Adoption support group forming
State Senator Paula Benoit
State Senator Paula Benoit of Phippsburg, an adoptee, and Martha Hulbert of Woolwich, a birth parent, know how the power of shared experience can change lives.� They also understand that the varied parties to adoption rarely have an opportunity to hear one another's perspectives.� When those occasions do arise, the poignancy of information shared can be eye-opening and humbling.
"If you haven't been there, you can't know the feeling.� There's an emptiness, like a big hole, that won't go away.� I love my mum and dad, and have a good life.� So why do I feel like this?"
It is not uncommon to hear adoptees use such imagery when telling family and friends about confusing feelings they've known since childhood.
Conversations with other adoptees often help ease feelings of isolation and difference that are rarely understood by those who are not adopted.
"If you've never adopted a child, you can't know the sheer joy she's brought to our lives.� Though, it pains me that our love seems unable to penetrate some elusive part of herself she keeps hidden and protected."
It is not uncommon for adoptive parents to feel excluded from the depth and meaning of their child's relationship to a secret world.� Talking with other adoptive parents helps to normalize and understand the origins of behaviors seen in children raised without genetic history and connection.
If you've never lost a child to adoption, you can't know how often I think of him; wondering if he's held and loved.� It's kind of like a quiet desperation. I've learned these feelings can frighten people, so I don't speak about them.
Birth parents, too, feel isolated within their private truth.� They are often relieved to find others who are willing to speak openly of the cultural secrecy and shame that has so colored their lives.
In the spirit of expanding an understanding of adoption, a new support group is forming in the mid-coast area. Adoption: Everything You Wanted To Know, But Were Afraid To Ask invites adult adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, grandparents, siblings,�spouses, and partners to join the group's first monthly meeting on Sunday, February 11, from 1 to 3 p.m., at Mae�s Cafe and Bakery in Bath.
Participants are invited to explore with one another the actual lived experience of adoption as it is understood by all sides. It is anticipated that the group's discussion will generate healthful strategies, both personal and in the community, to address the secrecy and shame that has defined Maine's adoption law and practice for the past 50 years.
For more information, contact Martha W. Hulbert at 443-9876.