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s/o The "other" side of Adoption: When the baby grows up

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The Darker Side of the Adoption Story

This month’s theme has to do with the effects of adoption on the adoptee and the adoption issues that most people in the adoption community don’t want to talk about. Sadly, adoptee Adopted child syndrome; do adoptees have more problems? Common Psychological and Emotional Effects of Adoptionissues are real, and the tragedy comes when adoptive parents do not understand what they are really facing as they make the all-important decision to adopt a child.

Like everyone else, I enjoy the hardcover adoption magazines full of adorable images, arts and crafts, and “my baby is the cutest” photo contests. But every time I look at one of those magazines, I have to think to myself,

“Please tell the other side of the adoption story.”

Adoption can be full of happiness and joy, but it can also be full of loss, grief, and in some cases indescribable anger and dangerous behavior.

 

Common Psychological and Emotional Effects of Adoption

Some common issues observed in adoptees are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Reactive attachment disorder (RAD)
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Identity development
  • General feelings of grief, loss, and rejection

 

Statistics on Adopted Children and Adults Show Adoption Always Affects the Adoptee

Many research studies have shown that adoptees and birth mothers suffer more from depression, and that there is a higher rate of suicide among these populations. Because adoption issues often show up during the teen years, unresolved issues can manifest themselves in dramatic and destructive ways that adoptive parents may not be prepared for.

There are a handful of disciplinary correctional schools, residential treatment centers, and adoption ‘camps’ that are designed to deal with adopted teenagers whos parents have decided that they don’t know how to handle the behavioral problems of their adopted child. These adoptee camps take in adopted children with all kinds of issues: substance Adopted child syndrome; do adoptees have more problems? Common Psychological and Emotional Effects of Adoption and drug abuse, sexual misconduct, violence and anger towards parents, siblings, pets, or even themselves, the list can go on. There is even a camp referred to as “The Last Chance Ranch,” that specializes in teens from Russia. Sadly, some of these teens are actually re-relinquished to the camp by their adoptive parents.

Despite the fact that adoptees make up less than 2% of the US population, they represent 25-35% of teens in these correctional camps and institutions-

I find that statistic so incredibly sad and alarming.

 

Resources to Help Adoptive Parents Understand the Psychological and Emotional Effects of Adoption on their Children

There are many resources available today, that did not exist years ago. There have been many wonderful books written about the impact of adoption, three of my favorites are,

  1. The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier
  2. Lost and Found by Betty Jean Lifton
  3. Raising Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen.

There are also adoption therapists who specialize in helping adoptees heal and overcome their psychological and emotional issues.  Here is a very important point to remember: there are many therapists who attempt to help adoptees, but unfortunately have no real understanding of adoptee issues. I was fortunate to find a child therapist who was herself adopted, and she was enormously helpful throughout all of my years of raising my three adopted children. The therapist does not need to be a member of the adoption triad, but they need to have some special training about these crucial child development issues.

This month’s edition of the magazine will talk about all of these adoption issues and more, including adoptee suicide. It will also feature a very special 24 minute video of a young man who suffered from severe attachment issues, and talks about it in a truly real and compelling way, I promise you will be mesmerized by his story, and the hope he gives all of us.

 

So… Do Adoptees Have More Problems?

Every adoptee has a completely unique and separate experience but I think one of our anonymous Message in a Bottle submissions best summed up a great answer for general adoption questions…

“Adoption isn’t all unicorns and rainbows.”

Thank you to whomever submitted this message! To submit a Message in a Bottle of your own, use this form.

Adoption is not always unicorns and rainbows.

 


by on Oct. 24, 2013 at 11:36 AM
Replies (31-40):
vic270
by Bronze Member on Oct. 24, 2013 at 4:50 PM
1 mom liked this

 that is very true.


Quoting beesbad:

I think the point of the article posted is that adoptive parents need to realize that once the papers are signed it isn't over and done with. Adoptees all have issues to one degree or another, they have feelings of abandonment and "otherness". If these issues aren't addressed in an open and loving way then a lot of psychological damage is done. These kids come with baggage and adoptive parents need to be aware of these issues so they can properly parent their children. It's just not the same as parenting a natural child and sometimes just loving your adopted child isn't enough. Being aware of and anticipating issues before they occur isn't a bad or negative thing.

Quoting vic270:

so you think it would be better if they were aborted or left in foster homes until they are grown. i cant help it but i think all kids should have a fighting chance and love goes a long way whether you are young or old.


 

Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on Oct. 24, 2013 at 4:51 PM

 A triad member: birthparent, adoptee, adoptive parent

Quoting stormcris:

I am not familiar with that.

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 (in red) Are you a a triad member?

Quoting stormcris:

I am not insisting anything of the sort. I am insisting that the piece in the OP is contentious and making assertions that are problematic. I am merely commenting on the piece. 

Are there problems with adoption? Surely we have seen such and there are many examples but to contend that adoption affects everyone is just redundant and it is negative shading. I have no ability to shut down the conversation but to say always with a point that is true of all not just adoptees is not helpful to the discussion of the negative and often tragic side of adoption. I feel it is a disservice to the actual problems associated with such. I am insisting that adoption is something entirely different with issues that are ignored and disregarded by this piece. Other people will not get the truth of what adoption can and will create in a child through what is presented here. Depression and the mention of such is not the truth of what most adult adoptees go through. It is just shuffled off as such for a diagnosis. What they go through is mourning and sense of loss of self. That being shuffled toward depression is a band aid mechanism. That being shuffled off as any mental disease or illness is inherently wrong to me so thus I disagree entirely with this piece. Mourning and loss of self are not merely feelings that need some sort of medicine. They are emotions that are correct for the effect to the person and they need something more than to throw some medicine at it. My feelings on adoption are extreme and varied and I contain my comments at times because literally I could write extremely long replies on this subject but this piece ticks me off and it gives crappy understanding to those who should get information on such.

Quoting A-nony-mous:

 

 

Quoting stormcris:

Everything that touches a person affects them. You are affected by your biological parents in a similar manner. To say that is like saying a person breathes and then negatively spin it as contributing to global warming. This is how this article comes off.

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 The article cites that adoption always affects the adoptee- NOT that they are always affected by depression. There is a diffference.

But think about it: say you were raised by wolves- that fact there will always affect you.

Sure, you might become a productive member of society and learn language and become educated and contribute positive ways to society, but the simple fact that you were raised by wolves will always shape who you are.

Quoting stormcris:

I think always is a bad term to use when they speak of that study. A great deal of the US is depressed. Depression comes from many places it is not simple to say that an adoptee was depressed or had issues because of the adoption because many many biological status kids have the same issues. I was adopted and yes there were issues in that family but it was better than had I been raised by my biological parents. 

 



Out of curiosity, why are you so defensive about this? If you were adopted and happy then that's fine, but I'm not sure this is the topic for you. Or at least this isn't a place to constantly insist that just because you have your happy experience that other experiences are all wrong. 99% of the world's topics on adoption are positive and happy. There umpteen numbers to go and rave about it. It's frustrating to see people who are shutting down any conversation about the other side of the issue by insisting that someone is wrong for posting something in that vein or trying to open up that discourse, as you are now doing insisting that adoption has nothing to do with depression or other issues and that the OP is wrong in posting what she did. 


 


 

paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Oct. 24, 2013 at 4:51 PM


Quoting MomTiara19:



Quoting paganbaby:

I don't know about all adoptees, but my 14 year old dd is very happy and well adjusted. I've had people tell me she's going to have a hard road ahead of her because not only is she adopted but she's also bi-racial being raised in a white family.  

*Shrugs* So far, so good. I've been rasing her since she was a month old. Her Bio mom has in been in her life off and on from the begining and she writes her her bio dad occasionally on FB.

I think our situation is unique because she grew up knowing her bio mom. There wasn't this big fantasy about her. In fact DD doesn't really like spending more than a few hours with her,lol. As for her bio dad, she's never really shown an interest in him.

I am black and my dad who is white married my bio mom and adopted me at 9.

My mom died 14 years ago and my dad has always been there for my family.I never had any interest in meeting my bio dad.

I think being adopted is better than a child being raised from foster home to foster home.Every child needs a family and a place to call home.

My dad with my daughter below:)



That is such a sweet picture! I'm sorry for you loss but I love that your dad was there for you. 

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Breastfeeding tickers

stormcris
by Christy on Oct. 24, 2013 at 4:54 PM

I am an adoptee of my mother's adoptive parents, she was also anon birth parent prior to my birth.

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 A triad member: birthparent, adoptee, adoptive parent

Quoting stormcris:

I am not familiar with that.

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 (in red) Are you a a triad member?

Quoting stormcris:

I am not insisting anything of the sort. I am insisting that the piece in the OP is contentious and making assertions that are problematic. I am merely commenting on the piece. 

Are there problems with adoption? Surely we have seen such and there are many examples but to contend that adoption affects everyone is just redundant and it is negative shading. I have no ability to shut down the conversation but to say always with a point that is true of all not just adoptees is not helpful to the discussion of the negative and often tragic side of adoption. I feel it is a disservice to the actual problems associated with such. I am insisting that adoption is something entirely different with issues that are ignored and disregarded by this piece. Other people will not get the truth of what adoption can and will create in a child through what is presented here. Depression and the mention of such is not the truth of what most adult adoptees go through. It is just shuffled off as such for a diagnosis. What they go through is mourning and sense of loss of self. That being shuffled toward depression is a band aid mechanism. That being shuffled off as any mental disease or illness is inherently wrong to me so thus I disagree entirely with this piece. Mourning and loss of self are not merely feelings that need some sort of medicine. They are emotions that are correct for the effect to the person and they need something more than to throw some medicine at it. My feelings on adoption are extreme and varied and I contain my comments at times because literally I could write extremely long replies on this subject but this piece ticks me off and it gives crappy understanding to those who should get information on such.


MeAndTommyLee
by Gold Member on Oct. 24, 2013 at 4:57 PM
She will have questions eventually. While her natural mother let her go without a fight, the child had no say in the situation and may need information and ask the hard questions to be able to let Her go.


Quoting beesbad:

I don't doubt any of the concerns you raised. Sometimes a well intentioned law or policy can be abused. In an effort to prevent adoptable children from languishing in foster homes for excessive amounts of time some children, who can and should be reunited with birth families, are adopted too soon.



I accidentally posted too soon - editing to add more



In California (at least in my daughters case) I am confident that everything was done to encourage reunification. No one in her extended family was willing to take her, it may have been because they didn't want to have to deal with the birth mom coming in and out of her life. It caused me to have some rather mixed up emotions. I hated when the social worker arrived to take her for her visitation with her birth mom, but I made sure she was dressed as cute as possible so the mom would see that she was worth fighting for. I was scared when the mom went into rehab but was angry when she left after one day, I couldn't understand why she wouldn't do everything in her power to get her daughter back. The mom had a year to take parenting classes, get free counseling, and free rehab before our daughter was placed in our home. The birth mom had her own social worker assigned to her to help her through the process. It was another year before her parental rights were terminated - at no point did she ever meet even one of the requirements.



I initially had a lot of guilt for taking this woman's child but our daughter would have been an absolute mess if she hadn't been rescued from the situation she was in. She was two when she came to live with us and hoarded food, it took a while for her to realize that she wouldn't be hungry again and that we weren't going anywhere. The birth mom would leave her with random friends and acquaintances for an afternoon and then not come back for days or weeks, I don't think our daughter actually knew her birth mom was her mother because she wasn't with her long enough to form a bond.



She's ten now and luckily has no memory of her early experiences.




Quoting A-nony-mous:

There's so many more problems to adoption that has been spoken of, although this post is a good start. 

Many babies are quite literally stolen and trafficked to feed the adoption industry. Adoption is FOR PROFIT, don't kid yourself. It hasn't been about finding homes for orphans for a long LONG time. It's now about finding children for infertile wealthy westerners. There have been some recent famous cases about children stolen from one state to another and in violation of that child's due process and constitutional rights (along with the parents) but it happens all the time. China estimates that around 70,000 children a year are kidnapped and many of those go to feed the adoption industry.

UNICEF released a statement recently about the corruption in the international adoption sphere.  

Domestically, there are a number of states that are well known for quicki, pseudo illegal and unethical adoptions; Utah, South Carolina and Florida topping the list. All push unwed (and even in some cases married) fathers out and skirt around other laws to push adoptions through.

Because of the 1997 "Safe Families and Children Act", child services gets a cash bonus for each child adopted out of foster care. This gives huge incentive to terminate parental rights, not focus on their so-called doctrine of reuniting families, and to push adoptions through. Adoptions have doubled and tripled since the SFACA was signed. Some states have as much as $10 MILLION dollars or more of their state budget tied up and coming in on the backs of children seized and around 90% are seized for minor issues like temporary poverty or homelessness and only 10% or less are seized for actual serious abuse. Many of these children are adopted out without needing to be, when they have perfectly good parents or grandparnents or aunts and uncles that would take them...but there's no cash bonus for that.  


A-nony-mous
by Bronze Member on Oct. 24, 2013 at 5:00 PM
1 mom liked this


I think the problem is that for many adoptees this is the exact illusion that nobody 'gets'. Taking a child into your home doesn't necessarily make you a family. For many adoptees they feel forever out of place and it doesn't matter how much "love" there is or how hard the adoptive parents try, it's just not there because for some people you cannot simply graft strangers onto your family tree and pretend that nothing is different or strange about that. 

That's not to say that state care is better but that also doesn't mean that adoption is a cure. :-) 

 

Quoting paganbaby:


I think being adopted is better than a child being raised from foster home to foster home.Every child needs a family and a place to call home.

Woodbabe
by Woodie on Oct. 24, 2013 at 5:01 PM
5 moms liked this

I'm so sad that some adoptees have issues, but I wonder if they'd have had related issues if they'd been raised by their birth mothers. Since I was with mine until I was four, I was old enough to understand what abuse was, and that my adopted parents were a safe haven for me.

beesbad
by Bronze Member on Oct. 24, 2013 at 5:19 PM
1 mom liked this
I'm on my iPad so I can't delete all the previous quotes. :-(

She began asking hard questions a couple of years ago. It broke my heart when she wanted to know why her mom 'got rid' of her. She wants to know if she has siblings. Interestingly she doesn't ask questions about the birth dad.

She knows she was removed from her mothers care for safety reasons. We explained in a very high level way that her mother didn't want to lose her and loves her but because of addiction was not able to care for her. She doesn't know she was repeatedly abandoned, not fed or clothed. She doesn't know her mother walked out of treatment facilities multiple times and never showed up to the parenting classes. She doesn't know the birth dad has been in and out of prison and skipped the one visitation meeting he set up.

Someday I'll have to tell her, but it will be when she is older and can process the information. I don't want her to feel anger or hatred for her birth parents, I hope she will be able to view them with compassion and understand that drug addiction destroys people and families.


Quoting MeAndTommyLee:

She will have questions eventually. While her natural mother let her go without a fight, the child had no say in the situation and may need information and ask the hard questions to be able to let Her go.




Quoting beesbad:

I don't doubt any of the concerns you raised. Sometimes a well intentioned law or policy can be abused. In an effort to prevent adoptable children from languishing in foster homes for excessive amounts of time some children, who can and should be reunited with birth families, are adopted too soon.





I accidentally posted too soon - editing to add more





In California (at least in my daughters case) I am confident that everything was done to encourage reunification. No one in her extended family was willing to take her, it may have been because they didn't want to have to deal with the birth mom coming in and out of her life. It caused me to have some rather mixed up emotions. I hated when the social worker arrived to take her for her visitation with her birth mom, but I made sure she was dressed as cute as possible so the mom would see that she was worth fighting for. I was scared when the mom went into rehab but was angry when she left after one day, I couldn't understand why she wouldn't do everything in her power to get her daughter back. The mom had a year to take parenting classes, get free counseling, and free rehab before our daughter was placed in our home. The birth mom had her own social worker assigned to her to help her through the process. It was another year before her parental rights were terminated - at no point did she ever meet even one of the requirements.





I initially had a lot of guilt for taking this woman's child but our daughter would have been an absolute mess if she hadn't been rescued from the situation she was in. She was two when she came to live with us and hoarded food, it took a while for her to realize that she wouldn't be hungry again and that we weren't going anywhere. The birth mom would leave her with random friends and acquaintances for an afternoon and then not come back for days or weeks, I don't think our daughter actually knew her birth mom was her mother because she wasn't with her long enough to form a bond.





She's ten now and luckily has no memory of her early experiences.






Quoting A-nony-mous:

There's so many more problems to adoption that has been spoken of, although this post is a good start. 

Many babies are quite literally stolen and trafficked to feed the adoption industry. Adoption is FOR PROFIT, don't kid yourself. It hasn't been about finding homes for orphans for a long LONG time. It's now about finding children for infertile wealthy westerners. There have been some recent famous cases about children stolen from one state to another and in violation of that child's due process and constitutional rights (along with the parents) but it happens all the time. China estimates that around 70,000 children a year are kidnapped and many of those go to feed the adoption industry.

UNICEF released a statement recently about the corruption in the international adoption sphere.  

Domestically, there are a number of states that are well known for quicki, pseudo illegal and unethical adoptions; Utah, South Carolina and Florida topping the list. All push unwed (and even in some cases married) fathers out and skirt around other laws to push adoptions through.

Because of the 1997 "Safe Families and Children Act", child services gets a cash bonus for each child adopted out of foster care. This gives huge incentive to terminate parental rights, not focus on their so-called doctrine of reuniting families, and to push adoptions through. Adoptions have doubled and tripled since the SFACA was signed. Some states have as much as $10 MILLION dollars or more of their state budget tied up and coming in on the backs of children seized and around 90% are seized for minor issues like temporary poverty or homelessness and only 10% or less are seized for actual serious abuse. Many of these children are adopted out without needing to be, when they have perfectly good parents or grandparnents or aunts and uncles that would take them...but there's no cash bonus for that.  


beesbad
by Bronze Member on Oct. 24, 2013 at 5:31 PM
I think we are all born with "issues" to one degree or another. Adoption is another layer of issues added to whatever you were born with. Also, the type of family you are adopted into can make things better or worse.

Nearly anyone can have a kid (baring infertility) whether or not they are good parent material. If a person is going to adopt I think it is extremely important to guarantee that they are good parent material before an adoption is allowed to occur. Statistically, adopted kids are at a much higher risk for problems. I don't think there is one contributing factor but rather many factors. They are a very vulnerable population and I don't think enough is done to make sure they are placed in appropriate homes or that most adoptive parents educate themselves on their child's unique needs.

I feel like I'm becoming a preachy know-it-all so I apologize to everyone if that's the case. I'm going to pick my daughter up from school so you'll all get a break from me. ;-)


Quoting Woodbabe:

I'm so sad that some adoptees have issues, but I wonder if they'd have had related issues if they'd been raised by their birth mothers. Since I was with mine until I was four, I was old enough to understand what abuse was, and that my adopted parents were a safe haven for me.

paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Oct. 24, 2013 at 5:37 PM

My sister felt the same way and she was raised by our biological mom and step dad. She wasn't happy because she didn't her real mom AND dad. She never felt like she fit in with our family even though we're blood. I had the same step dad she did and never had those feelings.

In the end, it really depends on the individual and to a lesser extent, the age they became a part of the family.

To bring it even further, my mom was raised by both her parents, plus siblings and extended family and she always felt out of place. 

Quoting A-nony-mous:


I think the problem is that for many adoptees this is the exact illusion that nobody 'gets'. Taking a child into your home doesn't necessarily make you a family. For many adoptees they feel forever out of place and it doesn't matter how much "love" there is or how hard the adoptive parents try, it's just not there because for some people you cannot simply graft strangers onto your family tree and pretend that nothing is different or strange about that. 

That's not to say that state care is better but that also doesn't mean that adoption is a cure. :-) 

 

Quoting paganbaby:


I think being adopted is better than a child being raised from foster home to foster home.Every child needs a family and a place to call home.


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