Child Abuse By Adoptive Parents
Carole J. Anderson, “Child Abuse & Adoption,” 1991
Although we don’t know exactly how much abuse there is, only that most of it is unreported, there are things we know about abuse. We know that one risk factor is different-ness. If mom, dad and two of their children are stocky blonds while one of the children is a slender redhead, the redhead is at greater risk of abuse. This is true of personality differences as well. A child who does not seem to fit in, who seems alien in looks or disposition, is more likely to be abused.
I used to think none of this had anything to do with adoption. When I first heard from abused adoptees, I responded much the same as social workers have responded to searching, unhappy birthparents: I thought they were the rare exceptions. But over the years, I’ve had a lot of letters from adoptees who report they were abused. I’ve talked to a lot of adoptees who were abused. The sheer number of them made me take a closer look. . . .
Adoption itself inflicts psychological harm on adoptees. Adoption means the near-impossibility of either adoptee or adoptive parent being able to take their relationship for granted. Because the parent-child relationship is established by law and not by nature, the relationship cannot be regarded as a simple fact of life as it is in natural families, by either adoptees or adoptive parents.