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.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Adoption's Consequences to Adopted Child's Psychological Wellbeing
ADOPTEE RAGE! Adoption's Consequences to Adopted Child's Psychological Wellbeing ______________________________________________________________ Journal Issue: Adoption Volume 3 Number 1 Spring 1993
Psychological and Emotional Effects of the Closed System
Our decades of experience in counseling individuals affected by adoption suggest that requiring anonymity between birthparents and adoptive parents and sealing all information about the birthparents from the adopted child has damaging effects on all three parties. These damaging effects are discussed below.
Effects on the Birthparents
Relinquishment of a newborn child may be profoundly damaging to birthparents and cause lifelong pain and suffering. Even when relinquishment is a carefully considered and chosen option, birthmothers—and often birthfathers—may suffer from a heightened sense of worthlessness after giving away a child. They may feel guilty about their actions. These birthparents may believe that their offspring will not understand the reasons for relinquishment and that these offspring will blame and hate their birthparents for rejecting and abandoning them. The birthparents may want their children to know that they continue to care about them and, in turn, may wish to learn about the kind of people their children have become. No matter how many children they may have subsequently, birthparents may still desire knowledge and contact with the one they gave up.6
In traditional closed adoptions, such knowledge and contact is not possible. Birthparents do not know who adopted their child, where he or she lives, or even whether the child is alive or dead. Even in so-called open placements where all parties know the identity of all other parties, birthparents often have no ongoing contact with the child. In these instances, birthparents may feel powerless. They have no knowledge of what is happening to their child and no opportunity to let the adoptive family know of significant events in their own lives.
Effects on the Adoptees
Adopted children also frequently suffer from the secrecy imposed in closed adoptions, particularly during adolescence when they often experience greater identity conflicts than members of the nonadopted population.7 The process of developing an individual identity is more complicated for adoptees because they live with the knowledge that an essential part of their personal history remains on the other side of the adoption barrier. In closed adoptions, any desire on the part of an adopted child to learn more about the birthparents is blocked, often leading to fantasies and distortions. Easily escalated, these may develop into more serious problems. In our studies, we described these adoption-related identity conflicts as resulting in "identity lacunae," which can lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, and low self-esteem.7 In addition, adoptees may experience a deep fear of loss and separation. Many adopted children feel that they were given away because there was something wrong with them from the beginning.
We observed that, in late adolescence, negative feelings and questions about being adopted increased. In young adulthood, plans for marriage may create an urgent desire for specific background information, particularly about family history. For adopted adult women, pregnancy and the birth of a child may raise fears of possible unknown hereditary problems. Becoming a parent may also trigger intense feelings in the adoptee toward his or her own birthmother. These feelings may include not only empathy for her difficult emotional situation, but also anger and disbelief that she could have given up her own child. The feelings frequently create a need in adoptees to search for birthparents and the hope for a reunion to bring together the broken connections from the past. Such a search, if undertaken, often is prolonged, painful, and fruitless.
Effects on the Adoptive Parents
Finally, closed adoption can also have negative psychological and emotional effects on the adoptive parents. With no knowledge of or contact with the birthparents, adoptive parents may find it difficult to think and talk about birthparents as real people. They may be unable to answer truthfully their adoptive children's inevitable questions about why they were given up, what their birthparents were like, and what happened to these parents in later life. The ghosts of the birthparents, inherent in the closed system, are ever present, and may lead to the fear that these parents will reclaim the child and that the child will love these parents more than the adoptive parents.
Lifelong Responsibilities of Birthparents, Adoptive Parents, and Adoptees
Relinquishment should not end the role of a birthparent. Birthmothers are responsible not only for providing careful and continuous nurturing before birth, but also for supplying ongoing emotional support to the adoptee following relinquishment. We know, from years of experience in counseling and psychotherapy of adoptees, that feelings of initial rejection and abandonment may cause emotional and psychological problems. Being told by an adoptive parent that one was given up out of love may be a poor palliative for children who feel that anyone who loved them would not have deserted them. Birthparents have a responsibility to let the children they relinquished know that they continue to care about them and are concerned about their well-being.
Birthparents can show this support for a child in many ways. A card, gift, letter, telephone call, or photograph each year on the child's birthday can demonstrate that the child's special day is important to the birthparent. Remembrances of this kind indicate that the child is not ignored, forgotten, or unloved.
Birthparents may feel that continued contact with their child and the adoptive family is painful and brings back difficult memories; however, birthparents need to understand how important they are to the well-being of their child. Other responsibilities and obligations include providing ongoing medical and social information and being available to both child and adoptive parents as needed.
Adoptive parents share in this obligation to help in the adjustment of the adoptee. Acknowledging that adoption is different from having a child born into the family is an important step toward being successful parents. Adoptive parents must accept the dual identity in their adopted child's life and recognize the continuing importance of the birthparents' contribution to their child's self-concept. Adoptive parents must realize that, no matter how compelling and understandable the facts surrounding the adoption are, the adoptive child may still feel rejected and unworthy. Adoptive parents must work in partnership with birthparents to provide the child with a healthy identity and self-image. To achieve this goal, the birthparents and adoptive parents must each respect the other's role in the child's life and feel comfortable with and trusting of one another. Prospective parents should not adopt unless they feel able to deal with all of the complexities inherent in this kind of parenting. Finally, adoptive parents have a continuing responsibility to share vital information about the child, such as descriptions of serious medical problems and news about a death in the family, with birthparents. Adoptive parents also should help maintain contact between the adopted child and siblings and other significant relatives.
In some ways, adoptees are the victims in the adoption triangle. Others made decisions for and about them. They had no role in being conceived, born, relinquished, and placed for adoption. However, as they move out of their childhood into maturity, they should assert certain rights and assume certain responsibilities. Adoptees who are growing up with knowledge of two sets of parents should be encouraged to gain knowledge about adoption and to explore ways of understanding their dual identity and its impact on them. Adoption is one aspect of their being which needs to be woven into the fabric of their lives.
Conclusion In conclusion, our decades of experience lead us to believe that open adoption is the best approach. It minimizes emotional and psychological harm, and it allows all parties to meet their continuing responsibilities to each other.There is, however, more to be done. More research on the effects of open adoption is needed. Also, we must be vigilant to potential abuses. Scanning want-ad columns in newspapers across the country or the Yellow Pages of phone books in any of the major cities reveals the extent to which adoption has become a business and the degree to which open adoption can be used to expand that business. Under the heading Adoption Services appear such statements as, "You can choose your child's parents." The possibility of open adoption is frequently used to encourage relinquishment, particularly with young teenagers who are led to believe that they will have all the benefits of knowing their babies with none of the risks or responsibilities. Deceit of this kind unfairly encourages relinquishment and offers promises that often are not kept after the adoption occurs.Thus, the central question today is not whether adoption shall be open or closed. Adoptive placements of older children are generally recognized as being open, and most infant adoptions now begin as open. Independent adoptions are predominantly open, and many agencies offer open adoption as an option. Rather, the challenge, in our view, is to ensure that open adoption continues to evolve in the best way possible. Every effort must be made to prevent abuse. The respective roles of birthparents, adoptive parents, and extended family in promoting the success of open adoption deserve careful consideration. However, in the final analysis, it is the adoptee whose well-being is central. Carefully designed, long-term studies are needed to investigate the impact of open adoption on adoptees more thoroughly and to generate recommendations for change and improvement.