#56 – Oh, to trust again –

March 5, 2013 at 8:26 am | Posted in adoption issues, Adoptive parenting do's, Identity issues, Raising the adopted child | Leave a comment
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I’m working on my fourth book which is based upon interviews of adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents.  These interviews were conducted a few years ago, and I’m now listening to the tapes and rereading notes I took during the interviews.

I’m taken with the life lessons that are emerging from these stories.  At the time of the interviews we were concerned with factual information and purposely not drawing any conclusions or making any judgments.  But, now that some time has passed, in revisiting these interviews, I am impressed with how people live their lives.  It’s so much easier to see how ideas and actions people take affect their lives – it seems easier than analyzing our own.

I just finished writing up the story of a birth mother who at the time of her pregnancy was 17 years old.  The birth father left the scene and she felt her parents didn’t support her emotionally.  So, she felt betrayed by Businesspeoplethe three people closest to her at the time.  This is a very logical conclusion when you hear her facts.  She gave her baby up for adoption and proceeded with her life.  Leaving her home town was her first move.  She said she felt betrayed by the birth father and her parents, and because of this couldn’t trust people, certainly not any man who said he wanted to marry her.  It would be 28 years before she would marry.  She was 45 at the time.

You can play the “what if” game here easily.  What if she hadn’t gotten pregnant and had finished school, married in her 20’s, had a family, etc. etc.  Her life would have been drastically different.  Actually, she still could have had the natural progression of marriage and a family if only she hadn’t lost her trust in people.

Statistics tell us that adoptees marry less than people born biologically into their families, and when they do marry, their divorce rate is higher than the average.  When interviewed, it is common for them to say it was a trust factor.  They doubted the love of their spouse or potential spouse solely because they were an adoptee.  A trust factor gone awry.

As adoptive parents it is so crucial that we instill in our children a strong trust in people and in life itself.  We need to teach them there will be bumps along the way, but that shouldn’t stop us from proceeding into life with a positive attitude.  We may be betrayed or disappointed by some people close to us, but that doesn’t mean everyone we are involved with is untrustworthy.

There is no judgment here.  It is logical to understand how an adoptee can be wary of people when he feels his birth mother and birth father couldn’t be counted on to keep him and find a way to care for him.  This is as basic as humanity gets. Everyone can see the logic here.  There was a reason why he wasn’t kept.  An adoptee may or may not understand or agree with the reason, but at the time there was logic behind the decision.

This distrustful feeling was not known years ago, but now that adult adoptees are talking to the world and can explain it to us, we as parents need to be aware of what we can do to help our children trust. When we make a promise, we need to follow through.  When we say we are going to do something, we need to do it.  I heard a psychologist say in a talk that you should never be late in picking up an adopted child because your not showing up can trigger his subconscious feeling of being abandoned.  Parents need to be the example of how trustworthy the world is.  Even though our children may be hurt from time to time, our goal should be to make them strong enough to live a full, loving, trusting existence.

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