Are you adopted? Do you have questions about your biological family? Are you wondering where you fit in? Are you searching for your true identity? Have you found some life milestones challenging? As an adoptee myself, I recognize and understand the distinct needs of adopted people. I strive to find authentic ways to support adopted teens ages 16 and up, and adults as they find their way through their identity and cultural issues.
As a transracial international adoptee, my work with adoptees seeking adoption support is based both in my personal experience as well as my professional training. I became a trained adoption-competent therapist so that I could work with other adoptees through that lens as well as my personal experience.
Many adoptees engage in a lifelong process of trying to find or recover their heritage and identity. Integrating two families is a challenge when there are missing pieces, an open adoption, or when the adoptee is in reunion. This undertaking of searching for one’s identity and trying to find profound/deep/authentic connection is an active process. An adopted person lives with many contradictions. Often adoption is seen as a single event; yet, it is a lived experience that spans across a lifetime. Many people see adoption as a social solution to a problem in which everyone wins. This is not the case. Loss is inherent for all members of the adoption constellation.
The myriad types of losses involved in adoption have not been fully acknowledged. Because of a lack of social recognition, this grief often remains hidden and intensifies feelings of anger, guilt and powerlessness. A reduced or absent network of social support promotes a sense of generalized isolation for the adoptee and other members of the constellation.
The adopted child experiences loss from the start, before they even have words. The separation of mother and child has far-reaching affects. It influences relationships with others, the ability to form healthy attachments, and the ability to trust others.
Transracial and international adoptees have an additional challenge of navigating two worlds. Adoptees can feel rejected by either or both, and therefore may feel like they don’t belong anywhere. Additionally, some feel a loss of culture, language, identity, and a racial mirror.
In working with clients seeking adoption support, I aim to make space for whatever adoption issues may arise. As each adoption experience is unique, there is not one path to healing. Adopted children grow up. Many need to process the complex feelings and issues that arise. Combining my personal experience with my training, I work with my clients to help them find belonging within themselves.
“It is only through acknowledging, understanding, and addressing our pain, in the presence of others, that we can participate in a life of empowerment and peace.”
When our trauma, grief, and voices are disenfranchised by our personal relations, families, and the greater society, we adoptees quickly learn to disenfranchise ourselves.”