作为跨国收养者应对残疾和罕见疾病

Webinar, Perspective Paper and Resources

On 23 November, ICAV ran a webinar with 6 incredible panelists sharing lived experience as intercountry adoptees with disability and rare medical conditions.

I hope you will take the time to have a listen. Adoptees with disability and medical conditions are often invisible amongst the intercountry adoptee community and our goal was to elevate them and help to raise awareness of the extra complexities they experience.

注意:如果在 Chrome 中观看,请单击“了解更多”按钮观看视频

Webinar Video Timecode

For those who are time poor, I have provided a time code so you can see exactly the parts you wish to hear.

00:00:25 Welcome – Lynelle Long

00:03:51 Acknowledgement of Country – Mallika Macleod

00:05:15 Panelists Introduction

00:05:31 Maddy Ullman

00:07:07 Wes Liu

00:09:32 Farnad Darnell

00:11:08 Emma Pham

00:12:07 Daniel N Price

00:13:19 Mallika Macleod

00:15:19 The changing definition of disability – Farnad Darnell

00:17:58 Reframing how adoptees with disability can be viewed – Mallika Macleod

00:20:39 Processing the shame and brokenness often associated with being adopted and living with disability – Wes Liu

00:23:34 Dealing with people’s reactions and expectations – Maddy Ullman

00:28:44 Sense of belonging and how it has been impacted – Emma Pham

00:30:14 Navigating the health care system – Daniel N Price

00:31:58 What helped to come to terms with living with disability – Mallika Macleod

00:35:58 How disability might add some extra complexities in reunion – Maddy Ullman

00:39:44 The dynamics between adoptive parents and what is ideal – Wes Liu

00:42:48 Preventing the risk of suicide – Daniel N Price

00:44:26 Children being sent overseas via intercountry adoption because of their disability – Farnad Darnell

00:47:09 What people need to consider when starting off adopting a child with disability with “good intentions” – Emma Pham

00:50:13 How the experience of feeling isolated changed over time – Wes Liu

00:53:25 The role of genetics in her conditions – Maddy Ullman

00:56:35 What worked when facing employment challenges – Mallika Macleod

00:59:11 Becoming self sufficient and independent – Emma Pham

01:02:42 Suggestions for adoptive parents – Daniel N Price

01:03:48 Suggestions for adoption professionals to better prepare adoptive parents – Farnad Darnell

01:06:20 How adoptive families can best discuss whether disability was the reason for relinquishment – Farnad Darnell

Summary of Key Messages from the Webinar

点击 这里 for a pdf document outlining the key messages from each panelist and the matching webinar video timecode.

ICAV Perspective Paper

For those who want to dive deeper and explore this topic further, we have also compiled our latest ICAV Perspective Paper which you can read 这里. It is a collation of lived experience perspectives offering a rare view into the lives of a dozen intercountry adoptees who live with disability and rare medical conditions. Together, these resources of the webinar and perspective paper fill a huge gap in knowledge about this subset within the intercountry adoptee community. I hope this instigates the beginning of further discussions and forums designed to help raise awareness and create better supports for and within the community.

I want to raise extra attention that within the in-depth sharing of our perspective paper and the webinar, those who contributed made numerous mentions of the heightened risk of suicide, depression, and isolation. We need to do more to better support our fellow adoptees who are most vulnerable living with disability and medical conditions.

Photography courtesy of Maddy Ullman and Wes Liu

If you have any additional resources that can help build upon what we have started, please contact ICAV or add your comment to this post, so I can continue to grow this list below.

Additional Resources

Rare Disease

#Rareis : Meet Daniel N Price – a rare disease advocate and intercountry adoptee

With Love August (intercountry adoptee August Rocha, a disabled trans man with rare disease)

Diagnostic Odysseys featuring August Roche (disabled trans intercountry adoptee with rare disease)

Once Upon a Gene – Rare disease intercountry adoption with Josh and Monica Poynter (播客)

#Rareis: Nora’s Forever Home – a rare disease domestic adoptee

The Rare Disorder Podcast

罕见的共同点 (关于罕见病患者的纪录片)

罕见病国际

埃诺拉 : 申请者 医学智能一号 帮助诊断罕见病,免费使用

一种罕见病——受罕见病影响并正在向成年期过渡的年轻人

罕见病临床研究网络

全球基因——罕见病的盟友

失能

残疾被收养人 (脸书群)

国际残障人士 (脸书群)

神经分歧的被收养者 (跨国收养者 Jodi Gibson Moore 的 FB 页面)

我们都有力量 – Marusha Rowe(脑瘫倡导者和跨国收养者)

对残疾被收养人的暴力、虐待、忽视和剥削 : ICAV 提交的澳大利亚残疾人皇家委员会

Invisibility(ies) 第五节 (视频,由国内被收养者 Nicole Rademacher 主持,他采访了被收养者艺术家 Anu Annam、Jessica Oler 和 Caleb Yee,探索他们的艺术与残疾的关系)

残疾入门:回收、想象、创造变化 (会议录音,2022 年 11 月)

不固定 – 分享患有慢性疾病和残疾的人的故事

长期有能力 – 对于患有慢性疾病和残疾的求职者

护理过渡 - 儿童神经病学 (帮助您从儿科过渡到成人护理)

看护者系列 (视频,供养父母使用)

给我唱个故事 (为有需要的孩子们准备的故事和歌曲)

分水岭DNA (支持和指导帮助那些人了解他们的 DNA 结果)

Easterseals 残疾电影挑战赛 (改变世界看待和定义残疾的方式)

家庭健康:现代美国的残疾、收养和家庭

被收养者自杀

经过 希尔布兰德韦斯特拉, born in South Korea and adopted to the Netherlands, founder of Adoptee & Foster Care (AFC) Netherlands

ATTENTION TO SUICIDE AMONGST ADOPTEES

Five times higher than average

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.

Original in Dutch

AANDACHT VOOR #ZELFDODING ONDER #GEADOPTEERDEN

Vijf keer hoger dan gemiddeld

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.

资源

ICAV Memorial Page with Suicide Awareness links and other resources on this topic

A Vigil for Christian Hall, 1 Year On

On 30 December 2021, 7-9pm CST we gathered in social media application, Clubhouse to participate in an online vigil, created and led by Vietnamese adoptee Adam Chau. The event was organised in conjunction with Christian Hall’s family who created the physical in-person vigils at various cities around the USA. The purpose of the vigils was to honour Christian’s life, raise awareness about and bring the impacted communities together in solidarity to seek Justice for Christian Hall. You can read their latest articles 这里这里.

A number of adoptee guests were invited to share our thoughts for the online vigil: Kev Minh Allen (Vietnamese American adoptee), 莱内尔朗 (Vietnamese Australian adoptee), 郑凯拉 (Chinese American adoptee), Lee Herrick (Korean American adoptee).

I share with you what I spoke about in honour of Christian Hall.

My name is Lynelle Long, I’m the founder of Intercountry Adoptee Voices (ICAV). I’d like to thank you Adam Chau for organising this online event today in honour of Christian. Thankyou Nicole, Christian’s cousin who is on our call, for allowing us to join in with this vigil. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss! It’s a privilege to be able to speak. I am a person with lived experience of intercountry adoption and like Christian Hall, I am of Chinese descent … except I was born in Vietnam and adopted to Australia, whereas he was born in China and adopted to the USA.

The common thread that unites me with Christian Hall is that we both experienced abandonment as an infant. No matter what age we are, for an adoptee, loss of our first family as abandonment/relinquishment is a raw and painfully traumatic experience. It stays with us throughout life in the form of bodily sensations and gets easily triggered. When this happens, these sensations flood our body as fear, panic, anxiety.

Worse still is that when our abandonment occurs as an infant, we have not developed a language as a way to understand our experience. We are simply left with pre-verbal feelings (bodily sensations). It took me over 20 years until I read the first book, The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier which changed my life in terms of coming to understand how abandonment and adoption had impacted me. That book was the first to help give words to the experience I felt up until then, as an entirely somatic experience, as uncomfortable sensations in my body, that I hadn’t understood, which I’d spent my life running away from every time they re-emerged.

The other common thread that unites me with Christian Hall is that we both experienced suicidal ideation and attempts. For him, it tragically meant the end of his life by police officers who did not understand his traumas. For me, after numerous failed attempts and ending up in ER, it meant a long process of awakening to the trauma I had lived. 20+ years later, I have spent most of this time helping to awaken our society to what adoption is really about for us, the adopted person.

Being adopted never leaves us. We might try to escape and pretend that it has no impact but deep down to our core, our abandonment wires almost every aspect of our being – most importantly, how we connect or not to others around us and to ourselves. At its core, intercountry adoptees experience loss of identity, race and culture. Unless we have supports around us that understand and help us to overcome the trauma of abandonment early on, we stumble in the dark, completely unaware of how our abandonment impacts us. Many adoptees call it “being in the fog” until we become awakened. Today, decades after Nancy Verrier first wrote her amazing book, we now have many, many books written by adoptees who are THE experts of our own lived experience. These books are a written testament to the complexities we live through adoption and how this impact us.

In the past 2 months, I have worked with others to speak out about the impacts of abandonment and adoption trauma and the direct connection to risk of suicide. I acknowledge that Christian’s family do not relate his tragic death to suicide, but I suspect his feelings of abandonment were triggered as key events led to him being on the bridge that day. I hope that more adoptive families will educate themselves about the complexities we live as people who get disconnected from our origins via intercountry adoption. There are almost 2 million of us worldwide and we are speaking out en-masse to help the world understand it is not a rainbows and unicorns experience. We require lifelong supports from professionals who are trauma and adoption trained. In America alone, there are hundreds of thousands of intercountry adoptees – America remains the biggest receiving country in the world. Too many are struggling emotionally every day, yet in the USA, there is still no free national counselling service for intercountry adoptees and their families. There is also NO national post adoption support centre in the USA funded to help intercountry adoptees grow into adulthood and beyond. Isn’t it a huge shortcoming that the largest importer of children in the world has no lifelong supports fully funded, equitable, freely accessible – how can America expect positive outcomes for children who are amongst the most vulnerable if we don’t fund what we know they need?

I never knew Christian personally. I only discovered him through his death. I wish I had known him. From the many intercountry adoptees I connect to, I know we gain so much emotionally from being connected to others just like us. Being connected to our peers helps reduce those feelings of isolation, helps us understand we aren’t the only ones to experience life this way, helps connect us to sources of support and validation that we know has worked. I wish Christian had met our community. I’ll never know if it would have made the difference so that he wasn’t there that day on that bridge. As an adoptee, I suspect Christian most likely wanted help that day, help to ease his hurting soul, not death. 

Also, let’s take a moment to remember his biological family in China. Whether they ever truly had a choice in his relinquishment, we’ll probably never know but from my knowledge in this field, it’s most likely not. Christian’s adoption was likely the result of the 1-Child Policy era in China where thousands of families were forced to relinquish their children, many of them ending up intercountry adopted like Christian. Please take a moment to consider that through adoption, his biological family don’t even have the right to know that he has passed away. 

The travesty in adoption is that trauma is experienced by all in the triad (the adoptee, the adoptive family, the biological family) yet the traumas continue to go largely unrecognised and unsupported in both our adoptive and birth countries. We must do better to prevent the unnecessary separation of families, and where adoption is needed, ensure that families undertake adoption education, learning about its complexities in full and having free equitable access for life to the professional supports needed.

My huge thanks to his extended and immediate family for being brave and opening themselves up thru all this trauma and allow these vigils where his life and death can be honoured for the greater good. I honour the pain and loss they’ve lived and thank them immensely for allowing our intercountry adoptee community to join in with them in support.

Thank you.

If you would like to support Christian’s family and their push for justice, please sign the petition 这里.

If you would like to better understand the complexities involved in intercountry adoption as experienced by adoptees, our 视频资源 is a great place to start. Wouldn’t it be amazing to create a resource like this to help educate first responders to better understand the mental health crises that adoptees experience.

圣诞节和新年的被收养者和自杀

圣诞节和新年是我们通常全家聚在一起庆祝和重新联系的时候。对于一些被收养者来说,这是一年中特别艰难的时期,因为并非我们所有人都与我们的家庭(出生或收养)有着密切的联系。通常一年中的这个时候可能是最艰难的,因为它会带来与任何人都没有紧密联系的痛苦感觉。它可以提醒我们,我们如何不“融入”,我们如何永远处于空间之间,或者我们被抚养或生育我们的人了解得多么少。

Dan R Moen(菲律宾收养者)为过去的孩子悲伤

收养在很大程度上取决于丧失——丧失我们的出身,丧失对我们来自谁和为什么的认识,丧失我们出生于其中的文化和传统,丧失我们的大家庭。收养并不总能取代我们失去的一切。收养在很大程度上也基于创伤——我们几代人所经历的创伤往往导致我们出于某种原因被抛弃。或者它可能是我们国家经历的创伤,战争、饥荒、自然灾害等造成的结果。我们被收养者在我们身上携带这些损失和创伤,我们常常不知道我们携带它,直到我们深入了解我们的起源并重新连接到我们最原始的一些被遗弃和悲伤的感觉。

在这个圣诞节和新年期间,我希望我们能留意我们的收养伙伴,对他们来说,这可能是一年中特别令人激动的时刻。去年在欧洲,收养者团队在 亚足联 至少知道 6名收养人 来自他们的直系亲属,他们在圣诞节和新年之间自杀。今年,全球谁知道我们的数字会是多少——因为我们也经历了 COVID-19 的又一个艰难的一年,这进一步加剧了许多人的孤立感,无论是否被收养。

今年我刚刚参加完两项重大活动,以提高人们对被收养与经历自杀感受或行为之间联系的认识。第一个是我们公开分享生活经验的网络研讨会。您可以在这里查看:

第二个是继我们第一个之后的一个 Twitter 活动,我们中的更多人分享了我们的生活经历和想法,您可以在此处阅读摘要 尾波.

非常感谢主办单位 联合幸存者 和跨国养母 Maureen McCauley 在 日光故事,谁组织了这 2 个非常强大和急需的活动。

我想分享我对问题 4 的回答,该问题问我们,对于正在挣扎的其他被收养者,我会说些什么?我的回应是:

你并不孤单!我们中的许多人都在那个领域,我知道找到一条出路是多么困难,但这是可能的。请联系您的同伴支持空间——这样的空间太多了。如果您需要帮助找到它们,ICAV 有一个列表 跨国领养组织 世界各地。

也请不要害怕尝试寻找心理健康专家。得到受过训练以了解我们的生活经历的人的支持,可以使世界变得不同。如果您需要帮助找到它们,ICAV 有一个全球列表 收养后支持 作为一个很好的起点。

收养始于创伤和我们生命中的大部分时间,我们花时间打开包装并理解我们的生活,我们是谁,我们如何来到这里。但是,一旦我们得到支持并致力于克服那些痛苦的部分,我们的生活就会改变,我们就能找到治愈和联系。

它从我们自己开始,找到与我们自己的联系——我们生而为人,不一定是我们被收养为人。

我们作为被收养人的生活不必永远被我们的开始所控制,但重要的是不要否认和忽视痛苦,而是要为你内心受伤的孩子提供一个可以听到她的痛苦并开始治愈的空间。

我想对那些难以理解被收养者如何/为什么会产生自杀倾向的收养家庭和专业人士传达的信息,我强烈建议您观看我们的 视频系列 其中涵盖了我观察到的普遍主题,这些主题反映在过去 20 多年来许多被收养者与我分享的故事中。非常重要的是,被收养者感到被倾听、被认可,并有空间从我们的心中分享,而无需判断或期望。

我为 ICAV 创建并仍然持有的部分愿景在每年的这个时候仍然非常真实:

现有的跨国收养者不会被孤立或忽视,而是在整个收养过程中得到社区、政府、组织和家庭的支持.

揭开被收养人自杀的污名化的神秘面纱

By 莉娜瓦内加斯, MSW and adopted from Colombia to the USA.

It is shameful that suicide is so highly stigmatized by society. Religion and the law have contributed to the stigmazitization of  suicide. The law has perpetuated their stances by creating laws that make suicide illegal. There are 26 countries where suicide is currently illegal including Kenya, Bahamas and Jordan. It is completely wrong to criminalize, shame and stigmatize people who are struggling and suffering. Religion and the law are not the only institutions or systems to do this but I use them as an example to demonstrate how much impact they have on society.  All of these thoughts are absorbed by society which doesn’t inspire or create empathy, compassion or understanding for people who are suffering.

The shame and stigmatization around suicide is evident in the language that we use to discuss suicide. When we say “committed suicide” we are likening it to a crime. It’s truly not a crime. We do not say a person “committed” cancer, a heart attack, a stroke, or Covid, We do say someone “committed” murder, a robbery, an assault, or rape. Those are crimes.. The crime around suicide is that someone died because they were struggling so much internally, mentally, and emotionally. Let’s also stop saying they “killed themself.” What killed that person was a mental health struggles and they died by suicide. It is essential that we create a paradigm shift where we lead with empathy, compassion and understanding. 

When people use this terminology, they are stigmatizing suicide. A person who died by suicide has friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances and loved ones. When they hear this choice of words it hurts them—and they are already grappling with the stigmatization of a suicide death. You may know them, but they will probably not talk to you about their loss after they hear you use such hurtful and insensitive language.  

Western society stigmatizes and shames those who struggle with mental health issues and mental illness. There are a myriad of expressions and things that use suicide in the name/title that are offensive and cruel to those who have (or are) struggling with suicidal thought/ideations, have attempted suicide, and for those of us who have lost a loved one to suicide. People will use the expression quite freely “I am going to kill myself” and “I will just kill myself” and “Go kill yourself.” These are daggers for those who have been impacted by suicide. These comments are completely tone deaf, insensitive and cruel, and reflect the general lack of understanding and empathy around suicide.

We need to make the discussion around adoptee suicide an ongoing and regular conversation. It is not enough for us to talk about it sporadically. This conversation needs to be had three hundred and sixty five days a year. Adoptees are struggling and suffering twenty four hours, seven days a week and three hundred and sixty five days a year. The statistic that adoptees are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide is from research published in 2013 by the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

We need current research done on adoptees all over the world. I am writing from the United States so the ideal organizations to fund and conduct this are the American foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology. These studies would help inform prevention, awareness and education. Until society realizes the mental health crisis that adoptees are facing, we will continue to be struggling in silence. We are an invisible and oppressed community literally fighting for our lives. We desperately need support and suicide prevention. 

I wanted to pay tribute and honor the two adoptees that have died this month. They were both transracial intercountry adoptees. It’s is key to highlight that there is a link between this and mental health struggles, racism and suicide. Many of us experience microaggressions and racism due to us not being white. These experiences impact our mental health . Adoptive parents have no idea what this is like as they do not experience this incidents and many prefer not to see our race so that does nothing to help us. Some adoptive parents perpetuate racism and microagressions which take a toll on our mental health. 

亚历杭德罗·戈布赖特 died June 2. He was adopted from Guatemala to the United States. He is described from a tribute I read as “a great singer, poet and incredible friend.”

赛德·维辛 died June 4. He was adopted from Ethiopia to Italy. He played at the youth academies of AC Milan and Benevento. He explained in a letter before his suicide death how he was suffering from constant racial abuse and treatment. It is essential to point out that his adopted father went out of his way to point out after Seid’s death that racism did not play a role in his death. This is a clear example of an adoptive parent ignoring, not listening and not wanting to deal with the struggles Seid was dealing with.

I am extremely sad and angry every time I write about adoptee suicides. These deaths impact the entire adoptee community. Alejandro and Seid are a part of all of us. There are roughly five to seven million adoptees in the world and it’s time that we begin to talk about adoptee suicide. 

Read Lina’s other articles on Adoptee Suicide, 第1部分 & 第2部分.

Other Resources on Adoptee Suicide

处理被收养人自杀
ICAVs Memorial Page
被收养者纪念日
这是欧洲收养者的黑色周
纪念赛义德·维辛

应对领养自杀带来的损失

经过 莉娜瓦内加斯 adopted from Colombia to the USA, MSW.

Artwork by Adriana Alvarez

I have lost two people in my life to suicide, the father of my children who was also my ex-husband and my mom. The father of my children was adopted and my mom was impacted by adoption because she lost me to adoption. Both of them sadly fit the statistics. Adoptees are four times more likely to attempt suicide. I would argue that moms (first mothers, original mothers, natural moms) also have high suicide attempt rates.

I am a transracial and intercountry adoptee who was adopted from Bogota, Colombia and have lived the majority of my life in Michigan in the United States. Suicide loss is a death like no other. It is not like a car accident, heart attack, or cancer where there is a clear explanation of how someone died. People who die by suicide are struggling immensely. There is no closure with this death. Suicide is also highly stigmatised, people do not want to talk about it, and many judge the death. Suicide loss for us as adoptees is further compounded and amplified with all of the loss and grief that we have already experienced and it can trigger many of the issues we suffer with related to adoption. 

If you are reading this and have lost someone to suicide, I want you to know that you are not alone and that I am so sorry you are experiencing this horrendously painful loss. I also want you to know that it is not your fault. There is nothing you could have done or should have done. The person who died was in so much pain. You may also be reading this and have been shocked by the person’s death because you had no idea that they were suffering and maybe they seemed happy and like everything was okay. It is still not your fault. Please do not blame yourself or hold onto any guilt. It is extremely painful to know or learn that our loved one was suffering so much.

One thing that I have learned is that some days are harder than others. It  has helped me to know that I can break up my days and I can take it moment to moment, minute to minute or hour to hour or one day at a time as the famous Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) slogan says. The first year for me was a complete blur. It seemed to drag on forever and I was in a hurry to put it all behind me because it was so painful and difficult. Honestly, I cannot remember much because I was in so much shock. Please be patient, kind and gentle with yourself if you have experienced a suicide loss. Suicide loss is such a painful and life changing loss. The first year of loss was really hard because everything becomes a first without them. 

Some of the hardest days for me are, the person’s birthday, anniversary of their death and the holidays. I have learned to sit with my emotions and feel them. I give myself permission to cry and mourn if that is what needs to happen.  If something was too hard, then I created a new tradition or decided not to do it. Then there are times where I just break down because something triggered me and I am back to feeling my grief. Grief is a journey, it ebbs and it flows. It is not linear and there is no expiration date. Please do not let anyone tell you differently or push you to get over it or heal in a certain amount of time. We all grieve differently and grief is not a one size fits all thing experience. 

Artwork by Nicholas Down

It has been a real journey for me to figure out ways to cope and begin to heal. Suicide loss has really changed the way that I have looked at life. I now see that life is short and fleeting and that each day is not promised. I have chosen to use the loss of my mother as momentum to help me live my life in honor of her. I strive to turn my pain into purpose, a path, and power. There have been many ways that I have found to help me cope which I want to share with you.

For me, sitting with my feelings and truly feeling them has been so helpful. Crying, bawling and literally losing my breath sobbing and having that deep soul cry have helped my grieve and mourn.  Therapy has also been instrumental for me. It is really helpful to have a safe and non judgemental space that is just for me.  It is important to find a therapist who works solely with trauma and ideally someone who is adoption competent. Many therapists honestly have not studied adoption so it is hard for them to truly understand us.

I am an avid reader and for me reading and researching gave me answers and helped me gain understanding.  I threw myself into reading and researching suicide. For me it was important to understand suicide so that I could make sense of things. I read a lot from other suicide loss survivors which was really essential because I could relate to what they were saying and I could learn how they coped and healed. The other group that was really important to read and listen to was, suicide attempt survivors. It helped me to be able to gain a deeper understanding of suicide and mental health struggles. It also gave me insight into how I can help people who are suffering from suicidal ideations.

 I joined a grief support group and a suicide survivor loss support group.  Both of these groups allowed me to connect with other people who were experiencing the same things as me and I did not need to explain myself.  I made friends, I cried, I laughed but most of all I realized that I was not alone and I felt seen, heard and validated. I also attend an adoption group which has been helpful because many adoptees are also dealing with suicide loss. It has been helpful to talk with other adoptees about suicide loss. You can look for a group online and accessibility should be easier now that most groups are being done virtually. 

Attending events such as walks that raise money for suicide prevention or attending International Suicide Survivor Loss Day which is in November have also very helpful.  Again, I was able to realise that I am not not alone and I felt like part of a bigger piece. It is inspiring to see money being raised to help prevent suicide, fund research, and also cathartic. 

Movement such as running, biking, walking, and yoga have also helped me cope because they are an outlet where I can release and channel my emotions. Meditation has been great because it has allowed me to slow down and be present in my body. Journaling and writing have been my creative outlet for processing and coping with suicide loss. Making sure that I am eating a balanced diet and getting sufficient sleep has also been really beneficial. The self care piece is really important and it will look different for everyone. Please do something for yourself that you enjoy doing. 

Social media is also a great way to connect with other survivors of suicide loss. There are many groups and organizations that one can join. There are also many blogs, podcasts and articles on mental health issues that discuss suicide which are great resources. 

It has been almost 7 years since my first suicide loss and just over 2 from the death of my mom so it has been a decent amount of time and not a long period of time. I am at a place where I want to share my story whether it be to one on one, to a group, or through writing. This is not something I could have done early on as it was so painful and I was still processing everything. I find now that sharing my story has really helped me cope and be able to help others.

I have made an effort to  incorporate the people that have been lost into my everyday life. I have purchased ornaments in honour of them for my Christmas tree, framed pictures of them for my house, I purchase flowers regularly in honour of my mom, I light candles, and make their favourite food on holidays or any other time. I am thinking about getting a tattoo in honour of my mom so that she is always symbolically there with me. It has been soothing for me to incorporate them into my daily life. Some other ideas I have thought of are, planting a tree or plant for the person, you can set a place for them at the table, you can buy or create some kind of art that can be in honour of them, you could buy or make a scarf or something to wear that symbolises them. 

I want you to remember that the suicide of your loved one is not your fault. You are not alone in losing someone to suicide.

Please take care of yourself and remember there are resources to help you cope. Be kind and gentle with yourself.

Other Resources on Adoptee Suicide

处理被收养人自杀
ICAVs Memorial Page
被收养者纪念日
这是欧洲收养者的黑色周

这是欧洲收养者的黑色周

经过 Soorien Zeldenrust & Dong-Mi Engels 谁代表写这篇文章 被收养者和寄养者辅导 (AFC) 队,荷兰.

图片:查理麦基西

与今天站在一起,与生活站在一起,生存与放弃。你累了,你不想再感觉了。你希望找到一条远离痛苦和悲伤的道路。

今天,6 起跨国收养者的自杀报告都发生在元旦前后,现在我们的收养者和寄养辅导 (AFC) 同事已经收到了这些报告。一只来自印度,两只来自韩国,三只都被荷兰收养了;一只来自印度,一只来自智利,都被比利时领养了;一只来自智利,被德国收养。

让无法忍受的变得可以忍受

当您与最大的承诺分离时,您的身体就破碎了:您的母亲和您的出身。一旦进入一个新家庭和另一个国家,您将不得不依附于此。不仅来自环境,更来自自己的生存。作为一个孩子,你只能通过调整与自己站在一起。当“问题”稍后出现时,它会被轻描淡写,或者您的周围环境会尝试“修复它”。毕竟,您已经调整得如此整齐(阅读:毁灭性的)。

随着年龄的增长,难以忘怀的感觉和与周围环境的不同仍然存在于内心深处,并慢慢浮出水面。很快就会达到你不能再忽视(反复出现的)人际关系问题、工作场所问题或健康问题的地步。你应该在哪里寻找它,你应该和谁一起?有没有人能够真正理解你正在经历的事情和你的感受?通常不在您附近,也不是来自普通专业人士。然而你想要结束剧烈的痛苦、未处理的悲伤和(双重)悲伤。你希望结束对家或地方的渴望,结束对 hiraeth 的渴望,一种深深的乡愁。

我们中的一些人达到了他们不想再感受所有这些并且无法再处理对抗的地步。他们也对养父母感到内疚,因为他们无法承受“幸福”的压力。他们结束了。

通过与志同道合的人分享这些看起来绝望的想法和最大的恐惧,你可以突破这一点,你会觉得你不再孤单。它确实变得更好了。您可以应对这种痛苦并学会拥抱它,因为您会理解它,而不必再独自忍受它。

不幸的是,我们作为亚足联教练无法阻止去年元旦发生的事情。被收养的人看不到出路。当您准备好伸出援手并寻求支持时,我们所能做的就是在您身边。通过给予认可和分享,我们想让你知道你并不孤单,有一个地方可以学习和做你自己,带着你所有的问题、悲伤、恐惧和想法。让自己知道并被听到。我们提供倾听的耳朵、正确的善后护理和必要的外界意识。

联系我们 亚足联 或任何 收养专业人士 如果您需要支持,可以在世界各地找到。

您可以通过分享我们的帖子来帮助提高人们对被收养者自杀风险增加的认识。另见 ICAV 跨国收养纪念馆 页。

在世界范围内,跨国收养者的自杀率是普通非收养者的 4-5 倍。这种情况尤其发生在被收养人找不到他们的第一任父母和亲戚并且他们在节日期间非常脆弱的时候。

对于数以千计不再在我们中间的被收养者,我们分享 巴赫d小调第二乐章双重音乐会 以他们的名义。

亚足联创始人希尔布兰德韦斯特拉

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