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 speak specifically for them in my writing, because their stories are theirs to tell–or not. Because of my experiences, and because of hearing about the suicides (or attempts) of adoptees, I have felt compelled to speak out. I hope other voices, especially those of adoptees themselves, will come forward as well and be welcomed, even as we struggle together.
This is a clarion call to adoption agencies and organizations to make suicide awareness and prevention–especially as it relates to adoptees–a fundamental part of their training and adoption-related services. I mean no disrespect to birth/first mothers, fathers, and family members, as they also have genuine struggles. My focus here, however, was on adoptees. I have heard just this week about 2 12-year-olds, boys, Ethiopian adoptees, in different states, who committed suicide in August. I heard recently from an adoptee of the Baby Scoop Era, now in her 50’s, who has struggled with suicidal thoughts for decades.
My thanks to Forefront for publishing my article.
May we all find healing and hope, and reasons to live.