Adoptee Psychology, Genetics, the Unnatural Act of Adopting and Questions for Adoptive Parents

Today’s post was inspired by a blog post I read this morning and by an occurrence at a dinner party. Since I’m not feeling particularly “put together” at the moment, this post may be choppy and disjointed.

I’d like to direct my readers to Rhode Island adoptee John Greene’s blog post titled “Adoption and The Adoptees Reality” in which he addresses some points of specific psychology of being adopted. The topic needs to be understood, not just by adoptees, but by adoptive and pre-adoptive parents, especially in the wake of NCFA’s recent call for money donations to “make adoption strong” to fight the anti-adoption community and NPR’s Scott Simon’s two NPR interviews on his recently published memoir on being the adoptive father of two girls from China here (224 comment to date) and here (34 comments to date).

John Greene notes the works of three American adoption researchers: Nancy Verrier (The Primal Wound), Betty Jean Lifton, PhD (Journey of the Adopted Self), and Dr. David Brodzinsky (The Lifelong Journey to Self). It is best to read their works for a more complete study.

John Greene asks the question:

“How does the adopted individual feel about being relinquished?”

I believe that the average pre-adoptive and adoptive parent does not delve into this question, for if they did, they might find the answers disturbing enough to think twice about adoption in a positive light. If adoptive and pre-adoptive parents take a hard look at the realities of adoption, they may not think adoption was such a great and wonderful “thing” they have done, or want to do.

I’ll make a side journey here to what happened at a dinner party I attended last week. A guest, whom I did not know, remarked that so-and-so was adopting another child — from the same birthmother. The assumption from the folks hearing such a comment was the (tired) refrain “how wonderful of you to adopt, again!” At which point I almost spewed the food I was chewing. No one else but my date and the hostess knew that I was adopted and reunited since 1974, but, despite this, the hostess continued blathering on praising adoption while my date and I were wide-eyed. I gulped my food down and stuffed down my feelings. I kept quiet, realizing that no amount of talking would help these clueless people know the true meaning of adoption to the children involved. If I had “opened my mouth” and spoke truthfully about adoption, my comments would have been seen as hostile and a verbal fight would have ensued. So, the only way for me to deal with yet another instance of praise for adoption while ignoring adoptee and natural parent pain was for me to ignore the immediacy of the moment and write about it here.

This is where I beg adoptive and pre-adoptive parents to listen and read what grown adoptees and adoption researchers are saying. Take a long look at the devastating effects of adoption and know what you are doing to your adoptee! You may not intentionally be causing your adoptee harm, but the very fact of being an adoptee sets a person up for emotional and physical trauma.

John Greene explains:

…Is it nature or nurture that composes him/her? Adoptees ponder relentlessly whether their true “self” derives from their nature, the traits and characteristics they are born with; or from nurture as a result of the adoptive environment they are enveloped within. Traditionally the concept of nature or nurture is viewed as if it’s one transitioning into the other, or if one has more influence than the other. I feel these perspectives are the wrong approach. I sense with the adoptee world it’s nature and nurture continually working symbiotically with one another.

…non-adoptees are able to see and learn their biological nature in action from their parents and other genetic family. While the non-adoptees are nurturing and developing/ thriving within their natural environment they are also learning and governed by the family’s biological nature. …this is the element of true balance of nature and nurture an adoptee is deprived of and most likely will never come to have the opportunity to appreciate. It is the adoptee’s elusive biological nature the adoptee subconsciously chases. It is the adoptee’s biological nurture that eludes the adoptee consciously.

Then Greene eloquently states what so many of us adoptees feel but may not be able to verbalize:

Adoption, although genuinely intended to provide a better life, or better nurturing environment, in its raw form, in the scheme of nature itself, is an unnatural act and from the unnatural act the adoptee is presumed to resiliently bounce back.

…the adoptee is resilient but this experience isn’t something they bounce back from, the separation is a “splitting” from their natural biological connection in which they grow away from, meaning they are not intended to return to grow and thrive from their point of origin. Again, the issue isn’t so much about the resiliency of adoptees bouncing back, but more so, that they are torn away from their natural connection in which they aren’t intended to return, leaving them with a mysterious unexplainable feeling of not feeling whole. More specifically, the unexplainable feeling of not feeling whole not only stays with the adoptee it is actually the desire to feel whole, or complete. (identity)

What Greene writes next is so very important:

Technically speaking, adoptees don’t bounce back they are forced to grow in a different direction without a biological connection, away from their true biological nature. Therefore it can be said that when they are separated their nature and nurture are divided as they are forced to enter to live in their new adoptive world now consisting of nurture and unnatural. Their new balance is no longer the black and white of yin and yang representing a true balance of nature and nurture but is now say a white and green yin & yang representing an off kilter version of what the natural self is intended to be as it’s being shaped by a biological force that is unnatural and foreign to the adopted child.

The adoptee struggles for the rest of her/his life to bring the forces of nurture and unnatural together:

…the adoptee spends the greatest and most influential part of their life living within the ‘nurture’ of learning another family’s nature never knowing their true ‘natural’ half of existence, and in most cases never even grazing it.

It is important to note that while the adopted child struggles with this, so does the adopted adult, in more ways than emotional and psychological: cellular changes:

…perhaps it isn’t exclusively the separation itself that results such a reverberating effect upon the adoptee’s life. Perhaps in addition to the adoptee’s bruised psyche it’s the genetic composition in their cells that slowly grows frustrated over time because they are prevented from behaving in the manner of what’s written in their genetic code as a result of following a different family’s unique nature.

I have my own developing thoughts on the cellular changes that take place within the adoptee and am working on that for another post.

For those who want to discredit adoptee pain by claiming their adoptee is as happy as a clam, John Greene also addresses the different levels of adoptee awareness:

…there are three basic classifications of adoptees: 1) Those who have recognized that adoption has impacted their life; 2) Those adoptees who have not recognized that adoption has impacted their life; 3) Adoptees who feel great inner calamity and turmoil but have no idea what these strong feelings are attributed to.

and

…how are adoptees supposed to know how it feels to be a non-adoptee and develop within the normal balance of nature and nurture with biological parents? This is why it can be said an adoptee will never be able to fathom how a non-adoptee feels and vice-versa.

Clearly, adoption predisposes the separated natural child/adopted adult to psychic pain. It is my opinion that adoption IS child/adult adoptee abuse. This is an awful way to cope with life. This is what adoption does to a person.

I consider the emotional, psychological and physical damage to be enough to dissuade anyone from adopting, but if it is concrete evidence you want, that can be found in the actual destruction of the adoptee’s family of origin, and destruction and falsification of the adoptee’s birth certificate. Those are civil rights issues apart from the psychological fallout of the act of adoption. But the proof of the birth certificate fiasco is sealed from most adoptees at the very will and intention of our adoptive parents and the National Council For Adoption.

No, I cannot find one single reason, not one single justification, for child abduction/adoption. Family Preservation, kinshp care must be alternatives to adoption, and Guardianship, yes, as that provides a loving home with the dignified respect due to a person’s birth family, name and sense of self. And don’t get me talking about the evils of Open Adoption.

Knowing just this much, without reading entire books on the subject, my questions to pre-adoptive and adoptive parents are this: why would you intentionally put a child/adult — the very adoptee you so lovingly take as your own — through such a lifelong ordeal?  Adding the complications of race and intercountry adoptions and separations, why would you adopt a child? How could you cause so much pain to another human being?

Here’s Why UNICEF is Anti-Adoption

UNICEF

UNICEF’s position on Inter-country adoption

Since the 1960s, there has been an increase in the number of inter-country adoptions.  Concurrent with this trend, there have been growing international efforts to ensure that adoptions are carried out in a transparent, non-exploitative, legal manner to the benefit of the children and families concerned. In some cases, however, adoptions have not been carried out in ways that served the best interest of the children — when the requirements and procedures in place were insufficient to prevent unethical practices.  Systemic weaknesses persist and enable the sale and abduction of children, coercion or manipulation of birth parents, falsification of documents and bribery.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guides UNICEF’s work, clearly states that every child has the right to grow up in a family environment, to know and be cared for by her or his own family, whenever possible.  Recognising this, and the value and importance of families in children’s lives, families needing assistance to care for their children have a right to receive it. When, despite this assistance, a child’s family is unavailable, unable or unwilling to care for her/him, then appropriate and stable family-based solutions should be sought to enable the child to grow up in a loving, caring and supportive environment. 

Inter-country adoption is among the range of stable care options.  For individual children who cannot be cared for in a family setting in their country of origin, inter-country adoption may be the best permanent solution.

UNICEF supports inter-country adoption, when pursued in conformity with the standards and principles of the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoptions – already ratified by more than 80 countries. This Convention is an important development for children, birth families and prospective foreign adopters. It sets out obligations for the authorities of countries from which children leave for adoption, and those that are receiving these children. The Convention is designed to ensure ethical and transparent processes. This international legislation gives paramount consideration to the best interests of the child and provides the framework for the practical application of the principles regarding inter-country adoption contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  These include ensuring that adoptions are authorised only by competent authorities, guided by informed consent of all concerned, that inter-country adoption enjoys the same safeguards and standards which apply in national adoptions, and that inter-country adoption does not result in improper financial gain for those involved in it. 

Coercion of a Pregnant Woman to Give Up Her Baby to Adopting Parents

The following blog post — My Story at Living in the Shadows — is a very well written account of a mother’s loss of her child to adoption by coercion from church members (this is God’s will, etc) and a crisis pregnancy center (with a pregnancy counselor not even offering her help to keep her baby). This mother conceived following rape and she still wanted to keep her baby. This happened in 1997-1998 in New Zealand.

Think this doesn’t happen in the United States today? Think again. It does.

Not married mothers are talked into believing that they cannot parent their babies. This brainwashing continues in our modern society. It is discrimination against and abuse of a mother and her child for the benefit of adoption.

Read this post; it’s a must-read. Perhaps this will help one mother to keep her baby.

As the author states,

“There is no place in today’s society for adoption.”

~ ~ ~ 

~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, author of Forbidden Family, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.

Congrats to Mara for Publication of “Sealed Away” Article Highlighting The Census’ Discrimination Against Adoptees

Mara’s tenacity paid off.

I’m glad to re-print her published letter in the Times-Standard (serving Eureka and California’s North Coast) here. It is a testimony as to the generational effects of adoption’s sealed and falsified birth certificates for adoptees. Coincidentally, Mara’s article  was published previously here as “Guest Post: Census Rant”.

http://www.times-standard.com/letters/ci_14754681

Sealed away

Letters to the Editor

Posted: 03/25/2010 02:10:17 AM PDT

Recently, I found the 2010 Census form hanging on my door. As I began filling it out, I came across a dilemma. The U.S. government wants to know if my children are adopted or not and it wants to know what our races are. Being adopted myself, I had to put “Other” and “Don’t Know Adopted” for my race and “Other” and “Don’t Know” for my kids’ races.

Can you imagine not knowing your ethnicity, your race? Now imagine walking into a vital records office and asking the clerk for your original birth certificate only to be told “No, you can’t have it, it’s sealed.”

How about being presented with a “family history form” to fill out at every single doctor’s office visit and having to put “N/A Adopted” where life saving information should be?

Imagine being asked what your nationality is and having to respond with “I don’t know.”

It is time that the archaic practice of sealing and altering birth certificates of adopted persons stops.

Adoption is a $5 billion, unregulated industry that profits from the sale and redistribution of children. It turns children into chattel who are re-labeled and sold as “blank slates.”

Genealogy, a modern-day fascination, cannot be enjoyed by adopted persons with sealed identities. Family trees are exclusive to the non-adopted persons in our society.

If adoption is truly to return to what is best for a child, then the rights of children to their biological identities should NEVER be violated. Every single judge that finalizes an adoption and orders a child’s birth certificate to be sealed should be ashamed of him/herself.

I challenge all Times-Standard readers: Ask the adopted persons that you know if their original birth certificates are sealed.

Mara Rigge

Trinidad

~ ~ ~ posted for Mara by “halforphan56” Joan M Wheeler

Guest Post: Census Rant

Recently, I found the 2010 Census form hanging on my door.  As I began filling it out, I came across a dilemma.  The U.S. government wants to know if my children are adopted or not and it wants to know what our races are.  Being adopted myself, I had to put “Other” and “Don’t Know Adopted” for my race and “Other” and “Don’t Know” for my kids’ races. 
 
Can you imagine not knowing your ethnicity, your race?  Now imagine walking into a vital records office and asking the clerk for your original birth certificate only to be told “No, you can’t have it, it’s sealed.” 
 
How about being presented with a “family history form” to fill out at every single doctor’s office visit and having to put “N/A Adopted” where life saving information should be?
 
Imagine being asked what your nationality is and having to respond with “I don’t know”.
 
It is time that the archaic practice of sealing and altering birth certificates of adopted persons stops. 
 
Adoption is a 5 billion dollar, unregulated industry that profits from the sale and redistribution of children.   It turns children into chattel who are re-labeled and sold as “blank slates”. 
 
Genealogy, a modern-day fascination, cannot be enjoyed by adopted persons with sealed identities.  Family trees are exclusive to the non-adopted persons in our society.   
 
If adoption is truly to return to what is best for a child, then the rights of children to their biological identities should NEVER be violated.  Every single judge that finalizes an adoption and orders a child’s birth certificate to be sealed should be ashamed of him/herself. 
 
Sincerely,
Mara Rigge 
~ ~ ~
Posted by Joan M Wheeler at the request of Mara Rigge, March 14, 2010.

Quick Words of My Own: The Message is More Important than Who Writes It

While I have been unable to find my own words since the earthquake in Haiti because suddenly there are orphans, orphans, everywhere orphans, or so-called orphans, I have found comfort in the words of others. This is why I have directed my readers to other bloggers who have written about the adopt-an-orphan craze that is sweeping America and parts of the world.

At the time the earthquake hit, I’m dealing with medical, legal, financial and emotional fallout from my adoptive mother in and out of the hospital and nursing home. I should be on top of the world — the book I spent the better part of the last seven years writing is now published! Instead, I’m sunk in depression.

Also, it just so happened that a few of my online friends have had inspirations, but with  no blogs of their own, they have asked me to guest-post their works. I am happy to do so.

And, to my surprise, another avenue of correspondence led to yet more postings from afar: the United Adoptees International, a worldwide adoptees news group, sent me Press Releases to post on my blog. Many of my readers are adoptees and first parents who circulate through our known blogs and websites, and, many of my readers are adoptive parent organizations who do not want adoptees’ birth records open to us, and who are foaming at the mouth to adopt those poor Haitian orphans who actually want to stay in their own home country with their families. So, as a comfort to me, and as a service to those who have asked me to post their material, I have posted material from others.

The United Adoptees International, based in The Hague, The Netherlands, is especially dear to me. I will close this quickly written post with this quote from an email  received this morning from the media director:  “… is ok to post our messages on your blog. The more people read our signals the better.” Usually, my correspondence is with the Director of the UAI, but as he was out of office, I corresponded with someone else.

The messages are clear and direct: while do-gooder people have the intention to help Haiti or other poor countries by taking their children to a “better” place with more money, etc, those foreign-born adoptees grow up and feel isolated from their homeland. It is far more important for the message to get out and to be read by people I know are reading my blog because they don’t like the messages here, than for me to have long stretches of time between my own posts. Writers do have other obligations in life so I am happy to post the words of others in between my own works. As the owner of the website and blog, that is my choice.

Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.

Intercountry Adoption Highly Regarded by American Public Even as Numbers of Adoptions are in Free-Fall

Many of you may be wondering why I, a half orphan, am not commenting much about the situation in Haiti. The reason is because this hits too close to my heart. Unlike most of the talk of adoption in America that surrounds the morality or immorality about the ‘sins’ of unwed mothers and how we ‘must’ keep birth records closed to adoptees for the sake of protecting those not-married mothers, real discussion concerning half orphans and full orphans has been lost inside this moralistic mockery. I’m tired of being lumped into this adoption abyss that does not pertain to how I came into this world. But now, orphanhood or the assumption of full orphanhood, is being tossed around just as carelessly as illegitimacy has been, and still is. I find it difficult to find words to defend the rights of other children who face the same fate as I did because their parents have died in the earthquake, or their parents just handed them over because the poverty suffered in their homeland outweighed any rational decisions.

Many other adoption reformers are doing a much better job in research and writing about the children of Haiti, so I bow to their excellent voices. The Daily Basdardette: http://bastardette.blogspot.com/2010/02/is-jorge-pulleo-really-jewish.html, 73adoptee: http://73adoptee.blogspot.com/2010/02/will-haiti-incident-reform-adoption.html, Baby Love Child: http://www.babylovechild.org/2010/02/17/haiti-fails-its-children-releases-8-child-scavengers-on-nothing-more-than-their-worthless-word/, Family Preservation: http://familypreservation.blogspot.com/2010/02/scary-libertarian-view-of-adoption.html, and First Mothers: http://www.firstmotherforum.com/2010/02/lets-hear-it-for-haitian-government.html, to name a few, have many blog posts and updates, so be sure to follow them.

My email inbox carries correspondence from United Adoptees International to an Adoption Advocate organization called Chances For Children. Please read this letter so you may become more aware of what grown adoptees actually feel about being adopted. (edited with the author’s permission and instruction, although I left in European spelling).

Joan M Wheeler

~ ~ ~ ~  

Friday, February 12, 2010, 5:11 AM

Intercountry Adoption Highly Regarded by American Public Even as Numbers of Adoptions are in Free-Fall

To:

Chances for Children

Dear Adoption Advocates,

We have been referred to your organisations by several articles send to us by different contacts around the world. We would like to inform you, that there are many organisations run and managed by adult adoptees who are not sharing your opinion and visions.

Besides this, we would like to request you be respectful but with exclamation to be careful to rewrite topics like adoptions as last resort as you did on your website. The impact of such statements is devastating for ‘family preservation’ projects and alternative family care.

Adoption has become and industry and it seems that your statements about intercountry adoptions seem to support this development. United Adoptees International and many of our contacts would like you to consider equality and support for women and families all around the world before adoption comes into perspective as a misguided concept of humanitarian aid. Huge flaws in international laws and treaties are thus created which abuse the human rights of vulnerable families and children.

Many researches around the world show the great danger of ‘child trafficking’ for adoption instead of supporting long term solutions for countries and families. Adoption has become a facility for ‘wish parents’ (PAP’s, or Pre-Adoptive Parents) and the world of consumers while it was meant as an option for children without families and local support. Approximately 2 billion euro per year is going around to support the adoption cycle. With this money all children, families and countries could have been helped to develop long term solutions for the ones in need. But as long the international adoption lobby is marketing adoption as solutions for children (many of them still have families or direct relatives) without material welfare and finance, we take advantage of the weak and abuse the context and situation in which they are confronted with, instead of understanding the need of the people in those countries who are affected by poverty, natural disasters, and war, etc.

The UAI finds the way international adoption is set up and continued as one-way traffic which makes the rich buyers or traders of the poor. And if we really believe that material welfare and finance gives us the right to get the children we want, than let us open the whole world as a free adoption market and exchange children for those who can afford them. Meaning, Dutch homosexuals already adopt (mainly colored children) from the US, while the US doesn’t want them. At least, that’s what the US advocates and government accepts as an argument to let children from the US go to the Netherlands. But why do US pre-adoptive parents adopt from Haiti now?

In the meanwhile, thousands of prospective US adoptive parents are waiting for white babies from Europe and the EU is opening their EU boarders for exchanging children within Europe. But we are sure, that if the US PAP’s (Pre-Adoptive Parents) will pay enough money, they will be able to get white children (who have still parents and family in the EU) from Europe. So let us open the whole world for the demand for adoption?

Is this what your people and organisation really want? Or would you be able to act in an ethical way, and with dignity, and open heart and ears, to those who have been affected by this child-caravan called adoption?

We urge you to read some statements from Adult Adoptees and reconsider your vision and tone of voice in this topic.

Sincerely,

Hilbrand W.S. Westra

Chairman UNITED ADOPTEES INTERNATIONAL

United Adoptees International is registered by the Chamber of Commerce under no. 34299425, in Amsterdam – The Netherlands. The UAI foundation is applicable under Dutch Law and refers in all her activities to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Especially articles 8, 16, 20 and 21. The UAI strives for equality and justicefor adoptees and human dignity to all whom are affected by separation and adoption.