Adoptee Suicide Revisited

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Understanding Why Adoptees Are At A Higher Risk For Suicide

Writer, sister Seattle-dweller, and Facebook friend, Maureen McCauley Evans wrote the above piece. I laud her efforts, and like her, I mourn the continued tally of adoptees who take their own lives. I heard just last week of a woman who is looking for her father’s birth family. He started a search years ago, but killed himself before completion. She did not give a reason for the suicide; in fact she never mentioned it. I discovered it as a small footnote.

But unlike Maureen – who is an adoptive mother – I can understand the phenomenon, because I have an inside track. I am an adoptee and I have pondered suicide. Because it bothers people (to put it mildly), it’s not something I talk about among friends or loved ones. Instead I only vaguely allude to it on occasion. If adoptees are anything, we are considerate of others’ feelings.

So…Why. Maureen makes a good case. But I feel I hit upon the reason almost accidentally in my most-read blog post: Adoptee Suicide.

We weren’t born, so death is of no consequence.

There is a certain detachment to adoption. Being “chosen” rather than “born to” does it. Because we did not arrive by natural means, and so much mystery (or outright lies) are our baggage, we often feel not only that we do not fit in, but that we are disposable. That’s the thing about being chosen, you can be unchosen. And some adoptees aren’t going to wait for the dismissal, they are going to finally take control of their life by ending it.

It’s not selfish, or punishing loved ones, or “a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” It’s opting out. It is protecting family and friends from something worse.

I am not glorifying death, or saying it does not leave a devastating wake. I’m saying I understand it. And before anyone calls a suicide prevention line on my behalf, don’t worry – I have way too much to do to quit right now.

Elle Cuardaigh is author of The Tangled Red Thread and contributor to The Adoptee Survival Guide

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5 thoughts on “Adoptee Suicide Revisited

  1. Thank you, Elle. This is the best, clearest and most sensible explanation I have ever heard. It just “feels” so right! Thank you. As the MOTHER of an adoptee who suicided at 27. I thank you. I feel closer to her than ever before because you have brought me understanding in a new light.

    I recently wrote of great concern about the perpetuation of the disconnect of humankind of which you you speak:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mirah-riben/are-parents-disposable-an_b_8044786.html

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