About trauma, gratitude and freedom

Lately, there is a lot of talk about trauma in the adoption environment. And it is good, because the subject has been silent for too long.

Trauma is diverse, and everyone perceives it, lives and processes it differently. I’m not speaking from a professional point of view, but intuitively, as a human living among humans. And from an adoptive parent’s point of view, who tries to learn and to understand better. 

My parents raised me intuitively, correcting according to their own lives and experience as children, correcting by faith. They made honest mistakes and their humanity gave me more courage and faith than if they had exercised parental wisdom exclusively from books. 

My generation is overwhelmed by so many techniques and parenting tips, judgment and competition. Let’s refrain from perfection! Take what is good. Adapt. Be vulnerable.

Trauma doesn’t have to be the monster in the closet. We all grow up with some disfunction, but especially adopted children have to process and heal from multiple traumas. Trauma is a wound, more or less obvious. 

We, as adoptive parents, have the privilege and opportunity to recognize the trauma, bandage it, sooth it with ointment and help our children live a full and fruitful life. Wounds more and more healed over time, even if they bear scars. It will hurt. It will bleed sometime, but that doesn’t mean we undo the bandage daily, to look at it or to poke it just to se if it still hurts. At the same time we don’t act as if it never existed either.  

Any physical injury can be taken as an example. With physical injuries it is easier for us to act wisely and with logic.

Today I read the perspective of a woman who has been adopted many years ago as a baby. She shared she was tired of the pressure to show gratitude because she was adopted, or to celebrate adoption. I understand her. 

Yesterday I thought about how inappropriate it would be to have eternal gratitude be expected of me. Gratitude expressed verbal and often, that my husband married me. What a privilege and favor, right?

Indeed, together our lives are beautiful and more fulfilled, more colorful and filled with love. Just the other day I told him how happy I am that he, such a wonderful man, is my husband. The compliment and my gratitude filled him visibly with joy. BUT!  How difficult, ugly and inappropriate it would be for him or others to always hunt for such expressions or attitude from me.

*I wrote this post in Romanian, and Conrad knew nothing of it for a few days, but since a few hundred people read it and said they loved it, I decided to translate it for him. Talking over dinner about this idea of expected gratitude, I reversed it and said: “Imagine people expecting of you to express your eternal gratitude that I accepted to marry you.” Without skipping a beat Conrad said: “Just bring out the box!” […to stand on it and shout my gratitude.] He knows just how to make me laugh out loud.

God has given us freedom. It is precisely in our freedom of conscience, our lives and our choices, that everything we give or receive freely has value and taste. 

The same goes for healing. Healing trauma. My purpose in life is not to heal anyone’s trauma. But to love them fully and freely, wisely, joyfully, patiently. The actual healing part is done by Someone else.