For years I have wondered who I was. Since I was adopted as an infant, I had no familial background and could not focus on anything but who I was. I needed to know who my birthmother was. I wanted to know facts about myself. I had several medical problems that I felt were inherited and I needed to blame somebody.
Recently, I was home from work early enough to watch an episode of Oprah. Gary Zukav, author of The Seat of the Soul, was the guest. He was describing an "ah ha" moment. That is the moent when something becomes clear to you. I guess it was at that moment I had my "ah ha" moment. It finally dawned on me maybe it was not my birthmother I needed to find, but perhaps it was me that I should begin to look for. Maybe all I needed to look at was the dynamics of adoption to understand more fully what I had gone through for too many of my previous years. I began to wonder if there were more people out there who felt like I did and had the same issues that I had. Certainly, when the bond is broken between the mother and child, some damage has to be done. And certainly some of that damage could have long term effects.
So when you examine the motives of why mothers give their children up for adoption and why parents adopt, it is not surprising that the event of adoption is stressful for the child in the middle. When we look at the medical problems that are exacerbated by stress, then we can look at adoption as being the root cause.
We will look at two adoptees in particular; myself and an adopted cousin (name removed to maintain privacy). I have vitiligo (loss of pigment) and fibromyalgia, which is described by Dr. Shankland as a chronic, painful muscle condition. (Shankland, sec. 1). My cousin suffers from the effects of lupus, an autoimmune disorder. These conditions are known in the medical field as being stress related illnesses. And although, both of us were adopted by a loving family, "being wanted by our adoptive families did not make up for not being wanted by our birth mother(s)." (Verrier, sec. 21).
There are many reasons that a mother may decide to relinquish or surrender her child for adoption; too young to cope with having a baby, conceived out of wedlock, conceived outside of a marriage, rape, health issues of the mother and health issues of the child. All of these reasons are stressful to the mother who must make the decision to give the baby up for adoption. That stress certainly has to be passed on to the baby while still in utero.
Now let us examine the make up of the adoptive parents. According to M.E. Humphrey;
They are usually well educated with middle class standards. The adoptive
parents may have waited rather late to adopt children and the family usually has no more than two children. Couples who have waited a significant amount of time before adopting, have grown dependant upon each other and do not realize until too late that the prospect of being childless because of marital disharmony or sexual inadequacy, the couple may be ill suited for parenthood. Reproductive failure may cause depression and that could be a factor for inadequacies in adopting a child. The couple may have biological children before or after the adoption which may also affect their ability to parent an adopted child. (Humphrey, 73).
We have looked at why people should not adopt, now we need to look at why some people choose adoption. Some parents may have girls and want a boy, but do not want to leave it to chance that they would conceive one. Many parents may think adoption is better than bringing another child into this mixed up crazy world we live in. In some families, a child of a relative is adopted by other family members. Some people want to adopt because of the inability to conceive a child. And there are people that simply want to adopt for all of the right reasons.
With the aforementioned in mind, you now have to look at how the adopted child is the beneficiary. Adoptees make up a large percentage of the residential treatment facilities according to Dr. Claude L. Coleman, M.D., a child psychiatrist in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He advised that it is a well known fact that a large percentage of the patients seen by mental health professionals are adopted. (Coleman). Also, according to the Statistics on the Effects of Adoption, adopted 'children' are disproportionately represented with learning disabilities and organic brain syndrome. Adoptees are more likely to have difficulties with drug and alcohol abuse, as well as, eating disorders, attention deficit disorder, infertility, untimely pregnancies and suicide. Adoptess are also more likely to choose alternate lifestyles. (Ginni, sec. 2).
Copyright©2000 Rosa Ferguson