by Joe Soll, LCSW,
Psychotherapist, Author of "Adoption
Healing... a path to recovery"
How many times do we adoptees hear those
(1 for moms, 1 for adoptees, 1
for both) Co-author of "Evil Exchange" and "Fatal Flight"
They are presumably said with all good intentions, what goes
on inside us when we hear them?
If I am special, do I have to follow the rules?
If I am chosen, did I come from a baby supermarket? Why did
they pick me?
If I am lucky, what makes me so?
If I am special, why was I available to be chosen?
If I was chosen, did someone unchoose me first?
If I am lucky, why do I hurt so much inside?
If I am special, why does it not feel good when I hear it?
If I am chosen, who were the other contestants?
If am lucky, does that mean my first family was “bad” in some
Each time someone says either of those words, it is a reminder
that we are adopted. The intent is to make us feel good, not
hurt, not think about our natural mothers. Yet each time we
hear these words, how can we not on some level think of where
we came from? It’s like telling us to not think of pink
elephants. Each time we hear the words it causes us internal
pain. We may not be conscious of it, but it has to be there.
The reason why we adoptees do so much day-dreaming (which to
the uninformed mental health professionals looks like ADD) is
because we are constantly (at least unconsciously) trying to
figure it all out. Who and why are the biggest unanswered
questions and our minds struggle to understand what no one can
or will tell us.
There are phobic and counterphobic reactions to pain and fear.
The phobic adoptee tells no one they are adopted.
The counterphobe flaunts being adopted, tells others how
special she or he is.
In reality, the loss of our mothers at birth was a trauma of
the highest order that is worse than the horrors of war. (Anna
Freud) Each time we hear those three words that trauma is
stirred up. When we are separated from our mothers we
experience their death. There is no difference in losing a
mother to death or adoption. Mommy is here, mommy is gone.
Poof! Death as far as the infant’s experience goes.
If we are special, does that mean it is good to lose a mom?
If we are chosen, does that mean our parents took us from our
mothers on purpose
If we are lucky, does that mean we are lucky our mothers are
dead for us?
I like to throw away words that hurt, like the “R” word...
Maybe we should throw these three words away as well.
Spread the word, throw out “S”, “C” and “L” because they are
not what they say they are.