When a Birth Parent loses a child to adoption, whether it be by choice or not, and whether there is ongoing contact with the child or not, he/she experiences trauma making the grieving process necessary for good mental, emotional, and physical health. Further, there is a physical connection between Birth Mother & child that when severed creates a wounding for both and the wound a biological mother feels is similar to experiencing the death of a child.
Extended Birth Family members may experience their own grief as well, as they too have lost a family member. Sadly, our society does not typically acknowledge a Birth Family's grief (this is called "disenfranchised grief") which may complicate the already difficult healing process and can impact many areas of a person's future. The layers run deep and the process truly lasts a lifetime as the impact changes over time with the developmental lifespan of all involved.
In Closed Adoptions, some Birth Parents have been completely cut off from information about their child and have been left to wonder for years how their child is and whether or not they are alive. Some don't begin the grieving process until they have been contacted for a possible reunion, which only compounds the already overwhelming feelings that are involved.
In Open Adoptions, Birth Families can play a very minimal role in the child's life or can be very involved in their upbringing. The level of contact is typically agreed upon before adoption is finalized but can, and often does, evolve over time to look very different from what was first agreed upon. Openness is adoption is certainly better for the child's identity development and sense of self, however, the relationships between Birth Families and Adoptive Families are not always easy to navigate and tend to get more difficult as the child ages.
Many Birth Parents in both open and closed adoptions feel isolated in their experience of loss. It can be completely transformative to meet others who share the similar experience of losing a child to adoption, making group work vital to the healing process. In the monthly Birth Mother groups and annual retreats we have had the privilege to co-facilitate, We have witnessed time and time again the power of women connecting at the point of their deepest grief. There's nothing like looking another in the eye who knows exactly what your greatest pain is like. These shared experiences of the past along with their collective healing have made all the difference in the lives of these remarkable individuals. It is an honor to walk alongside them each and every time. And if this too is your story, you don't know what you're missing! You are NOT alone.
Get Help & Get Savvy!
If you are in the Seattle-Tacoma area, available in-person services are listed below.
Just click on the colored buttons above each category for more info.
If you live outside of Seattle or outside Washington state,
some services may still be available to you by phone or online.
Please contact me for more details.
Individual Counseling & Online Coaching
Workshops, Retreats, & Public Speaking
Birth Mother Support Group
Adoption Reunion Preparation & Facilitation