Never Play Leapfrog with Unicorns!

014770_13Most adoptees do not have PTSD or any other after effects that can be defined as a disorder. PTSD cannot be defined by an event but only by an individual’s reaction to an event. Everyone who experiences a car accident will not have PTSD. Every soldier in war doesnt have PTSD. The overwhelming number of adoptees adapt, successfully, to premature maternal separation and the preverbal memories created by that primal loss. Behavioral problems that often result from adoption are normal reactions and not part of any disease process. When adoptees fall into the disorder context most often there are multiple separations abuse in foster homes and or the adoptive homes. Adoptees are in mental health treatment 3 times greater then non adoptess but they are also most often misdiagnosed because most therapists dont understand adoptions effects and insurance companies demand a diagnosis before they will pay a claim. Placing adoption in this context makes adoptees victims and leads to anger in perpetuity. Adoption becomes demonized and the adoptee/ victim will never heal. Anger becomes confused with validation and the adoptee becomes stuck in the past lamenting about adoption as the unjust evil that “ruined my life.” Research shows that ambivalent mothers who changed their minds about adoption and kept their children created children with far more emotional disturbances then adopted children. Defining oneself as a victim becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and the adoptee has no one to blame but himself for that. One must own the adoption experience or it will own you. – Robert Hafetz MS (adoptee, former AAC State Rep, adoption therapy practice)
While we might agree with much of what Robert say, there is also much that I cannot agree with. See what you think, you’ll find his comments on linkedin. I do not for instance believe that defining oneself as a victim is a self-fulfilling prophecy, for which the adoptee has no-one to blame but himself! Acknowledging victimhood may be the first step in claiming survival, learning new skills and techniques and eventually thriving. Yes, we must own the adoption experience, but that can only be done if all of the adoption experience is known and can be acknowledged as our own. We cannot own the things we do not know about nor can we be owned by what is unknown or guessed at, secret, ambiguous or false. Since so many adoptees are denied their birth information, their birth certificates, their history and heritage and live with little hope of every knowing, it seems so many will never be in a position to own what is theirs.
Many adoptees cannot be diagnosed with PTSD, because the medical profession does not yet recognise the particular type of pre-verbal PTSD that many adoptees have. Adoptees are very good at adapting, it’s often one of the things we do best as the result of our early trauma in being removed from our mother. Adaptation to primal loss does not necessarily mean healthy adaptation. Reactions may be ‘normal’ by adoptees to the pathology of adoption and all it entails, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best adaptation it can be.
It would be impossible for any soldier to go through war as it is waged today without ill effects and the problem is with diagnosis, just as it is with adoptees. It is dangerous and ill-considered to think otherwise.
When we examine the stages of the adopted life it is possible to see that anger does not generally survive ‘in perpetuity’ whether the adoptee is a victim of the mental health system or not. As we age we go through five or more stages, the lat of these being acceptance. Anger is a ‘normal’, healthy reaction to something that is unjust. It is what we do with it that counts! For instance to take a very recent example – when we look at events in Boston we see a great deal of anger at what was done to innocent people. We don’t say that anger is unjustified nor will we complain in future times when the victims and others lament about the evil that was perpetrated. We are right to be angry at some of the things those who support adoption do, write, blog and say. Those things are either wrong, misleading, adoptist or perpetuate myths about adoption and adoptees. Would it be right to support the stealing of babies, kidnapping or the sale of babies? Many have been outraged by the film about Masho and her brother, removed for adoption in what is not uncommon circumstances. Perhaps many who had not thought about this side of adoption are now doing so.
Adoption becomes demonized and the adoptee/ victim will never heal Adoption as it is carried out today and yesterday, is seen by many as evil. It is unethical, shows no respect for mothers or adoptees/orphans/’orphans’/children/the abandoned/the purchased/trafficked/commodified or for vulnerable and needy adopters and until that is recognised widely, acknowledged as demonic and the victims suffering are validated there will not be complete healing.
It seems that adoptees are in a cleft stick, being told that if they define themselves as victims they live a self-fulfilling prophecy and have no-one to blame but themselves and at the same time are made victims by the adoption industry, the industry’s supporters, insurance companies and the mental health industry over which they have little control and very little say. If they do speak out, as some brave adoptees have and continue to do, they are discounted because they are deemed invalid, their opinions not considered worthy, because they have ‘mental health issues’. Confused thinking will not help any of us to heal, to process our adoption. to own it or to speak about it. It will never be possible to support an adoption industry and to effectively support adoptees in healing and understanding. Adoption in some form will always be necessary for the few who cannot or should not be raised in an unsafe environment. Let it be ethical, in the best interests of children and free from confusion about its origins, its application and the motivations of those who earn money from it.


2 thoughts on “Never Play Leapfrog with Unicorns!

  1. You are right Von. Children placed in adoption are voiceless as children. We have no control over what happens. Now that we are old enough (as adoptees) to speak and write about our experience, the perpetrators do not want to listen to how we feel. Robert Hafetz MS does not speak for me or the thousands of American Indian children who were forcefully taken and abducted as part of a government ethnic cleansing program.

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