Being adopted is complicated. Every adoptee has to venture through a world of varied misunderstandings and assumptions about what adoption is like for them. It certainly can contribute to feeling like “an outsider.” Often these experiences of what adoption is supposed to be like are told to the adoptee by those who are not actually adopted. Adoption is more simply a sweet story about gaining a family. It can be both a win and a loss at the same time and the experience of the loss often changes for adult adoptees over time. It is not uncommon for adoptees to spend much of their lives not deeply experiencing or acknowledging adoption loss and then become overwhelmed with realizations and feelings around the loss as adults. The loss is usually multilayered and might include:
The loss of the bond between birth family and adoptee, or the loss of biological connection.
The loss of what life may have been like without the cultural, psychological, and emotional disruption of early separation
The loss of genetic, racial, and hereditary background
The loss of the story and witness to an adoptee’s birth and first days and or years
The loss of trust as a first experience if one was separated from their mother early on in the first days or weeks
For the Late Discovery Adoptee, a kind of loss of trust in reality and in those closest to them.
Only those who have been through it can truly understand the complicated feelings of adoptee loss. That’s why peer to peer adoptee connection is so important. So, with that in mind, I have created a sort of “Starter Pack” for those just starting to venture into the adoptee community as adults.
Adoptees Connect Groups. Adoptees Connect is a peer-led, adoptee-centric connect group for adult adoptees. It is cost free, donation only. They currently are having small in-person or Zoom meetings. Find one near you at Adoptees Connect.
Voices Unheard Adoptee Writing workshops. Okay, this is a bit of a plug, but as an adoptee myself I feel qualified to advertise a workshop I run specifically for adult adoptees who are interested in writing about their experiences. In a post COVID world this group will once again host speaker series events in Massachusetts for adoptees who wish to share their pieces in front of a supportive audience. If you have interest please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information about the next workshop. Check out the last Voices Unheard Event here.
Adult Adoptee (Currently on Zoom) Support Groups, including Adult Adoptee Transracial Support Group at Boston Post Adoption Resources facilitated by Adoptee Clinicians.
Adoptees with Addictions is a weekly Adoptee led, cost-free, donation only recovery group for Adoptees in recovery from any addiction at any stage. Visit their website for ID and Password for Zoom Saturday meetings.
Boston Korean Adoptees, Inc is a supportive community of adult Adoptees with a connection to Korea in the greater Boston and New England area.
“Adoptees On” Created by Haley Radke features stories from adopted people sharing their reunion and discovery experiences. The podcast includes a series called the “Healing Series” in which therapists and doctors who are also adoptees share their stories and their clinical knowledge with the audience. Recommended episodes to start with: Healing Series, episode 113 – “Coming Out of the Fog” – An introduction to the concept of realizing, usually as an adult, the complicated experiences that come with adoption. Healing Series, episode 103 – “Implicit Memory”- An explanation from Dr. Julie Lopez, also an adoptee, about how memories we do not recall, as we may have been too young, can affect us and what we can do to manage their effects on us. Season 3, Episode 12 – “Brian on Reunion and Identity” – I found Brian incredibly interesting to listen to, and his story is one of healing through creating.
“The Adoptee Next Door” Created by Angela Tucker Angela talks with adoptees and has in- depth conversations that explore issues like racism, transracial adoption, religion, immigration, trauma, and the many layers of unconventional families.
Lisa Coppola, LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist who brings many years of clinical and community experience to sessions through her work in the field of mental health and dual diagnosis. She strongly believes in the strength and change that comes from getting in deeper touch with our creativity, exploring the authenticity within ourselves, and investigating the narratives that culture may have imposed onto us collectively and as individuals.