If you don’t know adoption history…

18 Sep

I don’t have a problem with the article at all, just one statement that is factually incorrect and something I’ve seen happening far too often; this desire to pretend that knowledge about what adoptees need didn’t exist until now, and that it is news.

“We are discovering that information about a child’s past is so incredibly important to them and that purposely withholding information about their origin can be incredibly damaging; it can create a void they may spend a lifetime trying to fill.”

No, it’s been know since at least the 1950’s, if not before. Now it’s 2021 and people act like they are just discovering stuff we already knew, books and papers written about it teaching you what is known about being adopted. And yet, still there’s this assumption that that knowledge didn’t exist until now. It seems to be caused by the lack of teaching people before they adopt about adoption so they know what is known, and what is not known about the adoptee experience. It’s also not going to get better when all that is required to adopt is that you can pass a homestudy. And even if you use an adoption agency many are still woefully deficient in this area, not to mention all the “do-it-yourself hopeful adoptive parents” that adopt.

Regardless of the reason why this has happened; you being an informed and educated adoptive parent falls directly on your shoulders, there is no excuse for not doing your homework. The information is out there, has been out there for decades, take this book, published in 1993, “Being Adopted The Search for Self by David M. Brodzinsky, Ph.D., Marshall D Schechter, M.D., & Robin Marantz Henig”. It holds a wealth of knowledge to educate yourself, and then start talking to both professionals and adult adoptees, listen to the many ways being adopted affects the one adopted.

Do your due diligence before you become an adoptive parent because it’s far different than being a biological parent.

The quotes below are from “Being Adopted The Search for Self” and start from page 79 on and even if it was written in ’93, it is a road map of being adopted and our search for knowledge.

The “Search” Begins – In The Imagination

“We are often asked, “What percent of adoptees search for their birth parents?” And our answer surprises people. “One hundred percent.” In our experience, all adoptees engage in a search process. It may not be a literal search, but it is a meaningful search nonetheless. It begins when the child first asks, “Why did it happen?” “Who are they?” “Where are they now?” These questions may be asked out loud, or they may constitute a more private form of searching – questions that are examined only in the solitude of self-reflection. This universal search begins during the early school years, prompted by the child’s growing awareness of adoption issues.”

“Children of this age feel compelled to explain their world and how it came into being. If being adopted is part of their world, they will feel compelled to explain that. For some kids, it’s an intellectual exercise only, with no more emotional wallop than wondering about the stars in the sky. For some kids, it’s everything.”

“It’s the master question of my life,” said Michael, nine: “Why did she give me away?”

The book goes on to explain in more detail all the different stages we go through in our search for self, the knowledge we seek throughout our life. I did a post awhile back about the above book The Book: Being Adopted – The Lifelong Search for Self if you are interested. But getting back to the point of the post – not only was it known in ’93 when this book was published that we wanted knowledge, it was known before the 60’s. And adoptees like Betty Jean Lifton, and other adoptees have written books as well, you can find them at Adoptee Reading.

“Search and reunion have been prominent features of adoption reform and activism in recent decades, and they appear as central themes in many adoption narratives. The effort to locate birth parents and other natal relatives has a long history in adoption, however, since there was never a time when relatives separated by adoption did not seek to find them later in life. Throughout the era of the orphan trains in the nineteenth century, and during the heyday of placing-out, information about the backgrounds of children placed temporarily or permanently was no mystery. During the formative stages of modern adoption, social workers and other child-placers frequently served as agents of disclosure. When adoptees came to them with questions about their backgrounds, they assumed it was part of their job to provide answers. The difficulties adoptees encountered in searching were more likely to be caused by sloppy or non-existent records than by design.” Read the one page article “Benson Jaffee and David Fanshel, How They Fared in Adoption,1970″ at the Adoption History website.

1 Comment

Posted by on September 18, 2021 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , ,

One response to “If you don’t know adoption history…

  1. legitimatebastard

    September 29, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    Thank you, TAO, for writing this!

    You won’t beleive the push-back I get when I tell people that there are books out there! People do not want to read!

    Oh, and, as for inserting quotes froom these books into a paper I’m writing and bringing that paper to a writers’ group for critique, well, the consensus is that I must have UP TO DATE REFERENCES in my paper!!! Nothing beyond 10 years!

    When I explained that the best books were written a long time ago, that not too many people write on this topic, and WE are writing and re-writiing the text books because this is a new movement – only been around since 1953 – well, then, the writers group too a step back. Theyy explained that I must say what I just explained in my paper, before my reference list, so that readers know the scope of research, books, articles available.

    As for the general public or even younger adopting parents, no, they are not interested in reading. Not interested in educating themselves and definately not interested in educating their adoptee. It’s their adoption journey and to hell with everyone else.



Tell me your thoughts, but please be nice...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: