Today we’re featuring the essay “Grief and Gifts” by Ashley. This piece is the author’s reflection on the nuanced feelings that come with adoption, and what that has meant for her. Whether or not you were adopted, you’ll connect with some part of this essay. Enjoy!
Today it truly hit me, adoption is the best gift I have. It’s not a gift that has a perfect bow and I can’t wait to open, but it is a gift. I met with my friend Maggie today. Our conversation opened my mind up to many realizations about grief, my gifts, and how blessed I am to be in the situation I am in.
One of the gifts that come alongside with my adoption, is the ability to connect with others in unique situations on a deep level. I understand feelings that many others will never truly understand. Maggie had shared with me that she lost her dad when she was 9. As she was talking, I came to the conclusion that she goes through many of the same feelings I do.
When she was younger, not knowing her dad was all-consuming. He missed her graduation, meeting her husband, her wedding, meeting his grandchildren. I got to listen to her and tell her that I know what it feels like. I know what it’s like to be consumed by someone you feel is essential for life, to be gone.
Yes, our stories are different. She had a childhood with her dad, I never met my birth mom outside her womb. But, we have so much in common. We both experienced a great loss, parent related trauma, and we both know what it’s like to have some people just not understand.
We also talked about grief. She has a great analogy. She explained that people view grief as a straight line. You have a starting point and an endpoint. But sometimes, grief is like a child coloring on the wall. It goes up and down and side to side.
Some things trigger the grieving process and it starts all over. For me, It’s when I go to the doctors. I can never fill out family history, because I don’t know anyone in my birth family. I then start to think about my birth family and how I wish I knew them.
Grief can sometimes be a never-ending process. Through my personal experience with grief, I have drawn much closer to God. I have experienced his love on a much deeper level. I have found his love is never-ending and unchanging, no matter what circumstance I’m in. Adoption has also given me the gift of empathy to many different feelings.
Adoption comes with many confusing and emotional feelings. Whether you are adopted or not, I’m sure you have felt these feelings at some degree. I truly believe God has given me a beautiful and unique gift. I plan on sharing my story in hope to encourage others.
About the Author
Ashley Billings is a teenage writer. She was adopted at five days old to the most amazing family in the world, but being adopted has definitely brought up many issues and feelings.
She has found that adoption is often told from parent’s and family’s perspective. Often, she’s realized people don’t consider what the adoptee may be feeling and going through. Most resources are geared towards parents and families.
Ashely writes to show that EVERYONE’S feelings are valid. She wants others to know they are not alone in their journey. Everyone’s story is unique, but she writes to reclaim her adoption story and share her journey. Read more of her work on her blog.