5 TIPS on ADOPTION and MENTAL HEALTH | Kati Morton, Therapist | Kati Morton


Hey everybody. Today we’re going to talk about
mental health and adoption. Many of you asked for this, it’s one of those videos
that was voted on my UNow live stream. If you haven’t hopped over there,
I’ll put the link in the description. You should definitely check them out. But I’m going to offer five tips on ways to better manage some of the things that can come out of being adopted. In preparing for this video I
thought I would read research articles, And figure out what the relation was
with adoption to mental health. And there’s a lot of information about that. But what was more interesting and more helpful to me, Was actually the blog posts and the articles
written by those who were adopted. And what they wished those in their life
either knew or had done. So today, I’m going to offer five of those things. And hopefully if you yourself have been adopted
this helps you better process through, Maybe some of the things that you struggled with, And better understand your situation. And the first is explaining what adoption
means and how it happened. And this is something that a lot of people wish, Their parents had started to do
when they were really really young. When they first adopted them talking about it. What adoption itself means, why the parents
sought to adopt them in the process they went through. And did they come and get them, did they pick them up at the hospital, Were they waiting for them to be born. I know this can sound very trivial to parents and
family out there who are adopting children. But it’s really important that they have a story to
tell and they understand how it happens, And this roles right into number two and that is making sense of their story This is really a fascinating thing for me to read about because children if you’ve ever been around children. They love to tell you a story, Even if it partially doesn’t make sense and they jump around a lot. If you’ve seen a child after
them being having a day where, They’re at Disneyland or
they’ve been out all day at the park. They want to tell you like, I, so then I saw the ducks and
there were so many ducks, And they’re so excited. They want to tell you the story. And they’ll tell that story over and over and over. The cool thing about this is it’s actually part
of them processing through their day. Children learn and process through storytelling. And so part of what can heal those who’ve
been adopted is making sense of their story. And that’s why it kind of rolls off of number one because they encourage parents to tell the adoption story. To even put it in a book and read it to their child
so that they understand the whole story. They can tell it to themselves, Process through all that may
have been going on in their head. Or the memories they have
or don’t have and they worry about. It can help them put it into a cohesive story. So they can tell it to themselves
and help process through it. Isn’t that cool, I thought that was really cool. The third thing I want to talk about is, Shame, self-worth and identity. And for those of us who have been adopted this
usually presents itself as anger or defiance. This is when children lash out. They don’t want to do what you tell them to do. The interesting thing is that when we’re infants, Our self-worth and confidence are built by simply having someone come when we cry and having our needs met. When we need them without even be able to speak, A parent comes and changes our diaper or feeds us, Or comes and gets us out of our crib
when we’ve woke in the morning. All of those, kind of what we call simple tasks, Are really important for us growing our own
self-worth and our confidence. And often when adoption is part of
the story there may have been a period of time, When those needs weren’t met right of way. Because we were waiting for our
adoptive parents to get there, Or our mother who our birth mother,
didn’t attend to us very well. And so that is kind of why a lot of us who’ve been adopted struggle with Self-worth and confidence And I’ll talk more about
shame in a future video with Alexa, So stay tuned for that.
Make sure you’re subscribed. But in adults the way that we can help heal this, So if we’ve been adopted and
now we find ourselves as an adult, Struggling with our self-worth and our identity. We can look into our heritage and learn more about it, And ask our adoptive parents where we’re
from and learning about our story. And then maybe looking into it more so that we have a better sense of who we are and where we come from. And all of these tips and tools and things we want
to talk about are also closely linked, And that’s why that one rolls right into number four, Which is being curious and having
your curiosity about your birth parents, Where they’re from, what happened, be okay to talk about and okay to explore. And there are kind of two components
to this that are important to note. The first is, if you are a parent
who’s wanting to adopt a child, Making sure that you are okay with them being curious. Children are going to want to know where their birth parents came from where they are originally from, And it’s okay to be curious, it takes nothing away
from you as the adoptive parents. And I think understanding that and even expressing that and communicating that to your child, Is so incredibly helpful. And then for those of us who have been adopted looking into support groups and knowing other adoptees. Because having other people
who’ve been in similar situations, Or at the same place we are in their
process of it can be so incredibly healing. We know in the Kinon community, How helpful it is to be reminded on the daily
that nothing’s weird about us. And that we’re not alone in our experience. And the fifth and final thing I want to talk about, Is putting real words to an infant’s experience. Now this was one of the most fascinating
things that I’ve read about recently. And so thank you to all of you who request
this video because I love learning more. And what I learned is that ages zero to three, Only, and I’m going to read my notes to make sure that I don’t forget anything, The sympathetic nervous system is developed enough to be regulated. What that means is that
our fight flight and freeze response, Is the only thing that we can really feel and experience and regulate as an infant zero to three, right. And so when we have those experiences that fight flight or freeze we feel completely disregulated. We have no ability to self-sooth, or to calm down because all we can feel is fight flight or freeze. And that’s why Moms, caretakers, whoever is going to come to get us when we cry are so vitally important. Because we’re not able to self-sooth. We need other people to help make that happen. And so if we had traumatic events in
our infancy zero to three, right, Where we had that fight flight or freeze response, And we felt traumatized and
no one came to help us soothe ourselves. And we were left in this
dysregulated state for a long period of time, We’re going to have to be able
to process through that in adulthood. And so part of that and part of process in it is putting explicit language to that experience, Helping your child or you as an adult helping
yourself verbalize what you went through. This is so important because adoption is hard. For those of us who have been adopted, Yes it can be great to be placed
with a loving and wonderful family, And maybe taken out of an
unhealthy or unsafe environment. But we still have a lot to talk about and
process through and put words to. And that’s why this fifth one,
I think is the most important. Being able to put language to such a traumatic experience, an be so incredibly healing. And so I would encourage
any of you if you are adopted yourself, Or if you’re looking to adopt,
please share this video. I feel there’s so many misunderstandings and miscommunications out there about adoption. And at the end of the day it’s really important
that we work together, That we communicate about it, That we help our children tell their story, That we help ourselves put language to what
we maybe have been through. Because one of the things that kept being
reiterated no matter what blog I was reading, Or article or even research that I was going through. Is that adoption is hard and the
more we talk about it and the more, We put language to the experience the better it’ll
be for those who’ve been adopted. I hope you found this video helpful. There were so many requests
for this on my UNow live stream. So make sure you give us a
thumbs up if you liked the video. And leave in the comments
anything else that maybe I forgot, Or something that was helpful for you. Because as always we’re a community working together right, towards a healthy mind healthy body. And if you’re new to my channel click here to subscribe. And if you’d like to watch more content kind of based around this topic click over here. And I will see you next time, Bye!

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