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Feldmann Secrest, M. (2013). Grapple, Grapple, Fret: The Aftermath of the Adoption Roundtable for This Utterly Non-Angry Adoptee. Psychoanal. Perspect., 10(1):131-135.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 10(1):131-135

Grapple, Grapple, Fret: The Aftermath of the Adoption Roundtable for This Utterly Non-Angry Adoptee

Melissa Feldmann Secrest, LCSW

I left the adoption roundtable quickly, after a perfunctory good-bye/thanks/“that was great.” I had no real conscious thoughts about it—of not really wanting to linger and “chat,” or of not wishing to get “caught” in the elevator on the way out of the building. I had absolutely no desire to speak with anyone about it. I didn't tell my sister, with whom I share nearly everything; my brother; my biological sister or biological brother. I didn't remind my husband that I had participated in the roundtable, and I certainly didn't tell my parents about it, nor had—or have—I planned to tell them a thing about it. I simply shoved back the experience of it and moved along. “Nothing to see here, folks,” went the unconscious thought bubble attached to my head.

And then, a few months later, I received the transcript. And my defenses dropped. Not only did the experience come lunging forward in an alarming way, but I also felt myself drenched in shame and self-doubt about my participation in it: what I had said and, more importantly, what I had felt. I briefly entertained the idea of asking the moderators to simply remove me from the discussion entirely, but I decided that was not likely possible without drastically changing the roundtable dynamic.

And so I got to work on mending my participation through my spoken, now written, words. But I realized that apart from a few basic grammatical errors and areas in which a bit of elucidation could help, I couldn't mend it. It was, in a phrase, “what it was,” and it was probably important in some way.

Again, I stuck the experience of the experience way back in the cognitive attic and didn't think of it again.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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