The other day, I read and participated in a Twitter conversation about adoption trauma.
Here’s the background of the conversation:
The person who retweeted this article disagreed. He works as a developmental psychologist with children affected by abuse and neglect, who enter the foster care system. His assertion was that adoption heals trauma.
Of course, this is a highly emotional subject and as you can imagine, some strong words were exchanged. I’m not writing this post to get into a debate or piss anyone off, but share my point of view.
Rather, this Twitter exchange got me thinking about adoption and trauma, so much so that I’ll probably post more thoughts on this subject.
But before going any further, we need to define trauma:
According to the English Oxford Dictionary trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
As a foster-adopt mother, I get a bad taste in my mouth when I hear someone say adoption is trauma. I am raising two girls, both of whom have experienced trauma through neglect, intrauterine drug exposure, and perhaps other adverse early childhood experiences. I spend each day trying to undo their subconscious reactions to the trauma they lived through.
But when someone says adoption/being adopted is a distressing experience, I don’t have that knee-jerk reaction. I
am willing want to follow up with “Why do you say that?” or “What do you mean by that?”
I’m not advocating anyone change the words they use to describe their adoption experience, but rather we all try to understand the meaning behind the words.
After all, we’re all in this together.