It took her years to figure it out.
Her life was consumed by anxiety and relationship issues.
As many of us know, our personal experiences often dictate the actions we take in life.
For Lesli Johnson, it was no different.
She was adopted at a time when parents were advised to tell as few people as possible about their adoptions.
But, this way of doing things raised more questions than answers.
One question raised after she saw several therapists in college, was why none of them were able to help her. It may have had something to do with the fact that none of them ever asked her if she had been adopted, therefore never had a chance to deduce that separation trauma played a primary role in Lesli’s anxiety.
She said, “’Were you adopted?’ should be asked on all medical forms.”
It’s a question that appears simple on the outside, but remains truly complex and in dire need of attention when more closely examined.
It’s a question that helped determine her mission in life: To help other adoptees and foster youth process their trauma.
I asked, “Do you have any advice for others who are going through similar issues?”
She said, “First, recognize that it may be related to your early trauma. Then, seek help, whether it’s therapeutic help, educating yourself about the nervous system or sharing your story with someone.”
Leslie has had an incredible impact on adopted teens, as well as adoptive parents through her therapeutic work as well as her work in support groups such as AdoptCONNECT and Teen AdoptCONNECT. Both groups give participants the opportunity to relate to one another and realize that they are far from alone in any adoption-related struggle.
On healing: Acknowledge that it may be due to separation and transitions
On adoption: “Were you adopted?” A question that should be asked on all medical forms
On community: Unite yourself with people who have shared the same experiences