“Understanding Why Adoptees Are At Higher Risk For Suicide”


It’s National Suicide Prevention Week 2015 here in the US and this is difficult reading for me. Why?

Because I unknowingly put my daughter at a four-fold risk of suicide. What mother in their right mind would do that???? How is THAT supposed to be a blessing, dear LDS church? How is an increased risk for suicide “about love“?

This adoption truth would have been a game changer for me. I would have never relinquished her for adoption. I was promised she would grow up whole and happy because she had the magic elixir of Mormondom – two parents who were sealed in the temple. It was supposed to be the secret sauce that protected her from depression and low self-esteem, among many other things.

But I was lied to.

And she suffered.

So yes, this is difficult, but necessary reading.

Light of Day Stories

Talking about suicide is hard and uncomfortable. Talking about it in connection with adoption–which often has much joy but is more complex than people realize–is challenging. And we need to talk, and keep sharing information and resources.

I am pleased to share with you my article “Understanding Why Adoptees Are At Higher Risk For Suicide,” published today by Forefront, a University of Washington collaboration of the UW School of Social Work, UW Communication, UW School of Nursing, and UW College of Education.

My three main points in the article are these:

Adoption is a trauma.

Adoptees often don’t know their medical histories, which may include depression and other illnesses.

Adoptees don’t want to upset their adoptive parents with concerns about depression or what could be seen as ingratitude.

I know people I love more than words can say who have considered. and attempted, suicide. I do not presume to…

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4 thoughts on ““Understanding Why Adoptees Are At Higher Risk For Suicide”

  1. I didn’t know about the increased risk of suicide either, but while pregnant I expressed my worries that he would feel abandoned or struggle with being adopted. I was assured by the agency ladies that being adopted by a married couple would outweigh those risks, and he was more at risk in a poor single parent household. Really, anything was better than my child being raised by me, it seemed like. We did the best we could at the time, even if it wasn’t good enough. Hugs Melynda.

  2. So true it is said,
    like one who takes away a garment on a cold day or like vinegar poured on [baking] soda is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. Proverbs 25:20 (NIV)

    The comments of, “Can’t you just be happy!!!!!” “Can’t you find anything good to say about adoption!?”, or the favorite, everybody say it now, “can’t you just get over it!”. Then there is the “it’s not THAT bad”, or “other people have things a lot worse!” or ignoring or changing the subject, completely dismissing any sadness, tears, pain, loss or sorrow in adoption. Those words are blows to the mind, spirit and soul.’

    So many do not want to hear how much this can hurt…. and the refusal or inability to hear or make it SAFE to talk about it and have compassion can send those that are hurting, teetering to the brink of that dark abyss. It’s a very painful lonely place. It’s not just those outside adoption, others, that need to hear and understand, it’s those that use those words, the “i love you”. If this is love, I don’t want it. It is excruciatingly painful and it feels like you would rather I was dead when you dismiss my pain because sometimes it is a big part of me. Please!! those that “love” us, hear us. Help us heal.

    Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Rom. 12:15

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