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Writing Through Trauma - Guest Post

{I knew leading up to NAAM that I wanted to address writing as a form of healing. I've frequently commented about my fascination with the wealth of creativity present in the adoptee community. Though adoptee voices are presently overshadowed by the more dominant voices of adoptive parents and adoption organizations, this is not because no adoptee writing, art, film, or theater exists. The adoptee community that I know is a tight-knit, industrious, imaginative, poetic, creative community that supports and elevates one another. Often, those with trauma histories turn to creative outlets for relief, yet many do not necessarily know just how powerful something as simple as putting their stories into writing really can be. After sharing my own story over the past two days (here and here), I heard from several who either shared their own writing with me or expressed a desire to begin writing. For adoptees and first parents who have not yet done so, may this month inspire you to set aside self-doubt and begin putting your own story into words, if only for yourself}

Writing Through Trauma

Laureen Pittman

It was difficult for me to write certain parts of my memoir. As with many adoptees, my story dealt with a difficult childhood, the trauma of abandonment, the severing of my identity, secondary rejection, and generally navigating a life put together by others with purposeful deceit. I was expected to live a certain life, love certain people as “family,” and be accepting of and comfortable with it all.

So why write about it? Why relive the pain and trauma?

Well, ignoring it wasn’t working. For years after my birth mother cruelly rejected me in 1987, the trauma of that secondary rejection manifested itself in many ways. Seemingly innocuous incidents would trigger my trauma and I would find myself reliving my past anxieties and stresses, and sometimes taking it out on other people. Relationships were difficult. My trauma led to anxiety, anger, and withdrawal. And exhaustion.

I let those anxieties and stresses cause chaos and uncertainty in my life for too long.

Some thirty years later I started blogging about my adoption journey. I finally took control of my story. Why did it take so long?

I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’ve done legal writing in my career as a paralegal for years. I also had a food blog for a few years. Sharing my love for cooking, along with my adventures in the competitive cooking world was fun, but it wasn’t easing any pain. What I did realize through this type of writing was that expressive and creative writing was beneficial for me. Creativity (through the cooking and the writing) helped to relieved stress related to my work.

I still had anxiety and issues related to my adoption, however. I just wasn’t dealing with them. Then, one day, I stumbled on another adoptee’s blog. She told the story of her search and the complicated reunion with her birth mother and the maternal side of her biological family. As I read, I reflected on my own story. Her story forced me to think critically through my own emotions and experiences. Reflecting on another person’s similar story gave me the ability to understand and make sense of my own life experience. I had a sudden urge to write my story.

And so I began.

The health benefits of writing about trauma are well-documented. For me, blogging helped me reflect on my situation, accept it, reach out to people through it, and finally, heal. By reaching out through blogging, I was able to connect with others with similar situations. I found other adoptees and those with unique family situations dealing with their own trauma and difficult emotions. By giving a voice to my pain and emptiness, I was learning to accept them as a part of me. In accepting, I was healing. By sharing my story, I was emerging from my isolation.

Soon after I started blogging, I started reading adoptee memoirs and other adoption-centric books. This brought me more validation and strength. I used the strength to write my memoir.

Before you emerge strong, you’ll inevitably feel the pain again. I did. Don’t let it stop you. Through the writing process, whether you are simply journaling, blogging, writing personal essay, or writing your memoir, you will learn acceptance. You will learn to accept your emotional scars and learn not to be afraid to share your vulnerabilities. Writing will help you discover what makes you part of a larger universe. What makes you vulnerable may be a direct result of personal trauma, but that trauma and the emotional turmoil caused by it are informed by systems, processes or problems in society on a much larger scale. Maybe sharing your experience will help others. By writing your story, you can take ownership of your life and shape it the way you want.

Remember, adoptee voices matter. And by sharing your voice and your story, you're reaching out and healing by connecting with other adoptees and those facing similar trauma. Keep writing. And keep sharing! Laureen Pittman is the author of the memoir, The Lies That Bind, An Adoptee's Journey Through Rejection, Redirection, DNA, and Discovery, published in 2019. She started blogging about her journey to discover her identity in 2013. Laureen’s writing on adoption has also been published on the blog, Secret Sons and Daughters – Adoptee Tales From the Sealed Records Era ( She also writes a regular column for NAAP News, the National Association of Adoptees and Parents quarterly newsletter. You can find her on Facebook or at her blog: Laureen's memoir can be found on Amazon and is currently on sale for National Adoption Awareness Month. Direct link: _______________


Dear younger me> {If you are interested in submitting a guest post for NAAM, please email Amber at}

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