How Can Adoptive Moms and Kids Heal?

What Adoptees & Moms Need for Healing

What is it, my friends, that tips the scale, reminding us that we need healing, not only from the losses inherent in adoption, but also from the obsession to control? For me, the tipping of the scale somewhat repeated the complex and painful dynamics of relinquishment, but in current-day life.

We can be sailing along and believe all is well, all the while ignoring unhealed pain. For sure, Retha carried unhealed pain, both from infertility and from living in a warzone that I created in the home. For me, the tipping of the scale somewhat repeated those complex and painful dynamics of relinquishment, but in current-day life.

It’s not difficult to figure out why many adoptees are control freaks. After all, from the beginning of our lives here on planet earth everything has seemed out of control. We lost our first moms and dads, were placed into a new home which we didn’t think was too peachy at first, and were labeled as “different” by societal norms.We’ve fought to have our voices heard and our original birth records legally released. And, maybe if we found that long-lost first Mother, we could reverse the “out of control” feeling and erase our adoptedness for good? But, even that didn’t work, at least for me. And, for Moms, like Retha, the need for control came when she couldn’t control her child’s rage or when she was tempted to parent from fear.

How would Retha have known that she needed healing? And, how would I have known? We were both like the frog in the water. The water was pleasant, but we had no idea that it would build to a boil.

If we take this question about our willingness to heal from a physical standpoint, how do we know that something needs healing? Basically, it’s pain. For example, years ago, when my knees began popping out of joint at unexpected and unwelcome times, I couldn’t move. Literally! So, in order to deal with the painful problem, I sought wisdom from experts. The first thing they did was to get an MRI of the knee. So, under the huge xray machine I went, trying not to freak out. Then, they gave steroid shots, but they weren’t effective because my joints were bone-on-bone. The last resort was knee replacement surgery. Just the thought of it terrified me and I hadn’t even seen the YOUtube video showing the surgeon breaking the kneecap with a hammer. Twice, I backed out of surgery. Finally, I went under the knife. What made me willing to have surgery was this–it’s better to suffer from productive pain than destructive pain. I could go on wearing braces on my knee and hobbling around, or I could get a new knee. Today, I am more fit than I’ve ever been, thanks to my new knees.

A Heart MRI Reveals Hidden Pain

So, how do adoptive Moms and kids know that they need healing? Through an MRI of their hearts. Because many adoptive Moms and adopted kids repress deep pain, they’re exhausted and lose their joy. No one tells them that this unrecognized pain is still active, creating emotions and beliefs that sometimes prompt shocking reactions to life events. These reactions are like a geyser boiling beneath, ready to erupt at unforetold times. Because many adoptive Moms and adopted kids repress this pain, they’re exhausted and lose their joy. Empathy drains and parenting becomes a dreaded responsibility. Adoptees may believe that there’s no hope of getting over their rage–it feels like a life sentence.

Pain showed up on my doorstep in a present-day situation I didn’t want. I prayed to get out of it, but the heat only escalated and I said, “God, this isn’t funny.”  Circumstances only closed in and I felt as if I’d been painted into a corner. Trapped and nowhere to go.

The discomfort became so intense that I would have done anything to get out of the pressing circumstances. What was happening was that….oh, no…I was being asked to give up control of things and people in my life that were key players. Key players that were hurting me.

Personally, I thought I was a pretty decent person, but one day at church, I got hurt-really hurt. Someone I’d previously respected, revealed my 20-year-old shame from my crisis pregnancy to his family. It was like he shined a floodlight on something I’d been trying to forget. It hurt to the core. That hurt got lodged in my heart, like a blood sucker. Whenever I was in his presence, that memory would surface. This was a deep hurt that I certainly didn’t deserve. I wanted to put on my boxing gloves and give this person a strong upper cut.

I was in a present-day situation I didn’t want. I prayed to get out of it, but the heat only escalated and I said, “God, this isn’t funny.”  Circumstances only closed in and I felt as if I’d been painted into a corner. Trapped and nowhere to go. The discomfort became so intense that I would have done anything to get out of the pressing circumstances. What was happening was that….oh, no…I was being asked to give up control of things and people in my life that were key players. Key players that were hurting me.

And, the only way I could get out of the painted corner was to forgive the people I hated for the hurts I didn’t deserve. I needed to see “the ugly” inside my adoptee heart, and if there were such a thing as a MRI for the Adopted Heart, mine would show toxic anger, hate, and bitterness. My soul was sick and in need of healing, even though I’d been a Jesus follower for 40 years. 

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