Last night (October 26, 2021), United Suicide Survivors International hosted a powerful webinar featuring four adult adoptees. Suicide is a tough subject, and the connection with adoption can seem surprising and troubling. I hope you will watch the video, and listen to the wisdom of Amanda Transue-Woolston, Kevin Barhydt, Jessenia Arias, and Lynelle Long. These four amazing people include authors, founders of adoptee-led and adoptee-focused organizations, and selfless contributors to improving the lives of adoptees.All have experienced suicidal ideation. As an adoptive parent, I am grateful to and in awe of them.
They do not seek attention or congratulations for their work. At the webinar, they shared their stories with grace, and they offered information, resources, and hope.
There were several important points. One that struck me was that, for many, 14 years of age was an especially pivotal time. For those of you who are raising teens, be aware that this age, with its hormones and developmental awakenings, may be particularly vulnerable. I am not a therapist, and of course you should consult with professionals as needed. I was though struck by this.
Another takeaway might be that while therapy can be valuable and vital to adoptees, if a child/teen is in therapy, the adoptive parents should be going too. Dropping off the teen at therapy is important: going to therapy yourself, as the parent, is also. I’d add that adoptive parents could also attend therapy even when their child is an adult.
If you are looking for therapists who are also adoptees, here is an excellent list, curated by Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker.
I was heartened to see how many adopted adults attended, as well as adoptive parents and agency folks. The Chat was full of comments and questions. The whole webinar had a compelling energy, of both vulnerability and strength.
We skimmed only the surface in this hour, and there are many subjects we plan to dive into in the future. If you have ideas about topics, please feel free to share them here.
Take good care of yourself. Exercise self-care. Learn how to ask and talk about suicide, as one means of preventing suicide. I’ll be posting more resources soon. Help and information are available here and here, as starting points.
Be sure to follow the work of United Suicide Survivors International. They are the first suicide prevention platform I am aware of that has presented a webinar connected with adoption, and I appreciate that very much. Stay tuned for more.
Here is the video of the webinar via Facebook: https://fb.watch/8VjxPAQWyG/