There is no "just" about the process of adoption

There is no “just” about the process of adoption

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Adoption is often held up as the “solution” to the “problems” of both child loss and grief. This is an unfortunate misunderstanding and oversimplification. Adoption is a beautiful thing. It is not, however, easy or automatic, or guaranteed. There is definitely no “just” about the process.

There is no “just” about the process of adoption

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Even as a bereaved parent, I still don't always know the right words to say.

The Bereaved Don’t Always Have Words Either

If you truly want to comfort a grieving person, remove these words from your vocabulary: "But", "Strong", "Brave", and "At Least"

If you genuinely want to comfort a bereaved person, remove these words from your vocabulary

Notes for the Bereaved -  You don't have to be brave. Bravery is ALWAYS a choice. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You don’t have to be brave

I miss the days when I still believed all you needed was a good attitude.

I miss the days when I still believed all you needed was a good attitude

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: At least… Rewritten: I'm so sorry this happened to you. It isn't right or fair. Nothing can make up for the loss of your child. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

At least…

Notes for the Bereaved -  There is NO time limit on grief. Take whatever time you need. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

There is NO Time Limit on Grief

Sharing about my deceased child doesn't mean that I'm stuck or broken or even that I am hurting. It simply means I am a parent.

Parenting in Loss; Sharing about my Deceased Child

Notes for the Support Team -  When someone is in the thick of grief, "someday" is pretty meaningless. Sit with them in the hard parts, today, instead.

“Someday” is Meaningless

Positivity is a choice, and not one you can make for other people

Positivity is a choice, and not one you can make for other people

Notes for the Support Team -  When you tell me I'm "strong" or "brave", it feels less like a description, and more like a command. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

When you tell me I’m “strong” or “brave”…

Notes for the Bereaved -  You don't have to be a noble victim. You are allowed to be a fallible human being, just like the rest of the world. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You don’t have to be a noble victim

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Question: "How are you?" Multiple choice answers: "Outstanding, Okay, Really hating this question". There is a check mark next to "Really hating this questions". -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

How are you?

Often when I share about my deceased child, people rush to give advice or hugs. I don't always need that, though.  Often, all I really need is for you to listen. - Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Often all I need is for you to listen

Notes for the Support Team -  Pregnancy after loss is one of the most beautifully life-affirming and also simultaneously terrifying events your loved ones can experience.  If your loved one has shared this news with you, it is likely because they trust you. Be worthy of that trust. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Mirror Reality in Pregnancy After Loss

Sometimes, I'm just tired Graphics for Child Loss & Grief

Sometimes, I’m just — tired

Statement: You're so strong. Response: Inside I am dying.

“You’re so strong”

Thankfulness is not a cure for tragedy, trauma, or grief.

Thankfulness is not a cure for grief (B/W; 2 versions)

Bereaved Life Graphics for Child Loss & Grief

Bereaved Live in the Real World

"It's going to be okay" Rewritten: It really sucks…and I'm here for you.

“It’s going to be okay” (2 versions)

Dead is not a dirty word.

“Dead” is not a dirty word (B/W)

Notes for the Support Team -  Acknowledge bereaved parents on Mothers' and Fathers' Day. Parenthood NEVER ends. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Acknowledge Bereaved Parents on Mothers and Fathers Day

Prayer Is Appreciated…When it has been invited

Prayer is appreciated…when it has been invited

"Look on the Bright Side." Rewritten: This sucks.

“Look on the bright side”

“Healing” from the death of my child is about as likely as regrowing a missing limb.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

“Healing” from the death of my child is about as likely as regrowing a missing limb.

Notes for the Support Team -  A good cheat sheet for pretty much any situation in which another human is upset: "That sounds hard." "Do you want to tell me about it?" "How can I help?"  -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

A Good Cheat Sheet for Pretty Much Any Situation in Which Another Human is Upset

What is safe is not always natural & What is natural is not always safe.

Natural VS. Safe

Notes for the Support Team -  It's hard to feel sad and helpless when someone you love is struggling after loss. It's hard to sit there in the darkness and support them when they are most in pain. But if you can do that—your support means everything. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Accept that you feel helpless and you will be so much more helpful

Original Statement: Still Grieving? Still dead. Still a parent. Rewritten statement: Always grieving. Always dead. ALWAYS a parent.

Still/Always

Trauma is not your fault, but healing is your responsibility. Rewritten: Trauma is not your fault.

“Trauma is not your fault, but healing is your responsibility”

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: Have you thought about adoption? Rewritten: I understand the idea of having children after loss is complicated. I'm never going to push you or ask you questions you aren't ready to answer. I'm here though, if you ever want to talk about it. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Have you thought about adoption?

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: He/She is with you in spirit. Rewritten: It must be so hard that he isn't physically here with you. What do you think he might be doing today if he were? -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

He/She is with you in spirit

Notes for the Support Team -  It is far easier for you to reach in than it is for the bereaved to find the strength to "reach out".

“Reach Out” or Reach In?

I deserve enthusiastic support, both in life and grief.

I Deserve Enthusiastic Support Both in Life and Grief

Notes for the support team - Nobody is born knowing how to deal with grief. We are all just figuring it out along the way.

Nobody is born knowing how to deal with grief

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original question: Why didn't you…? Rewritten: I have no idea what I would have done were I in your place. I will certainly never second-guess your decisions. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Why didn’t you…?

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: It wasn't your fault. Rewritten: I understand emotions can be complicated, and I'm never going to tell you how you should feel. I am here though, if you ever want to talk about things. I will always be an ear to listen. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It wasn’t your fault

"It's okay to not be okay as long as you don't stay that way" Rewritten: It's okay to not be okay.

“It’s okay to not be okay as long as you don’t stay that way” (color options)

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: It's time to move on. Rewritten: I understand you grieve for and miss your child. What can I do to help you honor them today? -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It’s time to move on

"I know how you feel." Rewritten: I don't know how you feel, but I'm here to listen.

“I know how you feel” (2 versions)

Sometimes there is genuinely nothing to be thankful for. - Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Sometimes there is genuinely nothing to be thankful for

"Grief is a passage, not a place to stay." Rewritten: Grief IS.

“Grief is a Passage”

Refusing to talk about or even consider that death happens is not going to keep it from happening. Death isn't Rumpelstiltskin. It doesn't work that way.

Refusing to Talk About Death; Death Isn’t Rumpelstiltskin

You are under no obligation to be healed not today, and not at any point in the future. It is always always ALWAYS okay not to be okay.

You are under no obligation to be healed

My Experience Going Overdue in Pregnancy (Brochure)

Notes for the Support Team -  It's easy to disappear in times of tragedy. It's hard to live with yourself afterwards. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It’s Both Easy & Hard to Disappear After Loss

Notes for the Bereaved - Sometimes the most meaningful thing anyone can say to you is "This fucking sucks." Because it does. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Sometimes the most meaningful thing anyone can say is, “This fucking sucks.”

If a bereaved parent feels guilt or blame about their loss, simply telling them not to feel that way is not a solution.

Guilt, Fault, & Blame

What's with this expectation that grief should be "reasonable"?  Death certainly isn't reasonable. Grieve however you need.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

Neither Death nor Grief are “Reasonable”

Notes for the Support Team -  Be cautious of projecting your experience or your feelings onto your loved one.  Even under similar circumstances, their experience is likely to be different than yours. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Be Cautious of Projecting Your Feelings

"But you have a beautiful daughter now." Rewritten: I'm sorry for your loss.

“But You Have a Beautiful Daughter Now”

If you ask a widow about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it's losing a spouse. If you ask a bereaved parent about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it's losing a child.  And they are both correct. Grief is not a competition.

Grief is not a Competition (B/W; multiple versions)

Grief isn't sadness. Grief isn't loss. Grief is what lives in those left behind. 

Grief is not Sadness (2 versions)

The body keeps a calendar completely separate from the mind. Some days just have to be felt.

The Body Keeps a Calendar Separate from the Mind

Sometimes I miss that initial innocence; the days when I thought positivity was enough to make everything go as planned. Only sometimes, though. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Sometimes I miss that initial innocence

Notes for the Support Team -  Your pain is important. Their pain is MORE important. Don't ask them to bear the burden of comforting you. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Your pain is important. Their pain is MORE important.

"Positive vibes only."...Rewritten: Authentic vibes only.

“Positive Vibes Only”

Notes for the Support Team - Children. Aren't. Replaceable. Please consider the impact of your words before you talk about things like subsequent children or adoption. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Children Aren’t Replaceable

I have the right to feel how I feel, for as long as I feel it, regardless of circumstances  or whether someone else  feels differently.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

I have the right to feel how I feel

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: Let's cheer you up. Rewritten: I understand your grief is heavy right now. I'd like to support you in whatever ways you need. Would you like to tell me about him? Or maybe we can go for a walk. Whatever you need. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Let’s cheer you up

We need to talk about grief.

We need to talk about grief

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: Let me know if I can do anything for you. Rewritten: Can I bring you dinner this evening? Can I help you with the laundry? I'm going to the store this evening; can I bring you anything? -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Let me know what you need

Sometimes it just needs to suck.

Sometimes it Just Needs to Suck

They said time heals. They lied. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

They said time heals. They lied. (B/W)

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: He/She wouldn't want you to be sad. Rewritten: It's understandable that you are sad. He is gone and he shouldn't be. It makes sense that you will grieve as long as you need. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

He/She wouldn’t want you to be sad

You may find it "triggering" to hear about the death of my child. Imagine how much harder it is to live with it. - Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Trigger Warning

Notes for the Bereaved -  You are under no obligation to turn your tragedy into something beautiful. You are allowed, todays and always, simply to exist. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

No Obligation to turn Tragedy into Beauty

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: I wish I could take your pain away.  Rewritten: I understand your feelings are important. I would never want to minimize or try to take them away. I will always be here to listen. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I wish I could take your pain away

My feelings are authentic and I own them completely. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

My feelings are authentic and I own them completely

Forced positivity is toxic.

Forced Positivity is Toxic (color options)

Gentle wishes for bereaved dads on Fathers Day. May the day be kind.

Father’s Day

Feelings are always valid, Even when they aren’t rational; Even when they are "negative"; Even when other people wish you felt differently.  Feelings are always valid.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

Feelings are ALWAYS valid

Please don’t ask me how I’m doing unless you’re prepared to hear the truth.

Please don’t ask me how I’m doing unless you’re prepared to hear the truth

Notes for the support team - "Good intentions" are best revealed by changing behavior you've been informed is hurtful. Image in the background with one bear hugging another bear, and saying, "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings...But I know that I did, and I'm going to make it better." (OneyWhyStudio, Moose, and Aidenopoly, created in Canva)

“Good intentions” are best revealed by changing behavior you’ve been informed is hurtful

Notes for the Support Team -  You aren't going to be perfect. Show up anyway. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You aren’t going to be perfect. Show Up Anyway.

Notes for the Bereaved -  It is not your job to make other people feel comfortable. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It’s not your job to make other people feel comfortable

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: I would never survive it. Rewritten: I haven't experienced your pain, so I can only imagine what it feels like. I am here for you though, if you ever want to talk about your experience or your child. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I would never survive it

I have these moments sometimes with my living child. Moments where I wonder if I am enough for her, trying so hard and simultaneously dying inside.

Can I be enough for my living child while I’m dying inside?

Stillbirth is NOT “Rare”

I think one of the things I've learned over the past few years since my son's death is that you never know what anyone else is going through. Even people who post on social media. Even people who are close. People keep a lot of pain below the surface.

We have no idea what other people are going through

My experience feels a lot more valid when I remove all the “buts”. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

My experience feels a lot more valid when I remove all the “buts”

My pain has a purpose Graphics for Child Loss & Grief

My pain has a purpose

Notes for the Support Team - Simply telling someone not to feel a certain way will never have the desired result. Instead, ask questions about their feelings. Acknowledge and understand without trying to change. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You can’t order someone to feel a certain way

Graphics for Child Loss & Grief survivors bias

Survivor’s Bias

Dear Prenatal Provider Informed Pregnancy Downloadable Graphics

Dear Prenatal Provider

Death changes you…Permanently.

Death Changes You. Permanently.

What doesn't kill you…Still hurts like a bitch

What doesn’t kill you… (3 versions)

There is no asterisk to the things that are allowed in the grief experience.

There is no Asterisk to the things Allowed in Grief

informed pregnancy graphics babies come when they're ready

“Babies come when they’re ready” (3 versions)

Death isn’t something you ever “get over”.  It’s something you integrate, and then reintegrate again  and again.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

Death isn’t something you ever “get over”

I can't imagine - Downloadable Graphics for Child Loss & Grief

“I can’t imagine” (3 versions)

I constantly wish someone had told me stillbirth was SO VERY COMMON.

I Wish Someone Had Told Me Stillbirth Was So Common

I’m upset with movies and TV shows for making me think grief was just a phase. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I’m upset with movies and TV shows for making me think grief was just a phase

Yes, you can parent a child even after their death. #SeaGlassParenting

Yes, you can parent a child even after their death…#SeaGlassParenting

I have grown as a person since the death of my son...But I would give up everything I’ve gained to have not had a reason to.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

I have grown as person through the death of my son, but it’s not worth it

I am thoroughly uninterested in being "strong."

I am thoroughly uninterested in being “strong”

You are under no obligation to be healed not today, and not at any point in the future. It is always always ALWAYS okay not to be okay.

You are always allowed to feel how you feel

Public Service Announcement: Back Up Your Photos

Public Service Announcement: Back Up Your Photos

I did not have "a stillborn". I had a stillborn CHILD; a human being.

I Did not Have “A Stillborn”

Tragedy is not a one-time event

Tragedy is not a one-time event

I too used to believe tragedy was the thing that happened to other people.

I too used to believe tragedy was the thing that happened to other people.

I think one of the hardest things I had to do was accept that grief isn't always overwhelming. Sometimes it just exists, present but not always screaming.

Grief isn’t always overwhelming (B/W)

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original Statement: Having a birthday party for a dead child is weird. Rewritten: I've never been to a birthday party for a deceased child, but I'd love to honor him in this way. How can I help? -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Having a birthday party for a dead child is “weird”

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