of Crisis–Shock, Denial, Anger, Blame, and Grief–identified by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book “On Death and Dying”) to associate with my experiences of infertility and loss, it was easier for me to realize what I was feeling. It also helped me understand my experience was normal instead of crazy (which is how it felt sometimes). I found that acknowledging my emotions became really important and therapeutic to me.
I was lucky enough to have a beautiful group of friends who “got it” when people outside my adoption world had a hard time validating something they could not see or understand. To them, my pain, struggles, and loss were “not real.” Sometimes it was the lack of validation from others that hurt the most. I have to confess, it took me a long time to realize that the only validation I really needed was my own.
“With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” – Wayne Dyer
I learned a beautiful lesson about healing my own grief, anger and resentment. It is my first and truest obligation to heal myself. It is not someone else’s responsibility to fix or validate my life experiences. It is my responsibility to love and accept my feelings and emotions (including the good, bad, and ugly).
You can begin your healing process by acknowledging your own adoption experience as you experienced it. Not as someone else views it, but as how you feel it. Identify as many emotions and memories you can. Allow yourself to feel them wash over you. Recognize what pieces are important to validate. Honor what is and has been true for you. Release these emotions by giving them a voice. Share your story privately in a journal or publicly, in a safe place, such as a blog or adoption group. Any way that feels best, acknowledge what has been true for you!