The Need to Grieve

This guilt and shame, the losses and rejection are all consistent with adoption. As with any other type of loss, the losses experienced in adoption need to be grieved. Yet, they are difficult to mourn when society views adoption as an event to be celebrated as a problem-solving, happy occasion.

How does one grieve an unborn child? There are no ways to mark the loss of parenting nor are there commemorations to families that never existed. Grief is often expressed in future times of loss or transitions.

Learning How to Deal with It All

Children who are adopted may find it difficult to get in touch with the grief attached to the adoption and express it. If they have been rescued from abuse, they are supposed to be happy, not feeling sorrow for being taken from their situation.

Often adults circumvent the child's feelings of pain, diverting the expression and making it seem as though it is wrong for the child to feel grief. Most children do not understand the depth of the loss and what it means to them, and unless they get help to recognize and work through it, it may later manifest in aggressive behaviors or acting out through substance abuse, depression, or eating disorders.

There are five stages to grief:

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

By working through these stages with a counselor or professional, each member of the adoption process can access their emotions, mourn their loss, and move forward into healthier emotional growth.


Table of Contents
1. Handling Grief
2. Tips for Adoption
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