Adoption Shapes Who I Am, But It Doesn’t Define Who I Am

“Who was it who said, ‘We cannot look at the sun all the time, we cannot face death all the time’? These patients can consider the possibility of their own death for a while but then have to put this consideration away in order to pursue life” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1969) in On Death and Dying (p. 34).

Although Elisabeth Kubler-Ross based her five stages of grief on terminally ill patients, her model can be used for all forms of grief, including the grief adoptees feel over their birthparents and sometimes their birth culture. After switching a few words around in the quotation above, I felt more at peace about my adoption situation:

We cannot look at the sun all the time, we cannot face adoption all the time. Adoptees can consider the possibilities of their own adoption for a while but then have to put these considerations away in order to pursue life.

Recently, I am glad to be able to think more about how adoption affects me, but sometimes it’s too intense. Sometimes I need to let it all go. Eventually it will come back to me, and I’ll have to deal with it again, but hopefully the next time, I’ll be stronger.

 My adoption is important to think about, but there’s more—so much more—to life. Adoption shapes who I am, but it doesn’t define who I am. 

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