A Practical Tool for Helping Adopted and Foster Kids Grieve

Friends, I have always loved this poem because I think it shows the reality and redemption involved in adoption. It would be a neat project to do with the kids this weekend! Get a big piece of butcher paper, finger paints, and markers and let them create their vision of their tree. Then, ask them to apply the lightning to adoption, the tree to your family, and the uniqueness and beauty of your family that wouldn’t exist if the lightning hadn’t happened.

Let me know how it turns out, okay?

I would rename it, “The Loss that Is Forever Beautiful.” What would you name it?

Here it is:

When a tree is struck by lightning,
if it survives,
it’s growth is altered.
A knot may form where the lightning hit.
The growth on one side of the tree may be more vigorous
than on the other side,
The shape of the tree may change.
An interesting twist or curious split has replaced what might
have otherwise been a straight line.
The tree flourishes;
it bears fruit,
provides shade,
becomes a home to birds and squirrels.
It is not the same tree it would have been had there not
been a lightning storm.
But some say it is more interesting this way.
Few can even remember the event
That changed its shape forever.
(The Loss that Is Forever, by Maxine Harris)



10 responses to “A Practical Tool for Helping Adopted and Foster Kids Grieve”

  1. Sherrie Eldridge Avatar

    I’m an adoptee:-)

  2. heartsewn Avatar

    it’s a little odd that your blog is called “diary of an adopted kid”, given that you are an adoptive parent, don’t you think? Typical adopters, you all think it’s your story to tell.

  3. Sherrie Eldridge Avatar

    I love your writing….it refreshes me beyond belief.

  4. Sherrie Eldridge Avatar

    Merlene, this is profound! I love it.
    Thanks for including the address for how to get your ebook. Your voice should be heard. You are so articulate and I thank you again for sharing. I hope you will stay connected and share more with us?

  5. Shefalie Avatar

    I love the metaphors represented here by the first poem and also that shared by Merlen……both representing journeys of life…….patterns moulded and woven together in the depths of the earth……….I love trees! their shapes! their differences……..their strengths and vulnerabilities…….their ability to bend with the winds…….and to sustain life in the midst of such storms that in their lifetime seek to uproot them……..and in reading these poems I am also reminded of the scripture that says……..”we shall be like a tree planted by the waters where our roots go deep…….and in times of trouble we will still produce fruit and leaves and will flourish……………we will still stand……….God never said that life would not bend us, or change us or our shape…….or the way or direction that we will grow………..or what it might take to flourish……..he just said….we shall be like a tree…………..whatever that means to each of us…….thank you for sharing……shefalie

  6. Merlene Avatar

    Hello Sherrie, my story is told in The Little Mongrel – free to a good home http://www.amazon.com/Little-Mongrel-free-good-ebook/dp/B00EU2YD2A/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379330789&sr=1-2 The ‘other self’ I refer to is the one may have been without the secrecy of that came with closed adoption. Perhaps the following poem explains better:

    …of my being

    I came from a pattern
    genetically stamped
    formed in my mother’s womb
    from my father’s seed
    the unchangeable blueprint
    of my being

    they tried to over-stamp
    to create another self
    beyond the womb
    to transform me from
    the fundamental essence
    of my being

    but I held tightly
    to the innate truth
    sheltered in my soul
    the self beyond my touch …
    the essential validation
    of my being

    they never found the key
    to shape me
    to their hopes and dreams
    and my destiny remained
    decreed by indelible stamp
    of my being

    ~ Merlen Fawdry 2006

  7. Sherrie Eldridge Avatar

    Thanks for sharing your insights and perspective. Tell us more about “the other self.” More of your story? I would love to hear it.

  8. Merlene Avatar

    The last two lines of this poem minimise the damage done through adoption:
    ‘Few can even remember the event
    That changed its shape forever.’

    after almost seventy years
    the lightning storm
    that changed my shape
    is remembered every day
    and, despite my growth,
    I mourn the loss
    of the other self
    seared beyond recognition
    before it had a chance to be

  9. Sherrie Eldridge Avatar

    Yes, Terry! We are never too old to heal….I am still healing, aren’t you? Learning and healing every day. Let me know how your project goes and the fruitful discussion that I think will come from doing it, okay? Thanks for sharing, Sherrie

  10. Terry Avatar

    That is absolutely beautiful and a perfect analogy…I would like my 15 yr old daughter to read this so we can do it together…I don’t think we could ever be too old to do this~we are never too old to heal!… <3 …

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