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Tag Archives: personalities in adoptive families

Life and challenges…

Things in my life are still overwhelming and I’m having a hard time getting things done while not over-doing it physically.  I know that exhaustion makes it hard for me to put words together, but I’ve been very careful trying to not over-extend myself.  I’m still having trouble talking despite doing my best not to get over-tired, and I think it is not practicing talking (writing) posts regularly, using my brain to form a post that makes sense, and I never want to lose my voice again.  So, I thought I talk about what’s happening in my personal life a bit deeper than my normal.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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You’re Too Sensitive – You Worry Too Much…

Every single time I see mom or talk to her on the phone – that phrase is uttered at least once, if not may times throughout the visit or call.  It is usually accompanied by words of *advice* that have been repeated every single time.  You need to relax.  Take things as they come.  Roll with the punches.  Worrying won’t a difference.  I don’t know why you can’t just relax, I wish you could get over this.  You can’t worry about everything.  And a million or two other versions of the same.   I just wish she could accept that is who I am, that it is a combination of my genetic makeup, and my life experiences.  Neither of which I can change, and I wish mom could accept that, but I also never expect her too.  She is who she is – just like – I am who I am.

I am too sensitive and worry too much – but I can’t change a core part of what makes me – me.  Sometimes my worry is front and center, and other times it is subconscious – both forms take their toll.  My friends get it and accept it.  It didn’t take long for my closest colleagues at work to learn that I stressed over everything but they accepted it as part of who I was.  That for me, my work needed to be perfect and any mistake made by my team or I was unacceptable, so I built-in controls into every facet so that the risk of a mistake was minimal.  Being able to control it – reduced my stress about it.  That was my only solution.  I was a pro at risk assessment…

Worrying is unhealthy, but I don’t have a magic way to fix it.  I have read books on it.  I have tried to consciously block things out of my mind.  I have tried, and tried, and tried.  The only method that works is control of the situation and outcome, and yet there are still things I cannot control.  Those things I stress over, either by putting them off, or waiting anxiously for the outcome to be known.  I can face known – that is the easy part.  What I can’t face is not knowing and someone else being in control of when I get to know the outcome.

I have been this way since I arrived home.  I think at it’s core it is about separation from my mother, and then from whoever, or however many whoever’s cared for me the first two and a half months of my life.  My transition home was horrible according to mom – when I was awake, I cried inconsolably for well over 6 months, nothing she tried worked for more than a minute or two.  Nothing was physically wrong with me.  I was just inconsolable – except with dad.  I attached to dad, but I don’t think I ever really attached to mom.  I don’t know that she could have done anything different from what she did, I just didn’t attach to her.  She will always be mom, but not in the same way as dad.  Mom and I don’t fit.  I don’t know why, but suspect it is a combination of being nothing alike, and a babies instinctual distrust of mothers/caregivers not being there anymore learned by reality.

Yet I don’t have separation anxiety and never have…it doesn’t bother me when someone leaves.  How messed up is that.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child

 

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Ted Talk: Susan Cain: The power of introverts

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

Our world prizes extroverts — but Susan Cain makes a case for the quiet and contemplative.”

There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” (Susan Cain)

I am an introvert, I am also shy… 

Susan Cain defines being shy as fear of social judgement, and I think she nails it.

I think this Ted Talk is very relevant for those in adoption.  I strongly believe that our personalities are shaped by our genetics, and in adoption, genetics is not part of the equation.  It is the luck of the draw whether or not the personalities match in adoption.  I think it would be very easy for the extroverts to assume that their child needs to break out of their shell, and perhaps simply not recognise that their child is in fact very happy and secure, being who they are, which is introverted.

Here I also wish to disclaim (because of the fear of social judgement), that I recognise that this can happen in biological families.  I should not have to disclaim that, because in reality I am adopted, and have never lived in my biological family, so therefore it is irrelevant to what I want to say, but that fear of social judgement rears its ugly head while I am writing, in what should be a safe zone to express my thoughts.  I don’t wish to hear that can happen in biological families, again, it is not relevant to me, or what I wish to talk about. 

I could identify with and agree with everything Susan Cain said.  I experienced it in life since I was small, and throughout my adult life both personal and professional.  I was the child who mom and dad would have to make sure I was actually sleeping rather than reading a book under the covers by flashlight at 2 am.  I was happier being with just one or two friends and shrank from the thought of being in a group – the sensory overload was too great and I would shut down.  I needed the low-key environment.  It is also key to why dad was my go to person – he was introverted and mom was extroverted.  It had a lot to do with personalities and comfort levels.  With dad I could garden, hike, swim, go for a drive, learn how to do things, or just learn from him, sitting in front of the fireplace reading without any need to talk.  Mom needed chit-chat and interaction.

In my adult life I revelled in being alone even though I was married, I married an introvert (actually both husbands are introverts).  At one point during my first marriage we lived in a remote island community.  I will never forget the day I left my island sanctuary for the first time and flew down to the big city, and the waves of feelings of sensory overload of being in crowded international airport, teeming with people I did not know, after living in a small isolated community for so long – where all the faces were familiar.  All I wanted to do was turn around, get on a plane and go home to my sanctuary.  Every fiber of my being was screaming to run away, back to the safety and sanctuary the island offered me.  I often think about that day, when I see blog posts of adoptive parents bringing their children home from overseas, and how they have a large group of individuals at the airport as the welcoming committee.  How if that child is an introvert, and after what they have already endured in their short life – what that reception could do to them, how they could feel in that moment, when they are already in a state of dealing with an unknown future, with unknown individuals, unknown language, unknown culture.  It always makes me want to cry for the child – just in case that child is just like me.

I was the introverted manager and my team did great things – a mix of introverts and extroverts, but with the introvert leading them – it worked – everyone could just be themselves without judgement.  When we had to come up with new creative ideas we first had times to think, reflect, ponder, be quiet and then after that, a time to interact and work together to inspire the solitary ideas to evolve, and become great ideas.  As the leader, I was out of my element and struggled to overcome my natural reserve.  I was also expected to speak in front of employees at company meetings.  I never succeeded at that, and eventually the extroverted head of the company figured out that I could interact and tell the others what we had done, if I could interact with someone – but I would never be able to speak solo in front of a group.  As the head of the company she looked outside of her norm, and recognised and understood me – that was the greatest gift she ever gave me.  The acknowledgement that it was okay to be me, plus the ability to speak inside my comfort zone.

I will always be an introvert preferring a day of gardening, reading a book, spending time with one or two individuals, instead of being in a large social setting.  That is what works for me, and we all need to recognise we should be able to just be ourselves – not what someone else thinks we should be.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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Blame the genes…

Yup it’s all because of the genes that adoptees don’t do as well in adoptive homes.  Must not blame a.d.o.p.t.i.o.n. or the i.m.p.a.c.t. of adoption on the adoptee.  It is clear that adoptees inherit inferior genes to those passed on by the adoptive parents to their biological children.

This study Genetic and Environmental Influences on Adult Life Outcomes: Evidence from the Texas Adoption Project which I actually assumed would not be biased makes some incredible leaps, and by leaps, I mean discounting any impact adoption has on the child.  I do believe nature is stronger than nurture in determining many things, but I also strongly believe the impact of loosing your family at birth, and being adopted into a family that you have no genetic relation to IMPACTS you in ways others will never understand.

Note that this study is a continuation study on adoptees who were adopted at birth or shortly after birth from christian maternity homes.  This study is on adoptees between the ages of 30 and 40.

Such an average difference between these groups of offspring can be interpreted in two ways. First, it might be all or in part due to the genes supplied by the two sets of parents. The genetic parents of the adopted children were prima facie less well adjusted in their lives than the parents who supplied the genes to the biological children, a hypothesis supported by the differences in scores of the two groups of mothers on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (Loehlin et al. 1982)

And they did the personal inventory of the biological mothers when?  That question is not answered and if they did it on the mothers while they were in maternity homes or shortly after surrender, you think that would be indicative of what they would have been like before such a life changing event happened?  What – that wouldn’t have crossed your mind?  Obviously they did not interview them before they got pregnant…good grief…

A second possible interpretation might emphasize environmental or interpersonal factors, such as emotional insecurity due to a sense of being abandoned by their birth mothers, or less positive expectations by the adoptive parents, or the like. Such possibilities are often discussed in the adoption literature (e.g., Brodzinsky and Schechter 1990).

Obviously must not say feelings of abandonment or identity issues or growing up in a family you do not mirror could have one iota of a difference on how an adoptee feels.  That would be bad for the adoption industry…don’t trust those who actually have worked with adoptees for many years to know what they are talking about.

Although this second category of interpretations cannot be completely ruled out, we note several limitations of such arguments. First, the adoptees in the present study did not begin under a cloud.  At the time of the initial testing, the adopted children were rated as favorably by their parents as the biological children (Loehlin et al. 1990). If their later rating was lower, they apparently did something to earn it. Secondly, the psychological effects of adoption as such do not provide an explanation of why individual adopted children tend to resemble their birth mothers (Loehlin et al. 1987). And third, the patterns of parent-child and sibling resemblance in the present study lend themselves more readily to interpretation in terms of the genes than in terms of special environmental factors affecting adoptees. The latter factors, if powerful, and if varying from family to family as a result of parental beliefs and attitudes about adoption, might be expected to produce correlations among the adopted children in a family—correlations that were for the most part not observed.

Lets start with this statement aboveFirst, the adoptees in the present study did not begin under a cloud.” means what? – no abuse?  Being separated from your mother at birth is normal and natural?  So you are saying voluntary domestic infant adoption adoptees do not have any valid feelings of loss or abandonment or identity issues to work through?  Pssst – then why do some agencies provide counselling for the adoptee, and there are multiple if not dozens of books on adjustment, overcoming loss, allowing the child to grieve, etc, let alone real live adult adoptees saying being adopted is HARD and it HURTS…

Now lets look at this statement At the time of the initial testing, the adopted children were rated as favorably by their parents as the biological children (Loehlin et al. 1990). If their later rating was lower, they apparently did something to earn it.” You obviously have not watched how AP’s need to validate that adoptive children are just as good if not better than having your own.  Kind of like keeping up with the Jones mentality, which I get BTW.  And then of course – blame the adoptee – they did something to not be as favored – that’s always the best course of action – never blame the AP’s or adoption.  Perhaps you should also realize that the adoptees you just studied are all grown up now and have processed their adoption, and come to different conclusions than when they are were 5 or 15 – you know when they were just children…perhaps, if you are seeing the AP’s response as less favorable perhaps the adoptee “betrayed” them by searching for their family…

Now this statement does not make any sense whatsoever and somebody needs to explain it to me, because I cannot see how “apples” the psychological impact of adoption has any relation to the “oranges” of Mendelian inheritance: Secondly, the psychological effects of adoption as such do not provide an explanation of why individual adopted children tend to resemble their birth mothers.”

I just can’t understand how this study was accepted based on what it says.  Do people really think being adopted is the same as being raised in your biological family?  Do they think there is no trauma?  No impact?  If they don’t then perhaps they believe that all babies should be surrendered at birth and placed in the home at the top of the list of approved parents. 

I can’t say more because it would not be pretty, and I have already been  snarky enough for the day…

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child

 

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Adoptee Studies…

Dawn over at Creating A Family has a post summarizing the results of a meta-analysis study covering the last 40 or so years that says Adoptee’s Do Just Fine…and of course I commented and then thinking further on my comment I decided I needed to expand and explain.  You can read her post and my comment here if you are interested…
You see my comment basically stated that I don’t think much of any adoptee studies, meta-analysis studies that cover to many different types of adoptees, countries and mega years really don’t wow me.  And then I asked how adoptive parents would feel if they were studied and broken down into subtypes and found to be just fine and no challenges because they have self-esteem.  That most of us would be classified as “Just fine” but that we also have real issues with how adoption is done, equality, and other real items that need fixing.  Do you see where I am going with this? 
So the adoption study on adoptees was to determine if we have self-esteem, and following is my understanding from reading the study of what was included and excluded.
Included studies: Not limited to English language studies – Comparing self-esteem of international adoptees vs non adopted vs institutionalized – Transracial vs same race -Adoptees from childhood to early adulthood – Adoptees adopted at different ages – Adoptees adopted from different circumstances – Different self-esteem tests used – at least have a dozen different tests – Tests themselves were either self reported, parent reported, teacher reported – Different levels of standards required in studies were acceptable…
Excluded studies: Studies of clinical samples – examples; studies of adopted children referred to psychiatric clinics or given medical treatment, drug or alcohol exposed adoptees, physically or mentally handicapped adoptees…
Covering studies done between 1970 and 2007
So if I was to design a similar study to analyze studies done on adoptive parents in the last 40 years to see if all adoptive parents have self-esteem, I would need these studies done with these types of categories…
Include studies: Multiple Countries, Cultures and Languages – AP’s by fertile vs infertility vs infertility and used IVF and/or other ART adoptive parents vs biological parents – Domestic infant adoption vs Foster care adoption vs International adoption,  further subtypes by race, vs biological families subtypes by race – Married vs single vs same race married vs dual race married vs biological (same categories) –  Open adoption vs semi open vs closed vs open then closed vs semi open max 2 years – Self reported vs child adoptee reported vs adult adoptee reported vs social worker reported – APs from all ages 21-60…Different standards on the studies done accepted, multiple different tests used accepted.
Excluded studies: Adoptive parent(s) who returned child to country of origin or state – Adoptive parent(s) who advertised to privately re-home child(ren) – Adoptive parent(s) who sued agency for non-disclosure – Adoptive parent(s) who have been convicted and jailed for abusing or murdering their child(ren) – Adoptive parents who adopted any special needs children – Adoptive parents who sought any therapy for their children.
Feeling a bit like the adoptees who aren’t fond of studies on adoptees?  Do you think the above study will show you are all “just fine” and your adoptions are wonderful without any problems because you have self-esteem?  No? you aren’t like all other AP’s?  You don’t like being lumped together and studied?  What, you have specific concerns about adoptive parenting that don’t fall under the category of self-esteem?  Things like pre and post adoptive support for all parties?  The education services?  How different parties are treated by the industry?  The challenges that fuel the blogs and forums?  Are you finding yourself feeling a bit used to promote adoption as a win-win-win see how wonderful it is promotion? 
As a final note I always read what the link is, not just the blog post and then I go further and research who the authors are and what else they have published – very easy to accomplish via a quick google search and I found the following studies they also authored, so go have a look at them as well, to get a full picture (especially the 2nd link) – not just what the adoption industry wants you to read:
Behavior Problems and Mental Health Referrals of International Adoptees
The Emanuel Miller Memorial Lecture 2006: Adoption as intervention. Meta-analytic evidence for massive catch-up and plasticity in physical, socio-emotional, and cognitive developmentthe details really start on page 7 and cover growth, attachment, IQ, self-esteem, internal and external behaviors, mental health access – you should read right through to page 13 which covers the ethics of adoption as well and when it is or isn’t in the best interests of the child – this is the study the adoption industry should have chosen to provide to the adoption community.
 
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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Adoption, Ethics

 

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Blank Slate Theory

The Blank Slate Theory in Psychology

My era of adoption the Blank Slate Theory was widely accepted.  I think there is less acceptance of it today but I believe it still exists in Adoption.  The video and link above are so worth the time.  The video is over 20 minutes but I was fascinated.  Steven Pinker does delve into the subject of adoption and of course the studies of identical twins separated at birth and raised separately as well as how different adopted siblings are after growing up in the same family.  Well worth the time…
 
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Posted by on September 12, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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