“You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose” – Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
1. The action of the verb to heal.
2. The process where the cells in the body regenerate and repair themselves.
I have a problem, a challenge, a barrier in truly accepting the concept of adoption healing. I just don’t see it as possible, as realistic. It might be semantics. I don’t know.
I just cannot grasp it. I find myself weary to trust it. The very words “adoption healing” seems like an oxymoron to me. It’s laughable to me.
For me, at this point, its adoption acceptance. Acceptance of the pain, horror, trauma, and damage done. Learning to live with it like you would a troublesome mother in law. It’s always there, always annoying but you find ways to work around it. You cannot change it. You can only change your reaction to it.
Consider my usual analogy of an amputee victim. Wound, surgery, prosthetic. You learn to walk again with the aid of a prosthetic device but you never forget you once had a leg there. You should have a leg there. You are supposed to have a leg there. According to Phantoms in the Brain, you might even still FEEL your leg there.
It’s the same for me with the loss of my daughter. She is there. I expect her to be there. By the laws of nature she IS there … yet she is not. The laws of man removed her from my arms but the laws of nature left her in my mind, heart and soul. Those phantoms in my brain look for her, expect her and then my mind remembers adoption and we make our conscious adjustments.
Perhaps I take too literal of an approach to healing. To me, healing implies something doesn’t hurt anymore. That you were wounded, you hurt, it stopped hurting and you went on with life. Maybe a scar formed over the wound, maybe not. Regardless, I cannot imagine the day when the loss of my daughter, the damage done to her and my souls by adoption will ever be okay, or not hurting. It’s destroyed me for over twenty years and suddenly it’s going go away?
Even with all the banter in my brain, I am aware of an enormous distrust of the healing concept. After all, twenty years ago I was lied to. I was told I would get over it. I was told it was no big deal and a wonderful thing.
It wasn’t. It was an enormous deception. A crime against my soul.
If it’s so great why did I end up with nightmares, terrors, screaming, hunting apartments for a baby crying, years of therapy, constant anxiety? Is that how I was supposed to “get over it”. Is that how you forget? Do you consider that healing?
And you want me NOW to believe, again, that I can get over it and heal? Why should I believe you this time around?
I must also admit that part of me doesn’t ever want to get over it. I don’t want to prove them right. I don’t want to ever be able to say “Meh, nooo problem, easy squeezy. Give you kid away. You will get over it”.
For some reason Kubler-Ross comes to mind as I write. I read “On Death and Dying” a few years after I lost my daughter. I don’t recall why. I just recall being consumed with death.
I can map the stages of grief to my adoption trauma. I suspect I am somewhere within Testing and Acceptance.
• Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news.
• Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.
• Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.
• Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.
• Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable.
• Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.
• Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.
Acceptance is typically visible by people taking ownership both for themselves and their actions. They start to do things and take note of the results, and then changing their actions in response. They will appear increasingly happier and more content as they find their way forward.
I get that. I use acceptance as a synonym for healing. But others tell me that is wrong.
I am not sure I should care. I should probably just do what feels best for me.