We are going to talk about the adoption experience – and how Suzanne Jones wants to make it better. She’s so honest and willing to be vulnerable and there is so much to learn here. What Suzie Q has to say about parenting from the heart and not your hurt applies to everyone. She’s passionate about helping adopted children get parents who understand them better, so she is taking what she’s learned from her own experience and made it her life’s work to make sure that other adopted children and parents have an easier time than she did.
Find Suzie at: https://suzieqsolutions.com
The Book Primal Wound: https://amzn.to/2GM9sEi
For more episodes go to www.schoolofconnection.com
Rana Olk (Host): Hi everyone. I hope you’re all doing great, my friends. Today’s guest is amazing. She was willing to go deep and be vulnerable. And so much of what she had to say, I believe is incredibly useful for all of us to hear. We are going to talk about the adoption experience and how Suzanne Jones wants to make it better. I looked up a few statistics and it turns out that six out of 10 Americans have some sort of personal experience with adoption. I am one of those six several times over. I haven’t adopted sister I have cousins that have been adopted. I have close friends who are adopted. I know people who’ve given babies up for adoption and people who have adopted children and spite of all of these people in my life, you guys I’m sorry to say that I think this is probably the longest conversation I’ve had and perhaps even the deepest with anyone about the experience of being adopted. A lot of you listening right now definitely have experience with adoption throughout indirectly and I wonder if perhaps you can relate to this feeling that I have gotten before. It’s when someone says they’re adopted? Do I want to go deeper? Do I want to ask? Do they want to talk about it? I know that I’m curious. I know I want to understand them. But it just feels a little scary to ask questions you just never know. And it depends on the context, obviously, in which the matter of adoption comes up. But I think we all can safely assume that at times, it must be difficult to know your adopted or wonder about your birth parents. Even in the course of the conversation, I had with Suzanne Jones. On and off this recording. There were times I was afraid I’d say something incredibly ignorant or insensitive, and thankfully, she is so open and direct that I felt it was okay to tell her that I felt afraid to ask certain questions at times. I learned so much from her and I hope to use what I’ve learned to understand my personal relationships better, I really do. I realized that I’ve made some mistakes over the years with how I’ve spoken with my own sister about her adoption. And honey, if you’re listening, I hope we can talk about it. Someday soon. For all of you listening. Please hear what Susie has to say about parenting from our heart versus our hurt. And that’s regardless of whether you’re thinking of adopting or not, I believe what she has to say, applies to everyone in many of our relationships, not just to those who want to become adoptive parents. So let’s also make it clear here that there are many people who have absolutely wonderful experiences with adoption. And even though Susie’s wasn’t necessarily so she would want me to say that as well. You’ll hear her share her experience of adoption and it wasn’t pleasant. The fact that she’s taking what she’s learned and made it her life’s work to make sure that other adopted children and parents have an easier time then she did is exactly why she’s here and I know you’ll find her story and her knowledge valuable no matter who you are. Enjoy. Hello Susie, thanks for coming on the podcast.
Susie Q (Guest): Hi. I’m very happy that you invited me. Thank you.
Rana Olk (Host): I know you are Suzanne Jones and your website is Susie q solutions. I’m very curious about the Susie Q.
Susie Q (Guest): Susie Q, it’s a term of endearment for me. I started to recognize through the years that when people became very comfortable with me, they transition from one moment calling me Suzanne to just Susie Q and it was I just noticed it over and over and over and over and then it was just like “Oh” and Susie q makes me feel warm because what they were doing by calling me Susie q was letting me know that they feel comfortable and warm and there’s a sense of trust there. And so actually, it actually even segue into my very closest friends, they drop everything and just call me “Q.” So because of the way it made me feel, and the way it made them feel, I thought that would be a really nice name for my business because to me, it’s it is a term of endearment.
Rana Olk (Host): And in the work, you do that makes sense because people do really need to trust you and be vulnerable with you. So tell us what it is that you do.
Susie Q (Guest): Well, I primarily work with couples who are adopting a child. And these couples are acutely aware that they are bringing dysfunctions from their past into their presence in their future. So with that, knowing this they want to clean up their stuff. They want to make peace with their past so they compare it from their heart and not their hurt and not pass their baggage on to their children. Because their children, the adopted person comes into the world already wounded, and I know that because I am also an adoptee.
Rana Olk (Host): Wow, now if only every single parent, regardless of whether they were going to adopt a child had that kind of awareness, because we all do, right. We all have baggage, we all have certain dysfunctions. None of us are perfect. And when you become a parent, I imagine that that’s where some of that dysfunction can really show up. But what you’re saying is that when you’re adopting a child, it’s especially important because adopted children perhaps have different experiences already different traumas and need extra care or sensitivity. Is that what you’re saying?
Susie Q (Guest): Well, yeah, we I’m very much drawn to the adopted child because I am one and the research I’ve done and the stories I’ve heard, you know, a lot of us were adopted with whole lot of unawareness, the parent, with the parents receiving nothing but propaganda and not being made aware of the repercussions on the child when they’re not parented properly and at in no way, shape or form. I’m not talking about perfection, I’m just talking about the cycle of dysfunction that as you mentioned, every single parent has where we have a set of beliefs. We have modeled a certain behavior that we continue to model to our children and cause a great deal of damage and with the adopted child already beginning their life with a wound anything that happens over top of it, perpetuates it compounds and reinforces the initial wound, making it even more difficult for them.
Rana Olk (Host): Can you describe or elaborate a little bit on what you mean by the wound? I imagine some people might have, you know, bristle a little bit if you say that they’re already wanted to happen.
Susie Q (Guest): Sure, when a baby is in gestation, when they’re in the womb, they are having a bond with their mother whether that is a good bond or not a good bond you know, if the mother is in distress that would be considered not a good but regardless they are in the womb bonding with their mother the blood flow the feeding the voice, that everything when that when newborns are born brand new, they can tell who their mother is. They can gravitate towards the smell of their mother’s breast milk, not ever having tasted it. There is a lot of awareness with a newborn child. Just being born in itself is traumatizing. Okay. Then you have this baby literally taken and placed in somebody else’s arms. Now whether that is the adoptive family immediately whether that is a nurse and it’s taken to a nursery, it doesn’t matter. It’s removed from his father. The Safe warm environment is instantly gone. So it’s like a blow. It’s like a complete blow. It’s a shock to the nerve system, and that begins the primal what it’s called the “Primal Wound.”
Rana Olk (Host): You mentioned that you were adopted. How has that experience been for you growing up as an adopted child and your experience of that wound?
Susie Q (Guest): I had everything a person could want and I was married. I had a lovely house, a dog, three kids–great kids, picket fence, you know, and I was never happy. I mean I had a great sense of humor. I was a jokester. I could be happy. I could genuinely be happy. But I was never happy. I always had a hole. I remember having conversations with my husband. I’m not married anymore. And my chill my friends, and I would say that there I have a hole in my heart. And I don’t know why. I did not know until a few years ago. So for 40 some years, I lived with this and a whole lot of other stories I told myself and feelings I had that I couldn’t understand, and it wasn’t until I did the research on adoption that I uncovered that all of these woes rooted in adoption. And I let me let me preface that by saying, I still hear people say, “Oh, you’re using adoption as an excuse.” No, no, that’s the truth. This is it literally is a primal wound. It can be nurtured. But it’s always there and I was parented very badly. And all of that perpetuated my stuff my being adopted, which just exacerbated my feelings and all of those thoughts in. Did that make sense?
Rana Olk (Host): Yeah. I’m curious about this separation from the mother from the birth thing. What additional wounds might there be when you’re adopted? Because there are a lot of people who are separated from their mothers are separated at birth or there are reasons but having been separated from a mother a parent at birth and then being adopted on top of it, I think having different parents and growing up knowing you’re adopted, I would think would have additional consequences or emotional traumas attached to it, perhaps emotional difficulties or concerns attached to it. Could you elaborate on whether or not that–
Susie Q (Guest): Yes, there is attachment issues there are abandonment issues a bad in it being a very big one self-image self just self, it’s unworthiness. Not good enough. What’s the matter with me, you know, and all of those play into abandonment. Rejection again, identity, “Who am I? Well, if I wasn’t good enough for my mother, and she gave me away and then they’re in a bad home.” So this was my mantra if my own mother didn’t love me, and she gave me away and myself, my adoptive family, treats me this badly and they don’t love me, then there must be something wrong with me. So we internalize that, and an adopted child doesn’t have to be in air quotes abused, to feel that it’s just there. And as I said earlier, anything that remotely resembles their nervous system that initial wound it will perpetuate. So I’ll give you an example. Abandonment is a really big deal so it could be very harmful to an adopted child to be left at school after everybody’s gone home in your late picking them up. That sense of abandonment while not conscious is triggered and their nervous system because immediately they’re all alone. There’s nobody around and nobody’s coming to pick me up so that initial wounding gets triggered. I would go so far as to say that timeout may do the same thing. You’re locking a kid in the room, you’re closing the door, you’re letting them know. Nobody wants to be around them at that moment, regardless of what the parent thinks they’re doing, they’ve got to keep in consideration how the child is interpreting based on their wounds. What is happening to them right now?
Rana Olk (Host): Interesting. Okay. Susie, the reason I felt it was important to have you on this podcast and to talk to you is that even though I know people very closely who’ve been adopted, or for that matter, given a child up for adoption, right, I feel that I am still somewhat ignorant around this issue. And I’m afraid that I’m going to say the wrong thing, quite frankly. So in the interest of enlightening people, I wanted to bring you on and I think there is a lot of unintentional ignorance around what it’s like to be an adopted child or even what it’s like to be an adoptive parent when you talk about these wounds and the abandonment and these other issues. What I want to know is “What are some of the most uninformed comments or types of things that people say even when they mean?” Well, for example, I’ll tell you what I’m talking about. Some people say, “Well, your mother loved you so much, wanted a better life for you, and that’s why she gave you up.” I would guess that’s probably the most insensitive comment you get. Can you explain that, please?
Susie Q (Guest): Okay, let me dive into that one. Think about this. Imagine growing up thinking somebody loves me so much they gave me away How do you think we process love from that point on, right? So what happens is, well, there’s a lot of things that could happen. But for example, we have issues with clinging. “Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me.” Or we have issues where we don’t even want to get able to close to us because we already know what love means. We already know that if you love me, you’re going to leave me. So get lost, right? I’m gonna say goodbye to you before you can hurt me, right? I’ll tell you. What I’m really tired of hearing is I’m really tired of biological people saying what we all go through that really tired of it because it’s not the same. You know where you came from. No matter how lost you get, or no matter how lonely you feel, you know, you can always again “go home”, you know where you belong. We don’t have a clue and it’s not a competition. It’s just different. It’s a different life and unless you’re adopted, you cannot understand it. There is no comparison. Like for me, I may only biology I know are my three kids. That’s it. Do you know what I mean? There is no comparison, my inner yearning to yours per se. We’re not talking about you. But you know what I mean?
Rana Olk (Host): Yeah. So we could say that void, that empty feeling that something is missing feeling that you had that you were talking about a while ago can be something you share with people to which they respond. Oh, well, we all have that we’re all emptiness in us. I think it’s fair to say that even if we did all have some sort of void that we’re trying to fill, it is different. It is different for adoptive children. When we talk about what parents need to know then these are some of the things that they need to know to be sensitive around. I’m guessing when you want to be an adoptive parent, you have to know these things. What these particular ones are and how these kinds of feelings are translated and interpreted by a child who’s been adopted? Am I correct?
Susie Q (Guest): Absolutely, and you know, it’s going to be different for every child. I have no right to speak for every child and at no point do I ever do that? Because, I mean, we’re all different, but there are way too many similarities. And when I speak, I am not ever solely speaking from my experience, but my experience wrapped up with a lot of research and a lot of people that I know who have personally spoken to and, you know, such so there’s so much commonality there that they absolutely you know, must not go into it thinking, “Ah, I’ll be all right.” You know we all do that. We all do that in life. Oh, it happened to them, but it won’t happen to me. It’s just not. It’s not even responsible.
Rana Olk (Host): When you say that your parents were not the greatest let’s just put it that way. What are you referring to in that sense? Did you know you were adopted? Did they talk to you about it? Where they sensitive in any way to the fact that you were adopted? Did you have other siblings? Could you elaborate a little bit on that?
Susie Q (Guest): I’ve always known I was adopted. So they did that right. And no, I was just pretty much their neglected I’m not talking about I mean, I had food I was close but nobody cared one way or the other what I was there and here’s the thing we went on great holidays. We had summer winter activities, you know, we still might be held in the winter. We, you know, did all kinds of traveling but I was just there actually, I ran into a lady that used to work with my mom two years ago, and my mom has passed away many, many years ago and we somehow you know those how those conversations just kind of start. You don’t know how did we get here, but it was wonderful. She told me that I was 12 I was younger than 15 for sure she works with my mom and she told me this day two years ago. “Do you know what, I told your mother one day I was so angry of listening to her bashing you and berating you and all of these things that I said to her, Why did you even adopt her if you don’t even love her?” Well, I have never felt so validated in my entire life. I know what I experienced. I know what I went through. I know all that but being adopted is very invalidating because everybody wants to throw their spin on it because everybody wants to dismiss your feelings because everybody feels like that because you’re supposed to be grateful that somebody took you in and you’re not under the bridge because of all of that. I had to dismiss my own feelings of what I knew to be true because something was wrong with me, right? I’m supposed to be happy that I had a roof over my head when she said that to me. I just started bawling and she got it and I was so grateful that she trusted me enough to share that with me and it looked to me like it was something that’s really bothered her Believe it or not, all these years.
Rana Olk (Host): One of the questions I think that a lot of people have about adopted children is how you make that decision to look for your biological parent or not. Did you ever meet your biological parents and what are your thoughts about them?
Susie Q (Guest): This finding the birth parents are very it’s a very individualized thing. Um, the more I read, listen, talk to and including my own experience for the longest time, I did not want to find, I had no interest whatsoever. But I liken that to it was so not allowed in my house. It was absolutely a non-topic. I was never to go there it was absolutely, so all of my adoption stuff, any feelings I may have thought I had because of adoption was stopped so far down that I wasn’t allowed to think about it. So naturally, if the thought arose, I dismissed it. Just like everything else was dismissed for me. I just let it go. So I actually never wanted to find my parents, but looking back that’s why because the fear was put into me so bad that if I ever did my grandmother lied to my dad one time and said I was going on a search for my biological mother, which at no time Did I ever say that my friend was visiting got the support from her adoptive parents to go look for her biological parents. She was just telling us about it. I was just supporting her going “Oh that’s great.” You know when my grandmother overheard this conversation told my dad he lost it he slammed his fist down and he said, “I will spend every link nickel I earned to prevent you from ever finding your biological parents” and it destroyed me because I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t understand. So when you say about adoptive parents being aware of these things that’s a big thing. This is why adoptive parents really need to clean up their stuff. They need to be emotionally and psychologically prepared because that interaction was my father’s wounding, him, as a parent not feeling good enough because if he was good enough, why would I want to go find my biological mother? That’s not fair on me or the adopted child. If you feel insecure about your role as a parent, that’s not fair to project that onto that child.
Rana Olk (Host): What are some of the reasons that adopted children might want to seek out their biological parents just to negate any impressions or ideas that people might have that it’s because the adopted parents are mean or not good or that they’re not happy with them. Sometimes adoptive parents are wonderful and the child loves them and yet still wants to seek out a biological parent, and sadly might even feel bad or guilty about doing so. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Susie Q (Guest): It’s almost never about the adoptive parents. It’s the yearning again go back to anybody who feels lost empty alone. They’re seeking something. We don’t have our biology. We know we feel it every day. We can carry two conflicting emotions at the same time. We’re seeking closure. We’re seeking answers. We’re seeking our roots. That’s what it is. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with the adoptive parents. The best thing an adoptive parent can do is to give them their support because when you say you know what I want to help you if you’ll let me You have no idea how what that would mean to an adopted child. To have that level of support with no expectations and know to need to pamper your emotions or their emotions. So just to back up a bit the reasons when people look and when they don’t, I just think it’s timing for everybody. I have a particular friend who never wanted to meet his the biological mother reached out to him No, no. He said, No, no, no time passed he thought well maybe okay you know how he’s meeting the grandparents but it was a few years in between like I think it’s just where a person’s at in their life sometimes its life events that might trigger it there is just no answer no certain answer to who looks who wants to and who doesn’t. And my case I was riddled with fear if I found them. So that’s why I didn’t and then the reason I did initially was my middle child was born with some difficulties and I wanted some history. So I got some history and that was it. And then it was quite a few years later, I did reach out to which my biological mother said no, she has no interest in meeting me.
Rana Olk (Host): That had been painful.
Susie Q (Guest): Yes, yes and no. I think I had become so custom at that time to push it down that I pretended it didn’t bother me. And until I really started digging into it is when it started bothering me. As I say it we have very conflicting emotions. Very, you know, it’s really hard sometimes for us to describe what it is we’re feeling so I’m usually pretty good. I’m usually pretty self-aware. But even for me, it’s not that easy sometimes.
Rana Olk (Host): Would you say you’re healed?
Susie Q (Guest): Do you know what I did say? I was healed. But I’m not, I am healed for those things that I am aware of but as things come about, and another trigger hit or something else is brought to my awareness that I need to heal that.
Rana Olk (Host): I love that answer. You’re healed to what it is that you’re aware of what things come up. I like that the analogy is peeling back the layers of an onion, right?
Susie Q (Guest): Absolutely, and the thing what I do with the adoptive parents is what helped heal me and I say that simply because it’s not a scary thing to think that I helped a lot of people but they don’t ever leave thinking “Oh my god, what if what if something else comes up and she’s not there to help me.” because you leave with the tools and skills to deal with what the next thing that may come and that’s the same tools that I use so when something does come up for me I know exactly where I need to go to heal it and it isn’t five years of therapy.
Rana Olk (Host): Interesting, what did help you, Susie?
Susie Q (Guest): NLP hypnotherapy. It started with hypnotherapy This is again this is a time before I even dove into the adoption piece. I was intrigued by hypnosis long story there but was working towards becoming certified in that process we obviously have to do practice comes and we have to be hypnotized numerous times and it was then that I said I have never felt peace like this in my entire life ever and it started with their the NLP which is neuro-linguistic programming came as a result of hypnotherapy kind of one thing led into the other and it’s just brilliant. It’s just brilliant. It’s learning how you think and how you process information. And when you know that you can work with your own stuff very quickly.
Rana Olk (Host): You are claiming that you can help other adoptees heal their wounds necessarily so much as you are helping people who want to become a parent and adopt a child to make sure that they have the skills and the knowledge and awareness and sensitivity from the get-go, right?
Susie Q (Guest): Okay. Being an adopted person knowing all the thousands and thousands of stories of pained adopted people. I want to help the adoptive parents so we can stop the pain of up and coming adopted people, right. I want to help them be in a great place so I don’t want to say ease or suffering sounds so strong, but let’s be honest. A lot of that has been suffering for them for us. But also as a parent, I struggled a lot. And I don’t think that parenting has to be as hard as we make it. If we peel away those layers and know what we’re getting into, and take ourselves out of it, right? If we, if we let go, the expectations we have for our children. If we go into life more curious than then demanding, we just got to stop buying into the doctrine that’s been passed down to us. Yes, parenting is different. You’re not alone. You’re not single anymore. You can’t do what you want anymore. But these are little beings that need a good model so they don’t do what was done to you, right? So I primarily work with adoptive parents for that reason, but I’ll be honest, over half of the people that reach out to me are adopted people which really surprised me.
Rana Olk (Host): Why do you think that is?
Susie Q (Guest): Well, they’re saying because of them because they’re wounded because they can clearly see how what their adoptive parents did. How it affected them in an in a very bad way?
Rana Olk (Host): So is it that they want validation they feel validation or is it that they want to commiserate? Or is it that they want to be empowered? Because there is a difference, right? There are support groups that are empowering. There are people who can support you have been through the same experience that can empower you but then there is the end please pardon the expression but I hope it conveys what I want it to convey. And its misery loves company, right? It’s I just want to keep talking about this and sit and wallow in my pain and in my wound, but I’m not actually going to take actions or steps to do anything with this pain to get out of it. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Susie Q (Guest): Oh, absolutely. In my line of work, hypnotherapy and NLP you got people with secondary gains who Mullingar secondary gains right because if you get better what might you not have any more, what might you miss out on.
Rana Olk (Host): I see you might have to focus on other aspects of your life that you’ve been ignoring, perhaps.
Susie Q (Guest): Well, there’s that and there’s also you might not get all of this pity if you deal with if you take responsibility and deal with your stuff, right? So the people, the adopted people that come to me it’s actually not about that and I’m very clear about that. It’s not about that at all. It’s because of my credentials will say being a parent passing my stuff on to my children being an adopted person being able to walk in the shoes of all of it so they know that I can relate to them because I’ve shared the same feelings as them.
Rana Olk (Host): All right, Susie. So your people are people who are looking into adopting a child and somewhere out there somebody who’s listening to this, who is thinking about adopting a child, what would your number one piece of advice to them be?
Susie Q (Guest): Clean up your past, go do the work, do the work. Personally, I did self-help for 10 years. I knew better but didn’t do better. And I couldn’t figure out why I learned all this stuff from reading and going to seminars, but nothing changed. Until now until I did the inner work. You’ve got to do the inner work. It doesn’t matter how much you read about being adopted, how much your child is going to experience you can read all you want it’s not doing a thing for your internal triggers, your limiting beliefs and the things that you will project onto your child. Your child will bring out the worst in you whether I don’t care. It could be your niece the child I’m not talking specifically your adopted child, a child will bring out the worst in you. But what they’re doing is making you aware of your own woundings. And what I’m asking adoptive parents to do is to clean it up first. I can help them understand what these woundings are. And if they want to know to figure out for themselves, what they are, it’s things like, what ticks you off? What triggers you? What makes you angry? What makes you cry? What are you really sensitive to? These are all triggers.
Rana Olk (Host): I like that because inevitably, there are people who are going to say, “Oh, well, I’ve dealt with most of my baggage or I’ve gone to counseling or I’ve gone to therapy or I’ve read enough self-help.” But simply asking yourself questions like that what triggers me what makes me angry? What flares me up what really gets under my skin? Those are good places to start. And I think, it’s worth saying parenting obviously can bring the worst and you can also bring out the best in you. But sometimes the best may not be enough to address the needs of a child who’s being adopted.
Susie Q (Guest): Well, love is not enough love makes the world go round. But compassion is what makes it solid. You love everybody has a different definition of love, my love, you know, abusers love while I’m doing this because I love you. What, right? My mother gave me away because she loves me. What, right? There’s a whole different love is different for everybody. So compassion is felt, it’s experienced, it’s compassion when you can have empathy and when you can to the best of your ability, walk in somebody else’s shoes and show that compassion and empathy that’s when you can become intentional about your parenting and the child feels it and can grow from there.
Rana Olk (Host): You have other resources on your website and certainly can point people in the right direction if they want any more information this is a very deep topic please tell our listeners how they can find you.
Susie Q (Guest): Well they can go to “susieqsolutions.com” It’s SU-Z-I-E-Q solutions.com and there’s a there’s a tab there for adoption coaching. I actually work with you know the entire arena pre-adoption newly adopted and established adoptive families. My preference is pre-adoption so we can heal the wounds before the child comes in. So there so there is prepared as it could possibly be before parenting and then when things arise as a parent, they have already in their backpack, the tools, and skills to do the end. One more thing to these tools and skills will also help their child are transferable. So now that they’ve helped themselves, they can use utilize these same tools to help their child when their child goes through something.
Rana Olk (Host): Susie, thank you so much. I am definitely going to include in the show notes your website, but I also am thinking that we might want to mention the book that you have mentioned to me previous to this interview, which is called “primal wound”, do you I’m assuming you would recommend that people look into that to understand the experience of adopted children better?
Susie Q (Guest): I would. There are a lot of great books out there about adoption, but that is the book that is a book that took the burden off my shoulders.
Rana Olk (Host): Wonderful. Okay, well, we’ll include that as well. Thank you very much for being here.
Susie Q (Guest): Thank you for having me.
Rana Olk (Host): Thanks, everybody. I hope this was informative for you. I think that there are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings out there about the world of adoptees as well as adoptive parents. Please inform yourselves please reach out to Susie if you need her services, and if you have any questions or comments, as usual, you can always message me at firstname.lastname@example.org See you next time!