Every year on the birthdays of my adopted children, I pray for their birth moms. This didn’t happen right from the start of our adoptions, but just a few years ago.
I remember one morning on my daughter’s birthday, thinking about her birth mom and praying that God would bless her. I was thinking about what I knew about the circumstances of relinquishing her baby. I tried to put myself in her shoes and what it must have been like for her. Having a preemie and knowing you aren’t going to be able to take care of her with the physical health issues that come with that. The sacrifice she made in giving up her child, hoping that someone would love her baby.
…you live in a country where the economy is not stable, and poverty is common. You are trying to make the right choices, but you are struggling to support yourself and life keeps throwing you curve balls. Food is scarce, alcohol is prevalent, it is a struggle to provide for yourself, and now you find yourself pregnant for the 5th time in 4 years. The only way you know how to cope is to drown out the struggles with alcohol. So, you drink. Maybe you don’t know what alcohol can do to your baby and maybe you do but the struggle is too much. You don’t think you have resources to help. So, you drink.
Your baby is born, and you try your best to take care of him, but the alcohol has consumed your life. Your child is now detoxing and struggling with the effects of alcohol during pregnancy, but you don’t understand that. Then your child gets ill and you leave him at the hospital because you don’t know what to do and can’t take care of yourself or your baby.
This is just one possible story. The stories are all unique and individual, and yet similar.
As adoptive moms, it can be so easy to forget that the birth moms are real and have real feelings, hurts, and struggles. It is easy to judge and be angry because we are dealing with the trauma and the invisible disabilities that come from poor choices.
What does trauma look like in the adoptive home?
Our new children are coming to us with trauma, even if it is only the trauma of being separated from their birth mom. Many times, our children have experienced more trauma besides the separation. We are so excited to start our family that we forget to put ourselves in the place of the child and the birth mom. We forget to empathize with the other people involved in the adoption. Our joy comes from someone else’s sorrow.
100% of adoptive children experience emotional trauma. 80% of adopted children experience the effects of alcohol in the womb causing invisible disabilities.
Raising a child who has experienced trauma and who may also have invisible disabilities caused by alcohol, can create more trauma in the new family. It causes new degrees of frustration and anger. We go into adoption with the plans to create our family, give a child a home, and to give the child lots of love and all the things they could ever dream of. Our expectations are usually extremely high. When the honeymoon wears off, we discover that our expectations are not being met and this creates resentment and anger.
Healing from trauma takes time for our children and for us AND it starts with forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a choice
Forgiveness is a choice. We can choose to forgive or to hold a grudge. With this comes grace.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13
When God asks us to do something, He does not say it will be easy, but He does promise that He will be with us.
When we can choose to forgive birth mom for her choices, it allows us to love her child more. We can unconsciously transfer the bitterness we have about the birth mom and her choices to her child, our child. It is subtle and may not be obvious. The day in and day out struggles we encounter with our child can create resentment, towards birth mom and ultimately towards God. But, God is the Great Physician and will heal these feelings and this trauma if we allow Him to. We must make the choice to forgive and to love.
Love birth mom for the sacrifice she made if giving up her child. Love her child unconditionally even on the days where you are being asked to deal with situations that are beyond extreme.
We must also, choose to forgive our child. Forgive them for the unmet expectations, the challenges that their background brings to our lives, and for their inability to control their emotions and their words as they try to navigate in this new situation called the adoptive home. Love them unconditionally.
Forgiving and loving is a choice we make each minute of the day. Forgiving brings healing to our emotions and allows us to move forward in the life God has for us.
Use essential oils to assist in the forgiving process
The amygdala is the center for emotions in the limbic system. It stores the events that happen to us in fragments and links our ability to learn emotionally to our senses. This is why, smells will trigger memories more than seeing an image, tasting a food, or even listening to music.
Essential oils are one of God’s gifts to us. They can be powerful in supporting the body while healing from emotions.
Oils that support forgiveness:
Geranium is the Oil of Love and Trust. It addresses the emotions of abandonment, loss, unforgiveness, and grief. It assists the heart in allowing love to flow more freely. Geranium can be applied topically or use aromatically.
Try these Geranium diffuser blends.
Forgive is a blend that designed to help facilitate forgiveness. It promotes feelings of contentment, relief, and patience, while counteracting the negative emotions of anger and guilt. Forgive can be used topically and aromatically.
While essential oils can assist in releasing negative emotions, it may be helpful to do a bit of gratitude journaling. Write about the emotions that are being released, mentally let go of those emotions, and then journal about the things you are thankful for in that situation. Look for the blessings and the good in each situation and allow yourself to feel the positive emotions that bring healing. Allow God to use these tools to bring emotional healing.
Ps. 30:2 LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.
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