How do I cope with feeling like the odd man out?
Struggling post adoption, even 20 years later, is normal.
I am struggling with my emotions and searching for help as to what to do after meeting my daughter and her adoptive parents. So far all of our visits have been wonderful, but after this last one, something changed in me. I have felt the need to step back because my heart is sad and full at the same time. My daughter is in her 20s, and we met for the first time just one year ago. We have visited 6 times along with her parents. After the last visit, my heart hurt because I have such sorrow and grief. I couldn’t have asked for better parents, but I just all of a sudden feel like the odd man out. I need help with my emotions and feelings and guidance on what to do next! Any suggestions or info would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, B.H.
I’m so happy to hear that you were able to reunite with your daughter and that the visits have gone so well! What a gift.
This grief you are feeling now is really common and totally normal. Struggling post adoption, even 20 or 50 years later, is really normal. I have had similar feelings about my son (who is now 30) and over the years I was really struggling with my emotions. Support is crucial when this happens. Fortunately, there are a few avenues for support that I can share with you.
Grief counseling with an expert
Over the years I have spoken with a variety of grief counselors. When I was struggling post adoption with my emotions, the strongest of these were grief and loss. Consider working with a therapist who specializes in grief counseling. Even better, talk with a grief counselor who works specifically with birth mothers. I happen to know a wonderful counselor who does Skype (HIPAA compliant) visits, so she can meet with women all over the country, and you don’t have to leave your home. Everyone I have sent to her has given rave reviews. She is very kind and very easy to talk to. Click here for her website. Her name is Linda Sanicola.
On your feet foundation
I am a board member of the On Your Feet Foundation of Northern California. If you live in California or placed your child with a California family, OYFF offers a variety of services. However, if you are not in California, contact them anyway as they know of some resources around the country. If you qualify for their services, you can apply for a counseling grant to cover the cost of counseling with someone like Dr. Sanicola. She was really helpful to me when I was struggling with my emotions.
Birth mom buds
If you’re out of state, or even if you’re in California, consider reaching out to Birth Mom Buds, an online forum for birth mothers to connect with each other. This is a really nice peer support group. They also offer retreats.
Finally, there is another support group I can share with you but I don’t know as much about their work. This is the Concerned United Birth Parents group.
Connect with a birth mother who’s worked with me
Many of the women who have worked with me on their adoptions expressed interest in offering support to birth mothers who need it. You are not alone! Read some of the stories shared by these women on my site (click here to read their stories and mine). Send me an email if you’d like to connect with one of them in particular.
Most important, remember that you aren’t alone and that finding the right support could be really helpful when struggling with emotions. I hope this article was helpful, too. I wish you all the best as you continue to explore building a relationship with your daughter. Please stay in touch and let me know how you’re doing!