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Giving Up

Anne Bentley | Wednesday, February 02, 2011 | Links to this post

Adoptive parents give up a lot during the journey to their child. And while most people look at adoption as a gift to the child (of a family, stability, a future) we mustn't forget that the children--all adopted children--give up parts of themselves as they blend into their new families, cultures and lives. Let's do a little exercise, which I found on Shaun Groves's website. Number your paper from one to ten and follow along...

First, write down the name of the most significant person in your life.

1. Jim

Next, write down your most important role.

2. Mom

Now, write down your greatest support group. This might be friends, family, church--wherever you turn and/or whoever you lean on when you need to.

3. Emily

Write down your heritage.

4. Caucasian American

Now, write down the word 'Knowledge.' This represents what you know and what helps you get through your everyday tasks.

5. Knowledge

Write down your favorite place.

6. Home

Write down 'Cultural Information.' This represents everything you know about your culture.

7. Cultural Information

Now write down 'Resources.' This represents everything you own that has a value--material possessions.

8. Resources

Now, write down 'Values.' This represents your moral and ethical beliefs, faith, concepts of right and wrong, priorities, etc.

9. Values

Finally, write down the activity that bring you the most joy.

10. Watching my kids learn and grow.

Quite a list, right? This is the core of your being--everything from your cultural identity to your emotional pillars. Although it is hard to boil anyone's essence down to a list of 10 things, this list is a good start.

Now, which four things on the list could you live without? Put a line through them.

1. Jim
2. Mom
3. Emily
4. Caucasian American
5. Knowledge
6. Home
7. Cultural Information
8. Resources
9. Values
10. Watching my kids learn and grow.


Very well. Now, mark out two more.

1. Jim
2. Mom
3. Emily
4. Caucasian American
5. Knowledge
6. Home
7. Cultural Information
8. Resources
9. Values
10. Watching my kids learn and grow.


Great! Now two more. Two more things that make up who you are have to be marked off.

Can you even do it? As I pondered my own list I found it almost impossible to mark off six items; forget about going on with an additional two.

Now imagine this from an adopted child's perspective. What bit of grief and anxiety I felt as I tried to imagine my life without the things that truly define me are exponentially compounded for an adopted child. Whether adopted as an infant and looking for answers as they grow, or adopted as an older child and fully knowledgeable about what they have given up, it is important for all adoptive parents to realize the feelings of loss and mourning that their children can experience.

1 response to "Giving Up"

  1. Very cool post.

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