Adoption and the Soul’s Journey

Adoption and the Soul’s Journey

By Stephen Rowley

From my earliest years my dad and mom advised me I used to be adopted. They advised me they selected me and that I used to be particular. Past that, I knew nothing about the place I got here from or who my authentic dad and mom might need been. As a baby, I by no means thought to ask them what they knew about me earlier than I got here into their lives.

However at age 13, I lastly requested my mom about my adoption. What did she know? Who gave me up for adoption and why? Surprisingly, my questions had been met by rebuke, as she angrily requested again, “Don’t you suppose your father and I really like you adequate?” 

I felt humiliated and vowed I’d by no means converse to her about my adoption, or my beginning dad and mom, once more. Mockingly, my deep disgrace grew to become the impetus to search out out extra by myself. That day I set forth by myself journey to reply one query: Who am I? That quest would final practically a lifetime. 

The story of this investigative journey will be advised in two methods. The primary is the story of making an attempt to uncover the sealed information of my adoption, together with the names and addresses of my beginning dad and mom. This was a detective story, as I scoured the “pre-internet” for clues and adopted roads main nowhere for over 20 years. Within the Seventies and early ‘80s, my search was accomplished largely by typed correspondence and requests for information. Lastly, in my mid-thirties I used to be helped by the brand new director of the adoption company that had positioned me. He despatched me some unsealed paperwork about my beginning mom and her household. 

As quickly as I used to be ready, I visited my organic mom’s hometown in Iowa and located a 1944 highschool yearbook photograph of her within the public library. I then wrote everybody within the county who had the identical final title to ask how I’d discover her. A month later at my residence within the San Francisco Bay Space, a relative despatched me Mother’s married title and deal with, and situated on the East Coast. After in depth correspondence together with her two daughters, I realized that she’d lately been launched from a midway home and was now residing in sponsored housing. Undeterred by the information of her lifelong battle with drug and alcohol abuse, I flew east to satisfy her. Regardless of her dire circumstances, in sharp distinction to my newly minted Ph.D. from Stanford, my long-sought mom and little one reunion modified each of our lives for the higher. She, too, had desperately wished to search out me, however had restricted sources or clues to take action. In the middle of a couple of brief hours, we every discovered one thing of ourselves within the different. Time and distance had not extinguished the deep bond we shared, and her brilliance beneath the veneer of powerful circumstances shone by. After forty years, I had discovered my beginning mom, and she or he had discovered her boy—ultimately.

She died two years after our reunion. Though I by no means misplaced curiosity in discovering the identification of my beginning father, I had no path to comply with. I couldn’t discover a hint of his existence, as (it turned out) early information had misspelled his title. Then, thirty-five years after reuniting with my mother, I acquired an e mail by 23andMe {that a} shut relative on my beginning father’s aspect was making an attempt to achieve me. After a fast alternate of emails, not solely was my father’s identification revealed to me (he was by then deceased), but additionally information of his 4 daughters—my half-sisters! My seek for my beginning mom had required years of detective work; discovering the identification of my beginning father took no effort in any respect, as soon as I’d given up.

Not all adoptees who seek for their beginning dad and mom take pleasure in such joyful or unlikely outcomes. Nor do all that many adoptees get to develop up with loving and well-to-do dad and mom—who inspired my training and supported me unconditionally in good instances and unhealthy. 

Now to the second manner of telling my story, this model from perspective of my interior life as an adoptee. In some ways, it speaks to inside lifetime of all of us who had been separated from our beginning moms in infancy. If I’ve realized something from the years of my search and listening to tales of different adoptees, I’ve discovered that the outer lives of adoptees are uniquely completely different from one another, however our interior lives, seldom acknowledged by others, are strikingly frequent. The trauma of being separated from our beginning moms quickly after beginning proceed to be felt nicely into maturity. 

The problem of recognizing this trauma is that, after all, this highly effective expertise occurred nicely earlier than we had language to course of it. Most adults have scant recollections earlier than the age of 4. Even when we develop up in a loving residence and later uncover our beginning dad and mom, the imprint of such profound abandonment and the absence of important attachment stay within the unconscious. I’m a Jungian psychotherapist now, specializing in trauma of every kind, and I’ve come to know the interior terrain of the psyche nicely sufficient to acknowledge its presence in my very own moods, recollections, and behaviors. And I see and really feel them in different grownup adoptees, particularly amongst my shoppers.

Many adoptees resonate with the picture of the interior orphan—a bit of our psyche that is still stressed, craving to attach, at all times looking out for stability, by no means fairly discovering the peace and wholeness we search. For a lot of adoptees, together with me, the concept of an interior orphan is profoundly actual—buried however fairly alive inside our psyches. 

Not all adoptees share this interior expertise. Jung famously stated throughout a BBC interview, “The factor concerning the unconscious is that it’s unconscious.” On condition that a lot of our early expertise is held within the unconscious, we can’t know for a proven fact that this isn’t so. But once I’ve described my private seek for identification as a soul’s journey, many adoptees strongly resonate with this phrase selection, no matter their religious or non secular orientation. To many, the soul’s journey to find our true identification will not be a overseas idea, however a deeply held drive. 

It has taken the higher a part of a lifetime to see how my adoption and the seek for my beginning dad and mom have led me to ever-deepening insights and private progress. To my shock and enduring gratitude, the wandering orphan inside me has served, finally, as a religious information whose powers are barely perceptible at instances, however persistent. My lengthy seek for my identification has helped me uncover deeper meanings inside myself. I hope this might be true for a lot of of my fellow adoptees, as we embrace our souls’ journeys and the search to reply this important query: Who am I?



Stephen Rowley, PhD, is a psychotherapist working towards on Bainbridge Island, Washington. He beforehand loved a 40-year profession as an elementary college instructor and principal, and a faculty district superintendent in Washington State and California. He has additionally been a professor at three universities, instructing academic administration and organizational idea. His has a BA in English from the College of Wisconsin, a PhD in Administration and Coverage Evaluation from Stanford College’s Graduate Faculty of Training, and an MA in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara. 

Abstract of The Misplaced Coin: A Memoir of Adoption and Future

Stephen Rowley takes us alongside on his lifelong journey for that means and identification. He deeply engages us with the tales of his adoption, his seek for his beginning dad and mom, coming of age as a school radical, changing into a visionary college chief, adopting a son along with his spouse, shedding his profession by the hands of power-hungry college board, and experiencing transcendence in a dream, compliments of the Dalai Lama. All these trials and levels of his evolution set the stage for reinventing himself as a depth psychotherapist and author in later life. 

The Misplaced Coin helps us perceive the lasting impression of separating a mom from her little one, and the unstated restlessness and craving for connection it creates. Stephen Rowley cast a life path that exposed hidden truths that helped him uncover his personal soul’s calling. “It’s my hope,” he writes, “that by my memoir, you could uncover the distinctive capability inside you to heal and even thrive, not regardless of the injuries you carry, however due to them.” 

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