Adoptees and a study worth reading…

16 Dec


I’m always fascinated by the different feelings about being adopted, how or when they change in either direction.  I shy away from most of the super positive about being adopted adoptees and the very negative about their being adopted adoptee.  Neither end of the spectrum is healthy because life is never all rosy without a glitch or hint of sad, or the opposite, always bad.  There are exceptions to my shying away, I have a sweet, gentle friend on FB who would be seen as a super positive about being adopted adoptee.  She expresses her feelings about being adopted, yet she is also open to listening, looking for similarities to what someone is saying, looks at her experience, and finds things in common.  I think perhaps we are very similar, but our personality and language used, is what makes us seem different.

Anyway, I’m rambling to give you an idea of what’s running through my mind today.  Every once in a while, I go to a positive adoptee FB group.  I don’t stay long.  Today, the first post was about language used such as birth father and how they don’t consider their sperm donor to be anything but  a sperm donor.  In the comments, terms such as the vessel who brought them into the world to be raised by their real parents.  Yet, from what I can tell, many have apparently have met their parents by birth, so they obviously searched as they are my age?  They blame posts that turn into train wrecks on angry adoptees who join their group, but it seems to me as an outsider looking in, they are creating provocative posts with the intent to cause angry comments back, so they can show those angry adoptees how stupid they are, all the while claiming they just want to have a positive supportive group to be in, and talk about being adopted.  For the life of me, it reminds me of high school and bullies.  If that is what it means to be a super positive adoptee about my adoption, count me out.  Other posts are ones with the silly sayings on artsy backgrounds that you find commonly on places like adoptiondotcom, there will be a couple of two or three word comments made, but there is no discussion, or even conversation, because what is there to discuss about some silly saying?  I enjoy conversations about adoption; critical thinking about how it works, what works well, and what should be trashed, what should never happen, the laws, the process, the experiences from all sides, the similarities, and distinct differences.

While reading that FB post today I was thinking about the study I talked about on the other blog.  Below are snippets from that post.  Tell me what you think – it’s worth reading the study.

Interesting study (2007) on adult adoptees…

I Sat In Silent Musing did a post recently that highlighted Adoption Reconstruction Phase Theory.  It piqued my interest and I searched hoping to find I could get access to the paper.  I did.

From my reading, this study came about as a result of a different study Borders et al. (2000).  Respondents to this study came from the original study.  They were originally recruited primarily from a statewide adoption and foster care agency in North Carolina.  Some that had contact with the agency in the previous 5 years were sent letters, others responded to a notice in the agencies newsletter.  Overall, for this second study they ended up with 100 respondents between the ages of 35-55, with an average age of 42.7 years.  78% women, 70% married, 78% had children, 57% college grads, 35% had completed some college, 88% were middle class or higher, 100% adopted as infants, 84% in North Carolina, 75% were placed through a cooperating adoption agency.

The study tested the hypothesis that there were 5 adoption reconstruction phases for the adult adoptee.  Read the study to get descriptions of each phase below.

1. No Awareness/Denying Awareness (Ignorance Is Bliss)
2. Emerging Awareness (Curiosity Killed the Cat)
3. Drowning in Awareness (Ill as a Hornet/Mad as Hell)
4. Re-emerging From Awareness (Rising From the Ashes)
5. Finding Peace (Let It Be)

Reconstruction of Adoption Issues: Delineation of Five Phases Among Adult Adoptees Judith Penny, L. DiAnne Borders, and Francie Portnoy


Posted by on December 16, 2014 in Adoption


Tags: , , ,

14 responses to “Adoptees and a study worth reading…

  1. mgquinonez

    December 16, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    I used to let the fact that I was adopted, define me. So I have since let it be. I rarely tell anyone anymore unless I want to standout from being “basic”. I feel like people suddenly become more interested in me after that.


    • TAO

      December 16, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      I don’t understand how being adopted could define a person?


  2. Paige Adams Strickland

    December 16, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Being adopted did define me, but I kept forcing it not to with that stage 1 / denial thing. Then I jumped from #2—#4, skipping “Mad as Hell” #3, like a lot of those FB members you referred to. It’s hard for me to relate to them because of all the turmoil and drama…like you said, like Jr/Sr high bullying. Man! It’s so easy to set them off unless you follow a super-script of safe talk, and even then there are no guarantees. I’m at Level 5 now. I write/read a lot about adoption now not because I think I have unresolved issues but to further understand what happened and to connect with other adoptees. I think every person’s situation is different. I for one, know that my birth father is more than a sperm-doner. He had no say so in 1961-62. Even “regular” dads didn’t participate much in the woman’s doctor appointments or in birthing rooms. My birth father and his family has been an active part of my life since 2002. Good people.


    • TAO

      December 16, 2014 at 11:09 pm

      Hey Paige – I see people saying adoption defines or defined them, I just don’t understand. Is it because you have processing to do at different points? I’ve tried describing who I am in my head and adoption certainly has a part, but, do does so many other things that I’d be hard to define myself as just one thing. Can you tell I’m confused and my insomnia might be making it worse…

      Interesting you put them at #3 instead of #1…

      Mulling on it for a while, I hit #3 after I got sick, the roadmap was waiting for me but for sealed records, and things didn’t have to turn out the way they did with my health. I was mad. I’d say I was a #5. I’ve never considered my father by birth to be just a sperm donor or my mother a vessel. So disrespectful as much to say they weren’t even really human. We about the same age by the way…fathers had absolutely no say – the laws stripped them from any right to anything.


      • Paige Adams Strickland

        December 16, 2014 at 11:26 pm

        Adoption now defines part of me, as do my kids, my marital status, being a teacher, etc.


        • TAO

          December 16, 2014 at 11:33 pm

          Thanks Paige…


      • cb

        December 17, 2014 at 12:51 am

        I think I’m sort of #4 and #5 although I try not to justify or rationalise being adopted. I think I am beyond #3 or was never really #3 when it comes to the actual people in my personal adoption world but when it comes to adoption practices, there is nothing wrong with being angry with how things are.

        What is the definition of “adoption” anyway? I think a lot of adoption discussions go awry because everyone has a different definition. Many of us adoptees tend to be talking about also the post-war western form of adoption which is quite different to adoption elsewhere in the world.


  3. cb

    December 16, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I just dislike using the words “negative” and “positive” in the first place.

    One thing I will say is that there are also ways assumptions made as to why adoptees “come online”. In regards to myself, I joined an adoption forum because I wanted advice on how to make contact, nothing more, nothing less, and I stayed because once I started meeting bfamily, things felt like a rollercoaster and there were others on there who understood.

    I have also found that I am now thinking about adoption in more abstract terms than I might have in the past.

    I sometimes wonder whether that is the true “difference” between many people in the online adoption world and why often we just can’t seem to get our points across, i.e. some are abstract thinkers and others are concrete thinkers.

    I don’t know if I’m making any sense at all lol.


    • TAO

      December 16, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Abstract / concrete makes perfect sense to me…I came on line after I got sick and stayed. To be absolutely truthful, I couldn’t spend time in my disease support forum, it scared the crap out of me and I needed something that could distract me – not something that scared me…

      Also whether one looks at adoption through the lens of I’m adopted vs adoption in general…


  4. eagoodlife

    December 16, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    The Reconstruction Phases of Adult Adoptees – thank you TAO!!


  5. eagoodlife

    December 16, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I also don’t like the categorising as negative or positive. When we can view all stories as on a continuum we’ll be getting somewhere.


    • TAO

      December 16, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Like continuum…good way to describe.


  6. emilie

    December 26, 2014 at 12:22 am

    Wow, I recently did a journal review on this study for a college course I am taking.
    I find there to be problems with the study, but it does fit what I’ve seen over the years in adoptee circles, websites, support groups etc.
    Very interesting and I hope they continue to ask these questions. So many variables.


    • TAO

      December 26, 2014 at 12:33 am

      Thanks for stopping by…



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