I’m here today to talk about a very important subject.
A subject that on the surface, seems noble, even heartfelt and sympathetic.
But somewhere along the path, we have lost our way. We have been deceived, worse, the people who have been directly affected are being ignored by the very people who are there to “save the day”, and this lie has been swallowed up and perpetuated by society along with the very system that is supposedly there to protect them.
What am I talking about?
I’m talking about Adoption!
I can hear you saying “Why? Adoption isn’t bad?”
Well, it depends on who you ask.
You get answers like
“Adoption has worked wonderfully for me. I have two great sons that I would not otherwise have had.”
“Adoption is good and increases the amount of love in the world. It gives children without a home or belonging a place where they are loved.”
“My family has personally had amazing experiences with adoption. I think it is one of the most beautiful acts people today can do to show love, care, and selflessness toward vulnerable children.”
These unrealistic romanticised answers have no basis in fact.
But in reality, Adoption is legalised fiction.
Let me explain…
There is something temptingly tidy about the idea of adoption: A family with extra love and resources meets a child in desperate need of both. The happy ending almost writes itself…
Or does it?
Adoption is a solution to a problem and conceptually not bad but in practice it is bad. Parents often have no idea how to parent these children, and the children get scapegoated due to the parent’s lack of knowledge and disappointment of not fully understanding the situation they find themselves in. Which is being let down by their failed expectations. Combine this with various existing emotional traumas of their own such as infertility or adopting out their own firstborn. Parents find themselves deluded, misguided and lost in their own grief and are incapable of meeting the needs of the adoptee, let alone their own needs.
Even stable, well adjusted adoptive parents have trouble understanding the full gamut of trauma that is present.
In the adoption world, failed adoptions are called “disruptions.” But while a disruption may seem stone-hearted from the outside, these final anguished acts are complex, soul-crushing for all concerned and perhaps more common than you’d think.
Trends and studies suggest that certain types of parents are more likely to end up giving up on adopted children, as well. Younger adoptive parents, inexperienced parents, and parents who both work outside the home are linked with higher levels of disruption. Wealthier parents and more educated mothers, in particular, are also more likely to disrupt an adoption even at later stages in life.
So far, I’ve only spoken about the issues in regards to adoptive parents, I haven’t even brought up how the birth mother, adoptive baby, child or adult are affected.
In adoption, the adopted child’s initial trauma enables them to sense their adoptive parents’ insecurity and anxiety. The adopted child feels an ominous pressure against voicing their feelings and curiosity and feel that their adoptive parents would misinterpret his interest in his birth parents as disloyal. They not only experience a dread of the truth but also the stifling of their normal curiosity.
Yet the adoptive parents exhibit a pattern of tension and denial surrounding the issue of adoption. It soon becomes apparent, however, that communication about adoption is not simply absent; much worse, the parents are tacitly communicating a message that the topic is dangerous and taboo and must not be spoken about under any circumstances.
For the adoptee, this only serves to compound and re-live trauma surrounding the original trauma of separation from their birth mother. These perpetuating cycles within cycles, doom the adoptee to repeat cycles of trauma for the rest of their lives.
The evidence from psychological research is clear: When children are separated from their parents, it can have traumatic repercussions for young and adult adoptee lives down the line.
But attachment is much more than a feeling — according to research in Current Directions in Psychological Science, it’s an umbrella term critical to development across the lifespan.
The attachment bond between a mother and her child is first formed in the womb, where fetuses have been found to develop preferential responses to maternal scents and sounds that persist after birth. not to mention the health benefits of not immediately clamping and cutting the umbilical cord. This rapid early-learning and health processes continue during the newborn stage of development, in which children begin to recognize their mothers’ faces and voices and continue to nourish the baby for an extended period after birth.
From this point on, early maternal separation can result in a series of traumatic emotional reactions during which the child engages in an anxious period of calling for? and active search behaviour followed by a period of declining behavioural responsiveness throughout life.
Variations in the qualities of mother-infant relationships among humans appear to have deep biological roots in the form of their capacity to shape children’s psychological and biological responses to their environment.
Though human relationships are extremely complex, the research suggests that withdrawing biological maternal support early in a child’s life can have a number of physiological and behavioural consequences that may contribute to a complex, changing in patterns of vulnerability in mental, emotional and physical health over their life span.
Adoption is a lifelong process for everyone involved, with significant emotional and legal impacts.
The classic, lifelong “Seven Core Issues in Adoption,” experienced by all members of the adoption triad are: loss, rejection, guilt and shame, grief, identity, intimacy, and control.
If adoptees and others affected by adoption are silenced and not supported through dealing with these seven core issues on a daily basis throughout their lives, the adoptee is doomed to repeat trauma cycles within cycles. Anyone can be caught up in these cycles throughout their lives and the majority don’t see a way out.
This causes what is called Disenfranchised Grief.
Disenfranchised Grief is defined as
“Grief that persons (a person experiences)? experience when they incur a loss that is not or cannot be openly acknowledged, socially sanctioned or publicly mourned”.
When grief is disenfranchised the mourner has less opportunity to express and move through the stages of mourning their loss. Disenfranchised grief and in adoption is The grief of those who have experienced adoption separation and has been disenfranchised.
(the relationship is not recognised)? Mothers who lost their children to adoption were expected to forget about the child and to not grieve.
Those who were adopted were not acknowledged as having lost anything when they were placed with an adoptive family who loved and cared for them.
Adoption was often a secret and a projected source of shame and so the grief for both the mothers and adoptees are not acknowledged.
The griever is excluded. Mothers often feel betrayed by a society that told them they must give up their babies and then feel ashamed for doing so. There were no rituals associated with the birth or loss of their babies. Rather than being supported, they were isolated in their grief.
Adoptees were sometimes told or received messages from others that adoption is a secret that it should not be discussed and thus no support is available for them to deal with their feelings.
There are also no rituals for them as adults to come to terms with their adoption loss. Mothers and those who were adopted in the past have experienced disenfranchised grief as a result of their profound losses not being recognised or supported. This has led to their grief being delayed or repressed as they have not had the opportunity to work through their rightful stages of mourning.
So to recap
We have a person who has suffered an enormous physical, psychological, and spiritual disruption directly at birth which we now know cause a plethora of debilitating developmental and life long issues such as:
- Separation Anxiety Disorders
- Reactive Attachment Disorders
- Detachment Disorders
- Adjustment Disorders
- Oppositional Defiant Disorders
- Multiple Related Stress reactions
- Developmental Delays
- Learning Disorders
- Poor social skills
- Self-destructive behaviours
- Difficulty in relating to others
and many many more unstudied physical, psychological, and spiritual impairments.
Then that person is taught and told that the original disruption is not trauma and never to speak of it again.
Then parents, society and the system ignores these developmental and life long issues because it makes others uncomfortable or the adoptee is required to fulfil a particular need depending on their own level of past traumas and expectations.
What of the comfort of the child?
What of the ongoing support of the adult through life?
Looking at the whole picture it’s categorically clear that parents, society and the system have the wrong focus for their own individual reasons.
Adoption SHOULD firstly be about the needs of the child, then later to focus on the adult’s healing needs.
Society, in general, has perpetuated various contrasting myths, and now has the benefit of hearing from adult adoptees.
As a society, now that we KNOW better, we should DO better.
So don’t act befuddled if adoptees demand the truth and to be heard.