Can Adoptees Heal from the Primal Wound?

Celebrating the Scab Over Verrier’s Primal Wound

We’ve had a great time talking about Nancy Verrier’s book–the Primal Wound. Yes, hers is a valuable asset to adoption literature. For many, it was a wake-up call, a validation of not being crazy, and words to wrap around the deeper-than-death loss.

This week, as a result of our conversations here, I’ve done some studying on how wounds heal. It’s been fascinating! The word “wound” involves much.  In fact, if wounds don’t heal, amputation may be necessary. What a warning this is for those who have suffered the primal wound.

Without a doubt, adoptees, foster kids, step kids, and orphans suffer great loss when separated from the first family. The loss is cellular and we many feel a deep bond to our first family no matter how they’ve treated us.

Often, I share the story about a toddler that was put into a skillet of hot oil. When the child was taken to the hospital and the responsible mom came to visit, she threw her arms up and cried in welcoming tones, “Mama!”

Just like a near-death blow to the body, our souls bleed and gradually form a crusty blood clot, making us survivors of one of the greatest losses one can experience.

A Scab Must Form 

In order for healing to occur, a scab must form. The scab is another type of skin–akin to a crusty umbrella that protects the wound.  Let’s agree that the scab for the primal wound is anger–a God-given emotion to protect and warn that something needs attention?

This helps us conclude that anger is a good thing and oftentimes, when adopted and foster kids are shut down, it’s a sign they’re coming to life.

We must celebrate the scab.

Proper Care of the Scab Is Vital

When healing is occurring, the scab may feel itchy, but don’t itch it. If it gets pulled off, of course we’re back to square one.

It’s important to be observant of the scab’s condition. If there’s new bleeding or yellowish, pinkish fluid oozing from its sides, it’s a sign that healing will be prolonged.

Or, perhaps, it has become infected by bacteria? Perhaps the bacteria of negativism, judgmentalism, or skepticism?

The Surprise Beneath the Scab

Another function of the scab is to create such an atmosphere that new growth appears where the wound once was. And, take a guess what the new growth is called? It’s called a scar.

We will always carry the scar, but it will be a constant reminder of the fact that we are true survivors. We’ve come through the fires of abandonment and have a bright future in sight,

If you find black edges around the scab, it’s time to call the physician. In my estimation, the Great Physician is the best, for there are some things that can’t be healed by humans. The primal wound is one of them.

Fellow adoptees, is this topic not clearly “self-care?” We aren’t very good at this. Oh, yes, we care take the world (enabling) but how often to we care for ourselves?

How about breaking the cycle this summer?

Let’s determine to soothe our wounds–by rubbing cocoa butter on them, or lavender and rose oils?

Activities for the Summer

  • Think about the primal wound. What does it look like to you? Is it jagged, straight- lined like a surgical incision, crusty, or downright ugly?
  • It may be fun to make this a topic for journaling this week. Ask yourself, “What does the primal wound say to me? How can I know that a scab has formed?
  • Assess what your focus is–the wound or the scab? One looks back, the other forward.

5 responses to “Celebrating the Scab Over Verrier’s Primal Wound”

  1. Sherrie Eldridge, Adoption Author Avatar

    You have twins?!! How wonderful. I have twin grandsons who are now 24. People used to come up to their parents saying, “Boy, you have your hands full”….in a negative light. None of us saw it that way–they are an incredible blessing, as I am sure yours are, too!

  2. Sherrie Eldridge, Adoption Author Avatar

    Thanks for sharing, Kristen.

  3. Kristen Avatar

    Needed this post to help me with understanding your first post about “The Primal Wound”. It also may help that I am a nurse! Your explanation of wound healing is very poetic and clarifying! I think I agree most with the idea that anger is a good thing, that means the adoptee is coming to life………..That is affirming and reassuring for me with my adopted twins. Thank you so much, again, Sherrie! I still share the wonderful story of your ice cream activity that we did on mothers day!

  4. Sherrie Eldridge, Adoption Author Avatar

    Thank you, Paige. I so appreciate your support

  5. Paige Adams Strickland Avatar

    Great analogy, Sherrie!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *