21 [S2 E4] Anne - Adoption Trauma Leaves a Wake

Anne Heffron (author of You Don’t Look Adopted) goes deep into all kinds of things in her story, including failures that she attributes to adoption trauma, things she’s working on to find healing, what “write or die” means to her, and we find a way to laugh a lot. 

Show Notes

Topics We Discussed

  • Anne was born in NYC in 1964; adopted 10 weeks later

  • Knew she was adopted, had two adopted brothers

  • Thought of looking for her birthmother when she dropped out of college for the first time

  • Search Agency in Boston (remembers Susan Darke) and it was a 15 year search

  • Identifying information, a photograph of her birthmother “she looks like me”

  • Birthmother said she had the wrong person, it was her cousin…, she requested that Anne not contact her again

  • Anne contacted one more time and her birthmother relented and said she was indeed her birthmother; Anne has two brothers and a sister

  • Birthmother said she was date-raped, and that somehow meant sense to Anne; birthmother refused contact again

  • Anne later finds out her birthmother has passed away and tries to connect with her siblings

  • She’s been able to briefly meet one brother and her sister

  • Anne found her birthfather in New York (his wife has said no to contact), her Uncle has connected and embraced her though

  • Anne finds herself pushing away, “I think I’m so afraid that I don’t even let myself feel”

  • She feels like she seamlessly fits in with her Uncle’s family; never felt that way with adoptive family

  • Chiropractor (Dr. Mark Lucas) who works with hockey players (adoptees and the Sharks!); applied kinesiology that works with the nervous system

  • Anne has issues with her brain and her stomach

  • After her (adoptive) mom died, Anne felt like she fell apart

  • Anne says she’s gotten in trouble her whole life, and has been waiting to be rescued

  • When Anne’s daughter was born, she was jaundiced and had to go under the lights in a separate bed, when Anne touched her, her daughter stopped crying; “my skin doesn’t feel sealed”

  • Adoption trauma? Getting fired, divorced, financial distress, constant depression, anger, confusion, living like a child in an adult body, dropped out of school a bunch of times, smart but didn’t do well in high school, didn’t make teams because her body would shut down

  • “How can I reprogram my brain to use adoption as an opportunity instead of as a loss?”

  • People who adopt get tax write-offs; Anne has this idea that adoptees should get $1000 in their bank accounts for age 18 and age 50, “I want some prizes for being adopted”

  • Giving herself permission to feel the feelings about adoption opened Anne’s eyes to adoption trauma

  • Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help offered her apartment for Anne to write her book (which she did in 3 months)

  • Dealing with adoption trauma has felt like her life is falling apart: homeless vs. being successful as an author and teacher

  • Half of her brain (the adoption half) wants to die; half of her brain is the happy side

  • Deep desire to be happy and accept herself

  • Finding healing through Dr. Mark Lucas (chiropractor), Katie Peuvrelle (life coach), Lesli Johnson (therapist, EMDR), Dr. Joyce Pavao (therapist), The Adoptee Community

  • What does write or die mean? Writing out our feelings, it doesn’t have to be right or good, it just has to be true. It is essential, take the time to listen to yourself.

  • In school, it’s “what am I supposed to say? How do I get an A?”; instead we need to trust our own voice

  • Julie Maida's blog http://www.nextlifenokids.com/search?q=adoption

  • On using positive affirmations, Anne mentions a book called "How to be a Badass" actually, it’s You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

  • The brain compensates for covering up adoptive feelings; the brain is plastic and we believe there’s hope and healing available for us!

  • Secret Facebook Group for Adoptees On - access via www.adopteeson.com/partner

Recommended Resources


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