Arms of Adoption – Good Grief

I’m heading up to Canada tomorrow to attend an adoption workshop sponsored by the Forget Me Not Family Society. The workshop will be presented by Joe Soll, author of Adoption Healing…a path to recovery.

I read Adoption Healing over the summer. Soll, an adoptee himself, describes the trauma an adopted infant, child, adolescent and adult may face. He talks about how many of us feel defective and unlovable, and the eventual fracturing of the personality that can occur when we are not allowed to grieve the very-real loss of our birth mother and the pain becomes more than can handle.

At one time if you had asked me if I felt grief over the loss of my birth mother I would have said no. But over the course of the past few years in the process of writing my memoir I’ve learned differently. I’ve come to realize that I carried a very deep, unacknowledged grief for much of my life. I learned that during the darkest time of my life when I despaired even of life, the grief I was going through was for more than the circumstance in which I found myself at the time.

The story of this grief is woven throughout my memoir. Unintentionally. Because at the time I started writing the book I still didn’t recognize the grief for what it was or where it came from. Today, having come to the other side it’s clear to me how that suppressed grief affected me in physical and emotional ways. It’s only by throwing off the shroud of secrecy and shame that many of us grew up under, and allowing us to mourn our losses, will we be able to put that fractured personality back together again.

I’m looking forward to the weekend; I’m looking forward to seeing other members of the organization I belong to; I’m looking forward to learning more about the adoption experience from Joe Soll. I expect parts of the weekend may be difficult for me, I may shed some tears. But I also expect to be encouraged and built up, better equipped to move forward and share the message about the importance of openness in adoption with others.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things.
  1. Dear Linda, I think, at least I hope, that I have thanked you in past comments for teaching me so much about being adopted. Today, you introduced me to a whole new concept–for me that is–and that is the grieving that a person does who realizes she or he has been adopted.

    I’m not surprised that you didn’t realize this when you began your memoir. I’ve heard many stories about writers who didn’t know when they started something that they would discover, in writing, important truths.

    I hope that for you, the truth of your grieving brought comfort.


  2. Dear Linda,
    What a beautiful, heartfelt post! Sharing your own journey will help so many. I have learned so much from you about the adoptive experience . Isn’t it amazing how writing memoir can be so healing? Your awareness of the grief you harbored was unveiled to you through your journey. What a powerful message of hope. Thanks so much for sharing. I eagerly await your memoir.
    Enjoy your conference.

  3. Linda, I have enjoyed getting to know you through your blog and Sherrie Eldridge’s All-Adoptee Growth Group. As an adoptee, I completely agree with you about not realizing until recently that I, like you, “carried a very deep, unacknowledged grief for much of my life” Writing my blog has really helped me in this growth process, so I thought I would leave a little information here about my blog Here’s a YouTube video I recorded as a “Welcome” to my blog: Here’s my bio: “Beth creates articles and is available to speak on a variety of topics to inspire and encourage others. Beth’s expertise as a creative and critical thinking specialist is steeped in years of experience as a writer, presenter, educator and former Florida Department of Education State Consultant for Gifted Education. Beth’s communication style is contagious as she uses personal stories and humor in applying Scripture. Seeing others’ lives transformed by the truth of God’s Word is her passion and her purpose. Beth understands the personal struggles others face spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. She has a unique ability to address those who have been rejected and abandoned, as she has survived and prevailed being conceived on Memorial Day, almost aborted on Columbus Day, placed for adoption on Valentine’s Day, and adopted on Easter. Beth was married on Mother’s Day, has a Masters Degree in Education, two grown children, and one sweet little beagle-mix rescue named Cookie.”
    beth willis miller

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