The 5 stages of grief – my adoptee centric version

Kubler-Ross has this hypothesis on the 5 stages of grieving you go through after experiencing a life changing event or loss. You can read a wiki page about it here and you know, if we were in person talking about this, i’d clear my throat, and say this bit a little louder and make sure you heard: “Kübler-Ross noted that these stages are not meant to be a complete list of all possible emotions that could be felt, and, they can occur in any order. Her hypothesis holds that not everyone who experiences a life-threatening/-altering event feels all five of the responses, as reactions to personal losses of any kind are as unique as the person experiencing them.”

So yes I know we go through things differently, we’re human. We’re are not meant to all be the same or else…we’d all be the same lol. But for those who are feeling it, I want you to know you have a right to all of the feelings you’re feeling. Even those of you who are fine and feeling no aftermath of being adopted, you’re just reading for fun, I’m glad you’re fine and if ever you are not fine with what happened, I’m here then too, and you totally have a right to feel that way as well. Like Kubler-Ross says, its a process, we’re all at different stages and all healing differently. What is important imo is that we’re healing, and that we have others who have been there and can offer their shoulders and spines to help you lean on if needed. So here are her stages that she first wrote about in 1969 and that have become pretty accepted, at least in my home 😛

( I edited the following snippet of stages to apply more to loss for the adoptee instead of person facing an illness / death as was written in 1969 in death and dying. She later after more experience with other grievances, applied these stages to all types of grief faced from a tragic experience like the loss of EVERYTHING an infant knows when losing his/her mother. Let alone our heritage, families, identities, and legalities…the original article can be found by clicking the link below 😛

The stages, popularly known by the acronym DABDA, include:

1. Denial — “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.”
Denial can be conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, or the reality of the situation. Denial is a defense mechanism and some people can become locked in this stage.

2. Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Anger can manifest itself in different ways. People can be angry with themselves, or with others, and especially those who are close to them. It is important to remain detached and nonjudgmental when dealing with a person experiencing anger from grief.

3. Bargaining — “I’ll do anything for some answers.( records? reunion? papers?”; “I will give my life savings if…”
“The personality theory in bargaining emphasizes that the type of personalities determine the bargaining process and its outcome.” from wiki

4. Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “Why go on?”
It is an important time for grieving that must be processed. Depression could be referred to as the dress rehearsal for the ‘aftermath’. It is a kind of acceptance with emotional attachment. It’s natural to feel sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty when going through this stage. Feeling those emotions shows that the person has begun to accept the situation.

5. Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t change the loss, I may as well… (get involved with activism and change this industry).”
In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with their loss. This stage varies according to the person’s situation. We all have our own stages and work through them however our needs demand.

So yes, some people are going to call bullshit on these stages. You can stomp your feet all you want but I went through them, I feel like I’m finally at acceptance too and I’m feeling pretty good about that. Its funny I see myself in all of the stages and a great deal of them were here on this blog and forums oh so long ago. So MAYBE these don’t apply to you, but they apply to me, and I bet there’s a few more of you that could apply these to you too. Reading them gave me ease and relief actually that look, its not some disorder my amother can label me with, its just a grieving process and if you keep making me try and ignore it, you’re only going to fight my healing process and prolong it. GO WITH IT.

Smile upon the depression because look… you’re growing ❤ The thought of this doesn't seem so far fetched to me anymore. Look how beautiful that adoptee anger is. It makes me want to hug it and love it and spin it all around the room because YAY you've finally crossed over and out of the fog of denial and you're growing and healing. HOW CAN THAT NOT BE BEAUTIFUL? I mean I feel so sorry for the next adoptee that I come across who is depressed…I might just give them a million happy faces and tell them I'm so thrilled they're on their way of processing their grief and healing…can you imagine? the reaction lmao. Seriously tho, these stages have become so special to me. I think healing is so beautiful. It reminds me that we really are human, that we really can survive almost ANYTHING, and maybe find a way to unite with the other unfortunate people going through it and help out one another to make the process a little bit easier along the way. There are so many fucking cool adoptees. Not only adoptees will fit into this…donor children / adults too… I wonder if you're out there in full force yet, what have I missed in these years of my absence online hmmm…

When I think of other tragic events, I think of death / dying ( the original blueprint of this theory,) rape, infertility, parents against drunk drivers, ugh parenting in general loll… all of which have major support groups nation and world wide. Crisis numbers you can call just to talk to others who will sponsor you / support you through your struggling times. We adoptees, need more of these communities in our lives where people can't and won't silence your healing process and you're allowed to feel whatever part of the process you are in. Not a place that tells us we should be grateful it happened lol or one that won't even admit or recognize our loss's. Man that's what AAAFC was for me…I wonder if they're still around o.o

We deserve them.

The next person I see silencing an adoptee is so fucked. lmao.

8 responses to “The 5 stages of grief – my adoptee centric version

  1. Once again a very good article. I wonder what you deleted. You are quite on the ball with this stuff – could be a calling!.

    I have read this a few times trying to analyse these stages. I would say I have been through all of these, some unknowingly until I read and reflected for a while, think they are missing the 6th stage – “Healing”.

    I still have anger only because my mother told me she cared for me for 4 weeks, what friggin adoption institution would allow that.
    I knew her smell, I knew her sound, I knew her emotions, I knew the taste of her milk even before being born – then allow 4 weeks outside the womb bonding even more – IDIOTS!!!

    Shows how oblivious to reality some institutions are.

    Not sure what they mean “we all have our own stages”. These are the 5 basic ones but certain individuals may have more?

    Your advice is good – if you are in one of these stages then basically you are on the way – put some positive thoughts into it.

    Yes, healing is beautiful, I am not sure if 100% healed is achievable though, physically – most certainly, psychologically hmm.

    • ha! now that I’ve read your entire comment I thank you! IDK many people visiting my blog but when I used to blog and be a part of the adoptee community I actually played a hand in getting a lot of things moving in regards to activism etc. Some of my friends then ran with it in an amazing way when I got burned out, but I can happily say I was a part of the Adoptee Rights Demonstration’s first ever protest in New Orleans. Don’t want to say that I’ve been around the block…but there was a time when “I knew my shit!” lol. So thank you for the compliment.

      Onto missing the healing… you make such a good point because I feel like only after reading this recently and thinking I’ve been at all stages and have come to an acceptance of my reality, have I started to feel a peace with it all, or you could say a healing. I don’t want to say I’m happy with it because I’m not, but there’s a peace or you could say “acceptance.” And here I am really trying to just heal and everything is coming into different perspectives its so weird. Like being happy with adoptees depression, at first I thought I was making pain for happiness but no, I don’t think I’m doing that it really is beautiful because its part of the process and a step towards healing.

      Maybe there is no focus on the after math of the steps because the original steps were made for people who were dying. It makes sense you know? She was working with people who had terminal illness’s and were dying and she found these stages out of the grieving process. Only later in years did she extend the stages for other people who were grieving from tragic events.

      Like you I too don’t think we can ever bee 100% healed, we have scars that will last our lifetimes, that I really don’t think anyone who hasn’t been there can truly understand.

  2. I do not know if you have seen this but it is a MUST see for any adoptee starting to recognize issues – best education I have had in many months of searching.

    • Okay he is really on spot for not being an adoptee loll… I found myself having to close my jaw a few times because he put everything into words so clearly and PERFECT in so many different instances. Its really nice to hear the validation from him ❤ ty for sharing that

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