Regulating Mixed Feelings

What Adoptees Can Do with Mixed Feelings

Dear friends,

Yesterday, I posted statements that cause mixed feelings (painful feelings) in adoptees.

Today, let’s talk about concrete steps for dealing with the mixed up, finger-over-the-blackboard feelings:

Journal

Record your current circumstances in a journal. Maybe call it your “finger-over-the-blackboard” notebook?

Create Self-Portrait

Or how about getting a huge piece of paper? Then, have someone trace your whole body. When the drawing is complete and you are alone, write down the painful, conflicting feelings that are coming from your head and heart.

Identify the Trigger

Then, draw the people and messages that are prompting the mixed feelings and label the physical effects on your body…don’t forget…the beautiful brain is so important.

When completed, title your portrait in big letters:

ALL OF MY FEELINGS ARE REAL AND OKAY.

Regulate Emotions

Say to yourself, “I am remembering something painful. But that was then, and this is now.” (Isn’t there a song by that name?) This technique will reign in your emotions and mind so you don’t lose control with a meltdown or depression.

Choose

Now, my friends, look at this site’s menu above. Click “List of Adoptee Choices.”

Tell me which of the 20 choices you would choose, either for yourself, or your child.

Love to you all!

 


Words that Trigger Trauma in Adopted and Fostered Kids

Dear friends through adoption,

Cognitive dissonance occurs automatically and involuntarily for many adoptees, but adoptive parents and other people in an adopted child’s life can inadvertently trigger mixed feelings.

I believe that for the most part, the following types of statements are well-intentioned and borne from ignorance. Nevertheless…we need to know what they are so the adoptee can be helped with repercussions.

I don’t like to be told I am special. It’s like I just can’t be me.

Words and Statements That Can Produce Painful Feelings

  1. 1. How do you fix her hair?
  2. Are they twins?
  3. You’re going to adopt another black child?
  4. You’re fulfilling the Biblical mandate to adopt
  5. Your birth mother loved you so much that she gave you to us.
  6. You were chosen.
  7. Count your blessings.
  8. You are special.
  9. We love you just like our own.
  10. You belong.

And, so for the adoptee, the choice would be what? Look at the list of choices in the menu bar at the top of this site.

Choice #4: To claim both the painful and positive emotions as valid and verbalize them.

Hoping this post is helpful to you!

 

 

 

This is an excerpt from 20 Life-Transforming Choices Adoptees Need to Make. Purchase here:

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Why Do Adoptees Overextend Themselves?

I could just hear Bob saying, “You didn’t have to do that, Sherrie.”

Such a familiar phrase.

He said it when:

  • I accompanied a fellow adoptee up the steps of the Indiana Capitol building when I was just 10 days out of knee replacement surgery.
  • I invited neighbors in for wine and cheese on the day I got home from my second knee replacement.

You, see, I love to give, give, give.

I give because I want others to feel special or to help lift a heavy burden from their shoulders.

That’s my nature.

Overextending

I also overextend, go the extra mile, and do what my heart tells me.

Just about every fellow adoptee I know has similar desires. My friend, Jody, and I laughed at ourselves one evening long ago when we gathered for a meeting. We were the only ones that brought a gift and we wondered at the time if that trait is characteristic of many adoptees.

Why is it that we are such givers? Why do we over-extend ourselves? Why do we work like dogs?

No matter what the cost, be it rain or shine, by golly, we will be there. We are as faithful as the day is long.

You Didn’t Have to Do That

Yesterday, I was reminded of Bob’s admonition.

While preparing for a meeting at our home, I baked homemade blueberry muffins, washed and used my mom’s china tea cups, picked fresh flowers from the garden, and served salami, cheese, and crackers because the meeting went longer than expected.

The dear women who attended didn’t care if we sipped coffee out of mom’s china tea cups.  They didn’t care if the muffins were homemade. They were simply there to start planning a community outreach.

But, I cared!

Big time.

Aha! I think we’re getting down to some issues.

Addictive Thinking

First, I get an absolute “high” when I use mom’s tea cups or bake homemade muffins. It is my way of saying, “You are special.”

The high?

That can be characteristic of addictive thinking.

Second, why am I exhausted after over giving? Why am I spent? Isn’t that what God calls us to do and be? To love others more than we love ourselves.

No…God says to love others as we love ourselves.

Because I care more about the needs of others than I do my own. I sacrifice my health for others. I would get zero on a quiz about self care.

But, what if others don’t feel special or know that burdens have lifted?

Anger

Honestly, in my exhaustion, I get mad. Really mad.

Over the years of being an over-giver, I have discovered that when I am in need, people don’t serve me coffee in their mom’s china tea cups. They don’t accompany me by post-op hobbling up Capitol steps.  Nor, do they come bringing wine and cheese when I’m a few days out of knee replacement surgery.

They never meet my expectations.

How could others be so unthoughtful?

I expected tit for tat. I thought if I did it for them, then they would certainly do it for me.

That is stinking thinking.

I believe what our hearts are saying, fellow adoptees, is: ” I want to feel special. I am the one that needs help, not only up Capitol steps, but every step of the way. I am the one who wants to have wine and cheese brought to me.

Someday, that will happen.

Jesus is preparing something phenomenal for those that love Him–a wedding banquet in heaven.

And, in my adoptee heart, I believe He’ll be serving coffee… in exquisite china tea cups.

I’ll feel special, not because of the tea cups, but because of the nail-scarred hands that pour the heavenly coffee.

I can’t wait!

 

 

 

 


Adoptees and High Pain Tolerance

Do Adoptees Have A High Pain Tolerance?

“Ouch!” I almost screamed, as the chiropractor began deep muscle massage.

Now, I’m not one to scream…even when delivering babies.

In fact, I take pride in my high pain tolerance.

I think I’m tough and can handle almost anything.

Well, not today on the chiropractor’s bench.

A month ago, I had a horrific fall on our slippery front porch. I landed with my legs split and my head in the bushes.

Since then, I’ve had X-rays of knee and hip, gone to a knee replacement guy to make sure I didn’t dislodge replacements, and iced my knee when I think of it.

The real reason I went to the chiropractor was to find out if it was still okay to box. That’s it.  I thought I had already conquered the worst of the fall injuries.

However, when the massage therapist began deep muscle massage on the tendon and MLC, that was when I almost screamed.

As I left the therapy session, I thought about something I once learned: “Those with a high pain tolerance are in a lot of pain.”

Really? It doesn’t mean we’re tough as nails?

No, unfortunately. It means we are in denial, big time.

Then, I thought about this principle in regard to adoption.

I bet many adoptees think they are tough. After all, we had to be to survive traumatic loss. But we tackled all the issues and gone to a gazillion therapists.

How can we walk through this journey with unbelievable pain that we aren’t even aware of?

We forget that adoption is a lifelong journey and that we may run into unexpected trauma along the way. A birth mother rejects us, we feel we don’t belong in our adoptive family, we have non-existent self-esteem and worth. Trauma continues.

However, to deny the pain as I have with my porch injury is not smart.

But, where can we go?

Are there chiropractors for adoption?

Of course not.

But, we do have one another. And, I still believe that an hour with a fellow adoptee is worth more than months of therapy.

So, let’s not allow ourselves to get to the screaming point.

Let’s tell one another where we’re hurting and allow ourselves to be nurtured deep in our adoptee muscles.

#14: CHOICE:  To choose to accept our limits and be nurtured.

 

 

 

 


Finding the MIssing FAce

An Adoptee’s Search for the Missing Face

An adoptee searches for a face in a crowd that resembles her own.

If we could only see the face of the lost birth mother/father, the hurt would magically disappear. The grief would be resolved and the life-long repercussions of traumatic adoption loss would be mitigated.

Oops…adoptee fantasy.

True, those who have found the missing face through reunion have experienced much healing. Seeing that missing face brings validation and healing.

But, there is more.

There is still that deep searching within the adoptee heart.

Ask any who have found the missing face if the healing is complete.

Does an adoptee automatically feel “unadopted?”

No, the adoptee is just red-faced when asked.

Though we may search, reunite, and even enjoy one another, there is still an ache within for another missing face.

Ecclesiastes 3: 11 says, “He has put eternity into mans’s heart.”

It is the face of the One in whose image we were created. The face of the One who loved us so much that He died for us. It is the face of Jesus Christ.

The moment we see Him face to face in heaven, every need will be satisfied, every tear wiped away.

Perhaps, David was referring to this when he penned the words of Psalm 17:15?

“And I–in righteousness will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”

Exodus 33:11 says there was only one person in the course of history who didn’t have to wait until heaven to see God face to face.

How interesting that the person was Moses, an adoptee.