Adoptee Rage! This blog is written exclusively for the 38% of Abused and Neglected Adopted Children. The U.S. HHSA Identifies #1 Risk: Maltreatment, Child Abuse and Risk for Death In Adopted children. Childhood domination, Coping compensation. Research in Adoption Psychology, Developmental Trauma"The Adoption Paradox". By Rainstorm Red-Smith
About Adoptee Rage
Statistics Identify large populations of Adoptees in prisons, mental hospitals and committed suicide.
Fifty years of scientific studies on child adoption resulting in psychological harm to the child and
poor outcomes for a child's future.
Medical and psychological attempts to heal the broken bonds of adoption, promote reunions of biological parents and adult children. The other half of attempting to repair a severed Identity is counselling therapy to rebuild the self.
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Adoption's Bitter Truths
Adoption's Bitter Truths
Part 1 Series Link Below
There has been so many stories about adoption and its issues in the news lately that I thought it was time to discuss the issues surrounding it. Depending on who you talk to, Adoption is either a tale of rainbows and unicorns, or a tale of abuse and atrocity. The reality is... its both, depending on who you talk to.
For some birth parents, adoption means that they no longer need to be responsible for a life they brought into this world. Hopefully, that child will go on to a better life, a better one than they could provide. In some cases, it means that the birth parent can go on and build a better life for themselves without the baggage of a child. In other cases, its a way to earn money. In yet other cases, its a way to deny custody to the other parent out of spite. Then there are the cases where giving up this child is a way to to recover from a terrible tragedy, such as a child born of rape. In the cases of a parent that is abusive or incarcerated.... its either a relief, a way to get rid of an annoyance or a great sadness. The stories are as varied as the people involved.
For adoptive parents, adoption is a way to fill the need to have a child when the universe has chosen to deprive them of the ability to have children of their own. It can be a way to make their family larger, or even a case of charity. It can also be a way to give a child a good home... or to get a child as a fashion accessory or in the worst case... to get a child to abuse. Again, the stories are as varied as the people involved.
The stories for adoptees are also different. What bothers me the most is how rare it is to hear the stories from adoptees. Whether we came out of foster care, were given up by scared mothers at birth, were taken away by shady adoption agencies.... our stories are all different, but rarely heard. No one hears OUR stories, no one cares about how adoption affects those of us who bear the title of "adoptee". So many people have no idea of the discrimination we face, the questions we can not get answers to, the hollow feelings we feel, the displacement and anger that can come with those things.
So I decided to tell not only my story, but let the world know about the problems facing adoptees as well as the horrors of the "adoption industry". I will be doing this as a series of articles, since doing it as one article would be REALLY long. But its time the world finally acknowledged the reality: Adoption is not the warm and fuzzy THING so many people want you to believe. Its time to face the truth.
FROM AN ADOPTEES POINT OF VIEW
I will start this with my own story. Those of you who have not been adopted often don't "get" where adoptees are coming from or the problems we face or why we are the way we are. From this you will at least know ONE story... I hope you will go out an ask your friends who have been adopted for THEIR stories. Perspective is an important thing.
I was adopted from foster care when I was 3 years old. My birth mother, who I was lucky enough to find before her death, was seventeen when she gave birth to me. Being a teenage, single parent tends to be a common story... until you start digging into my particular case. My birth mothers story wasn't ordinary, in fact, it was pretty horrible. My mothers name was Bernadine and I was not her first child. Her first child was my sister Francis... born when my birth mother was all of 14. She was married... or rather, married OFF, at thirteen to a man much older than her, because her mothers new husband was a little TOO interested in her and her mom felt there would be "less competition" for the mans affection if Bernadine wasn't there.
She managed to keep Francis, for awhile anyway. My older sister ended up in foster care after Bernadine's husband left her. At 14, with no support, my birth mother had no way to take care of Francis or herself nor was she mentally stable enough to do so. (Rather understandable, really). She lost custody of Francis to foster care and later, while in a mental hospital, she hooked up with another man and ended up conceiving ME at 17. ( I should note for the record, that she told me she named me after a friend of hers. Its almost poetic that the "friend" i was named after later went to Johnstown with her children and some insane idiot name Jim Jones and "drank the kool-aid".)
The reality here is simple and I fully admit it. Bernadine didn't have a snowballs chance in hell of raising her kids or being a decent parent. She had no support, had come out of an abusive and uneducated home, had no job prospects and had mental health issues as well as being negligent and abusive. The fact she would lose custody of my sister and I was a forgone conclusion.
FOSTER CARE - IT SUCKS
So my sister and I were placed in foster care. From the few records I have been able to find, we were bounced from foster home to foster home over a period of 2 years. For awhile, we were placed in the same home. We finally found our way to a foster home that wanted to adopt us both. They were an older couple who had had us awhile and loved us both. Eventually, they filed for adoption. This should have been the happy end to a rough story. The couple gets to keep the kids they love, the kids stay together and live happily ever after. Too bad it didn't end that way.
Our foster care caseworker, in all her infinite wisdom, decided to pull us out of that home and to place us separately. I have no idea why she did this. All I can say is that decision was certainly NOT in our best interest. My sister was instead adopted out to another family and to this day, I have never seen her again. ( I HAVE spoken to her... I found her on Facebook two years ago.) I was adopted out to what everyone would think was a perfect placement: An upper middle class family with 5 kids of their own, living in a perfect little neighborhood with perfect little credentials. Their reason for adopting me was because they only had 1 girl and 4 boys, and they wanted another girl. Besides, the church had handed out flyers about kids needing an adoptive home and I was cute. For all that I was 3 years old, I remember the day they took me away from my foster home. I can even tell you I was watching the show "Family Affair" on TV. I can describe the house I was taken from, how many stairs from the front door to the ground, that I got to take my yellow electric car named George with me when I left. Don't let them tell you that a kid that young won't remember their past. Trust me.. we do.
This should have been another happy ending to a bad story. Sorry, it doesn't work out that way. Don't get me wrong. I loved my adoptive parents. They weren't bad people. They just had NO IDEA what they were getting into or how to deal with it. The adoption agency never bothered to give them a reality check. The adoption agency was more interested in getting money from the state to place a "hard to adopt" child than anyone's best interest.
My adoptive parents were given this sweet, cute 3 year old girl with honey blonde curls. They had no idea that the sweet little child would later be diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and ADHD, wouldn't be able to bond with parents after all the trauma she went through and that her issues would require intensive treatment. They had no idea that the sweet little child, so needing of LOVE would become the perfect victim of a sexual predator in the family, who preyed on children desperately in need of someone to ACCEPT them as they were. They had no idea that this child was at least smart enough to know that telling someone about this abuse would become a "blood is thicker than water" issue and everyone would believe the predator over a child that wasn't really a blood relative. They had no idea that they had pulled this cute child out of a place the child felt safe to a place proven unsafe and had torn that child away from her sister.. the only family she had left. They had no idea of the living hell this child would go through because the child did not have answers to "where did I come from" and "why am I here". They had no idea how horrible it would be for this child going through school, being told "You were so hated by your birth parents that someone else was forced to take you". They had no idea that their other children weren't exactly thrilled with the "new arrival". They had no idea of the hell this pretty little child would go through on the path to adulthood and beyond.
It wasn't my adoptive parents fault. They did the best they could. Most of the damage had been done before I ever walked into their house, courtesy of the very system that was meant to protect me. At the time, there were no studies about adopted children or the problems they would face in life. There certainly were no "best practice" therapies to deal with the problems adoptees face by being separated from their comfortable environments or the people in their young lives they had bonded with. Matter in fact, the therapies even now for Reactive Attachment disorder are more like a hope and a prayer... sometimes effective but often dangerous.
I survived. I made it to adulthood... more by luck than design. My path has lead me through some pretty dark places. I've been a runaway on the streets of Los Angeles. I have used and abused drugs. I've been to juvenile hall in my day. I am fortunate that now I'm a middle aged lady who has been married for almost 25 years and has two children. I have a house and a job. That alone is something of a triumph.
So why am I telling you all this? Because I NEVER forget I am "adopted". I never forget that my story starts with "you were not wanted". Being adopted is so much a part of my own story and how I view the world that it is never far from my mind. My own journey through adoption has showed me its reality. Its the reason why when I see all those stories about "Adoption... its a loving choice!" I wince. For me and for many like me, adoption wasn't a loving choice. It wasn't rainbows and unicorns. It was and still is a dirty reality. It speaks of a terrible disruption of the "natural order of things". It means a separation of what "should have been". It means that in the beginning... we were not wanted.
ADOPTEES - WE ARE DIFFERENT
I find it funny that so many slogans about adoption give this idea that an adoptive child is "just like having your own kid". I don't know what dipshit came up with THAT load of horse crap. Adoptive parents might think thats true. Most adoptees don't think that way at all.
I remember as a teenager I used to be able to spot fellow adoptees a mile away. Of the kids I went to school with, I could have picked the adoptees out of a crowd with no prior knowledge. It had nothing to do with the fact that we looked DIFFERENT than our adoptive parents. For all that I'm sort of white and so were my adoptive parents, that wasn't it. So often, its because we were TREATED different. Not just by our adoptive parents, but by society as a whole. We seemed to have a whole different "vibe" to us. I'm not saying it was either good or bad... it was just different and because of that, we were treated "different". We seemed to be the kids that stuck out. The kids that seemed to be treated as outsiders in our own families.
One of the kids I knew, whose name was Russ, was a perfect and very conspicuous example of "treated different" and being a stranger in his own family . EVERYONE knew he was adopted. There was no way to avoid it. He was adopted because his parents wanted another child. They already had one biological child and adopted Russ because they "wanted one more". He didn't look that much different really. One more white kid in a family of white kids. Unfortunately for Russ, after he was adopted his parents conceived again and had a baby girl. They made it quite clear in the way they treated him as well as the screaming from the house that they should never have adopted him and treated him differently because he was not biologically theirs. They frequently told him how much they regretted adopting him when it became obvious they could have another child of their own, and usually did this at the top of their voice for the entire neighborhood to hear. They definitely treated him different.... his siblings were spoiled rotten.... Russ was verbally abused any time his parents had the opportunity. When I last saw the poor guy, he was depressed to the point of contemplating suicide. I recently checked his sister's facebook page and I noticed he wasn't on it and I can find no record of whatever happened to him. I have a bad feeling he was yet another victim of a bad adoption..... a causality of the "adoption wars". Another child treated "differently"... another child who fell victim to the idea of "adoption.. its a loving option" mentality. Another child who had to deal with the reality of adoption. What is sadder is stories like Russ's aren't even uncommon. I often wonder..... what fairy tale did they tell his birth mother? Did they tell her he would go to a nice, upper middle class home where he would be well cared for? Would she even care about the reality of what her son had to face?
I admit, not looking like everyone else in the family is difficult. Its not just the color of the skin. Adoptees go through life NOT KNOWING. Of not CONNECTING. For people who are raised with their biological parents, this doesn't sound like a big deal. They grow up knowing whose big feet they have, where they got that weird nose, why they are musically talented. Biological families take this simple information for granted. For Adoptees, living without that knowledge, it IS a big deal. As I'm writing this, my daughter came out to show me how she can move her big toe in this really odd way and how she can twist her tongue. Weird and stupid information as it is, she knows she can twist her tongue that way because she inherited that from her mom and can move her toes like that from her dad. To adoptees, we don't take this for granted. We grow up not knowing where we got the abilities we have, why our hair is curly, who we got our brown eyes from. It doesn't sound important, but when you don't know the answers to those simple questions, it bothers you. Those of us from closed adoptions deal with that lack of knowledge every day. From the simple questions of "who do we look like" to the more complicated "what is our medical history", we deal with a lack of knowledge that biological kids don't even think about. We grow up without the connections to our past and out biological families that everyone else just KNOWS. Not only does it drive US nuts, our doctors hate it too.
For those of us that are adopted, lack of knowledge and connection to our biological families means we get treated different. By doctors, by peers, by society, by parents. Doctors are annoyed by us, because we can't give them accurate information about family histories. Society treats us as second class citizens. We are often denied security clearance for jobs because we don't have accurate birth records. We have been denied citizenship and passports because the records we do have access to have been falsified by the state. We are treated as permanent children by the state, not to be trusted with our own birth records. Our adoptive parents often expect us to be oh so grateful that they "rescued" us. Our peers are sometimes cruel, as the kids I went to school with were. Every day, we live with the knowledge that we started life as "someone else's child".
I know this sounds all negative and that I hate adoption. That couldn't be further from the truth. I think providing a child who does not have a loving, stable home with a safe place to grow up is a wonderful thing. But I see the reality of adoption. Its not warm and fuzzy with rainbows and unicorns. Its not what all those posters of "Adoption.. its a loving option" try to make it out to be. Instead, it is a reality that those of us who have been adopted have to deal with every day... and often, that reality is harsh.
So as I see these stories of adoption pop up in the press, I wince. Every time. So often, the people reporting these stories have no idea the effect these stories are having on those of us that for so long had no voice. In the future, I will be discussing the issues surrounding adoption not with an unbiased eye, but as someone who has walked that path. From the issues with the "adoption" of Veronica Brown to the problems with re-homing covered so nicely by Reuters News service.... I see them through the eyes of an adoptee. Its time OUR story was told, Its time OUR voices on this subject were heard.
And yes... all these years later... I still wonder about Russ.