Grieving Is A Process

Our children grieve things they do not understand or know about.  They grieve the loss they feel in their cells for their birth mother and they grieve the loss of the imaginary perfect mother who gave them away.  They grieve getting YOU, because YOU are real and flawed and here every day. YOU don’t measure up to the fantasy, so there is the overwhelming grief that causes their rejection.
Your adopted child may tantrum in grief, rage in grief, cry in grief, reject in grief, defy in grief, withdraw in grief, or cling to strangers in grief.  They may do this for years.  It doesn’t mean they aren’t attaching to YOU.  It does mean they are fundamentally changed because they have this pain like dying in their guts now because they were abandoned (and some were both abandoned and abused.)  There is no worse pain on Earth for a human being than to lose connection with one’s mother forever.
In order to act as an attuned container of empathy for your child’s many permutations of grief, YOU will need to grieve your own idea of the perfectly loving child YOU thought you were adopting.  When that is done, YOU will be better able to “hold” the emotional depth and upheaval of your child’s grief and loss.
The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

When your child wants the birth mother say, “Oh my precious sweetheart, I know your heart hurts so, so much.  I will help you hold the pain. Come into my arms, my circle of love.  I am here for you, when you feel that terrible pain in your heart, in your whole being.” 

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