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.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Emotional suppression Conditioning Adopted Child

Emotional Suppression of Adopted Replacement Child

On a daily basis, the adoptive mother displayed indifference, distrust and annoyance toward the adopted replacement child. Everyday in my adopted childhood, my adoptive mother's expected hostility toward me caused me to feel constant fear of her presence. As a young child I would wake each morning always remembering to be "so quiet", not to make noise and never to make a breakfast mess that would trigger her yelling. On many Saturday mornings when my (adoptive mom's son) brother was awake we sometimes played in his room with his Hot Wheels as we would talk or laugh too loud, mother would aggressively get out of bed stomping her feet the entire way to his bedroom door.
We knew we were in big trouble if she actually got out of bed, usually she would scream at us from her bedroom to "shut up".
Enraged at us she stormed in to his room, slamming open the door and grabbing the hot-wheel track to spank us. My brother would say it was all my fault and I would get the majority of mother's hostility all day, yet the punishment was a shared experience so it was not as bad. The sound provoking anger that gets my adoptive mother out of her coffin bed to punish my little kid behavior was my own chronic problem. My adoptive mother stayed up late and slept in late everyday, so I basically had the house to myself as a small child to play and feed myself as my mom did not often cook meals. When she finally did wake from the dead, I was always on edge and would leave the living room tv for seclusion behind my bedroom door sanctuary. What I was taught early in my life is that my adoptive mom has her own life, has her own hobbies and things where I hinder her freedom. I knew better than to cry, talk without being spoken to and never allow my feelings to show or I might be slapped in the face. My feelings, needs and desires were of no interest to adoptive mother as she would remind me to keep my mouth shut or she would shit it with her fist. The conditioning I received included emotional suppression, where I learned to hold in my cries, sadness and disappointment by threat of being struck in my face. This conditioning still exists today forty years later as I continue to automatically hold in any reaction refusing to be at the mercy of other people's lack of emotional control. Yet I have poor to none of the emotional regulation skills that most competent adults possess. This is my downfall as I am filled with anxiety & dread over ordinary events where I won't react verbally yet begin shaking or turning red in the face. I lack normal interpersonal relationship skills that others use with ease as the hardest thing in my adult lives was dealing emotionally with my own children and there I failed miserably. The psychological experts say that the child's personality is created forever by the age of six, as I am stuck with my punishment based childhood conditioning dreading the next punishment although now as an adult it does not happen.  
 prolonged and reliable discontent distress 

Child Death Similarity Adopted Children Not Given Same Acknowledgment

Child Death Similarity
Adopted Child Not Given Similar Acknowledgment
The death of a baby is a violation of expectations. Most parents naturally assume that a healthy baby will be born, and if sick, the baby will survive. We believe that if "we do all the right things" during pregnancy, even in preparation for pregnancy, and after, a healthy baby is a guarantee.
The death of a baby is a profound loss that often others don't acknowledge or even realize. Attachment to a baby may begin before conception. Parents fantasize about the future with their child. The loss of the baby involves never getting to know the baby, the way that others know people. The hopes and dreams for the child have already been a part of your life. Not only is the baby lost, but so is the chance to see the child grow and become a vital part of the family. Some parents feel responsible for what happened. Some parents talk about a sense of failure, guilt and self doubt. Mothers tend to feel principally responsible. Some feel angry at their body's betrayal or guilty about what they did or didn't do. Some feel angry at other women who have healthy babies.
There is a loss of social support present with the death of a baby. Unfortunately friends and family often don't understand the depth of the loss. Death is not a popular topic and many avoid it at all cost. Most have no idea what to say to someone who has lost a parent or spouse, let alone a child. Often parents talk about their feelings of loneliness and isolation and feeling that they are the only ones who care.
Remember: People don't expect babies to die, so this is a violation of expectations.  Many people find death tough to talk about. Many don't recognize the depth of the loss of a baby. A lack of mourning rituals and a lack of family and friend support can make a parent feel desperately lonely with grief.  In spite of these issues, a parent can grieve and survive the death of their baby. Know that you are not alone.   

Replacement Adopted Children

Replacement Adopted Children

Replacement Children

When a family suffers the death of a child, the reverberations can extend beyond the immediate period of bereavement. When a child is born into a family that has suffered such a loss, there is concern that the new child might be compromised in his or her development. Such a baby is often described as a "replacement child," a substitute or replacement for the child who died. This baby is thought to be at risk for later psychological difficulties because of an inability to form an identity separate from the dead child. It is thought that parents who are unable to fully and completely mourn the death of their child may compromise a subsequent child's mental health by imbuing that child with the qualities and characteristics of the dead sibling and by continuing to mourn the earlier death.

Parental Bereavement

The death of a child is among the most profound losses that an individual can suffer, and the resulting grief can be especially intense and prolonged. This is in part due to the uniqueness of the parent-child relationship. From the moment of conception, the parents fantasize about the child-to-be, investing in him or her their hopes and dreams for the future. Parents see themselves in their children, and when the child dies, it is as if a part of the parent dies, too. Parents also feel acutely the loss of the parenting role when their children die. The social role of parent, which can begin at conception, is an important organizer of time, activity, and identity. The loss of the parental role often challenges the parent's sense of meaning or purpose in life. The death of a child also changes the nature and composition of the family constellation and alters the family story.
Parents cope with the death of a child in multiple ways. Often, particularly when the death occurs during or shortly after birth, parents express the desire to have another child. They feel a strong need to fulfill the expectations created by the previous pregnancy and assume the parenting role. When the child that dies is older, parents may feel the need to fulfill the expectations, hopes, and dreams engendered by the dead child.

The Replacement Child As a Clinical Phenomenon

There has been much concern in mental health literature about families inadvertently creating replacement children. This phenomenon was first described in a 1964 paper by Albert and Barbara Cain, who reported on six families receiving psychiatric treatment following the death of a child or adolescent and the birth of a subsequent child who later developed psychiatric problems. This clinically important paper led to the prominence of the term replacement child in the mental health field. The parents in the Cain and Cain study were characterized by intense idealization and investment in the dead child, maternal personality dysfunction that predated the child's birth, and a history of losses in the mother's own childhood. The parents were restrictive and overprotective, and the children were fearful, anxious, morbidly preoccupied with death, and lacking in self-esteem. The authors of this study warned that parents should not have another child until they have had the opportunity to completely mourn the death of their child.
Although Cain and Cain note that the replacement of a child who dies at birth or in infancy is less likely to be complicated by confused identifications and comparisons with siblings, other clinicians suggest there may be some risk when a child dies at or near birth as well. In this case, the parents' experience with their baby is very limited. They have few memories to mourn and instead must mourn the wishes and expectations that they held for the child. The baby remains an abstraction even after the death.
The replacement-child concept has influenced contemporary obstetric and neonatal caregiving practice. When a child dies during the perinatal period (at or near birth), parents are encouraged to have contact with the dead baby, including holding and naming him or her, taking pictures, and making memories. It is suggested that parents who have these experiences are better able to grieve the loss, can separate the real baby from the fantasy image they hold, and thus may be better able to parent a subsequent child. Medical personnel have often counseled parents who have experienced perinatal loss to wait before attempting subsequent pregnancies in order to grieve fully for the dead child.

Research into Parents' Opinions

There is a considerable body of psychiatric case studies on the pathology of the replacement child. Studies that solicit parents' opinions suggest that giving birth after the death of a child may be helpful to the parents and help families grow through loss. One researcher found that recently bereaved parents experienced their loss as a void or hole in the family. For some parents, the decision to have another child provides a reason to begin living again. Although parents indicate that they could not replace the dead child, many want another child of the same sex as soon as possible and often give the subsequent child a name that resembles that of the dead child.
It is important to directly assess the psychological functioning of children born subsequent to parental bereavement. Parental attitudes toward the decision to have other children, parental beliefs about practices, and parents' interpretation of the family structure directly and indirectly affect child mental health. Parental interpretations of the family constellation and stories about family life determine family practices and, through these practices, child development. Family stories give meaning to the past and direction to the future, shaping subsequent development.

What Family Practices Say about Subsequent Children

By listening to and analyzing the stories of parents who have lost children at or near birth and who have gone on to have subsequent children, it is apparent that many parents do not replace the dead child with a child born later. Some parents continue to represent their family as including their deceased child and maintain an imagined relationship with the dead child that is separate and apart from their relationship with their living children. Other parents continue for years to feel the death of their child as a hole or void in the family constellation. Other parents may, in fact, fill in the gap in the family with a newborn "replacement child." Many parents continue to remember and pay homage to their dead child long past the initial mourning period. None of these arrangements or representations of family are necessarily pathological.

Theoretical Constructions of Grief and the Replacement Child: Stage Models

Concerns about the risk of having a replacement child are derived from a stage model of grieving. This way of understanding grief suggests that there is a typical pathway through grief and a "good" and "bad" way to grieve. The "good" way consists of moving from a period of shock or denial, through an intensely painful period during which the deceased is acutely missed and the bereaved may feel guilty and angry as well as sad, followed by a period of grief resolution characterized by changed or diminished attachment to the deceased, loosened emotional bonds, reinvestment in the social world, and return to preloss levels of functioning. A "bad" way would include denial of the loss or premature focus on moving forward. Cain and Cain note that the replacement children in their study represent a "pseudoresolution" of mourning because there is a denial of loss and a retention of intense emotional ties to the dead child.

Meaning Reconstruction

Some psychologists suggest that the grieving is a means of reconstructing meaning in the face of a world that has irrevocably changed. Making meaning is, of course, highly personal, and the meanings a grieving individual creates are unique. Hence there is no universal path through grief, and no practice (i.e., replacing a child) can be prescribed or be considered detrimental on its face. Rather, the place the child holds in the family story and the meanings the parents ascribe to the dead child and the surviving and subsequent children require individual assessment. Further, contemporary models of grief note the commonality and normalcy of maintaining continuing bonds to the deceased. Thus, a continued relationship with the dead child, considered pathological in the Cain and Cain study, is increasingly noted as common practice and one that does not necessarily interfere with the growth and development of surviving children.


While the replacement-child construct may have clinical utility, especially in cases where parents may have preexisting dysfunction and/or a significant history of losses, it seems clear that clinical axioms like "replacement child" do not do justice to the complexity of parental interpretations of the child and the family constellation. When parents are asked to describe how they coped with the loss of a child, and when families who have experienced the birth of a child subsequent to a loss describe their experiences, it becomes clear that there are many paths through this grief that do not result in the anticipated pathology. As caregivers for families who have experienced the death of a child, one must seek to understand the meaning of the dead child and subsequent children, and what those children represent to their families. Without listening closely to the stories that parents tell, mental health practitioners are in danger of assuming psychological risk when there may be none.
See also: Children Grief: Child' s Death, Family Grief Counseling and Therapy Mortality, Infant


 Bowlby, John. Attachment and Loss, Vol. 3: Loss: Sadness and Depression. New York: Basic Books, 1980.
Cain, Albert C., and Barbara S. Cain. "On Replacing a Child." Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry 3 (1964):443–456.
Grout, Leslie A., and Bronna D. Romanoff. "The Myth of the Replacement Child: Parents' Stories and Practices after Perinatal Death." Death Studies 24 (2000):93–113.
Johnson, Sherry. "Sexual Intimacy and Replacement Children after the Death of a Child." Omega: The Journal of Death and Dying 15 (1984):109–118.
Klass, Dennis, Phyllis R. Silverman, and Steven L. Nickman. Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis, 1996.
McClowery, S. G., E. B. Davies, K. A. May, E. J. Kulenkamp, and I. M. Martinson. "The Empty Space Phenomenon: The Process of Grief in the Bereaved Family." Death Studies 11 (1987):361–374.
Neimeyer, Robert A. Meaning Reconstruction and the Experience of Loss. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2001.
Rando, Therese A., ed. "Parental Bereavement: An Exception to the General Conceptualizations of Mourning." Parental Loss of a Child. Champaign, IL: Research Press, 1986.
Raphael, Beverly. The Anatomy of Bereavement. New York: Basic Books, 1983.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Psychological History of Adoption Psychopathy


The Psychological History of Adoption Psychopathy



Clothier. F. MD. 1943.
Clothier says in her paper in Mental Hygiene (1943). "Every adopted child at some point in his development, has been deprived of this primitive relationship with his mother. This trauma and the severing of the individual from his racial antecedents lie at the core of what is peculiar to the psychology of the adopted child.
The adopted child presents all the complications in social and emotional development in the own child. But the ego of the adopted child, in addition to all the demands made upon it, is called upon to compensate for the wound left by the loss of the biological mother".
The child who is placed with adoptive parents at or soon after birth misses the mutual and deeply satisfying mother and child relationship. The roots of which lie deep in the area of personality where the psychological and physiological are merged. Both for the child and the natural mother, that period is part of the biological sequence, and it is to be doubted whether the relationship of the child to it's post partum mother, in its subtler effects, can be replaced by even the best of substitute mothers.
But those subtle effects lie so deeply buried in the personality that, in the light of our present knowledge, we cannot evaluate them.
Clothier says: "We do know more about the trauma that an older baby suffers when he is separated from his mother with whom his relationship is no longer parasitic, but toward whom he has developed active social strivings".
For some children, and in some stages of development, the severing of a budding social relationship can cause irreparable harm. The childs willingness to sacrifice instinctive gratifications and infantile pleasures for the sake of a love relationship has proved a bitter disillusionment, and he may be reluctant to give himself into a love relationship again.
The child who is placed in infancy has the opportunity of passing through his oedipal development in relation to his adoptive parents without an interruption, that in the childs phantasy, may amount to the most severe of punishments.
Because of the love the baby has come to need to receive from his mother and to give to his mother, he accepts his first responsibility in life, namely toilet training. He gives up infantile sources of pleasure for the sake of his mother, who's love he wants to hold and whom he wants to please.
The child who lacks the motivation of a growing social and emotional relationship with a highly valued love object, does not accept training in a spirit of co-operation. If he accepts it at all, it is likely to be in response to fear of the consequences of wetting and soiling. Many children use persistent wetting and soiling as a method of expressing their antagonism to a mother with whom they have not experienced an early, satisfying love relationship.
Brisley. (1939) points out that the illegitimate baby (and this applies to the prospective candidate for adoption) is under abnormal pressure to "be good". This implies first being quiet and taking feeds well, and later, accepting toilet training at an early age. This emphasis Brisley suggests is a "contributing factor to the insecurity and feeling of aloneness which seems characteristic of the illegitimate child."
Clothier goes on to say, "that every child, whether living with his parents or with foster parents, has a recourse to phantasy when he finds himself frustrated, threatened or incapable of dominating his environment. For the adopted child it is not a phantasy that these parents with whom he lives with are not his parents, it is reality.
For the adopted child, the second set of parents are obviously the unknown lost real parents. His normal ambivalence will make use of this reality situation to focus his love impulses on one set of parents and his hate impulses on another. He finds an easy escape from the frustrations inherent in his home education by assuming the attitude that these, his adoptive parents, are his bad and wicked persecutors, whereas his dimly remembered own or foster parents, from whom he was 'stolen' are represented in his phantasy as the good parents to whom he owes his love and allegiance".



Marshall D.Schechter. M.D., Beverly Hills California.
In his paper on the Observations of Adopted Children.
In a series of cases seen by him the percentage of adopted children was 13.3 as compared with the national average of 0.134. This indicates a hundredfold increase of patients in this category compared with what could be expected in the general population.
Toussieng (April 1958) of the out patients and admissions service said that one third of all patients coming to the Menninger out patient clinic were adopted.
Schechter, goes on to say. The striking thing in most cases was that the feature of their adoptive status played a significant role in the underlying dynamics of the problem.
He observed in many of his case studies on adopted children symptoms relating to such things as fantasies and "acting out" regarding the real parents, i.e. their appearance, their names and killing and murder especially toward their real mother.
Observations also included outbursts toward the adoptive parents telling them they would not do as the parents say because they were not their real parents. He also goes on to say that adopted children suffer symptoms of depression, feelings of incompleteness, phobic fear of abandonment, anxiety, aloofness and distancing of them selves which made close relationships impossible.
Schechter also noted hyperactivity and unmanageability in children of a young age. He also observed,
particularly with one child, that it had relationships of the same quality with strangers as his parents, namely, superficial and dominated by a driving need to have his impulses satisfied immediately. The child could easily be comforted by a stranger as easily as by his mother.
In the behaviour of young adopted girls Schechter observed instances of such things as sex-play, exhibitionism, seductiveness and regression.
He also noted in cases of adopted boys, problems of lying, stealing, and lack of integration with others.
Schechter's observations of the adoptive parents were that often the adoptive mothers had intense feelings of inadequacy regarding their womanly functions that contributed to an over protectiveness to the children. These feelings also served as a constant reminder of her barrenness, stimulating her need to tell the story of "the chosen one".
Prior to adoption, some of these people had recognized emotional problems within themselves. Some had thought of the children as potential saviours of their marriage. Some felt that a child was essential to prove their masculinity.
Toussieng. (1958) commenting on the repetition of the story of adoption and of how "we picked you" suggests that the real parents did not want him and therefore were bad parents. Therefore, though the parents stress the wanting aspect they at the same time play the "abandonment theme".
The belief of "I'm no good: because my parents gave me away because I was no good and I am going to prove them right" is not uncommon in adoptive children.
In his comments Schechter reports we could see how the idea of adoption had woven itself into the framework of the childs personality configuration. It played a role in symptom formation and object relationships. It certainly had an effect in later development, giving the stamp of antisocial behaviour and that of a paranoidal system.
He summarises by stating " The patients in this paper do not have a fantasy about being adopted, they were adopted. Their daydream, which cannot be combated by denial, is the connection with their real parents. Who were they? What were they? Why did they give me up? Do I have any living relatives? What was my name, etc?
Clothier. (April;1943) states. A deep identification with our fore-bears as experienced originally in the mother-child relationship, gives us our most fundamental security. . . Every adopted child at some point in his development has been deprived of his primitive relationship with his mother. This trauma and the removal of the individual from his racial antecedent lie at the core of what is peculiar to the psychology of the adopted child.
Toussieng (1958) states; the adolescence of the adopted child seems to be a particularly difficult one because it is harder for adoptive adolescents to accept their rebellion against the adoptive parents, to give them up as love objects. Furthermore, I have now seen a number of cases in which children in adolescence start roaming around almost aimlessly, though some times they are seeking someone or some thing. They seem to be seeking the fantasised "good real parents".
Benedek (1938) presents an important concept regarding the development of confidence based on
mother-child relationship. This is the area so sensitive in these adopted children and which can be found to under-lie so many of their disturbances.


Dr. Povl W. Toussieng. M.D.
Dr Toussieng was a child psychiatrist at The Menninger Clinic Topeka, Kansas.
Dr Toussieng suggests that adopted children seem more prone to emotional disturbances than non-adopted children; he concludes that their conflicts are caused by their adoptive parents unresolved resistance to parenthood.
He says that in spite of careful screening of adopted children and their prospective parents prior to adoption, a disproportionately large percentage of these children eventually come to psychiatric or other professional attention because of emotional, educational or social problems.
The fact that sixty one percent of the first and only child in an adopting family were particularly prone to disturbances suggested that they should look elsewhere than in the children themselves for the factors contributing to later disturbances. The children presented at the Childrens Service tended to present many severe difficulties.
Toussieng also acknowledges that severe emotional disturbances and personality disorders are
over-represented among adopted children and that they may have severe emotional difficulties that may never come to the attention of professionals.
He points out that on reaching adulthood some children become obsessed with finding their real mother because they had revealed a feeling of never having been really attached to their adoptive family and never had the feeling of real belonging.
Toussieng refers to Deutsh (1945) where she discusses the influences of unconscious attitudes and conflicts on the abilities of the adoptive mother to be motherly toward their adopted children. She believes that an adoptive mothers failure to develop motherliness is the major cause of later disturbances in the child. They (the mothers) view the adopted child as narcissistic injury, as evidence that they themselves are damaged. The child in trying to identify with such parents may well acquire shaky and defective introjects.
Toussieng summarises by stating "children who have been adopted at an early age and/or who have not been exposed to psychological traumatization before adoption seem to be more prone to emotional disturbances than non-adopted children.



Michael Humphrey and Christopher Ounsted.
Michael Humphrey, M.A. B.Sc Principal Clinical Psychologist. Warneford and Park Hospitals.
Christopher Ounsted. D.M.,D.C.H., D.P.M., Consultant-in Charge Park Hospital for Children.
In a control group of 41 early age adoptees they distinguished the following symptoms. Emotional reactions (tantrums, negativism, jealousy). Enuresis, anxiety, disturbed social behaviour, aggression, withdrawl, stealing, cruelty, destructiveness, lying and encopresis.
They were impressed with finding out that one in two children adopted late had been stealing as compared to one in four children adopted at an early age. The action appeared in several cases to be expressly directed at the adoptive mother, either from a sense of rejection (in some cases well founded) or as an appeal for more individual attention. Sometimes the money would be spent on presents for friends in the hope of gaining popularity. Some of these children have stolen compulsively over a long period with no sign of remorse.
They found the adopted children suffered from varying degrees of parental deprivation, neglect, parental rejection or at the opposite extreme, over-indulgence, mental or physical illness sufficient to impair the quality of parental love, and jealously of a sibling born before or too soon after the adoption.



Schechter.M. Carlson.P.V. Simmons. J.Q. and Work. H.H.
In a paper submitted to the Childrens Bureau, US Department of Health Aug 1963.
The factor of adoption played a consistently important role in the genesis and perpetuation of the given
symptom picture. Two major hypotheses were suggested for the higher incidence of psychological disturbances in the adoptee. Firstly the adoptee may intra-physically continue a split between good and bad in his infantile object relations, since in reality he has two sets of parents. Secondly, the adoptive parent is often confused in his or her role due to unconscious guilts and hostilities and tends to project this disturbance backward into the heredity of the child i.e. the natural parents.
Phipps(1953) mentioned the tendency of parents to speak about the heredity of the child as the major causative factor in behavioural difficulties.
Lemon E.M. (1959) referred to the difficulty that the adopted individual has in dealing with communication concerning his adopted status with a resulting tendency to weave factual material together with much fantasied material in his thoughts as he seeks his natural parents.
They went on to say that these patients perceived their adoptive parents as inadequate especially with the setting of limits and viewed their natural parents as their adequate set of parents.
Livermore J. B (1961) suggests that the adoptees have specific problems in identification, since the adoptive mother constantly reactivates primitive unconscious fears that her own insides have been destroyed.
They summarised by saying. "We feel that we have offered substantial evidence from many sources that the non-relative adopted child may be more prone to emotional difficulties".



A statement from the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 1967.37 402. Mid-Fairfield Child Guidance Centre Norwalk Connecticut.
The number of adopted adolescent children who are referred to our centre and other centres is larger than their ratio in the general population. "We are impressed with the extent to which these children are pre-occupied with the theme of their adoption".
They go on to talk about the similarity of the traits and attitudes in these children which they refer to as the "Adoption Syndrome".



Dr Christopher Ounsted, MA, DM, MRCP, DCH, DPM.
Dr Ounsted states that in the late fifties it had become apparent to him and his colleagues at the Park Street Hospital for Children that they were seeing an unexpectedly large number of adopted children. Many of the children owed their disabilities either to some inate handicap or to defects in the structure of their families, such as having parents who were psychotic, inadequate, psychopathic, defective, or in some other way not able to fulfil their parental roles adequately.
Ounsted noted that of the symptoms of adopted patients, compulsive theft was more significant.



Henry Kemp. Archives of Diseases in Childhood (1971) states that some children may be more vulnerable to abuse than others. Among them are the hyperactive, the precocious, the premature, the stepchild and the adopted.



1974 Dr Triseliotis in his research paper on Identity and Adoption, gives examples of adoptees views on identity.
      1st adoptee,
            "I look in the mirror and cannot recognise myself".
      2nd adoptee,
            "I feel there is something about adoption that gives you a feeling of insecurity as regards just
            exactly who you are".
      3rd adoptee,
            "I feel that I am only a half a person, the other half obscured by my adoption".
      4th adoptee,
            "I never really felt I belonged. I feel empty and I find it difficult to make friends or be close to
            people. I have been hovering on the edge of a break down".

One of the main anxieties of adoptees is the fear of being different and somewhat set apart from the rest.
The adopted child has to gradually accept the loss of his natural parents and the "rejection" this implies. Yet he has to also accomodate a preferably positive image of the original set of parents and their genealogy in his developing self.
Children who are adopted into a different culture will still need to identify with aspects of their original heritage.



Bennett Olshaker, MD. In his paper "What shall We Tell the Kids", he notes that the adopted person has to contend with the feeling that he was abandoned, but we can try to help him in a positive manner by portraying his natural parents in a positive manner. He goes on to say that some adoptive parents may feel that their childs' parents were immoral for having a child out of wedlock. These sentiments create difficulties for the parents when the child has questions regarding sexual matters.



Harper.J.; Williams. S. 1976.
This was an investigation over a period of five years from 1969-1974 into 22 adopted children admitted into the childrens unit at North Ryde Psychiatric Centre. Six were referred at age eleven and over, three were referred before their fifth birthday and the remaining thirteen fell between five and ten years and eleven months.
Symptoms in the children ranged from depression, aggressive acting out behaviour to stealing. In some
instances stealing was a desperate attempt to buy friendship since the stolen money was to buy sweets and toys for peers. In other instances it seemed to compensate for the loss of the real mother by acquisition of material goods. In all cases it could be seen as a cry for help.
In some instances admission to the unit signals the relinquishing of parental responsibility as evidenced by eight cases where the child was made a ward of the state and placed in a child welfare home. A summary of the various outcomes indicated that they on the whole were unsatisfactory with one third settling back into their adoptive families with a positive prognosis and two thirds demonstrating a breakdown or possible breakdown in the adoptions.
Family trauma and parental pathology was investigated since it was felt that the stress of adoption could not alone account for the severity of symptoms and outcomes in the children. In terms of family trauma one mother and one father suicided after a history of depressive illness, one set of adoptive parents were murdered, two fathers were killed in car accidents with the adoptive child present and three fathers were unusually violent and aggressive men.
In seven cases, the mothers had a history of psychiatric illness prior to the adoption, including one with a schizophrenic illness. In the case of the seven mothers and three fathers for whom a psychiatric diagnosis was made after the adoption, one can only speculate on the degree to which extra-familial stresses and internal pressures contributed toward this decompensation.



Rickarby. G.A. Eagan. P. 1980.
Rickarby and Eagan say that in their and others studies, there has been consistent evidence of morbidity of various types in adopted adolescents. He states that adoptive families are four times more as likely as biological to seek help for their distress. Acting out, degrees of depression, identity crisis and special roles, (the bad one, the mad one, or the sick one) may constitute an adolescent's expression of a families dysfunction.
With the added issues of adoption, adolescent development crises become more difficult and the concomitant distress and behaviour exaggerated. These situations include the adolescent who is unable to communicate to others his frightening or idealized fantasies about his biological parents and who cannot readily accept the identity expected of him in his adoptive family and the adopted adolescent who is struggling to cope in a family beset by marital conflict or mental illness.
Cultural fables may have a destructive aspect on the adopted adolescents development. One such fable is "the chosen child". This is often a source of great anger to the child whose experience of his family has not been "good enough". His anger is directed at the adoptive parents because these people "chose him".
Another fable is that of "the poor child whose parents did not want him" and who was adopted by the bountiful parents to whom the child should be ever more grateful.



Silverman. M.A. 1985. Discusses in his paper that when adoptive status is foisted upon a child, the child is encumbered with so many problems that he or she is at risk of developing a host of psychological problems. This is particularly so if the child learns of his adoption at an early age.
These can be unhappiness, separation problems, difficulty knowing and learning, aggressive fantasies and acts, preoccupation with knives and other weapons, and his feelings of being deprived and robbed.
Adoptive status tends to affect multiple aspects of the developing personality. It interferes with the childs sense of security, the modulation of and channelling of the childs aggression, the development and resolution of the Oedipus complex, super-ego formation, and identity formation.
To lose a parent early in life, especially when there is a felt element of cruel rejection and desertion, as there tends to be when a child is told of adoption while still in the throes of "sadistic-anal" ambivalence and the hostile-dependent struggles of the reproachment crisis of separation-individuation, mobilizes in tense fear and rage. The rage at the abandoning parents is in part directed toward the adoptive parents.
In part the rage is turned back on the self, contributing to the fantasy that the child was abandoned by the original parents because he or she was bad, troublesome, greedy, and destructive.
Silverman goes on to say "nearly every adopted child or adult I have treated sooner or later has revealed the fantasy that the reason for the adoption was the biological mother died in childbirth, which tends to be depicted as a tearing, ripping, bloody, murderous affair in which the baby gains life by taking the life of the mother".
The adopted child not only needs to learn about pregnancy and childbirth to solve the mysteries of his or her origins, but also needs to find out if he or she is really a murderer! Adopted children often entertain the fantasy that the original father too has died.



Wilson. : Green. : Soth. : 1986. Report that many adopted adolescent patients in their hospital (10 out of 21) have received a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. This diagnosis, made official in the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3rd edition 1980), includes the following symptoms: impulsivity or unpredictability in areas that are potentially self damaging, a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships with idealization, devaluation and manipulation, inappropriate intense anger.
Identity disturbance was manifested by uncertainty about several issues relating to identity, intolerence of being alone, affective instability, physically self damaging acts, and chronic feelings of boredom and emptyness. It is theorised that this disorder arose because of deficits in early parenting experiences which did not enable the child to develop a core identity, so they didnt feel part of a fused dyad, which explains their fear of abandonment and intolerence of being alone.



Kirshner.D. Nagel.L. 1988.
Is there a distinct pattern of presenting behaviours and symptoms among adopted children and adolescents referred for psychotherapy? Some clinicians and clinical researchers whose day to day observations strongly suggest that such a pattern does, in fact exist. The senior author has observed extreme provocative, aggressive, antisocial, and delinquent conduct much more consistently among adoptees than their non-adopted counterparts.
Behind the recurrent behavioural and personality patterns there have emerged emotional and psychodynamic issues specifically linked to adoption.
Schecter, Carlson, Simmons, & Work (1964) looked at adopted and non-adopted children in a psychiatric setting and found a much greater occurrence of overt destructive acts and sexual acting-out among adoptees. Menlove (1965) used a similar sample and found significantly more aggressive symptomatology among adoptees. Although several predicted differences were significant, adoptees had significantly more hyperactivity, hostility, and negativism, and significantly more of them had passive-aggressive personalities.
What then is the adopted child syndrome? On the behaviourial level, it it is an antisocial pattern that usually includes pathological lying, stealing, and manipulativeness. Fire setting is sometimes seen and promiscuous behaviour is common.
Typically, the child seeks out delinquent, antisocial children or adults often of a lower economic class than the adoptive family. Provocative, disruptive behaviour is directed toward authority figures, notably teachers and parents. The child often threatens to run away, and in many cases repeatedly does so.
Truancy is common, as well as academic under-achievement and, in many cases there are significant learning problems. There is a typically shallow quality to the attachment formed by the child, and a general lack of meaningful relationships. The child reports feeling "different" and "empty".
Yet the parents of most children with the Adopted Child Syndrome 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.
The child, sensing his parents' insecurity and anxiety, is left to imagine what terrible truths they might be hiding. He feels an ominous pressure against voicing his feelings and curiosity. He senses that his adoptive parents would feel his interest in his birth parents was disloyal. He not only experiences a dread of the truth but also the stifling of his normal curiosity.



Treadwell Penny, talks about Dr F.H. Stone, former consultant in child psychiatry at the Royal Hospital for sick children in Glasgow. Writing about the problems of identity experienced in adolescence by adopted children,
Stone says:
"When there are emotional problems, really basic problems connected with identification, something is likely to happen. Instead of the young person playing roles, he may very actively take on a particular favoured role, which he proceeds to live, and this role tends often to be the least in favour with the parents or other adults who care for this young person.
And so we see again and again in our clinics the parents of teenagers who come to us in utter
despair and say `Not only are we worried about the child, but the very things we have always been most afraid of: thats what he is doing'. If it was drugs then it was drugs; if it was promiscuity it was promiscuity; if it was failure to learn then it was failure to learn".
Psychologist Erick Erickson. . . calls this a "negative identity". One can readily appreciate the relevance of this to the adoptive situation, because here we see the danger, in the confusion or embarrassment of explaining to the child about the natural mother or father, of denigrating them either as people who abandoned him, who did not care for him, or who had certain attributes of personality or behaviour. The danger here is that this will backlash, and later on, especially in adolescence, this is precisely the mode of behaviour which the child adopts in his "negative identity".



Robert.S. Andersen asks; "What then about the question as to why the adoptees are searching? This question can be paraphrased thus: "Why are you interested in your mother, your father, your sisters, brothers, grandparents, cousins, nieces, nephews, ancestry, history, aptitudes, liabilities - in short why are you interested in you?"
This is the tragedy, that adoptees more often than not do not feel justified in living life as it is, but have to come out with socially acceptable excuses to justify their interest, needs, and their lives.
They cannot be honest with themselves or others because the conflictual forces, external if in the form of "how could you do this to your adoptive parents", or internal if in the form of "she gave me up and I do not want to give her the satisfaction of knowing that it matters", interfere with the living of life from their own original position.
Searching, is not simply an intellectual activity for the adoptee. There is an emotional component as well, and it is my belief that this emotional component is the most important part. If one genuinely wonders why adoptees search, I think that a comprehensive answer must include the following: On one level, adoptees search so they might see, touch, and talk to their biological mother - the search is an effort to make contact with one's biological family. On a different level (the bottom line), it is something more than this. I think that the search is most fundamentally, an expression of the wish to undo the trauma of separation.
Adoptees either hope (unrealistically, but not necessarily unexpectantly) to relive the life that was lost at the time of the separation, or hope (more realistically) to heal the wound caused by the separation, and therefore provide a more solid base for their lives.



Kaplan.S.; Silverstein. D.:
   1.Loss: Adoption is created through loss. Without loss there can be no adoption.
   2.Rejection: One way people deal with loss is to figure out what they did was wrong so they can keep from having other losses. In doing this, people may conclude they suffered losses because they were unworthy of having whatever was lost. As a result they feel they were rejected.
   3.Guilt and shame: When people personalize a loss to the extent that they feel there is something
      intrinsically wrong with themselves that caused the loss, they often feel guilt that they did something wrong or feel shame that others may know. (Silverstein).
   4.Grief: Because adoption is seen as a problem solving event in which everyone gains, rather than an event in which loss is integral, it is difficult for adoptees, adoptive parents, and birthparents to grieve. There are no rituals to bury unborn children, roles, dead dreams and disconnected families.
   5.Identity: A person's identity is derived from who he is and what he is not. Adoption threatens a persons knowing of who he is, where he came from, and where he is going.
   6.Intimacy: People who are confused about their identity have difficulty getting close to anyone, Kaplan says. And people who have had significant loss in their lives may fear getting close to others because of the risk of experiencing loss again.
   7.Control: All those involved with adoption have been "forced to give up control" said Silverstein. Adoption is a second choice. There is a crisis who's resolution is adoption.



Unlike the adoptive mother the baby has experienced pregnancy. The child-in-the-womb has built up a a rhythmical biological bond with the woman who will not be his mother. Prenatal psychologists believe the adopted baby has to learn to separate from the mother he has known in-utro and form an attachment to the new set of parents. Some adoptive parents believe this too.
They feel that the newborn baby has already had intimate prenatal and birth experiences and possible
memories from which they are excluded. These parents interpret the babies cries or discomfort as pining for the birthmother's smell, her touch, the sound of her voice or naturally synchronized rhythmicity. Such hypersensitivity and fear of rejection by the the baby may reflect the adopting parents own unconfessed preferences for a "natural child" of their own.
Arrival of an adopted baby revives the sense of having "stolen" a child they were not entitled to have. In addition, fantasies about the babies unknown conceptual and genetic history contribute to difficulties in falling in love with the little stranger who is to be part of their lives.



Verrier Nancy, 1991, believes that during gestation a mother becomes uniquely sensitised to her baby. Donald Winnicot called this phenomenon, primary maternal preoccupation. He believed that toward the end of pregnancy, the mother develops a state of heightened sensitivity, which provides a setting for the infants constitution to begin to make itself evident, for the developmental tendencies to start to unfold and for the infant to experience spontaneous movement.
He stressed the mother alone knows what the baby could be feeling and what he needs, because everyone else is outside his experience.
The mothers hormonal, physiological, constitutional and emotional preparation provides the child with a security, which no one else can. There is a natural flow from the in-utro experience of the baby safely confined in the womb to that of the baby secure within the mothers arms, to the wanderings of the toddler who is secure in the mothers proximity to her. This security provides the child with a sense of rightness and wholeness of self.
For these babies and their mother, relinquishment and adoption are not concepts, they are experiences they can never fully recover from. A child can certainly attach to another care giver, but rather than a secure, serene feeling of oneness, the attachment is one in which the adoptive relationship may be what Bowlby has referred to as anxious attachment.
He noted that "provided there is one particular mother figure to who he can relate and who mothers him lovingly, he will in time take to and treat her as though she were almost his mother. That "almost" is the feeling expressed by the adoptive mothers who feel as if they had accepted the infant but the infant had not quite accepted them as mother.

The Adoption Denial


The Adoption Denial

The secrecy in an adoptive family, and the denial that the adoptive family is different builds dysfunction into it. "... while social workers and insecure adoptive parents have structured a family relationship that is based on dishonesty, evasions and exploitation. To believe that good relationships will develop on such a foundation is psychologically unsound" (Lawrence). As John Bradshaw, the well-renowned therapist, says, "A family is only as sick as its secrets."
#1.) Adoption's Secrecy erects barriers to forming a healthy identity. 
#2.) Sealed adoption records implicitly demands an extreme form of self-denial. 
#3.) There is no psychology school of psychotherapy which regards denial as a positive strategy in forming a sense of self and dealing with day-to-day realities. (Howard)
Adoption is a psychological burden to the adoptee. The effect of this burden is known, but the origin is confused. Secrecy plays a part in it, but Nancy Newton Verrier, Ph.D., sources the difficulties to the separation of the newborn from the biological mother.     The-Primal-Wound theory is the most recent and revealing work done on the effects of adoption on the adopted. In the author's own words, "I believe that the connection established during the nine months in utero is a profound connection, and it is my hypothesis that the severing of that connection in the original separation of the adopted child from the birth mother causes a primal or narcissistic wound, which affects the adoptee's sense of Self and often manifests in a sense of loss, basic mistrust, anxiety and depression, emotional and/or behavioral problems, and difficulties in future relationships with significant others (21).       " Verrier has been criticized for her work, but her response says it all, "The only people who can really judge this work, however, are those about whom it is written: the adoptees themselves. Only they, as they note their responses to what is written here, will really know in their deepest selves the validity of this work, the existence or nonexistence of the primal wound" (xvii).
Secrecy, denial, and the primal wound have all played a role in the effect adoption has on the adoptee, but there is still more. Having spent nearly eight years studying and working as a volunteer with over 1000 people affected by an adoption (nearly all adoptees and birthmothers); I have seen the effects of adoption.
Humans have a basic need to feel they are individually whole, yet part of a whole. For the adopted this can be difficult. Often adoptees feel they do not belong (Kirschner). It is very lonely and isolating to feel different from those you should feel the closest to, your family. Edin Lipinski, M.D., brings insight to these feelings:
In an existential sense, the past is as important to adopted people as their future. It is the present that is most troublesome. Not knowing where they fit into the spectrum of happenings is a great problem for them.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Abducted Child & Parent Similar to Adopted Child & Biological Mother Psychology

Abducted Child & Parent Similar to Adopted Child & Biological Mother Psychology
by Georgia K. Hilgeman, M.A.
Retired Executive Director and Founder, Vanished Children's Alliance
We see their faces smiling at us, pictures of missing children in our mail, on our television, and on posters in store windows and community bulletin boards. We have come to realize that many children are missing but we rarely learn what happens to them. On those few occasions when we do, headline news stories tell about a murdered child and a suspect being sought. Other times we rejoice when a child is found alive and is reunited with his or her family. In such cases we see, or imagine, visions of tearful reunions with hugs and kisses.

While we might wish for happy endings with reunited families living happily ever after, the truth is that the lives of abducted children and their families are forever changed.

Families where abduction has occurred may have experienced pre-stressors. Pre-stressors refer to the stress in these people’s lives before their children were abducted. When a child is abducted, the incredibly severe stress is then added to past stresses. Some typical pre-stressors might include: domestic violence, separation, divorce, child abuse, neglect, loss of a job or housing and financial insecurities. Couple the pre-stressors with the trauma of child abduction and you have parents and children in distress.

Let us look at one specific type of abduction, family abduction, which is generally perpetrated by one of the parents.

Family abduction lacks society’s recognition of its devastating and long-term impact. The public’s reaction to family abduction declares that the child is "fine." This is because he or she is with the other parent. They may believe the left behind parent must have deserved to have the child removed or that the matter is "just" a custody dispute between two battling parents. The public’s view of abducted children is defined by "stranger" abductions like Adam Walsh, Polly Klaas or Amber Swartz. Evidence clearly shows that the majority of abducted children are taken by family members.

Why do family members take children? Is it for love? Usually not, the typical motivation for family abduction is power, control, and revenge. These characteristics are also prevalent in domestic violence cases. In fact, family abduction is really a form of family violence. Some abductors may believe they are rescuing the child, but rarely do they resort to legal approaches for resolution. Some abductors are so narcissistic they do not have the ability to view their children as separate entities from themselves. These abductors believe since they hate the other parent, the child should as well. Sometimes abductors feel disenfranchised and have a culturally different perspective regarding child rearing and parenting. They may miss and want to return to their country of origin with the child.

Child victims are mostly between two and eleven years old; about 75% are six years old or younger. Two-thirds of the cases involve one child. The most common times for the abduction, detention, or concealment are January and August-thus coinciding with children's vacations and holidays (Finkelhor, et. al, 1990). Most child development experts agree that personality is formed prior to the age of six. Therefore, the abduction of a young child will have significant influence on whom he or she becomes. During the child's upbringing, hopes, wishes, fears and attitudes of the significant people around the child will more or less be adopted. The abductor influences a child's attitude toward themselves, other people, and the world in general.

Abducted children whose identities are changed may be told that the left-behind parent is dead or did not want them. Moving from place to place to avoid discovery, they are compelled to live like fugitives. They receive little or no medical care or schooling. These children are at risk, and society’s perception must be changed to recognize that the majority of family abduction victims live in dangerous and undesirable conditions.

The impact on child victims will differ. Each child is an individual with different reactions to the circumstance and with different coping styles. The impact will be affected by the pre-stressors in the child's life, the relationship the child has to the abductor as well as the relationship the child had with the left behind family and community. The child's age, character, how they were taken, length of time missing, what they were told, and their individual and cumulative experiences while abducted will also effect the child.

The left-behind family members, which include the parent(s), siblings, stepparents, step and half siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and others, will suffer as well.

Initially the left-behind family might experience shock and disbelief. They may have a rude awaking when the criminal justice response to a reported missing child is not all they might have expected when, from their point of view their child is "kidnaped." The family may have a support system or the family may consist of a left-behind parent with little support to cope with the emotions of fear, grief and loss. If the child is not returned quickly, the family is faced with a multitude of choices. Will they return to work? If not, how will they pay the bills? Should they hire a private investigator or psychic? Are they reliable? Could they get ripped off? They are emotionally distraught. They see their child's toys, clothing, room, playmates, or a child in the grocery store-all reminders of their missing child and fear of the unknown. They wonder when, if ever, they will see their child again. Convincing the authorities that the child might be in danger when taken by a family member is sometimes impossible, and usually leads to more anger, much of it turned inward, which contributes to depression. Some parents engage in their own investigations, which can be dangerous. Others try to get publicity. Some people turn to a religious belief while others feel abandoned and blame "God" for allowing their child's disappearance. Many people react with physical symptoms, which include sleep and eating disorders, headaches, and stomach aches. Many try to avoid their pain through the abuse of legal and illegal substances.

Time does not heal the wounds when the family remains in a state of limbo and left with uncertainty of what has happened to their child. Today we still hear about families who are searching for resolution to what happened to their loved ones who were considered missing in action in Vietnam some thirty years ago. Families need answers. Most searching families will, at some point learn the fate of their abducted children but the journey is grueling and often with no end in sight. Until the child's whereabouts are known and reunification has occurred, families cannot experience one of life's greatest gifts-joy. How can a parent ever be happy when he or she does not know the well being or the location of their child. Is the child dead or alive? Are they abused, hungry, cold or sick?

Time unfortunately provides additional triggers, reminders and pain: the child's birthday, the anniversary of the child’s disappearance and the holidays. It can be an emotional roller coaster for the parent when "sightings" or "leads" are received and don't materialize into an actual location and recovery.

The abducted child's siblings become forgotten victims. They have not only lost their brother or sister but in many ways their parent(s) too. Searching parents often put their focus and energy into finding the missing children and have little focus and energy left for the other children. Sometimes the siblings parent their parents. These children experience conflicting emotions. On one hand, they love and want their brothers and sisters back, and on the other hand, they are angry and resentful of the attention their brothers and sisters receive in absentia.

Families of abducted children experience serious emotional distress. The siblings appear to be forgotten, the families- history significantly influences how they handle this crisis (Hatcher, et. al, 1992) and the personality of young children who are abducted will be greatly impacted.

Most families live for the moment when they will be reunited with their children. When reunification occurs certainly one nightmare will end but it is not the end of the story.

How to Better Aid These Families

In an ideal world, community based multi-disciplinary teams would exist. These teams would include law enforcement, prosecutor, mental health, medical, missing children nonprofit, victim service and school personnel. A plan which addresses the needs of these families would be developed and implemented once a child was located and recovered.

Professionals should not disclose the actual location of a child or any lead information to the parent. A parent could go to the location and an altercation could ensue. Or a parent could disclose the information to someone who communicates with the abductor. The abductor could then disappear with the child once again.

Careful consideration should be given to where and when the recovery of the child will take place. 
When possible, recovering the child in the presence of the abducting parent should be avoided. A child who is recovered at the same time and place his or her parent is arrested can make the child feel angry and responsible. Perhaps the child could be recovered at school, at the day care center, or while with a babysitter or friend. The parent should be questioned or arrested when the child is not nearby.

Throughout the recovery process, the utmost concern should be given to the safety of the child. It is recommended that a child receive a medical exam as soon as possible. This could confirm or disprove allegations which are likely to be brought up by one of the parents later.

A trained facilitator should assist with the family and child's reunion. The facilitator should speak with the parent, family and the child separately to find out what beliefs and expectations each possesses. He or she can help each party to understand what the other is experiencing and provide suggestions on how to best interact when together. Personal items, such as favorite toys, blankets, home videos and pictures could be shared with the child by the recovering parent. Reunification should occur in a child friendly and safe location. The reunification of children with their families is a very private matter and an emotional experience. Controlling outsiders, such as the media, extended family and friends, is important. The child should not be overwhelmed during this critical bridge building time.

The child may not want to have anything to do with the recovering parent or family. He or she may have been led to believe the recovering parent is a monster or dead. Many abducted children have been taught to hate this parent. For the recovering parent and family this could be very upsetting. They have lived and hoped for this reunion day. Their lives have been placed on hold. They may have the fantasy where they will all embrace and live happily ever after. The parent and family know and understand the pain they have endured, and think the child might understand and have empathy. However, the child may be very confused, angry and afraid.

After the reunification, it is best for the family to try and establish normalcy. Children will test boundaries. These boundaries should be established in a loving and caring manner which help children develop a sense of security. Most of these children were taken by people who have difficulty with conventional boundaries and rules. Recovering parents will probably wish to shower their children with gifts and fun times, but boundaries and limits should be set early on. If they are not, these children could become difficult and may grow uncontrollable. Also, the other children in the household, already resentful of the attention and gifts the recovered child is receiving, could feel there are double standards and they may start acting out.

It is common to see regression in recovered children. They might go back to thumb sucking, bed wetting and baby-talk. These kids may have some very special needs. Some have not attended school and will have difficulty being placed in the proper classroom or educational settings. Some were not allowed to play with other children and lack social and developmental skills.

There will be triggers and strong emotions felt by these children. They may feel disloyal to the abducting parent, or resentful that their recovering parent did not come and get them right away. This type of victimization often leaves children with a strong inability to trust which they may incorporate in relationships throughout their lives. As they grow and want to "fit in" with their peers, many children feel shame. They do not want others to know they were abducted children. They do not want to be looked at or made to feel different.

The reunification of abducted children with their families is an important area of concern. Families need help and professionals need training on howto facilitate effective recoveries and reunifications.

While we have looked at the devastating effects this crime has on children and families, the resilience and strength of the human spirit should not be underestimated. With the proper help, understanding, and services that they desperately need, families and children can heal and become whole again.
Finkelhor, D., Hotaling G.T., and Sedlak, A. (1990). Missing Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children in American: First Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Hatcher, C., Barton, C., and Brooks, L. (1992). Families of Missing Children. Final Report to Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. San Francisco, CA: Center for the Study of Trauma, University of California–San Francisco.

Abducted Missing Children Same As Adopted Child Impacts


Abducted Missing Children Same As Adopted Child Impacts

With the news Jan 10 2017 of Kamiyah Mobley kidnapped in infancy found 18 years later, the center for missing children's website explains the same psychological impacts on biological mothers and their lost adopted children. The adult adoptee that seeks out their biological parents has the same impact as abducted children and their mothers. Read Below:
Psychological Impact of Abduction

One of the primary obstacles to the recovery of parentally abducted children is the general public’s perception that children are not at risk of harm if they are in the physical custody of a parent, even if the parent is an abductor. Even many law enforcement personnel view parental abduction as “civil in nature” and a private family matter that is best handled outside the realm of the criminal justice system (Girdner, 1994a).
This is a serious misperception. The experience of abduction can be emotionally traumatic to both children and left-behind parents. It is particularly damaging in cases in which force is used to carry out the abduction, the child is concealed, or the child is held for a long period of time. According to the NISMART data, parents reported that abductors used force in 14 percent of parental abductions and coercive threats or demands in 17 percent (Finkelhor, Hotaling, and Sedlak, 1990). Nationally, force was used in about 50,000 cases, and more than 60,000 cases involved threats or demands (Finkelhor, Hotaling, and Sedlak, 1990).
Left-Behind Parents
Greif and Hegar (1991) surveyed left-behind parents registered with a missing child organization and learned that left-behind parents experienced feelings of loss, rage, and impaired sleep. Half of these parents reported feelings of loneliness, fear, loss of appetite, or severe depression. Of this group, slightly more than 50 percent sought professional help to cope with the situation. One-fourth of the parents were treated for depression, and one-fourth were treated for anxiety and other problems.
Forehand et al. (1989) also found that parents of abducted children reported that their level of psychological disturbance was high during the period the child was missing and somewhat reduced once the child had been recovered. However, the stress and trauma of the experience did not necessarily end when the child was recovered. Many parents in this study related that their psychological distress was higher after reunification with their child than it had been prior to the abduction, possibly because of concerns about a reabduction and/or stress associated with the reunification. In a different study, Hatcher, Barton, and Brooks (1993) found that nearly three-fourths (73.1 percent) of the left-behind parents surveyed related having concerns that their child would be reabducted.3
Moreover, the abduction of a child can have a devastating effect upon the economic well-being of the left-behind parent, which in turn can increase the parent’s level of anxiety. Janvier, McCormick, and Donaldson (1990) found that the mean cost of searching for an abducted child was more than $8,000 in domestic cases and more than $27,000 in international cases. A study of international abductions found that parents spent an average of $33,500 to search for and try to recover an abducted child. More than half of parents across all income brackets reported spending as much as or more than their annual salaries in attempting to recover their children (Chiancone and Girdner, 2000).
Abducted Children
Agopian (1984) interviewed a small sample of five children to determine the impact of family abduction on their lives. He found that the degree of trauma they experienced was related to the age of the child at the time of the abduction, the treatment of the child by the abducting parent, the abduction’s duration, the child’s lifestyle during the abduction, and the support and therapy received by the child after recovery.
Few studies definitively examine how long abducted children are typically denied access to the left-behind parent. The NISMART study (Finkelhor, Hotaling, and Sedlak, 1990) found that four out of five abductions (including both broad-scope and policy-focal cases) lasted less than a week. Forehand et al. (1989) showed that in most of the 17 cases they reviewed, children had been gone between 3 and 7 months. The duration of abductions described in other literature ranges from several days (Schetky and Haller, 1983) to 3 years (Terr, 1983). Agopian’s (1984) research found that the length of separation from the left-behind parent greatly influenced the emotional impact on the abducted child. Generally, children held for shorter periods (less than a few weeks) did not give up the hope of being reunited with the other parent and, as a result, did not develop an intense loyalty to the abducting parent. These children were able to view the experience as a type of “adventure.”
Victims of long-term abductions, however, fared much worse. They were often deceived by the abducting parent and frequently moved to avoid being located. This nomadic, unstable lifestyle made it difficult for children to make friends and settle into school, if they attended at all. Over time, younger children could not easily remember the left-behind parent, which had serious repercussions when they were reunited. Older children felt angry and confused by the behavior of both parents—the abductor for keeping them away from the other parent and the left-behind parent for failing to rescue them.
Terr’s (1983) study reported on a sample of 18 children seen for psychiatric evaluations following recoveries from abductions (or after being threatened with abduction and/or unsuccessfully abducted). Nearly all the children (16 of 18) suffered emotionally from the experience. Their symptoms included grief and rage toward the left-behind parent, in addition to suffering from “mental indoctrination” perpetrated by the abducting parent. Likewise, another study of a sample of 104 parental abductions drawn from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) cases revealed that more than 50 percent of the recovered children experienced symptoms of emotional distress (including anxiety, eating problems, and nightmares) as a result of being abducted (Hatcher, Barton, and Brooks, 1992).
In addition, Senior, Gladstone, and Nurcombe (1982) reported that recovered children often suffered from uncontrollable crying and mood swings, loss of bladder/bowel control, eating and sleep disturbances, aggressive behavior, and fearfulness. Other reports document abduction trauma such as difficulty trusting other people, withdrawal, poor peer relations, regression, thumbsucking, and clinging behavior (Schetky and Haller, 1983); a distrust of authority figures and relatives and a fear of personal attachments (Agopian, 1984); and nightmares, anger and resentment, guilt, and relationship problems in adulthood (Noble and Palmer, 1984).
In a longitudinal study, Greif (1998a, 1998b) recontacted victim parents who had been surveyed in an original study conducted in 1989–91 (Greif and Hegar, 1991) to learn how their children were faring years after reunification. Of the original 371 parents surveyed in 1989, 69 were recontacted for the 1993 survey (Hegar and Greif, 1993) and 39 for the 1995 survey. In the 1993 survey, most parents (86–97 percent) reported that their children were healthy and that their behavior and school performance were satisfactory or very satisfactory. Of these children, about 80 percent had received some mental health services. Likewise, the 1995 followup did not show significant changes in children’s behavior. Their scores did not indicate that they were less adjusted than a normative group. Although, overall, children appeared to be doing quite well, a closer look at the sample showed that “those children who were doing the most poorly had been missing longer, had been reunited with their families for a shorter period of time, had no contact with the abductor, and reportedly had a worse abduction experience.” (Greif, 1998a:54). This study’s findings, while limited because of the inability to recontact all subjects, indicate that the level of trauma and the long-term impact of an abduction vary, depending on the child and family’s individual experience and situation.
This conclusion appears to be echoed in the findings of a study based on NISMART data that examined the emotional trauma to children who are victims of parental abduction and found that abductions involving children age 5 and older and those that went on for longer periods were more likely to involve mental harm. In this study (Plass, Finkelhor, and Hotaling, 1996:126), the researchers indicated that the “emotional trauma of an episode seems related to factors associated with the disruption of the routine of the child(ren), with the presence of an increased level of conflict between adults, and with the general awareness of the child(ren) as to what is happening.”

Friday, January 13, 2017

Emotionally Numb and Emotionally Detatched Adoptees

Emotionally Numb and Emotionally Detatched Adoptees
Adopted children traumatized at birth, continually traumatized
by insensitive adoptive mothers become lost to ourselves, lost to others and emotionally dead inside. I feel nothing or I feel everything to the point of overwhelming emotional feelings that cripple my ability to function. There is no in-between emotional feelings for adoptees. No medium tolerable emotional response or feeling, as it is always extreme. Too little or too much emotional feelings or emotional stimulation reduces me to rubble and homeostasis can't be achieved. If I allow my tears to form, the ocean may pour out of my eyes if I am not on constant alert to this overwhelming feeling that will take my mind hostage and I may loose my grip on reality, so I stay watchful for any signs that may provoke an emotional over-reaction. I don't ever want to feel at the mercy of others ever again, where they are in control and I am not. I have lost it about a dozen times in my life and I hated myself for allowing myself to feel like a hostage to my over the top emotions. I'd rather be numb and in control as no body could ever understand what hell the adopted child lives, and they don't want to know anyhow. As knowing the adopted child's intimate horrific personal experiences would challenge a person's set norms and principles that make them comfortable in their world.    
 What is the relationship between emotional numbness and extreme emotional sensitivity?
As human beings, when we face danger, there are three responses: fight, flight and freeze. When faced with extreme situation such as childhood abuse, trauma or grief, it is natural for our body and psyche to go into ‘numbing mode’ as part of a freezing response. However, sometimes such protective reflex remains for much longer after the actual danger has passed and becomes a way of life. This is when a person becomes emotionally detached, and experiences life in a ‘dissociated’, or ‘depersonalised’ way.
At first glance, it may seem counterintuitive to think that emotional numbness can be a result of emotional intensity and sensitivity. Yet emotional numbing is often not a conscious choice; you may not even be aware of the pattern building up until it has become your ‘normal’ way of functioning. You may have developed emotional detachment as a protective shield because you have learned from an early experience that revealing the true extent of your intense adoptee feelings would lead to rejection, abandonment, or shame as adopted children. It maybe from your authority figures or society pressure that you have learned in order to survive it is better to hide your intensity and sensitivity. Although the pattern started off as a way of protecting you from others, it can eventually morph into you hiding from yourself or denying your own needs altogether. This is especially likely when someone has experienced repeated wounding, emotional deprivation, or neglect as adoptee's live it.
Emotional detachment is experienced differently by different people: Adoptees may feel a lingering sense of doom, boredom and emptiness; Adoptees may feel that you are not able to show or feel any emotions, to respond to events with joy or sadness as others would, or to connect with others in a deep and meaningful way. Many adoptees feel that they are holding back, watching life goes by without being ‘in it’. Although the pains of life seemed to have been dampened, you also do not feel the full extent of positive emotions such as love, joy or any connections to others.
The emotional numbing is a protective shield that seems effective at first - we feel that the pain has temporarily gone way, that you can ‘get on with life’, perhaps you even feel empowered and confident. You may feel that you can function normally - get up in the morning, get dressed, exist in the world… Although things are fine on the ‘productivity front’, Adoptees feel overcome by a wave of sadness or loneliness and despair.
The problem with over-using the emotional shield is that when the emotions are not digested, they remain suppressed and accumulate in your system: You may feel particularly sensitive or irritable, especially when the tension, anxiety and frustration reach the extreme effect on the adopted child. Then certain triggers, benign and minor situations, catch the adoptee off guard and cause you to ‘blow up’. Suddenly, you are being knocked back into the reality of having to feel real feelings. Yet because you have been ‘cut off’ from when these feelings build up, these outbursts can seem like they have no connection to the present. 
When the adoptee is cut off from parts of yourself, you act to maintain the adopted child role that is not congruent with your true self. Since the underlying needs of adopted child's comfort and safety are not met, we resort to self-soothing by eating, gambling drinking, drugs, spending, and engaging in impulsive behaviors without knowing why and some adoptees block out the cause and effect memories of what originally occurred.
Adoptees refuse to remember much of their adopted childhood, and feel confused when they look at old pictures of themselves. At the extreme of adoptee numbing, remaining cut off can lead to serious consequences of mental health. Over reactions to others can't be taken back, and the path of destruction from the emotional numb adoptee is full of broken relationships and decisions we regret.
Psychologists such as Dr. Jeffrey Young call this as a ‘detached protector’ mode, and sums up its presentation as the following: 
"Signs and symptoms of the detached protector mode include depersonalisation, emptiness, boredom, substance abuse, over-consumption, self-mutilation, psychosomatic complaints, “blankness,” may adopt a cynical, aloof or pessimistic stance to avoid investing in people or activities.’’
According to Dr. Young, most people with BPD spend majority of their time, including during therapy, in the ‘detached protector mode’. This is not surprising because as the therapy process stirs feelings up, your subconscious mind receive the signal of ‘threat’, and feel the need to put up this protective shield even more. Therapy produces hard emotional work, not the immediate feeling of good, as the reprocessing of ignored feelings takes years to recover in processing numb emotions that we refused to experience.  
In fact, it is entirely natural for you to want to hold onto this protective shield in the beginning, especially before a level of trust is built between you and your therapist. However, it is important that your therapist is aware of this pattern and is able to have an open and non-judgmental conversation with you. Given that therapy is an invitation for your ‘true self’ to be seen, your progress may remain stagnated if you remain ‘shielded’ for the whole time you are in therapy. 
Many people who operates in a shielded mode has a fear of being ‘dropped in the deep end’, they fear the uncertainty of not knowing what it would be like to start feeling things; they are worried that they will go into a depressed/crisis state, or that they will be hurt by others again. In this case, a skilled therapist would work with you to build the emotional skills and resilience up, so that you feel safe enough to tap your toe into the feeling field. Your therapist might work with you on strategies such as learning to label emotions, learning to self-regulate and self-care, experimenting with feelings in ‘small doses’, and expressing them in a safe context. Once you feel that you have some degree of capacity, the ‘thawing’ process often naturally follow. At that point, you would have re-opened the door to experience life’s joy, abundance and aliveness - things that a hidden part of you have long been yearning for, not before the pain and agony that we refused to acknowledge in adopted childhood.