Yesterday I attended an adoption panel hosted by my agency. It was wonderful to hear the experiences of a birth mother and 3 adoptees.
The story of the birth mother moved me to tears. It was so beautifully told. She called her son, "our son" meaning both hers and the adoptive parents. That was so meaningful to me.
The adoptees covered three age groups; teenager, twenty something, and thirty something. There was a recurrent theme around identity, especially around racial identity. Another theme was around the concept of loss. It was interesting that their might be a gender difference with relation to the issue of loss, or maybe just a lack of interest in discussing the topic among boys. That will be an interesting issue to follow. The advice from the panel was to acknowledge the feelings expressed by the child, and for children experiencing difficulty verbalizing the feelings to give them a creative way to express themselves. And then leave it alone. They is an overwhelming need by parents, especially adoptive parents, to want to talk about things when the child has no need to talk, or actually to listen to a parent. We just need to listen, acknowledge, and ask what the child needs.
All four speakers were eloquent. I learned a lot and was reassured that such panels will be available to me as I continue on this adoption journey.