Innocence Lost

I wasn’t going to blog for this week’s ‘The Adoption Social’ theme ‘Loss’.  Debates in the media around loss and adoption have got rather clunky lately and are dominated by the impact of loss of birth family (for what greater loss is there than blood ties).  Adoption is coming to be equated with loss and I’m not sure where that leaves me and mine.  Frankly I’ve been feeling rather grumpy about it.

The loss that challenges our (adoptive) family every single day hasn’t been caused by the act of adoption itself but by the loss of innocence.  As a child, to know the fragility of life, to know invisibility, to have given up on being cared for and on being someone else’s number one consideration is the ultimate loss and it’s a game changer. In William Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ seventeenth century adult pre-occupations and beliefs stamp all over childhood.  Open any newspaper on any day for evidence of our century’s version of the loss of innocence.

No, for our family at least modern-day adoption isn’t the loss.  Adoption, if it done properly, is the repair: the careful and sometimes desperate process of reclaiming and nurturing what’s left of childhood.  It isn’t blind to blood and history (it can’t be) and it isn’t sacrificing childhood on the alter of blood and history either.


3 thoughts on “Innocence Lost

  1. Fiona Ferguson

    Well said Sally , great post although Loss is a theme in Adoption the slow healing process does help rebuild and hopefully break patterns that can be carried on to the next generation .

  2. Suddenly Mummy

    Thank you. I’m sometimes so tired of hearing negative things about adoption that I could scream. I refuse to be apologetic or ashamed that I adopted my son. His life had been/was going to be horrific. Now it will be much less so. I’m ok with that. Can’t change the past, not going to let it dominate our future.

  3. Michelle

    I love this post! I am almost done with your book and decided to try to see if you had written anything else on line, and I opened up to this. Reading your book is the first time I’ve felt like someone else understands me, how I’m trying to parent our foster (and hopefully, to-adopt) children, and the crazy thoughts I have (from eating sweets at night when the kids go to bed to being so hurt that no one has thrown a party for us like they would have if we’d had a baby).

    I was resistant to adoption because of how much loss and grief is involved…both for the children and for us. I’m a mental health therapist on a child/adolescent psychiatric inpatient unit, so I know trauma, I’ve seen families with adopted children who have reactive attachment disorder. The fact that adoption is born out of a soil of loss and grief, rather than hope and birth, really bothered me. I knew that adoption provided an opportunity for healing (for the children and for the parents, as we have grieved the loss of the experience of pregnancy, birth, and early years). What you wrote in this post really resonated with me and reminded me to remember the healing, the repair, rather than focus so much on the loss.

    Thank you for sharing your story. A million times, thank you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: