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.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Poor Coping Skills of Adoptive Parent's Anger

ADOPTEE RAGE!

The Poor Coping Skills of Adoptive Parent's Anger
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When an individual is faced with personal inadequacy, they prefer the emotion of anger, to blame someone else instead.

The psychological law and theory of "Cognitive Dissonance" proves this point in every selfish action, self-serving behavior and emotionally scarring decision to act on impulse to punish another. 

The emotion of anger is a choice, No person can force another person to feel the emotion of anger. Although anger is preferred by most persons to feeling personally inadequate, which is a 
psychological blow to the individual's Ego.

"Emotional Regulation" is NOT verbally taught to children by their parents, It Is learned by the child watching his parent's reactions to life, situations and circumstances.

A child's behavior does not personally diminish their parent's sense of self for personal importance, value, or power. 

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Why Parent's Get Angry at their Kids
By Psychology Today Writer Steven Stosny, PhD

LINK:https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201508/why-parents-really-get-angry-their-kids


Those same little creatures who look like angels when they sleep can, without a moment's notice, cause headaches, jangled nerves, strained muscles, aching bones, and overloaded emotional circuits.
But there's one thing that even the most exuberant or obstinate of children cannot do: They can't make us angry.
To be sure, our children can make us feel inadequate as parents. But they can only seem to make us angry—and want to punish them—when we confuse feelings of inadequacy with failure. Most of our anger at our children manifests when we punish them for reminding us that we sometimes feel like failures as parents.


Feelings of Inadequacy Are Motivators
Before we know how to do anything, we feel inadequate doing it. The discomfort of feeling inadequate is an integral part of our motivation to learn how to perform the  task at hand. And few things are more satisfying than replacing feelings of inadequacy with a sense of competence or mastery. This is true of everything important that we learn to do, from reading and writing, to playing a sport, driving a car, or making love.
But there are few areas in which the motivational force of feeling inadequate is more important than in parenting. No child comes with a manual, and every child is unique. Feelings of inadequacy occur when we are jarred out of preconceived notions of what children need, what they should be like, or how they ought to respond to us.
The only thing that relieves the sense of inadequacy as a parent is focus on the individual needs of each child as separate from our ideas and feelings. Feelings of inadequacy force us to stop seeing the child as a source of emotion for us and, instead, allow the needs of the child to teach us to be good parents of that unique child. Anger occurs when we blame children for doing their part in the interaction—namely, making us feel inadequate.
Though it is a factor in all distressed parent-child interactions, misinterpreting feelings of inadequacy can take on a tragic dimension. For some people, a crying baby becomes a signal not of the child's needs but of the parent's abject failure. The inability to comfort a distressed baby, or at least to stop the crying, is the leading cause of child abuse, shaken-baby syndrome, and infanticide.
Why Anger Is a Problem in Families
An automatic response triggered whenever we feel threatened, anger is the most powerful of all emotional experiences. The only emotion that activates every muscle group and organ of the body, anger exists to mobilize the instinctual fight-or-flight response meant to protect us from predators. Of course, our children are not predators. Applying this survival-level fight or flight response to everyday problems of family life is like using a rock to turn off a lamp or a tank to repair a computer.
Is anyone really stupid enough to turn off a lamp with a rock? When angry, everybody is that stupid.
Anger has nothing to do with intelligence; it has everything to do with how vulnerable we feel. Psychological vulnerability depends a lot on how you feel about yourself. When genuine self-value (as opposed to inflated ego) is low, anything can make you irritable or angry. When self-value is high, the insults and frustrations of life just roll off your back.
For instance, if you've had a bad day, and you're feeling a little guilty, maybe even a little like a loser—or you're just feeling disregarded or devalued, you might come home to find your kid's shoes in the middle of the floor and think, "That lazy, selfish, inconsiderate little brat!"
Then, too, you can come home after a great day, feeling fine about yourself, see the same shoes in the middle of the floor, and think, "Oh, that's just Jimmy," and not think twice about it.
The difference in your reaction to the child's behavior lies entirely within you and depends completely on how you feel about yourself. In the first case, the child's behavior seems to diminish your sense of self, and in anger you punish him for doing it to you. In the second instance, the child's behavior does not diminish your sense of personal importance, value, power, or lovability. So there is no need for anger. You don't need a hammer to solve the problem of the shoes in the middle of the floor. Rather, the problem to be solved is how to teach the child to be more considerate; you won't do that by humiliating or scaring him with anger. His reaction to humiliation and fear will be the same as yours—an inability to see the other person's perspective, an overwhelming urge to blame, and an impulse for retaliation or punishment. Anger comes with two motivations—avoid or attack.
Can you think of a family problem that avoidance or attack will help?
Modeling Anger Regulation for Children
I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but if you haven't already noticed, your children do not learn emotional regulation from what you tell them. They learn bywatching you. Actually, all mammals learn through a process called modeling, wherein the juveniles mimic the adults.
Although their intellectual maturity is far less advanced than that of their parents, children experience anger for the same reasons—mostly to defend the sense of self from the pain of temporary diminishment. At the moment of anger, both children and adults feel bad about themselves. And making angry people feel worse about themselves will only make matters worse.
Children must learn to restore their sense of core value under stress. This means holding onto self-value when hurt or displeased, which helps them regulate the impulse for retaliation when they are angry. They will only learn this invaluable life skill by watching their parents.
EXCELLENT ARTICLE!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

"The Personal-Truth"

ADOPTEE RAGE!

The "Personal Truth" In Adoptee's 
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The Personal Truth.....Is not socially acceptable, It is 
unpleasant to many, Is uncomfortable to most and denied 
by all. As a personal truth belongs solely to the individual that 
constitutes their undeniable reality.

The Adoptee's personal Truth...They were forced abandoned, forced separated from their family and forced into a "Paper Orphan" status....which is not true.

The Adopted Child's True Identity was erased, discarded and hidden away from the child itself. The adopted child was given a false new identity, a new name is forced on the child and the child is forced to accept the new name, forced to identify with the new name....which is a lie.

The adopted child is forced to live the identity lie, 
Is forced to lie about who he is, Is taught to lie about
his true self...who the adopted child is, is a lie.

The adopted child is forced to assimilate into the 
"Adopted Child Role", to ACT and adapt to the adoptive parent's
 personality. The adopted child is forced to live in denial of his own unique personality, characteristics and attributes to survive his adoptive environment. 

The adopted child is punished and treated with hostility and indifference, when his true nature accidentally or infrequently emerges. The adopted child learns that his "Personal Truth" is bad. The adopted child is taught NOT to trust his true nature, his natural tendencies, talents, gifts or biological motivations. 

The adopted child plays the "adopted child role" throughout childhood, yet in adulthood he is a failure in his life and to his perception of his self. When he denies his true self he is lost forever without the recognition and acknowledgement of one's biological and genetic truths that constitute who he is. That which has been denied is the only path to define an individual.

The only path to healing for adult adoptees is to embrace what what was forbidden in childhood...To unlearn the denial and deny what was forced on them. The ambiguity that the adoptive parents showed when the adopted child showed his true nature is the clue. Why they did not like who the child truly is in their genetic truth, is due to the adoptive parents ignorance, selfishness, suspicion, stereotyping and why they vilify the adopted child's biological parents. The AP see the bio parent as bad people, sub-human, lower class and the enemy to the adoptive parent. When in truth the adoptive parent should be thankful, and most importantly humbled by them. The biological parents should be given the greatest degree of compassion to the biological parents of their adopted child, for their gift of parenting to the adoptive parents. In rare, selfless open adoptions that "remain open" throughout the adopted child's childhood, is in the best psychological and healthcare benefit to the adopted child's well-being.

The "universal truth" is that the adopted child IS their biological parents! When the adult adoptee cycles through reunion, reflection and digestion of information, good-bad-ugly, the biological truths begin to spill out and are instantly known to the adoptee. The things, personality, habits, likeness, awareness, biological behaviors, etc., that were suppressed in adopted childhood are instantly recognized, restored, awareness of and known to the adoptee. Of course it takes years to process a lifetime of suppressed, known and new information to be utilized and accepted within one's mind. The adoptee's answers sought were always available within the adoptee. When logical information is denied and suppressed, they are buried deep within our truths, layer by layer the adoptee's psyche does have unique gifts and benefits that the biological population is without. 

When we adoptees are ready, and not a moment before, we are psychologically capable of processing this adoption paradox but we need time....Alone, without any other's input, opinions, guilt-trips, influence, blackmail and my favorite "triangulation".

Thank You Very Little for distorting, neglecting and abusing my childhood perception, crippling my adult coping mechanisms and the psychological manipulation that is a constant struggle to forget or overcome...As I know IT WAS ALL A LIE, my life, my existence as well as my long tired acting skills performing "the adopted child role", I will resent this for the rest of my life. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Twin Study Proof of Genetics

ADOPTEE RAGE!

Twin Studies Proof of Genetics
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Twins Separated at Birth Reveal Staggering Influence of Genetics

Friday, January 8, 2016

Racism Transracial Adoption

ADOPTEE RAGE!

Racism In Transracial Adoption
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(This eloquently written article in part/link full article below)

The concept of transracial adoption is predicated upon the idea that we (the white adopters, in this case) have something that the parents of the children we are adopting lack. Most often, that thing is resources, a commodity we consider more important for happiness than familial closeness, culture, or community. More common than I’d ever imagined before entering the world of transracial adoption, though, is the belief that the thing white people have over people of color  is superiority in one or more areas: education, lifestyle, values, and the biggie in the community of people adopting from primarily black countries: salvation.
In both cases, there exists a deprecating tone of white rescue — the new colonialism.
The very belief that we should adopt in order to rescue those who we consider less-than is classist. When we pair that with the assumptions made about people because of the color of their skin, their culture, or what we think we know of their country, we land at the intersection of racism and classism, the epicenter of dysfunctional adoptions.
Versions of his attitude have followed us since our adoption process, primarily among parents who adopted from Haiti or other African and Caribbean nations. Message boards, yahoo groups, and adoption “camps” we sought for support were fecund with parents discussing the challenges they were having with their children in a way that indicated that those problems were products of their race and culture; not that they might be struggling with issues inherent in adoption and adjusting to a new culture, or that they might be troubled by poor parenting.
Many believed the behavioral issues they saw in their children were present only because they had not yet been fully stripped of their cultural identities.
What is perhaps less understood, though, is just how destructive the savior mindset is to adoptions in general, transracial adoptions in particular, and race relations overall.
This pervasive adoptive parenting theme, that one’s child needs saving, erodes both the parent-child bond and the child’s own sense of self. Essentially, albeit simplistically put, a child who already feels confused, different, and often alone is faced with the idea that something is so wrong with herself, her family of origin, and her culture that salvation is required.
Salvation.
Very little is more daunting to a child than the feeling that he is where he is because he needed to be saved. Not that his parents could not parent a child and so made the decision to place him for adoption; not that a family somewhere could parent a child at that time and chose to parent him; but that he was faulty, primarily spiritually, and needed to be saved.
Immediately, from the moment of adoption then, she is confronted with her own ill-perceived inferiority. She is not worthy. Her race and culture, her very life story are less-than.
He then grows up in a household that negates his observations that he is treated differently (to the negative) inside and outside of his home. His parents do not wrestle with how to prepare him for being a black adult in a society that often judges him by the color of his skin. They do not value who he is and from whence he came. They do not celebrate the details of his entry into this world. In fact, they belittle and demonize it, and by doing so, they belittle and demonize him.
If her parents justify their parenting by claiming that they do not see color, they render her invisible. Essentially, they negate the value in her skin, the story it tells of her country, her ancestors, her history, and her culture.
He grows into a black adult who has no voice, a black adult who has no identity, a black adult who believes at his core that he requires a white savior to function. That is to say, one less black adult to stand up against the injustices faced by people of color. One less black adult to fight for racial equality.

It is a cycle that was born out of and feeds into racism.
Read this full post at: mommymeansit.com/racism-in-adoption-community

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Origins of Shame

ADOPTEE RAGE!

The Origins of Shame
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The subject of shame, attachment failure and the infant-brain's 
"first year of life" is pivotal for destruction. The negligent mother intentionally cripples the infant brain, destroying future potential of an infant's future self.

Stimuli is needed and the infant's brain demands connective socialization with its mother. The infant's growing brain In the time (window of necessity) it is required by the infant for the infant's optimal child development that creates the future human brain. When the mother's attention is not primarily focused or intentionally negligent to her infant, related neurological development does not form to optimal capacity. The consequences of neglect in the "first year of life" resulting in the infant's irreversible brain damage by a mother's selfish inattention.

The Origins of Shame

"there's something necessary...that the human brain needs in terms of other human contact, for it to grow. It's a 'use it or lose it' situation. Cells that fire together, wire together. Cells that do not, die together." The idea is related to the notion of critical periods: organisms have a heightened sensitivity to certain environmental sitimuli during specific periods of their development. If the organism does not receive appropriate stimuli during this critical period, it may never develop certain functions, or develop them with great difficulty or in limited ways.
So what is Schore telling us? If an infant doesn't receive the kind of emotional interactions it needs from its caretakers during the early months of life, its brain won't develop normally. Certain neurons that should have interconnected will instead die. "Use it or lose it"—if you don't get what you need during those first two years, that experience will affect you for life. As my own client translates it, this means "brain damage." You might be able to modify that damage with a lot of hard work, but neuroplasticity has its limits. You will never be the person you might have been if you'd gotten what you needed during that critical period of emotional development.
A deeply sobering thought. You can call it what you like—bad parenting, failure of attunement, insecure attachment—but when things go wrong between parent and child in the first two years of life, you are permanently damaged by it in ways that cannot be entirely erased. The awareness that you are damaged, the felt knowledge that you didn't get what you needed and that as a result, your emotional development has been warped and stunted in profound ways—this is what I refer to as basic shame. The concept lies at the heart of the work I do.
Schore's view invalidates the simplistic theory that mental illness is the result of achemical imbalance in your brain(link is external). It's not that you lack sufficient serotonin in yourneural synapses; rather, the existence or lack of certain neurons, and the interconnections between them, has been permanently altered by failures of attachment during the first two years of life. You can't fix that with a drug. Cognitive-behavior therapy might teach you some useful techniques for coping with your damage but it won't make you into a different person. You'll never be just like the person who went through the emotional experiences she needed during that critical period.
LINK TO ARTICLE & VIDEO:

The YouTube video below was brought to my attention by a long-term client who also happens to be an excellent therapist and works extensively with concepts of shame in her own practice. It's fascinating, informative and provides a neurological basis for anunderstanding of the kind of shame that I write about. The primary lecturer, Allan Schore, and the other researchers don't discuss shame, in particular—they approach this topic from the perspective of attachment theory; but as you'll see, their explanation of neurological development in the infant helps us understand how an early and deep-seated shame(link is external) takes root.
You're no doubt familiar with the nature vs. nurture debate concerning the relative importance of heredity and the environment. Nowadays, the prevailing view seems to be that it's neither one nor the other but an interaction between the two that defines us. Even so, most people assume that you are born into the world with your complete genetic makeup and that you then interact with your environment. The primary lecturer in this video—Allan Schore, a member of the clinical faculty of the Department of Psychiatryand Behavioral Sciences at UCLA—challenges this view:
"One of the great fallacies that many scientists have is that everything that is before birth is genetic and that everything that is after birth is learned. This is not the case." He goes on to explain that there is much more genetic material in the brain at ten months than at birth. Only the brain stem or "primitive brain" is "well advanced" at birth; the rest of the brain continues to unfold and develop for the next two years as neurons become myelinated and interconnect. This development does not occur in an automatic and predetermined way; rather, it is powerfully affected by the environment, in particular by interactions and relationships with the primary caretakers.
It's a more nuanced view of the nature vs. nurture debate. Not only is it nature andnurture, as most of us already believe; an individual's particular genetic makeup (nature) also continues to evolve during the first two years of life under the influence of the environment (nurture). In other words, what happens to you, emotionally and psychologically, during those first two years, and especially in the first nine months of life, will powerfully influence your neurobiological development, determining how your brain takes shape in lasting ways. Most important among the brain parts that develop during these early months are those that involve the "emotional and social functioning of the child." And if those parts of the brain are to develop appropriately, "certain experiences are needed. Those experiences are embedded in the relationship between the caretaker and the infant."
At about the 5:45-minute mark in the video, Schore makes the following statement: "there's something necessary...that the human brain needs in terms of other human contact, for it to grow. It's a 'use it or lose it' situation. Cells that fire together, wire together. Cells that do not, die together." The idea is related to the notion of critical periods: organisms have a heightened sensitivity to certain environmental sitimuli during specific periods of their development. If the organism does not receive appropriate stimuli during this critical period, it may never develop certain functions, or develop them with great difficulty or in limited ways.
So what is Schore telling us? If an infant doesn't receive the kind of emotional interactions it needs from its caretakers during the early months of life, its brain won't develop normally. Certain neurons that should have interconnected will instead die. "Use it or lose it"—if you don't get what you need during those first two years, that experience will affect you for life. As my own client translates it, this means "brain damage." You might be able to modify that damage with a lot of hard work, but neuroplasticity has its limits. You will never be the person you might have been if you'd gotten what you needed during that critical period of emotional development.
A deeply sobering thought. You can call it what you like—bad parenting, failure of attunement, insecure attachment—but when things go wrong between parent and child in the first two years of life, you are permanently damaged by it in ways that cannot be entirely erased. The awareness that you are damaged, the felt knowledge that you didn't get what you needed and that as a result, your emotional development has been warped and stunted in profound ways—this is what I refer to as basic shame. The concept lies at the heart of the work I do.
Schore's view invalidates the simplistic theory that mental illness is the result of achemical imbalance in your brain(link is external). It's not that you lack sufficient serotonin in yourneural synapses; rather, the existence or lack of certain neurons, and the interconnections between them, has been permanently altered by failures of attachment during the first two years of life. You can't fix that with a drug. Cognitive-behavior therapy might teach you some useful techniques for coping with your damage but it won't make you into a different person. You'll never be just like the person who went through the emotional experiences she needed during that critical period.
Two other lecturers in this video link the experience of secure attachment during this critical period to the development of both a fundamental sense of self-esteem and the ability to feel empathy for others. The relationship to shame and narcissistic defenses against it is implicit. Either you get what you need from your caretakers during those early months and your brain develops in such a way that you have a fundamental self-confidence and security in the world; or you don't get what you need and the residue—the neurological damage—is basic shame. Either your caretakers are emotionally attuned to you and you develop (neurologically) the capacity to empathize with other people; or those caretakers let you down and as a result, your constant struggle for a sense of your own worth and importance powerfully limits your ability to empathize with other people.
Near the end of the video, Schore stresses the importance of joy in the attachment experience—that is, the infant's attunement with its mother in the experience of her joy and interest in her baby is crucial for optimal development. If you don't have that experience, if you don't feel that your mother experiences joy in your presence and finds you beautiful—it will permanently damage your brain as it develops. In an earlier post(link is external)on my website, After Psychotherapy, I wrote that the baby whose mother doesn't adore it (or feel profound joy and interest in her baby) "never gets over it, not really." Now I can say why: it's because the neurological development of its brain was permanently altered by the failure to get what was needed during the first year of life.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Adopted Suicide Reality

ADOPTEE RAGE!

Adopted Children Adult Adoptee's and Suicide Reality
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What ever blame society wants to label adopted suicide, Adoptee Suicides are a reality that suicidal thoughts has a persistent place in the mind of the adopted, weather we act on them, threaten others with or silently suffer with. I have attempted suicide three times without telling anyone, and fortunately kept waking up alive. The first time I acted on this ever present reality that came so naturally when the threat of punishment was realized the only answer that came to my mind at thirteen years old was to grab the 38 handgun and end my life....or face the wrath of my adoptive mother for sneaking out.
Looking back I see the thought process of a child versus the fear instilled by irrational adoptive parents created my irrational reaction, that I'd rather end my life than face their inflated crazed anger toward me. I am glad that I did not pull the trigger that day when I was thirteen years old, I put the gun back in the drawer and nobody ever knew the constant threat of a quick answer to my miserable adopted existence. The end to the suffering has too easy of an answer to me, except when my heart stopped, I consciously suffocated to death and died for 
"4 1/2 minutes" that changed my thinking about suicide and gave me freedom from the fear of death and a new reality for the spiritual consequences of taking one's own life....

Huffington Post's Excellent Article
LINK:www.huffingtonpost.com/mirah-riben/toward-preventing-adoptio_b_8127882.html

Attempted suicide is more common among adolescents who live with adoptive parents than among adolescents who live with biological parents. The association persists after adjusting for depression and aggression and is not explained by impulsivity as measured by a self-reported tendency to make decisions quickly. (Slap, et al., Pediatrics, Vol 108, No. 2, August 1, 2001.)
Adopted people are, in fact, four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-adoptees:
The odds of a reported suicide attempt were 4 times greater in adoptees compared with nonadoptees (odds ratio: 4.23). After adjustment for factors associated with suicidal behavior, the odds of reporting a suicide attempt were reduced but remained significantly elevated (odds ratio: 3.70). (Keyes, et al., Pediatrics online, Sept. 9, 2013)
In addition, a Swedish study found international adoptees were more likely than other Swedish-born children to attempt and to die from suicide (odds ratio 3.6, 95% CI 2.1-5.9); attempt suicide.
The adoption-suicide connection is too often excluded from discussions and scholarly discourse about suicide or about adoption. Maureen McCauley Evans, M.A., an adoptive parent working in the adoption field, notes that:
"Talking about suicide is hard and uncomfortable. Talking about it in connection with adoption - which often has much joy but is more complex than people realize - is challenging."
It's also a difficult topic within the adoption community because adoptees take great umbrage at studies that seem to "pathologize" them. The statistics, however, that indicate adoptees far outnumber non-adopted youth in all types of treatment facilities, for instance, do not cast blame on the adoptees, but on the institution of adoption, and more specifically on the separation that precedes the placement. 

The fact is that 4.5 percent of adopted individuals have problems with drug abuse, compared with 2.9 percent of the general population. Sharon Burns-Carter, a certified addiction counselor, facilitates recovery groups at the Wellness Resource Center in Boca Raton, Florida, which she co-founded. Her experience of up to one-half of clients being adopted is common among those who work with such populations and is a far higher a percentage than the mere 2% of the population who are adopted.
Despite what adoptive parents are told and hope for, no matter how loving and nurturing an adoptive parent, no matter how deeply loved an adopted child may be, many adoptees, such as Pamela A. Karanova, say that "Love is not all we need."
"So what does it feel like to be adopted? A weird amalgamation of rejection and acceptance. Someone's trash is someone else's treasure... It's been difficult for me to accept that my parents actually love me, and that they're not just putting me on a shelf somewhere to gawk at and to call their own. I'm still figuring it out."
The Adoption-Suicide Connection 

McCauley Evans describes three reasons for the disproportionately high percentage of adoptee suicides: 1) Adoption - or more precisely the separation from one's mother - is a trauma. 2) Adoptees lack a complete and accurate, up-to-date medical history which may include depression, or even suicide. 3) Adoptees don't want to upset their adoptive parents with concerns about depression or anything that could be seen as ingratitude, including normal, healthy curiosity about their roots.
Elle Cuardaigh adds to these factors a less tangible, less obvious, and at the same time deeper root cause of adoptee sadness that leads in too many cases to taking their own lives. Elle is an adoptee who has an "inside track" on the phenomenon, having (she says) "pondered suicide" herself:
"We weren't born, so death is of no consequence.
"There is a certain detachment to adoption. Being 'chosen' rather than 'born to' does it. Because we did not arrive by natural means, and so much mystery (or outright lies) are our baggage, we often feel not only that we do not fit in, but that we are disposable. That's the thing about being chosen, you can be unchosen. And some adoptees aren't going to wait for the dismissal; they are going to finally take control of their life by ending it."
Elle felt death was of no consequence because she felt as if she had never been born, having not been born into the family who raised her. Harris Sockel shares another reason why life is more precarious and death more easily anticipated for an adoptee, writing:


"I have no clue re: diseases that run in my family; I might drop dead in ten years from a heart attack or some obscure cancer."
What Elle calls detachment, I have described as a feeling of disconnect, not just from one's family of origin and cultural heritage, but from humankind, having no one who mirrors you while growing up to form a sense of identity and self-worth. Many adoptees describe intense feelings that arise when a child is born to them as a result of seeing someone biologically and genetically connected to them for the first time.
Adoptees often express feeling alien, or as if they were "hatched," not born. An adoptee identified only as Quora, placed weeks after birth, described a feeling of "other- worldliness." Quora writes:
"As an adopted child, I have always had a sense of never really belonging anywhere. ... A sense of transience. I lack the security of being able to look at those around me and think 'he has my nose', 'I have her eyes', 'we all look alike'.
"For those well-rooted in their families, tied by a common bond, that is probably a difficult concept to understand.
"Tonight, being adopted has made me feel too different, more isolated."
Adoptees also lack a recognizable source for personality traits, temperament, and abilities. It's difficult to feel connected without knowing where you inherited your love of playing music, or curly hair, or shyness, or why everyone in your family is athletic but you.
In addition to detachment and disconnect, Elle writes of being disposable. When one's parents and heritage have been treated as disposable and interchangeable, why not feel that way about yourself? If you were given away once, why wouldn't you logically fear you could be again?
For some, the loss inherent in having been transplanted is on a far back burner, and they have the resilience and temperament to lead perfectly happy lives. Some choose to simply accept that their adoptive family is the only family they need and dismiss any curiosity as unimportant, often out of a deep-seated fear of rejection, described by Linette, a 29-year-old member of AA in Oakland, California, as a "deficit of being given away." When people in her life leave, she feels panicked, saying: "I think the base of my existence is this abandonment and fear."
After all, if the parents who brought me into this world didn't want me then, why would they want me now? Wondering why their mothers haven't come looking for them can haunt some adoptees even when logic tells them that to do so would be very difficult, if not impossible, for a mother from a developing country, for instance. Others struggle to come to grips with a paper trail that ends with the word abandoned, which may or may not be true, as many victims of trafficking are labeled in this way.
This past month, two 12-year-old boys, both adopted from Ethiopia, and living in different states, took their lives. I join McCauley Evans in calling all who work in adoption and all who see adoptees in treatment settings "to make suicide awareness and prevention - especially as it relates to adoptees - a fundamental part of their training" and services.
If you love someone who is adopted, be aware of this risk factor. The best thing we can do for our adopted children, friends, siblings, and spouses is listen and validate their sadness as a normal and natural need to know why.
Read all the books and blogs by adoptees you can find. Read "10 Things Adoptees Want You to Know" "10 Keys to Healing Trauma in the Adopted Child."
If your adopted child's family is known to you, or if you might be able to find out, put aside fears of alienation of affection and open your adoption for the sake of your child. It could be the best, most important gift you can ever give him. Many adoptees experience a feeling of wholeness and peace upon reconnecting with their origins.
Search and reunion - even when "successful" - usually come too late in life for adolescents, who are at highest risk, and cannot undo the harm caused by a lifetime of loss, pain, and trauma. Finding answers, filling in the missing puzzle pieces, and replacing fantasy with truth can heal; though it cannot cure. For those who have held onto magical thinking about a reunion fixing all the problems of their lives, it can be anti-climactic.
Adoptive parents can also help by avoiding "chosen" stories or telling young children that their first mother loved them so much she gave them to their new parents - either can lead many children to fear being given away again. "Gotcha Day" celebrations can also be painful, as can events like large family reunions, weddings, and births. Words like "lucky," "rescued," or "saved" place an undue obligation on a person who did not ask to be removed or to fulfill his parents' desire for a family. No matter how subtle or unspoken the message, no child should feel expected to be grateful for having been adopted. Nor should adopted children be made to feel disgruntled or bitter for having a very natural human interest in their roots.
A 13-year-old adoptee named Jess describes feeling "kind of lost" and experiencing a crippling fear of rejection. Jess feels "painfully conscious of an invisible line dividing her from family, friends and colleagues" which sadly makes her feel guilty because she had a "wonderful upbringing and amazing parents."
Some adoptees today become aware of a bigger geopolitical picture of rampant corruption and trafficking for, adoption. Recognizing that every adoption begins with a tragedy - that families in need fail to be helped, and instead are exploited as a source of children as a commodity in great demand - is disheartening.
As McCauley Evans has said, adoptees need to feel that they have "permission" to talk about their feelings and that it is safe to ask any questions about their genealogy without hurting their adoptive parents and risking being rejected, again, or feeling "disloyal." Adoptive parents need to create an open atmosphere, letting their children know that it is OK for them to wonder and question, or to feel and express anger.
Adopted children come with an underlying primal wound resulting from loss and grief with no ritual mourning or recognition. Feelings of abandonment and rejection are exacerbated by lack of recognition, according to Nancy Verrier, author of Primal Wound.
Lack of questioning is not an indication of being well-adjustment or lacking curiosity. An adopted child, adolescent, or young adult may be suppressing feelings or simply afraid to hurt his adoptive family. Wise adoptive parents initiate "The Talk," as did the mother who observed her son gazing into the mirror and casually said: "I bet you wonder who you look like. I do."
Mothers who have lost children to adoption can help by being available and accepting of their offspring who find them and providing the answers they seek. Support groups such as Concerned United Birthparents (CUB) can help found mothers overcome feelings of shame and guilt and assist them with "coming out" to their husbands and subsequent children.
The best way to prevent adoptee suicide is to accept that your child comes into your family with an existing family and, very possibly, with grief over losing them. Honor her grief, encourage him to verbalize his anger, and embrace their kin despite your fear.