Thank God no one ever told me I should feel wounded and I didn’t even have a choice about it!
There is a theory that over time seems to have become prevalent in the adoption community and I know that for many parents through adoption (who I love, just love you all to the bottom of my heart ) it is accepted out of their wanting to do what is best for their child and it comes from people who are/were adopted who are trying to figure out or put a name to why they are not happy (and I so wish that every single one of them were). The idea is that there was never a chance for that child not to be wounded- even if adopted at birth, adoptees would bare a primal wound forever and ever, amen- no chance, no how, no way around it. Really? We are going to accept this as truth and not consider what came before adoption or birth or adoptees’ differences as people? Even if an unborn child knows the scent of their mother's insides or the sounds of her burps or tummy rumbles, does that really mean that if they are placed for adoption immediately after birth they are doomed to a life of poor relationships with little attachment? That there is no choice? Why is everyone so quick to accept this notion as truth for ll adoptees? I have to tell you, I have a really hard time with definitives used in any scenerio and certainly when it comes to a group of people. The only difinitives I can give for any group is that we all were born and we all will die, every thing else varies - including the feelings, choices and behaviors of adoptees.
I am many things and they vary on any given day from happy to sad to frustrated, but I am not wounded. But just in case I missed something with myself (I was a baby, you know), as a parent of children that came to me through adoption as teeny tiny babies, I can tell you that what those babies knew and received and took off running with was love. There was no issue with attachment, though I can tell you that I personally know people who have given birth tho their children and have attachment issues with that child. Who is to say it is an "adoption" issue? To presume that all adopted infants not only grieve the loss of their birthmother, who may have never even held him or her outside the womb, but then go on to numb their own feelings making it impossible to bond with their parents through adoption or in any other relationship is ridiculous.
Do some older children live through experiences or moves that make it tough for them to attach, of course, and my heart breaks for every one of them, but that was not an inherent wound caused at birth. Those sweet angels’ wounds were caused by people that they lived with or untenable circumstances they lived through. Are some children born with mental issues passed on through their parents that will keep them from ever being happy without treating those issues? Yes! Are children born with a genetic predisposition to make poor choices regarding substance abuse or their own safety or well-being? Yes! Are some people just sad or wonder what life would have been like if they had not been placed? of course. Adoption is predicated by many difficult things. That does not make this theory true.
Too much of the theory does not even make sense. I do not believe in some crazy cellular consciousness that says we have memories ingrained in our cells - memories dating back to conception even. And babies are not going to be recognizing "biological mirroring" (recognizing genetically shared behavior traits), you know why? They cannot even recognize themselves at this age and they sure are not looking to see if you can roll your tongue. I am not saying for one little second that adoptees cannot or do not feel pain or loss - there are many who on one level or another do, but I do not believe it was caused by a primal wound. All of these explanations feel to me like the ancient people who tried to explain thunder and all the crazy things they came up with, just to give it a name. Just to have an explanation.
Why is everyone so quick to accept this idea that adoption trauma is felt by a newborn and this wound is inevitable? (INEVITABLE, as in no escaping it, It just is!)
Parents through adoption, I think, are trying to do anything they can to understand and to build tools in their toolbox to best help their adoptee. But why not wait and see what your adoptee feels? You cannot “treat” someone for something they do not have and you cannot paint us all into a box- much less this one that makes little to no sense. Don’t borrow trouble, we are individuals, please treat us that way. Do not truly doom your child by assuming he or she will or will not feel or behave a certain way based on a group of others and certainly not based on this theory.
Birthparents, I think to some extent need to feel the imprint they have left on their child and who can blame them, but what a horrible legacy this wounded element leaves. So now, not only is the mother wounded herself, but now according to the theory, by placing she has automatically forever wounded her child? That makes me mad that someone would say this as truth to birthmothers. Often these women are making a choice that they will grieve for a lifetime and someone is going to tell them that despite them making this choice for what they feel is for the benefit of their child, their child is automatically and inevitably doomed because of that choice?
Adoptees may need to place a name or a reason for their feelings. We are people and have many varying different feelings about our adoptions. Some adoptees are unhappy and want to know why. Some may really want to meet their birthparents and feel as though they have been wounded by being separated from them, but was that an inherent feeling? Did they have no choice of it and it had existed from birth? Even if I did buy into all the memories as an embyo and all the other parts of this theory, how could this inherent wound explain me and others who are like me who are happy and have gone on to for strong and loving attachments? THIS. This my friends is not the name of your feelings. I hear you. I hear those of you feeling loss or trauma or something missing, but this is not its name.
Were all adoptees doomed from the start?
Is it a true primal wound that none of us can escape, or is it a result of other things; a predisposition for depression, or poor choices or just their feelings as an individual? I will not be told one more time that I am living in a state of denial and that one day in middle age (I am pretty sure I am there) there will be a moment when a dark cloud befalls me and I will forever be changed by the realization I am primally wounded. I know myself pretty well. I know I will never be happy with my weight. I know my eyes change color depending on what I wear. I know I am thankful to my birthmother and hope she is happy. I know I will not search for her and have never felt the need or urge to (which also flies in the face of the theory) but would not turn her away if she came to me for her peace. And- God bless those who are and I hope they find their way, but I KNOW I am not wounded.
Parents, both through birth and adoption- know this. Your child is not doomed. Your child will have his or her own thoughts or feelings about their adoption and it will not be what everyone else thinks. It makes me so angry I could spit (sorry mom) when I hear people universally label adoptees. Some will mourn a life they will not know with their birthparents. Some will feel rejected. Some will be happy as clams. And some will be all of the above, at different points of their life, but to say we are all wounded at birth in a way that we can never truly love or attach love to another person is unacceptable and untrue. I refuse to listen to those that speak in absolutes. There are no “always’” or “everyone’s” when it comes to adoption or adoptees. Listen to your child. Listen to their words and sweet hearts. Help them when they need help but do not, do not ever label them. They are themselves. I cannot speak for them; I can just tell you that we are not doomed from birth. The one voice in this wilderness that you need to hear above all others is your child’s! I was an adult the first time someone told me I was primally wounded and just did not know it. I cried. I cried not because I felt it was true, but because I was so taken aback that so many others felt it was not only a truth but an inevitable one. Any statement, any study can be skewed. Is that how you want to parent or to live? What a different life I would have lived if someone would have treated me as though I were wounded or told me I should be, despite the way I felt about it, or treated me as if I could never really love. Thank God they didn’t.
Though they have evolved somewhat, many of the original ideas of this theory which I disagree so much with
came from the book- The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adoptive Child by Nancy Verrier
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