Adoption and the Soul’s Journey


Adoption and the Soul’s Journey

By Stephen Rowley

From my earliest years my mother and father 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 unique mother and father may need been. As a toddler, 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 assume your father and I really like you sufficient?” 

I felt humiliated and vowed I’d by no means communicate to her about my adoption, or my beginning mother and father, once more. Paradoxically, 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 almost a lifetime. 

The story of this investigative journey could be advised in two methods. The primary is the story of attempting to uncover the sealed data of my adoption, together with the names and addresses of my beginning mother and father. This was a detective story, as I scoured the “pre-internet” for clues and adopted roads main nowhere for over twenty years. Within the Nineteen Seventies and early ‘80s, my search was completed largely by way of typed correspondence and requests for data. 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 picture of her within the public library. I then wrote everybody within the county who had the identical final identify to ask how I’d discover her. A month later at my dwelling within the San Francisco Bay Space, a relative despatched me Mother’s married identify and handle, and situated on the East Coast. After intensive 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 wrestle with drug and alcohol abuse, I flew east to fulfill her. Regardless of her dire circumstances, in sharp distinction to my newly minted Ph.D. from Stanford, my long-sought mom and youngster reunion modified each of our lives for the higher. She, too, had desperately wished to search out me, however had restricted assets or clues to take action. In the midst 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 robust circumstances shone by way of. After forty years, I had discovered my beginning mom, and he or she had discovered her boy—eventually.

She died two years after our reunion. Though I by no means misplaced curiosity in discovering the id 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 data had misspelled his identify. Then, thirty-five years after reuniting with my mother, I obtained an e-mail by way of 23andMe {that a} shut relative on my beginning father’s aspect was attempting to succeed in me. After a fast trade of emails, not solely was my father’s id 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 id 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 mother and father take pleasure in such blissful or unlikely outcomes. Nor do all that many adoptees get to develop up with loving and well-to-do mother and father—who inspired my training and supported me unconditionally in good occasions and dangerous. 

Now to the second method 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 properly into maturity. 

The issue of recognizing this trauma is that, after all, this highly effective expertise occurred properly earlier than we had language to course of it. Most adults have scant reminiscences earlier than the age of 4. Even when we develop up in a loving dwelling and later uncover our beginning mother and father, 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 all types, and I’ve come to know the interior terrain of the psyche properly sufficient to acknowledge its presence in my very own moods, reminiscences, 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 thought of an interior orphan is profoundly actual—buried however fairly alive inside our psyches. 

Not all adoptees share this interior expertise. Jung famously mentioned throughout a BBC interview, “The factor in regards to the unconscious is that it’s unconscious.” Provided that a lot of our early expertise is held within the unconscious, we can not know for a incontrovertible fact that this isn’t so. But once I’ve described my private seek for id as a soul’s journey, many adoptees strongly resonate with this phrase alternative, no matter their non secular or non secular orientation. To many, the soul’s journey to find our true id isn’t a international 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 mother and father have led me to ever-deepening insights and private development. To my shock and enduring gratitude, the wandering orphan inside me has served, in the end, as a non secular information whose powers are barely perceptible at occasions, however persistent. My lengthy seek for my id has helped me uncover deeper meanings inside myself. I hope this can 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 faculty instructor and principal, and a faculty district superintendent in Washington State and California. He has additionally been a professor at three universities, educating 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 College of Schooling, 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 id. He deeply engages us with the tales of his adoption, his seek for his beginning mother and father, coming of age as a school radical, changing into a visionary faculty chief, adopting a son together with his spouse, dropping his profession by the hands of power-hungry faculty board, and experiencing transcendence in a dream, compliments of the Dalai Lama. All these trials and phases 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 influence of separating a mom from her youngster, and the unstated restlessness and craving for connection it creates. Stephen Rowley solid a life path that exposed hidden truths that helped him uncover his personal soul’s calling. “It’s my hope,” he writes, “that by way of my memoir, you might 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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