I was filling in the shades of another line picture yesterday of the “Dogpache” dancing with two Dogohawks and later noticed inflammation coming through my body and arms …
I do several iterations of images and they often yield a deep trek of Adoptee feelings .. In my case a core trauma is being child abused and used after Adoption ..
Slowly the trek of images echoes my feelings and also shows new angles and prisms which I use to resolve pain .. In my type of therapy I can do at anytime I please now, as I am retired, I am trained to allow the feelings to be what they want to become .
So my arms went up in the air and into claws and then pictures of my birth mother came into my mind ..I felt like a child scratching her face. And I did that in my “image-spheres” and into the airs .. I am quite rationally, crazy, and it’s all fine.. I have a well developed creative mind ..
Birth mom left me at 3 and that core area is surrounded by later misuse of my body .. She knew the person she left me with as far back as 1940 when Birth mom was aged 7 ..Anyway, I felt the pained feelings, but another prism returned of a stuck mouth .. Muffled languages. Stay safe … SAY NOTHING……Pressure to speak though ..
Finally the pain burst out of the howl-mouth-child-hole of me into resolving cries which were like a ghost child howling for mommy … It’s just another prism in the massive fragmentation field of early childhood mending for me .. How does it mend ? By being and becoming itself ..By finally allowing being, to be inside being as itself .. To grieve as that child part … It is truth delayed for sure but able to be therapeutically re-experienced…..
Does it hurt ? When it’s in the stages of inflammations yes … You bet, because the body is hiding an old “lie” of the early mind which nonetheless tried to protect me from the horror..I don’t need protecting now (poor auto-brain) in fact I need to be all of me .. Held as me by me .. That’s all ..
Now I am finally old enough to be young again and feel things from the various pasts of me because I have a brain developed that can hold everything ..It’s a slow road back to feeling-connection and that form of internal integrity. I note though it’s necessary to let out the grief of: “Who should have been there and was not” …
That’s the point in reducing the unmet need (for mommy) into resolvable grief and crying …”Mommmmeeeeeee”… “HOwlllll”.. I’ve been on a slow road to acceptance of what happened, but what happened was over many pain distorted years .. It’s why I still befriend monsters in Art and make them cry and landscapes howl too ..
OWWWWWLLLL OWWWWOOOOOO …. I love howls they free my early primal soul that was chained to dissociative emotional prisons..I have learned to grieve as a child who was stopped from grieving…. I am here in myself … I have arrived .. I am home in my skin better and it is sad in a more positive way simply because tragedy is ..
I’m sure that most reading this will know and understand the “story”of Olivia Atkocaitis. I’m sure that it’s triggered emotions and feelings that are too heavy and difficult to think about and process. Or in other people’s minds, perhaps it’s far too removed from their reality and from their experiences in adoption to even consider. I know that when Lynelle asked me for this article, I really didn’t have the emotional capacity to sit and think about this, let alone, write about it. But I realised that she wasn’t asking for a news report and the headlines, as aforementioned, are enough to understand the gravity of what Olivia went through and it’s not just a story for her, it’s her life. As intercountry adoptees, the bigger picture and the call to platform our voices are ever more important, because look at who is platforming this narrative, look at how these “stories” are being headlined. Our voices, our experiences, our narratives, they deserve more to be than just part of a tabloid story that’s going to sell astronomically as a one-hit wonder. And the attention these stories get, they’re provoking the wrong questions, directing the outrage towards the microscopic lens of specificity, that these tabloid articles afford.
The issue with sensationalism in journalism is that it doesn’t just fall short on accuracy, precision and detail, it extrapolates from a larger picture, takes a story from the wider context and makes it seem so far-fetched that it becomes almost a one-hit wonder in terms of a news story. And much like those artists that rose to fame with their catchy tune, they’re memorable, they occasionally resurface for air and then they become a household note on “where are they now”. The very nature of adoption is transactional and I’ve written extensively on the subject, yet with every journalist I’ve come across to ask me about my experiences, whether it be my reconnection to my birth country, searching for my biological family, my experiences as British-Chinese in the United Kingdom, they’ve never offered financial compensation for my emotional labour and they don’t want to hear the authenticity, they want a news story. And so I decided in 2018, no-one was going to write my narrative for me, I’m perfectly capable of writing my own.
Calls to action, calls to anger, calls to highlight the failures of the adoption system, they’re not enough. As intercountry, transracial adoptees, there is enough content out there to be noticed and heard but why bother talking when no-one is listening. Lynelle is correct, Olivia deserves her place in our community, a space to advocate, a space to frame her own narrative and I’m not going to sit here and frame that for her. And I’m not going to call for action, call for anger or call for change, this is a call for empathy. A call for you to sit here and listen to intercountry, transracial adoptees. The issue is that the words ‘adoptee’ or ‘adopted’ alone already connotate the infantilisation of adults and people talk to us like we don’t know what’s best for us. Or the words ‘lucky’ or ‘gratitude’ get thrown around and we get told that “it could have been worse!” How could you push gratitude on people like Olivia, people like Huxley Stauffer or Devonte Hart? How can you assume a full picture without knowing any of the details? And that’s the power that White Supremacy plays in adoption. These systems weren’t built for people like us. The headlines of Olivia Atkocaitis, Huxley Stauffer, Devonte Hart are purposefully sensationalised and designed to exclude any real detail or any real information because who can you hold accountable for the people who fall through the cracks when the reader has descended into chaos, outrage and burning anger?
I could sit here all day and talk about the flaws of the system and the flaws of intercountry adoption. I could sit and bring about controversy, just like the tabloids are spark-noting but this isn’t a call to outrage or anger, this is a call to empathy. Behind the news stories, behind the anger, behind the broken systems, there are people like Olivia who deserve better in their lives and how can you have compassion for people if you reduce them down to a news story? How can you listen to someone when your inner monologue is already framed and narrated by the sensationalism of tabloids, profiting out of these experiences? The primary sources are there, they just need to be heard, not just when we’re the flavour of the month because something sensational has happened. Representation isn’t just about seeing our faces on screen or in spaces we haven’t been afforded. It’s about taking up that space and reclaiming it for ourselves; people like Olivia don’t need advocacy, they don’t need over-compensation. They deserve a place.
by Marcella Moslow born in Colombia and adopted to the USA; trauma therapist
The heavy realities that adoptees must navigate are staggering and complex. The voids we carry with us are enormous and no matter the amount of love we receive, it often feels like it is not enough. The connection and attunement we seek, the culture that we have a right to, the attachment we were wired for is stripped from us, leaving deep wounds behind. This is devastating to an individual’s system and carries into future generations. We grapple with the reality that not only did we have something happen to us, but we also were deprived of so much of what we needed. Trauma can be both — what happens to us, as well as what doesn’t happen to us.
Hardly anyone really wants to know, and people don’t talk about it easily, let alone the adoptees’ attention when it happens. Usually the attention goes to the #adoptiveparents and the adoptees are often alone in the rain.
Last week was the book launch of adoptive mother Rini van Dam’s book #donderdagen in Sneek. Speakers’ introductions rightly focused on the author, of course, but one of the topics why the book was created was Sannison’s death. A fellow Korean adoptee who ended her life before she was 17 and her funeral service was on November five, my birthday. She had just broken up with a fellow adoptee shortly before. It was 1991, the year when association for adopted Koreans, Arierang, held its first major national meeting. The year where loves both blossomed and burst apart. The year I became aware of what and pain and sorrow lurked beneath us all.
Two years later, Julia, a Korean adoptee from Belgium who left life just before she turned 21, died and her funeral service was on 5 November, my birthday. Her adoptive parents, however, did not want adoptees at the funeral service.
A few years later, I would lose my own sister, Joo Min, while stationed as a UN soldier in Bosnia. We don’t really know why she chose to save two boys in their fall in the French Italian Alps when she must have known it would be fatal for her herself.
Yesterday, I was reminded of the above. A painful but perhaps the most necessary confrontation with my personal history to learn through this hard road that I could no longer look away from my inner development. Since then, I have been working hard for the suffering of adoptees around the world. But instead of praise and support, I received threats and angry adoptive parents in my path. Some even threatened to want to kill me. But angry adoptees and #scientists, especially from the Netherlands, also tried to take my message off the air. Until the Swedish research by Anders Hjern, Frank Lindblad, Bo Vinnerljung came out in 2002 and substantiated my experiences and suspicions.
Existential trauma to suicide shows a relationship with the tearing process created by relinquishment and #adoption. Since then, such outcomes have surfaced all over the world except in the Netherlands. The Netherlands still likes to indulge in the Walt Disney story and any contrary noise about this phenomenon is conveniently dismissed by statistical research, which, although Evidence Based accredited, manages to conveniently dismiss this issue.
Science prefers to leave the suffering of many adoptees to themselves because what doesn’t show up in the statistics doesn’t exist according to the government and adoption agencies.
Bijna niemand wil het echt weten, en men spreekt er niet makkelijk over, laat staan dat de geadopteerden de aandacht krijgen als het gebeurt. Meestal gaat de aandacht naar de #adoptieouders en staan de geadopteerden vaak alleen in de regen.
Gisteren was de boekuitreiking van het boek #donderdagen van adoptiemoeder Rini van Dam in Sneek. De inleidingen van sprekers waren natuurlijk terecht gericht op de schrijfster, maar een van de onderwerpen waarom het boek is ontstaan is de dood van Sannison. Een mede Koreaanse geadopteerde die voor haar 17e een eind maakte aan haar leven en haar rouwdienst was op vijf november, mijn verjaardag. Ze had kort daarvoor net de prille verkering met een medegeadopteerde uitgemaakt. Het was 1991, het jaar dat vereniging voor geadopteerde Koreanen, Arierang, haar eerste grote landelijke bijeenkomst achter de rug had. Het jaar waar zowel liefdes opbloeiden, maar ook uit elkaar spatten. Het jaar dat ik mij gewaar werd welk en pijn en verdriet onder ons allen schuil ging.
Twee jaar later, overleed Julia, een Koreaanse geadopteerde uit België die net voor haar 21e het leven verliet en haar rouwdienst was op vijf november, mijn verjaardag. Haar adoptieouders echter wilden geen geadopteerden bij de rouwdienst.
Enkele jaren later zou ik mijn eigen zus, Joo Min, verliezen terwijl ik gestationeerd was als VN soldaat in Bosnië. We weten niet echt waarom ze verkoos om twee jongens in hun val in de Frans Italiaanse Alpen te redden terwijl ze geweten moet hebben dat het haar zelf noodlottig zou worden.
Gisteren werd ik aan het bovenstaande herinnerd. Een pijnlijke, maar wellicht de meest noodzakelijke confrontatie met mijn persoonlijke historie om via deze harde weg te leren dat ik niet langer weg kon kijken van mijn innerlijke ontwikkeling. Sindsdien heb ik mij hard gemaakt voor het leed van geadopteerden over de hele wereld. Maar inplaats van lof en ondersteuning ontving ik bedreigingen en boze adoptieouders op mijn pad. Sommigen dreigden mij zelfs om te willen brengen. Maar ook boze geadopteerden en #wetenschappers, vooral uit Nederland, probeerden mijn boodschap uit de lucht te halen. Totdat het Zweedse onderzoek van Anders Hjern, Frank Lindblad, Bo Vinnerljung in 2002 uitkwam en mijn ervaringen en vermoedens staafde.
Het existentiële trauma tot zelfdoding laat een relatie zien met het verscheurende proces dat ontstaat door afstand en #adoptie. Sindsdien zijn over de hele wereld dergelijke uitkomsten opgedoken behalve in Nederland. Nederland laaft zich nog graag aan het Walt Disney verhaal en elk tegengesteld geluid over dit fenomeen wordt handig weggewerkt door statistisch onderzoek, dat weliswaar Evidence Based geaccrediteerd is, maar dit onderwerp handig weet weg te werken.
De wetenschap laat het lijden van veel geadopteerden liever aan henzelf over want wat niet in de statistieken opduikt bestaat niet volgens de overheid en de hulpverlening.
ICAVs Memorial Page with Suicide Awareness links and other resources on this topic
Michelle is one of our most eloquent adoptees in the video series. She is so open and honest about the challenges and I love her courage to speak up about the topics most hidden in adoption – eating disorders and suicide attempts and what underlies these; and the struggle to find a place to belong and need to know the truth of our origins.
I can’t believe it’s been just over a year since I filmed 8 amazing people who openly shared their experience and views of life as intercountry adoptees. In the next few weeks, I want to highlight the individual videos from our video series, that help to share about the complexities of being an adoptee.
Here is Jonas who shares about his journey to find his inner peace, coming to terms with the losses, struggles, and gains from being adopted at an older age out of Haiti to Australia. It’s worth sharing especially for younger male adoptees of colour who often struggle in silence with very few role models or racial mirrors. Being adopted doesn’t always mean an endless struggle. Jonas talks about no matter how tough the journey is, it is possible to reach a place of acceptance and peace when one puts in the hard work to explore our beginnings, come to terms with our realities and find a way through.
Have a listen to Jonas share in the video by clicking on the image below.
Race and Trauma resources specific to intercountry adoption
This is a series on Adoptee Anger from lived experience, to help people understand what is beneath the surface and why adoptees can sometimes seem angry.
by Ofir Alzate, adopted from Colombia to the USA.
I am an adoptee with anger. Does this get passed down to our children because I have three angry boys . Now as an adult, I do feel like I can handle anger a lot better – I’ll walk away from confrontation before it gets bad.
It pisses me off now because I remember a few times the adopted couple used to say to me, “You’re always so angry and that’s all you do, is want to be in your room with the door closed”, and I had to open it. How does somebody not see a problem when it’s right there in their face, like what the f*** did you expect? That I was going to be jumping up and down happy because I got my family taken away, my country, and nobody looks like me and nobody is the same colour as me? Not to mention I didn’t even know what they were saying for the longest time.
I wanted to go home! I wanted my mom! I hated it here! I don’t belong here. I was given the wrong family.
I love my 3 boys and my 7 grandchildren but I am ready to leave it all behind. I’m currently waiting to hear about my passport. Even though it was just a copy, I received my birth certificate that my mom sent me along with my baptism certificate from Colombia. I cried for almost a good hour in my room. I touched something that my mom touched!
I’ve been feeling really down ever since Christmas and I also received my high school report card – my 9th and 10th grade report cards. It broke my heart that my grades were so bad. I only had an A in gym. I was getting Ds and Fs in Spanish. I remember struggling throughout my school years. Along with everything else, I know I have ADD. That definitely was the worst mistake of my whole life was quitting school, but then again, I didn’t have the support.
I just wanted out of that house, so I left when I was 16 and never went back.
by Roula Maria stolen from Greece and adopted to an Australian family.
My name is Roula and I was born in Greece with my twin and sold separately on the black market in July 1981. I have only just found my twin in the recent years and hope to meet in person once COVID eases. This is my story.
About my parents
After migrating from Greece in the early 60’s they settled in a small country town outside of Adelaide, South Australia. There were other immigrants that also went to the same town after coming from Greece.
My parents were not able to have children after many attempts and eventually decided to make themselves known to a family who had adopted a little girl from Greece. It turns out that family did not actually adopt the little girl but purchased her from a doctor who was producing and selling gypsy children in an institute in the heart of Athens. They gave my mother the contact details for the midwife in Greece.
My parents made contact with the midwife in Greece and made an appointment to travel to Greece to speak to the doctor. Once they had arrived he told them that there were many babies available but they would need to wait. They agreed and travelled back to Australia.
About 6 months later, the phone rang with good news and they travelled to Greece within the week. My mother’s request was that she wanted a girl but at that time there were no girls available, so they remained in Greece until one was. She also wore a pillow under her belly to show she was pregnant – the lengths my parents went to was phenomenal.
Then I came along.
My dad went to the town of Korinthos to sign the paper work. On my birth record my mother who bought me was written as my birth mother, so authorities would not pick up on the falsified documents, then my dad went back to the hospital in Greece and I was given to him. They payed $6000 euro in 1981, the equivalent of around $200,000 dollars Australian back then.
They stayed in Greece for around 40 days as the culture states a child needs to be blessed around their 40th day of birth. They took me to the Australian Embassy and registered me as a citizen of Australia under parental authority.
Then the fear of being caught played on their minds. They knew from the time at the airport ’till the time the plane took off that they were in grave danger of being caught. Once onboard and the plane got into the air, my mother breathed for the first time.
I was flown to Australia on the 24 August 1981.
I grew up with two sides. I was the happy little girl who loved life and everything in it but I was also the little girl who was traumatised by intense sexual abuse and a victim to domestic violence. My childhood was filled with sadness and also happy family moments, it was as though I lived in a time warp between two worlds, the real and the hidden.
Even the Greek kids that I grew up with would tease me about being adopted and when I confronted my mother, she denied all allegations. It was a part of my everyday life growing up with my mother being untruthful about it all. It was not until my teens that a cousin confirmed the truth to me in a state of anger, as the behaviours that I was displaying where the behaviours of a survivor of abuse.
No one knew the turmoil and the hurt I was facing as typical Greek families do not discuss issues and are taught to bottle them up and never spoken about it, especially with the older generation.
It was not until I had reached year 7 at primary school that I finally spoke out about my life but even then, it was dismissed and ignored.
My family sold their land and moved me to Adelaide thinking that it would help me move on with my life, but from what psychologists and counsellors say to me, running is not an option. My parents thought they were doing the right thing but it led me to destructive teenage years filled with drugs, homelessness, violence, jails, and institutions.
If only people could have been able to help me but by then, I had been hurt and lied to, too many times to even want anyone’s help.
At the age 15 in 1996, I started my search, homeless and in the library trying to find information about black-market adoption from Greece. I came across 100’s of articles about selling of babies within the gypsy community in Greece. I was shocked and intrigued at the information available. I put up posts in forums stating that I was searching for my birth mother. I had no idea what I was writing but I tried everything.
For some reason though I knew I was on the right track, something inside me knew what I was doing and where I was searching was real and leading me to where I belonged.
After years of trauma from living on the streets and being a complete drug addict, in 2003, I went into rehab. I got clean and my life started to get better. I still had some very damaging behaviours but in 2010, I moved back to that small country town and found a great psychologist who is today still a large part of my healing and journey.
I ended up marrying a man from that town and we moved away due to work reasons, then in 2015, I had a child through IVF. My son has a great childhood but he has also had some life challenges. Compared to what I had, I’m thankful I was able to change the mistakes that many Greek families have today and we communicate!
Being a product of adoption and black market selling of babies is not an easy life. We children come from all different backgrounds with genetic disorders and family health systems. These need to be addressed and I disliked having to say to a doctor, “I don’t know, I am adopted,” whenever I was asked what my family health history is. I’m sure my feelings on this must be very common amongst adopted people . When a doctor knows you are not the biological product of the family you are in, more tests, more health records and more information should be assigned to the adoptee, to assist in finding out the health answers we deserve.
If it wasn’t for the technology of DNA testing, I would not have known my heritage or my health record. I am so glad I can now got to the doctors and say I genetically carry this, this, this, and this. It is extremely empowering.
With teachers and school counsellors, I believe adoptive parents need to take responsibility for ensuring information is provided to the school, disclosing that their child is adopted. There should be no judgment or repercussions in any way when parents disclose this. Teachers also need to be aware that the child may be facing or feeling empty from not knowing their identity nor understanding why they may be feeling this way.
These days in schools, there are mindfulness clinics, self-esteem talks, anti-bullying days, and wellbeing classes and they have a different curriculum compared to what I had in the 80’s. Adding a box to identify at enrolment whether adopted or not, should start from early childhood care, all the way through to university. All enrolments should ask us to identify if we are adopted or not. If the student does not know, then parents should be asked discreetly with confidentiality maintained, as some parents chose to wait until their child is old enough, to be told.
I suggest support resources such as social media, jumping in online forums where other adoptees share the same voice. I run 2 groups. One is called Greek Born Adoptees with 450 members and the other is called Greek Sold Gypsy children with 179 members. This group is for sold children and for the gypsy parents to assist them in finding each other. We use DNA testing to match the parents and the sold adoptees.
Thank you for your time and I hope that more people will come forward about their adoptions. I speak for the Greek born sold children of Greece and I know there are 1000’s of us. Here in Australia, there are around 70 who I would like to make contact with when they are ready because we have gypsy parents who are wanting to meet their children for the first time and have given their permission to be found.
by Lina Vanegas adopted from Colombia to the USA, MSW.
It is imperative that we start talking openly and honestly about adoptee suicide. Adoptees are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide. This is an alarming number and most people are not even aware of this fact. Too many adoptees are dead and dying. Adoptees are not seen as a marginalised group. Our lived experience of vulnerabilities and being exposed to complex trauma is unacknowledged by society. Adoptees are thought of as “lucky”, “saved/rescued”, having been given a “better life” and many expect us to be grateful which is really the narrative we need to dismantle for society to see us, validate us, support us and create an inclusive, safe and affirming world for adoptees.
Suicide is such an uncomfortable and tough topic to discuss. Society tends to avoid conversations when they are uncomfortable. Change and growth happen from discomfort. The community needs to lean into these conversations quickly because adoptees are dying. The discomfort that community members feel is nothing compared to the immense pain, loneliness, sadness that people who contemplate suicide, attempt suicide and die by suicide feel. People who have lost a loved one to suicide are also in a lot of pain.
Our conversations around adoptee suicide needs to be framed for community members around the fact that being separated from our mothers is trauma which can predispose us to mental health issues such as PTSD, depression, suicide and also addiction, eating disorders, self harm, and toxic relationships. Once people are able to grasp the trauma from separation, I think they will be able to understand how it predisposes adoptees to mental health struggles. There is a conflict between what people hear about adoption and believe to be true and the reality of adoption. Once people learn the reality of adoption, I think it will be easier for them to grasp the mental health crisis adoptees are experiencing.
In order to support adoptees, we need to have community members that understand adoptees. Community members need to understand that the symptoms they see in adoptees that are mental health related are most often a result of our trauma. If people can understand this, I think that empathy and understanding around adoptee suicide will be much greater. Adoptees also need to be understood in every system and institution so that they can be seen and helped. For an example, if an adoptee goes to a psychiatric hospital or emergency room because they attempted suicide or have a plan of suicide and the providers there do not understand adoption trauma, then there is no way they can help the adoptee with their trauma. The provider will most likely diagnose and prescribe medication to the adoptee. This will do nothing to help the adoptee deal with their trauma and begin to heal.
It would be beneficial if there were adoptee support groups that were readily available and advertised. Many of us are a part of these groups but they generally function through word of mouth. It would be great if the mental health field professionals would do more research on adoptees. We need the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention to do research specifically on adoptees. The research would then be able to inform awareness, education, prevention and support around adoptee suicide. It is important that the barriers for adoptees seeking medical, mental, therapeutic or psychiatric help are evaluated and then solutions are made to make things more affirming, inclusive and safe for adoptees. If adoptees are not seeking help, then they will not be able to receive help and we want to make sure they are seeking help when needed and that it is easily accessible. For example, it is very triggering and scary to go to the doctor without a medical history and it is a huge trigger to be asked each time -”Do you have any updates on your family medical history?” or “What is your family history?.” It is also triggering to hear providers commentary on adoption when we tell providers we are adopted. I have spoken to many adoptees who have told me they avoid the doctor because of these reasons. I too have avoided appointments because it can be very triggering and taxing to continually explain myself and be in the place of having to feel like I need to educate the provider. Sometimes providers are receptive and other times they are very patronising which adds a lot to an already triggering situation. This kind of negative interaction can be a deterrent for any adoptee seeking further care.
It would be amazing if there was a crisis line for adoptees. A crisis line would be very validating because the adoptee would not need to explain themselves or adoption. Adoptees need resources and support that are safe, inclusive and affirming. Sometimes people feel more comfortable texting or picking up the phone than going in-person or on a zoom virtual call. It would also be really beneficial if when suicide deaths are recorded, that the adoption status of the person is included in the data. The information could be further broken down to include race, transracial domestic or intercountry adoption, or foster care experience. This would give us an idea of how to better shape awareness, education, support and prevention. It will also give us more accurate statistics on adoptee suicide.
One of the ways that the community can support adoptees living with suicide loss would be to first understand adoption and trauma and how suicide attempts and deaths are high in the community. That would be a huge step for adoptees to feel seen and heard. It is so painful to go through a suicide loss and it would be extremly validating to be understood. Experiencing suicide loss as an adoptee can bring up a lot of similar topics that one may struggle with around adoption such as abandonment, not being worthy or good enough, grief, trauma, loss, feeling alone, and many other things.
For families that have lost an adoptee to suicide, it would also be helpful for the community to understand adoption and trauma and the alarmingly high rates of suicide. Families should also have support services available to them which should include trauma informed and adoption competent mental health providers and support groups. We all need and deserve support dealing with suicide loss.
It would be great to have community members that can support adoptees and family members who are living with suicide loss by listening to them without judgement. Suicide loss for an adoptee is super complicated because we have already experienced so much loss and this is another trauma that can be very triggering. As a suicide loss survivor, I really appreciate anyone who can listen without judgement. It is essential to not ask questions like, why did they die, how did they die, did you know they were depressed, did they leave a suicide note. Again, listening is really the most validating and important thing that people can do for each other. If we do not understand suicide, then we should do our part to educate ourselves by reading, listening to blogs and attending events. We should not ask someone who has just lost someone to suicide to do the emotional labor of educating us. They are grieving and need our support.
We need to start talking about adoptee suicide now. It is not going away and the numbers are alarming. If we create awareness and education in our community, it will lead to a more inclusive, affirming and safe world for adoptees. Too many of us are dying or are dead. If we are feeling safe and comfortable, I encourage people to have these conversations with others when the time arises. Every conversation can be beneficial and is an opportunity to plant seeds, create change, educate, create awareness, talk about prevention and begin to address the issue of adoptee suicide which will lead to saving lives. I would love to live in a world where the suicide statistics for adoptees are greatly reduced and ideally non-existent.