Self preservation. I believe we all have to take personal responsibility for our actions no matter where we fall in the adoption equation–original parent, adoptive parent or adoptee.
I have to personally take responsibility for my issues as an adoptee and get help where I need it. It’s incumbent on us to take personal responsibility for our actions even when things happen to us that we don’t ask for. I have heard people say that because of the trauma many first mothers went through, they do not have to take responsibility now. Wrong. We have a responsibility to do right by others, even if it is uncomfortable for us. Experiencing tragedy doesn’t give us a pass to treat people any way we want to. Particularly a child one has carried
Couldn’t agree more with the above statement and the events of the last few years here in Australia during the time of the Inquiry into forced adoption and the preparation for the Apology for forced adoption have demonstrated time and time again how true that is. Naturally repostings of this blog post are already attracting comments from those who have criticised it for things which do not even appear in the post or which are relevant in any way! Any opportunity to stick the boot in for some it seems!
Robert Hafetz, an American adoptee therapist, has stated that we need to own our adoption or it will own us! Taking responsibility is part of owning our experiences and the effects and consequences of those experiences.
Robert has also stated that babies have no cognitive abilities and do not experience primal loss. He also does not believe that adoption is a trauma –
Most 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 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
Adoption begins with loss not with trauma. Trauma is an acute stressor that cant be adapted to. Primal separation is not acute because an infant has no cognitive capacity. The full effect isnt experienced until age 5 -6. When adoptees fall into the disorder context it involves additional insults such as abuse or an acute trauma later in life when there is cognition. That could be as early as 2 and a half. There is a definition of trauma called developmental trauma that could apply but it hasnt been accepted as yet. Adoption is widely studied and I referenced my remark with the David Brodzinski research. Most adoptees are well adjusted. That means they function in life and test normal on personality assessments. That doesnt mean they haven been affected by the adoption process. It means they are coping with it. They own it as I said before if you cant own your adoption then it will own you
He has also stated that The categorical vilification of adoption or (sic) indicates a lack of resolution, which presumably means that all who criticise adoption show that they have not ‘owned’ their adoption, taken responsibility for their actions or resolved any difficulties they might have with adoption! I find this a very narrow way of looking at adoption. It appears to accept that adoption is sound, ethical and humane! In an earlier comment, Robert states that he thinks adoption in some States of America needs fixing, but he gives no indication of any belief that adoption itself is so badly broken because it is founded on principles and beliefs which are wrong. For instance –
*the removal of children from their motherland, culture and heritage is criminal, inhumane and often based on the fabrication of ‘orphanhood’ or on false beliefs about what adoption means in practise
*all adoptions begin with loss and trauma and much of that could be avoided if attitudes to parenting, support for parenting and prevention of unwanted pregnancies were improved
*the need for saving souls is not a valid reason for removing children from their biological parents
*commodification of children and babies for profit and to supply a market is immoral, bad child-care practice and is traumatic for all targeted in some way
*those who do not see that there are many faces to adoption and that ethical adoption will always be necessary for a small number of children who cannot/should not be raised by their biological families, while at the same time the vast majority of adoptions could be prevented and are not for the child, but to meet the needs of adults, will be condoning the continuance of unethical adoption.
Those who do not speak out and are silent, condone. Given the information we now have available about adoption, it is hard to see how anyone could condone adoption as it is practised today. To suggest that anyone or an unknown someone, who sees the very grave wrongs with adoption has not resolved their own ‘issues’, taken responsibility for them and ‘owned’ them is insulting, rude, ignorant and offensive! Robert’s view on primal loss and the cognitive abilities of babies are saddening to say the least and must be confusing to those looking for accurate information.
Adoptionland is so often a strange place to be, holding on the one hand inspirational exchanges such as the one between Deanna and Laura which progress our thinking on adoption and on the other, exchanges which reveal confused and unswerving views which maintain the status quo, do not see the wider picture or completely miss what adoption is really about. As we say in my country Rock On Deanna and Laura!!
Over at The Shrink’s Blog check this one out –
One of the most common early by-products of imbalance in intimate personal relationships is resentment. If the spirit of quid pro quo is violated, exploited, or ignored, and the energetic, logistical and personal exchange becomes too chronically lopsided resentment festers and mutates into toxic contempt, hopelessness, and love-killing exhaustion http://whatashrinkthinks.com/2013/04/25/balancing-act
Many thanks to the talented poster maker who has produced a series of very to the point posters recently. Thank you.