Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Adoption issues, individual narratives & the importance of listening.

In Adoption Week in the UK, I wanted to write something about adoption issues. This is not about adoption itself as a process, but about those who may have been affected by it and still have issues around it.

We don't normally hear much about adoption in the press; and I feel people often don't know how to react or respond to the subject. For those affected by it, this can feel quite alienating. It can feel like nobody understands. I'm not pretending here as a counsellor to be all knowing and understanding. That's the point, how can I or anyone understand unless somebody tells us what it's like for them?  

Both in life generally and in counselling, I've met quite a few people affected by this issue. What strikes me most is that everyone has their own story, their own particular narrative. There is definitely not a 'one size fits all' account.

The circumstances around adoption may often be complex; and adoption has happened for a wide range of reasons. Individuals react differently, even when circumstances appear to be similar. The only way we can gain some understanding is to listen - to hear someone's story.

This could apply to other circumstances, not just adoption, but I do feel that adoption issues can be particularly multi-faceted; and people's responses can be complex and often conflicted. This is normal. Complex situations are likely to produce complex responses and feelings.

If we can listen, if we're interested in what the other person has to say, then we provide an opportunity or space for that person to be heard - whatever their story.

Lin Travis Counselling Services