To date all of us are surrounded by uncharted territory, learning to navigate and forage new paths, create a new lifestyle, then the one we were previously used to. Whether we considered ourselves happy, fulfilled, living a life of joy or even the life we wanted to be living, we were familiar with it, it was comfortable, routine, and few of us like change. COVID-19 has bought us almost nothing but change, fear and grief. This can in some instances parallel some situations in the adoption process for both the birth mother and/or the adoptive family. The Kübler-Ross model of grief teaches us that the 5 stages of grief entail the following:
The following are some examples where adoption situations can cause grief;
For a Birth Mother:
- When a birth mother feels like her family and friends do not support her adoption choice.
- When a birth mother struggles with her adoption choice after placing her baby for adoption.
- When a birth mother feels like the adoptive family she chose is not following through with their agreed upon Post Adoption Communication Agreement.
For an Adoptive Family:
- When a birth mother does not choose them to be the adoptive family for her baby.
- When a birth mother changes her mind causing a disruption in an adoption match between her and an adoptive family.
- When an adoptive family feels like a birth mother is not following through with their agreed upon Post Adoption Communication Agreement.
With the five stages of grief; not every one goes through each of the stages in the same order and these stages can be repeated, cycled through, and can be triggered again, even after going through all of these stages.
As we experience grief brought on by an unfortunate occurrence in an adoption journey; it is important to be reminded that all of us want, need and desire to reach the acceptance stage, anytime one is faced with grief. Remember that grieving hurts and people can and do grieve differently. Acceptance is just the beginning of the healing process. Feelings of loss or anxiety may never completely and totally go away. Acceptance can be displayed by taking ownership themselves and their actions. Beginning to really live again, doing things that have brought joy in the past and recognizing the positive results are steps that are taken. An increase in happiness and fulfillment will be displayed as healing continues. It is important to remember that are there coping strategies to overcome or combat difficult emotions one day at time. Reaching the acceptance stage in the cycle of grief does not mean that you feel good or okay about loss. Acceptance is about accepting the fact that life has changed.
Whether we are grieving over the Coronavirus Pandemic or an unfortunate adoption experience, grief is still grief. The stages of grief are vital to learning to live again and find the joy in life.
Find out more about the Donna K. Evans Foundation at www.dkefoundation.com.