In the last year or so I’ve learnt more about what ‘coming out of the fog means’ in relation to adoption. After reading around about it a little, I think I understand that it’s what happens when an adopted person fully comes to terms with their adoption. I found that in general terms, being in the fog means being in a haze, pre-occupied, not paying attention. When you’re in a literal fog, your view is obscured so that you can’t think or see clearly. I’ve seen quite a few adopted people using this term, and being adopted myself, I was intrigued to find out a bit more.
I am adopted, and have grown up always knowing that. Despite everything I’ve learnt about adoption, I am very secure in my feelings about my own adoption. I am secure in my identity. I know that for me, adoption was the best option for me. I personally do not feel adversely affected by adoption. Although the losses that adoption bring were and are still present for me, I do not feel traumatised by them. More recently I have thought deeply about if this is right, I’ve thought and thought again. I’ve wondered if there is something wrong with me. From what I’ve been reading, it appears I should be more affected, and yet I’m not. It’s taken time for me to come to terms with the fact that this is ok. I can feel how I want. I don’t need to feel bad or wrong for my feelings. They are valid, and what’s right for me. No one else needs to change that.
However, I think that learning about ‘the fog’ has helped me to think about adoption more widely, and to think about it from my daughter’s possible point of view. It has helped me be prepared for what she might feel. I hope it’s helped me become a better adoptive parent to her. It has helped me understand more about the fact that everyone’s adoption experience is different. Despite being adopted myself, it wasn’t until I started listening to other adopted people that I realised that not everyone has had such a positive experience as me. Or, even if they did have a positive experience, they can still have mixed views of adoption. They can still have huge losses. They can still have lifelong trauma. They can still advocate against adoption.
So, do I feel like I’m out of the fog? If I’m honest, I’m not sure I really like the term. I think it’s an unhelpful label. I’ve seen it used by some adopted people to put down and exclude others who are adopted, but who may not hold the same views or opinions on adoption as they do. I’ve been on a journey of self searching and questioning, but at the end of the day it hasn’t changed my views on my own adoption. I don’t feel I was ever in the fog, so never really needed or want to come out of it. For now anyway. It might change in the future, it might not. Either is fine.
In terms of my understanding of the varied long term impact of adoption, I guess I could say I’ve come out of the fog. Almost like the veil across my eyes has been lifted, and I can now see clearly what I couldn’t before. From what others have taught me, I understand much more now about the trauma and loss that can come from adoption. I feel a bit ashamed to admit that I never really ‘got it’ before, which maybe I should have being adopted myself. It’s made me think much more about what can be done to support families so that they don’t get the stage where their children might need to be adopted. It’s highlighted to me the importance of life story work, and maintaining links to first/birth families. I would strongly suggest that adoptive parents, and those working in adoption services seek out and listen to adopted people, and not just the ‘happy’ ones. I hope that adoption prep now focuses more on these things. If parents go into adoption with awareness of these, then hopefully they’ll be more open to supporting their children through the ups and downs of adopted life.
In conclusion. I want to say thank you to those who have bravely spoken out about their experiences of adoption, it has certainly helped me. I’ve learnt to be confident in my own experiences and views. I feel more prepared to support my daughter, but also to be ok with the fact that she might feel differently to me. Or, she might feel the same, and that’s absolutely ok too. All views matter, and all views are valid.