Tuesday Topic: Coping with Survivor's Guilt

This week’s Tuesday Topic is:

How do we help our adopted children cope with “Survivor’s Guilt”, particularly when they left siblings (or long term orphanage friends) behind?

I recently got an email from an adoptive mom with this question and it comes up periodically among my friends, so I thought I would put the question out to you.  Honeybee’s recent trip to Ethiopia seems to have brought some of these feelings to the surface. […]

I’ll hold your responses until Tuesday, February 9th, and post them all at once.  Don’t be shy.  We can learn so much from one another.

I’m ready for more Tuesday Topic questions, so please send some my way.  If you suggested a topic, but I haven’t used it, I would appreciate hearing from you again.  Email me at lisa@onethankfulmom.com with Tuesday Topic in the Subject line.

Don’t forget to enter my first ever Giveaway for  a copy of Melissa Fay Greene’s book, There is No Me Without You.  A winner will be drawn early Wednesday morning, February 3rd.  I’m excited to mail it off!

Last of all, I haven’t forgotten about blogging about Honeybee’s trip.  Life has just been flying along since she got home.  My friend, Signe, is doing a great job blogging about it, so if you would enjoy details, be sure to stop by her blog, Letting Love Cover It.  Maybe Honeybee and I will sit down tomorrow and she can share some stories with me.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Melinda
    February 2, 2010

    Love your new blog Lisa! Looks wonderful! I don't really have much to add, but am really anxious to hear the answers. We are dealing with this pretty much weekly right now. Our daughter left behind all of her siblings. She really misses them and knows that it isn't even possible for her closest sibling, her older brother to ever be adopted because of his age. I know she must also wonder why her grandfather only allowed her adoption, not her younger siblings. Can't wait to hear the answers.

  2. @mk_q
    February 3, 2010

    Wow, this is a heavy topic. I can't wait to see what people have to share.


  3. Karen
    February 4, 2010

    My daughter has 8 siblings in Guatemala and several nieces and nephews there. We have contact with the family and have met them on 3 occasions face to face. My daughter was relinquished as a newborn, only 2 days old, and so while some of her older siblings remember her being born, none of the young ones do remember and my daughter, obviously, doesn't remember. We have always explained to her that her parents, A and P, were unable to care for our daughter when she was born. Our daughter, HV, knows that the job of a parent is to care for your children and if you cannot, you are supposed to get help, whether that's food assistance (we do projects for our local night shelter with our church), job help, allowing someone else to take care of your kids, or even adoption. We have discussed how in Guatemala, there are not many programs for help. To be continued…

  4. Karen
    February 4, 2010

    Here's the rest of my comment (the prompt said my initial response was too long)
    When we met A and P in person the first time, HV's father, P, just cried and cried. He told HV how he had hoped that God would give him enough days to know that she was ok and also some of the more practical reasons why they could not provide for her. HV has never really shown any survivor's guilt or at least not that I have recognized. She does show concern about her siblings and her parents, but she has not ever questioned why they MUST live in Guatemala and she can live here. Knowing the personality of my daughter, I know that her response would be very different if she had a memory of or had lived with her family of origin.


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