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, August 12, 2017

The Deficit In Adopted Infants


The Deficit In Adopted Infants...
What Was Taken From Our Life Forcefully Changed Our Physiology
What causes stress during infancy? Laboratory and psychology research on animal and
human infants gives us many clues. Certainly, pain from unfortunate medical conditions
can create stress. So would pain from sensitivity reactions to formula or to foods passed
along in breastmilk. Physical abuse and extreme neglect provide a very high degree of
stress, but the effects of these severe cases are not the point of this text. Even short-term
separation from mother leads to elevated cortisol in infants, indicating stress.1,2 In fact,
after one full day of separation, infant rats already show altered brain organization of
chemical receptors.3 A similar rat study revealed that one day without mother actually
 doubled the number of normal brain cell deaths.
Animal findings demonstrate that isolation from mother, decreased skin stimulation, 
and withholding of breastmilk have biochemical and permanent brain consequences. 
Correlating these findings with human behavioral research suggests which events lead 
to chronic stress and its permanent consequences:
  • Allowing a child to "cry it out" without parental attention and affection
  • Not feeding the child when hungry
  • Not offering comfort when the child is disturbed or distressed
  • Limiting body contact during feeding, throughout the day, 
  • and during stressful parts of the night
  • Low levels of human attention, stimulation, "conversation," and play
When these occur regularly, they can lead to early chronic releases of high levels 
of stress hormones, as well as low expression of favorable hormones, as previously
 discussed. All these practices have been promoted during the last century in the form 
of scheduled feedings, "don't spoil the child," bottle feedings, which lead to propped 
bottles, and physical separation during the day and night.
While it is evident that genetic makeup and life experiences influence behavior, it has 
been demonstrated that experiences during infancy have the strongest and most 
persistent effect on adult hormone regulation, stress responses, and behavior.5Research 
has demonstrated that high levels of early physical contact and maternal responsiveness 
can even mitigate genetic predisposition for more extreme stress reactions.6
Biological psychology researcher Megan Gunnar and her colleagues did infant studies
 that confirmed animal research findings. In their work, infants three months of age who
 received consistent responsive care produced less cortisol. Also, eighteen-month-olds 
classified as insecurely attached (who had received lower levels of responsiveness)
 revealed elevated levels of stress hormone.7 These same children at age two continued 
to show elevated levels of cortisol and appeared more fearful and inhibited. Again, these 
children were those who had been classified as having lower levels of maternal 
responsiveness.8 Other investigations have confirmed these findings.9 Dr. Gunnar reports 
that the level of stress experienced in infancy permanently shapes the stress responses 
in the brain, which then affect memory, attention, and emotion.10
Cortisol and Stress
The HPA (hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical) axis, a relationship between                                                                         specific brain organs and the adrenal glands, is the chief regulator of stress reactions. 
While several hormones direct stress reactions, often in concert with each other and 
with some playing more than one role, cortisol is probably the most typical of the 
stress hormones. It is the subject of many recent reports. During stress, stress 
hormones are released under control of the HPA axis to help the body cope. 
Cortisol can elevate the blood pressure and the heart rate, increase blood sugar, 
and interrupt digestive and kidney functions.
Norepinephrine responses and cortisol responses are connected. 
Both are released in reaction to excitement, exercise, and stress. 
Both cause increased heart rate, blood sugar, and brain activity. 
I have discussed how surges of norepinephrine during affection and play 
can promote learning in infants (you may remember how you occasionally 
learned better under the stress and excitement of last-minute studying), 
as well as bonding (since bonding occurs in children and adults when they 
share exciting activity). However, chronic exposure to "negative" stress 
causes chronic elevations of cortisol, instead of surges that have a positive effect. 
Chronically elevated cortisol in infants and the hormonal and functional adjustments 
that go along with it are shown to be associated with permanent brain changes 
that lead to elevated responses to stress throughout life, such as higher blood 
pressure and heart rate.11 This elevated response begins quite early. 
Even infants regularly exposed to stress already demonstrate higher cortisol 
releases and more sustained elevations of cortisol in response to stressful situations.12
Occasional surges of cortisol throughout the day can be beneficial, 
but continuously elevated stress hormone levels in infancy from a stressful 
environment are associated with permanent "negative" effects on brain development. 
Some evolutionary theories even go so far as to suggest that the heightened 
stress responses that apparently lead to aggressive behavior and early puberty 
serve a purpose, aiding survival of the species during drought, war, or other hardships.
Studies have shown that infants who receive frequent physical affection have 
lower overall cortisol levels,13 while psychological attachment studies reveal 
higher levels in insecurely attached children.14,15 Women who breastfeed also 
produce significantly less stress hormone than those who bottle-feed.16
Results of Infant Stress
Without regular closeness to a caregiver, an infant not only suffers from elevated 
stress hormones, but also receives less benefit from oxytocin surges and other 
positive biochemical influences. The biochemical environment imposed on an 
infant's brain during critical development stages affects the anatomy and functioning
 of the brain permanently.17 A poor biochemical environment results in less desirable 
emotional, behavioral, and intellectual abilities for the rest of a child's life.
As previously described, a brain developed in a stressful environment overreacts 
to stressful events and controls stress hormones poorly throughout life. 
Levels of cortisol and other stress hormones are regularly elevated in these individuals. 
As adults they may demonstrate "type-A" behavior, which is associated with a high 
risk of heart disease and adult-onset diabetes. Interestingly, one psychiatrist found 
that the poor health consequences for adults who received restricted mothering 
during childhood – high blood pressure and high levels of cortisol – closely 
resemble those in adults who lost a parent as a child.18 The effects, however, 
go way beyond one's blood pressure and ability to deal with stress.
The hippocampus, a structure important in learning and memory, 
is one brain site where development is affected by stress and bonding hormone levels. 
The level of the stress hormones circulating in an infant affects the number 
and types of receptors here.19 It has also been demonstrated that nerve cells 
in the hippocampus are destroyed as a result of chronic stress and elevated 
stress hormone levels, producing intellectual deficits as a consequence.20 
Memory and spatial learning deficits have been demonstrated in rats that 
suffered prolonged stress in infancy.21 Similarly, children with the lowest 
scores on mental and motor ability tests have been shown to be the ones 
with the highest cortisol levels in their blood.22
Premature development of puberty has also been associated with significantly 
higher levels of cortisol and other stress indicators.23 
This study additionally reports that these children have more depression, 
more behavior problems, and lower intelligence scores. 
Here again, the laboratory studies fully confirm psychological attachment studies.
 Furthermore, premature puberty increases one's risk of developing cancer.
In individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders, anorexia nervosa, and depression, excess production of cortisol is a very consistent finding.24 Oversecretion of stress hormones has also recently been implicated in obesity, Alzheimer's disease,25and accelerated aging symptoms.26 Animal studies have demonstrated decreased immune system functioning in infants subjected to the stresses of prolonged separation from mother,27,28 which coincides with the increased incidence of illness shown in less-attached children.
Much has been written about the first moments after a child is born. 
The infant, (if not entirely intoxicated by drugs used in labor),
 has been primed by hormones during the birth process to be 
born wide awake and alert for a short while.
 During this time the initial imprinting takes place. 
Already familiar with the voices of his parents, the baby, 
who can distinguish faces from other objects and body parts, 
gazes intently into the eyes of his parents, as if to record their images for life. 
He recognizes the odor of the amniotic fluid, which is chiefly his own, 
but is also that of his mother. His important early programming guides
 his mouth to seek and find a new physical method of maternal nourishment, 
and he is immediately attracted to the specific odor of the nursing vessels 
that will now replace his umbilical cord. 
The newborn, barely able to maintain his body temperature, 
finds comfort and ideal temperature regulation in contact with mom's
 warm body. Having known only the firm secure confinement of his womb,
 he feels comfortable against a warm body or in secure arms, 
and he will cry loudly, uncomfortable and anxious, if left to flail on 
a cold, hard surface. With his first taste of concentrated nutrition 
and immunity-providing colostrum, and hearing the familiar beating 
and gurgling sounds of mother's body, he soon falls into a peaceful sleep 
– even his heartbeat and breathing are regulated by mother's rhythms. 
As he sleeps, his first breaths and tastes of his mother establish normal, 
healthy flora in his digestive tract, providing defense against the less 
friendly microbes all around him.
Although all is not lost if an infant's life did not begin this way, 
this is the first chance for attachment and the first choice made 
regarding baby's health. There is a long life ahead for parents 
and child, and there are many directions a family can take. 
While a child is born seeded with specific potential (nature), 
the parenting style (nurture) will greatly influence the likelihood 
these latent abilities will come to fruition, much to the benefit or 
detriment of the child, family, and society.
Bonding Matters
Research on the biochemical factors influenced by child care methods 
demonstrates that with responsive parenting the body produces 
substances to help generate effective, loving, and lasting parents 
for an infant and infants who are strongly bonded to their parents. 
Over time these bonds mature into love and respect.
 Without a doubt these chemicals permanently organize 
an infant's brain toward positive behaviors and later development 
of strong, lasting attachments. However, the greatest lesson from 
these studies is that while nature has a very good plan, failure to 
follow it may lead to less desirable results. In other words, when 
parents heed instinctive desires to enjoy a great deal of closeness 
with their infants, by feeding them naturally and responding quickly
 to their needs and desires (which in the infant are truly one in the same),
 nature is designed to develop sensitive responsible adults. Withholding 
attention from an infant allows the vital chemical messengers to quickly
 diminish, and as a result, weak bonds are formed, and parenting becomes 
more arduous and less successful. At the same time, the infant manifests 
the effects of stress. Moreover, stress reactions and other behaviors in a 
child and the adult he will become are permanently altered in unfortunate ways. 
Aspects of the intellect and health may suffer as well.
The incredible, extensive, innate human system of hormonal rewards
 for consistent, close, and loving physical and social contact between 
parent and infant, and the just as incredible consequences, combined 
with the psychological research findings about attachment, 
provide overwhelming evidence for the intended plan for infant care, at least for me.
I once heard an older pediatrician say to a mother, strongly disapproving 
of the way her toddler clung to her and demanded that she hold him while
 his blood was drawn, "It all starts the first day you pick him up when he cries."
My only answer to this is, "Yes, it does."