Dr. Heidi Horsley talks with Laurie Goble-VanDiest, the mother of three adopted children. Dr. Horsley adopted one of her children as well. Goble-VanDiest explains that she decided to adopt after she couldn’t conceive. She went the route of foster to adoption and was initially just looking for one child. A three-year-old girl was in her home for six months when it was discovered that the girl’s brothers were also becoming adoptable. The girl had already bonded with the family, and it was important that the siblings stayed together.
The instant family happened quickly. Adopted children are born from our hearts. Goble-VanDiest works in the grief and loss field and sees some similarities between adoption and loss. The loss of the adopted child’s parents is profound. Even when a biological parent has issues that prevent them from parenting, there’s real love between parent and child. An adopted child experiences a loss that’s just as strong as any other.
Loss of a Known Life
In this instance, the siblings were all separated at first. Put into separate foster homes, it exacerbated the loss. The three-year-old grieved hard and horribly when separated from her whole family. There’s a process of healing and adjusting that happens with any loss. Getting used to a different life takes patience. A huge transition is tough for anyone, especially children. Loving them isn’t enough, the adopted parent needs to allow the child time to grieve.
It’s advised that adopted parents be patient with the process and not take things personally. Also, be patient with yourself. You’re also going through big changes, and you may have losses of your own in this scenario. Losing what you think your life will be is a trauma, but it’s one you can work through with your new family.