Monday, August 13, 2007


I finally finished reading the book "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew" by Sherrie Eldridge. Actually the truth is, I finished reading the book a few weeks ago, I finally have a few minutes to sit down and write about it. I'm glad Grant & I picked up this book from the library. I learned so much about what adopted children "really" go through and how to best support them as their parents and what NOT to say and do!!

Without regurgitating the book word for word, here are the "Twenty Things" with a few memorable lines also included...not for all 20 things or this post would go on forever!!
  1. I suffered a profound loss before I was adopted. You are not responsible. "It's painful to enter into your child's suffering. It's so much easier to assume that all is well inside your child, especially if she hasn't manifested any obvious problems. But all adopted children have been wounded, simply because they experienced a profound loss before they were embraced by their new family. The first thing your child wants you to know is this: I am a grieving child. I came to you because of loss-one that was not your fault and one that you can't erase."
  2. I need to be taught that I have special needs arising from adoption loss, of which I need not be ashamed. "And surely the adopted child has larger areas, or different areas, of emotional weakness than most people do...for who has two sets of parents and a dual identity to resolve? Who is more vulnerable to the fear of future loss than an adoptee who has already experienced an unfathomable loss?"
  3. If I don't grieve my loss, my ability to receive love from you and others will be hindered. The way one adoptive mom described her child's loss: "I'm not the mom you expected, I don't smell like her, I don't sound like her. I'm a different mom and I love you and I'm not going to leave you."
  4. My unresolved grief may surface in anger toward you. "Then the rage would pass, and I would feel extremely guilty, for I dearly wanted to be good - but I had blown it once again...Beneath my anger was my primal fear of abandonment."
  5. I need your help in grieving my loss, teach me how to get in touch with my feelings about my adoption and then validate them. "I used sling-style carriers...I wore it in the front in a cradle-style position with her head near my heart so she could hear my heartbeat and get to know me."
  6. Just because I don't talk about my birth family doesn't mean I don't think about them. "All children have a secret place where they can fantasize about having better parents when they are disillusioned with their own...It is not that simple for the adopted child. The adoptee really does have another set of parents out there somewhere."
  7. I want you to take the initiative in opening conversations about my birth family.
  8. I need to know the truth about my conception, birth, and family history, no matter how painful the details may be.
  9. I am afraid I was "given away" by my birth mother because I was a bad baby. I need you to help me dump my toxic shame.
  10. I am afraid you will abandon me.
  11. I may appear more 'whole' than I actually am. I need your help to uncover the parts of myself that I keep hidden so I can integrate all the elements of my identity.
  12. I need to gain a sense of personal power.
  13. Please don't say I look or act just like you. I need you to acknowledge and celebrate our differences. "Let me assure you that even if your child has no obvious physical differences like colour of skin or a different nationality, there are still biological differences in every adoptee that need to be acknowledged as well as celebrated."
  14. Let me be my own person...but don't let me cut myself off from you.
  15. Please respect my privacy regarding my adoption. Don't tell other people without my consent. "Adopted children feel different because they are different from you, biologically speaking. They are also different because of the way they became a part of your family. These are facts of life - facts you cannot change and facts you cannot fix. Your child is not the same as you, no matter how you slice it. But accepting, honouring, and appreciating her differences is a far cry from broadcasting them to the whole world."
  16. Birthdays may be difficult for me. "What does a birthday represent for him [adoptee]? It represents the day of his greatest loss, the day he lost his birth mother and all that was familiar...For the child who was adopted later in childhood, it reminds him of the wrenching-apart day - the day that the past, as he knew it, was to be no longer...the birthday serves as a trigger, reminding him of past loss."
  17. Not knowing my full medical history can be distressing at times.
  18. I am afraid I will be too much for you to handle.
  19. When I act out my fears in obnoxious ways, please hang in there with me, and respond wisely.
  20. Even if I decide to search for my birth family, I will always want you to be my parents.

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