Sunday, July 14, 2013

Adoption Grief

I have read a lot about adoptees and their grief from their loss. I don't know if I'm the only adoptive mom that seems to feel that grief for my daughter or if its just not spoken about. It makes me wonder about some of the miscommunication that occurs in the triad can sometimes stem from this grief.

 At this point baby girl has not yet realized her grief. Some would argue she experienced the loss and primordially has experienced this grief. I fall somewhere in between. Baby girl did not have a consistent caregiver the first eight days of her life. Normally a baby is born and instantly attached to their mother. D had a c-section so she wasn't able to care for baby girl right away, they did room together until she started to show signs of withdrawal and baby girl was moved to the NICU. The transition down to the NICU physically separated the two. Once D discharged from the hospital she had to go back into treatment meaning she could visit daily for a few hours. The other 20+ hours of the day she was cared for by nurses who were caring for other babies. I saw babies cry in their isolets alone while nurses were busy with the other babies. The consistency of staff was so poor that in a month we only had the same nurse a few times. Although she was never abandoned- she was alone- small and all alone.  So I do think that she did not have an optimal first week of life.  Once I did settle in I was under the mercy of the nurses.  Some allowed me to cuddle her while others would down grade her if I held her "too much."

I used to grieve for her time in the hospital but as time has passed I have grieved it and come to accept it as a fact of her life.

Now I grieve for D's inability to be a provider of the role of mother.  I grieve for baby girls separation from her birth family (parents, grandparents, siblings .  I grieve for her needing to understand about bad choices and the consequence of jail.  I grieve that D wont be able to be at visits.  I grieve that Baby Girl has siblings that are with family however they were not able to parent her as well.  I grieve that J doesn't wish to have contact with her.  I grieve for the fact that D put substances into her body that not only harmed herself but also harmed Baby Girl.

I know that these are the facts of her life.  These things will be things I wont hide.  I do know that in time she will process them and understand each of them as a loss.

I feel thought that it is important for me to realize these losses now and grieve them myself so that I can help her understand.  I can't keep these things from being hurtful.  I also can't predict which of these things will cause her pain.  I want to reconcile these thing for myself so that I do not cause her unnecessary pain by placing my own grief onto her.  I feel like the five stages of grief are real- I without a doubt had a denial stage, and anger stage.  There wasn't much to bargin with.  I feel like I've had my moments of sadness (depressive- not depression), and I hope to make it to acceptance soon.

Each day I feel like I get closer to acceptance.  I see it in my ability to understand that J although said he wanted an open adoption had written in his application that he didn't want contact until she was 18.  I have no choice but to accept it.  In accepting it I think I cause less harm to Baby Girl because I can't make him do something he wont.  I felt the acceptance during our visit to PA.  I feel it each time I open a letter from D.  I feel it when I try to get baby girl to say D's name.

I have a feeling that I will cycle through the five stages a few times throughout Baby Girls life.  What I need to ensure is that i help Baby Girl see that is OK to be sad.  Its also OK to be happy.  Its ok to be angry.  Its OK to feel.  In a perfect world I wouldn't be her Mom and to be honest as much as I'd be missing out on- I'd be OK with that.  Unfortunately we dont live in a perfect world, I am her Mom, and I'll have to help her make sense of it all.

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