One of the never-ending conversations adoptive parents have is when the child’s mother of birth cancels, or just doesn’t show for an arranged get-together, despite having promised to be there. I can’t say with any certainty, but I do wonder if it’s more the overwhelming feelings that keeps them from keeping the commitment. Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: stress
Rambling post on giving newbies a break…
I was reading a post in Slate today about a journalist who acquired aphasia from a medication she was on for migraines. I had no idea that could happen, I thought you had to have had a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Read the rest of this entry »
Parenting after adoption for mothers…
After I found out that my mother had already passed away, and had found my relatives – I heard bits and pieces that my mother had been a very stern, and exacting mother, but the exact opposite as a grandmother. No one who was in her life seemed to make any correlation between loosing me, and how she parented her kept children, or why her true loving nature came out with her grandchildren. Read the rest of this entry »
Paul Sunderland on “Adoptees and Addiction” but talks about so much more than just that…
Lecture by Paul Sunderland speaking about addiction and adoptees that has been around for a few years, but still relevant today. Can not recommend this lecture enough, it makes you think, and takes you to what it is like for the babe. He’s an engaging speaker and covers far more than addiction and talks about the trauma of relinquishment, implicit memory, wiring at birth, the last couple months of pregnancy and after birth, the stress hormones, multiple relinquishments for international adoptions, as well as foster care, as well as many other areas. Read the rest of this entry »
Used for a cause…
Can someone please explain why it is okay to use adult adoptees as poster children? You know it exploits the person, a human being.
From posts stating that Kaepernick shouldn’t be playing because he could have been aborted – despite the fact that there is zero indication in any news reports that it was even a possibility. Yet because he was adopted it apparently is fact to some who want that to be the focus. To twitter messages / instagram picture proclaiming he was also a foster child like Oher and how powerful adoption is, and who knows what else I thankfully did not see. Read the rest of this entry »
Personal Opinion Regarding Adoption Prompt…
November 11th prompt…Personal Opinions Regarding Adoption
What is your opinion of adoption today? Are you in favor of or against adoption, and how do various circumstances affect your opinion? Has your opinion changed over time? If so, what caused you to rethink your former opinion? What do you think is the biggest need for change in the adoption industry or is the current model for adoption fine the way it is?
Adoption will always be needed for some situations, safety, addiction issues, or even if the mother just does not want to parent and has no desire for children. Adoption should never again be considered the solution to a societal issue like it was during the Baby Scoop (my era), whatever the societal issue – tackle the issue, don’t slap the band-aid fix-all “adoption solution” on it.
Of course my opinion has changed over time – as a young teen before I understood societal issues, my feeling was if babies needed adopted, they needed to be adopted by adoptees, because they would understand the feelings – so even then my feelings were changing. As I matured and life dealt some stunning blows my feelings evolved each time. As I started to learn about how adoption was practiced in today’s world – some areas I liked – others stuck in my craw – others just left me angry that in decades since I had been adopted, little to nothing had really been learned.
Several things really need changing. I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one.
Adoption Advocates and people who self label as Pro-Adoption need to stand up and support adult adoptees in fighting for our right to our Original Birth Certificates. You can’t be an Adoption Advocate or Pro-Adoption if you don’t support and work for Adoptee Rights.
Agencies need to stop promoting that the mother has a right to a confidential adoption – full stop. Instead they need to focus on education of why that is harmful to the one adopted, not just in the equality battle, but in terms of self-identity, self-worth, self-esteem, and health wise. Even if the mother wishes no contact during childhood – I have no doubt that any mother who was provided that type of education – would choose to deny to at least meet her adult child answer any questions.
The profit in adoption needs to go, and above all – stop spending millions of dollars each year advertising for mothers to choose adoption, counselling needs to be non-directive, instead of what now which appears to only show her adoption is better than her parenting. So many other areas of concern here, the prospective parents at the hospital bothers me no end – nor should the SW show up the minute papers can be signed – rather only if, or when, the mother calls them. We should be working to make adoption rare and not the norm.
The implications of the new knowledge of how stress affects the fetus should be a serious area of study when it comes to adoption. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that a mother considering adoption will be under great stress, and the implications long-term for the child are too great to ignore. I talk about the research in this post. Yet adoption advocates are trying to find ways to get more mothers to choose adoption – rather than finding ways to help them in the early years, things like paid mat leave through unemployment – Canada has a year and your job is secure, so why isn’t that possible in the US for starters.
I could go on, and on, because so much could be done better – but will close with this. Fix the damn problem of the family health history void – that form filled out at birth is pretty much useless within a couple of years, even if by some miracle it is comprehensive on both families – it assumes no one else in the family will ever get a new diagnosis, no more family members born, no one died of a hereditary disease, or at an early age – over the entire lifetime of the adoptee. Quick video from Fox News of all places – that just hits the highlights of why it is so important.
Adoption and your professional life
November 2nd prompt…You, the Personal, & the Professional
We talk a lot about our personal lives but many of us also have professional lives. Let’s assume that our personal and professional lives cross at some point (for some people this happens more than others).
Has adoption also affected your professional life? If so, how?
Yesterday, I noted I thrived in my professional life, and I did. It was also the first time being adopted was not part of who I was – to others. That was freeing.
Yet I believe adoption affected my professional life, while also being absent.
It took me a long time to form my thoughts on this, and am still unsure how to frame them, so here goes. I have a strong belief in traits being hereditary, yet, I also believe they can be enhanced, or downplayed, based on life experiences. While I believe my need for perfection is a positive trait I inherited – I also believe trait was enhanced by my feelings of insecurity, and not being good enough, that stems from my feelings about me and why I was adopted that I could never shake. Combined they put too much pressure on my need for perfection, to the point of being sure (despite knowing the work product was right), that I couldn’t have done it right and there was a glaring error somewhere. I spent far too many hours – not just double checking – it went way past that, but also waking in the middle of the night terrified I had made a mistake. That insecurity also resulted in my inability to ever get past speaking in front of people, which goes back into my belief of how stress of the mother – impacts the baby in the womb – throughout life.
I say the above knowing I cannot prove any of it is related to adoption, yet when I look back to try to find some parenting mistake, or treatment by anyone in my life to explain it – there is nothing. The only thing I can point to is my feelings about adoption. Accept the explanation, or not, as you will.
While I was gathering my thoughts yesterday on the prompt question, I was listening to this ted talk that actually explains very well how all experiences in our life become who we are – not just a part of us. It’s a short talk just around 12 minutes.
Julian Baggini: Is there a real you?
What makes you, you? Is it how you think of yourself, how others think of you, or something else entirely? In this talk, Julian Baggini draws from philosophy and neuroscience to give a surprising answer.
Julian Baggini is a journalist and philosopher who studies the complexities of personal identity. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the Philosophers’ Magazine.
See Shadow’s thoughts on this November 2nd prompt
Realty TV Shows and Adoption don’t go together…
I started this post a week ago in reaction to Oxygen’s new show “I’m Having Their Baby” and never finished it. I was going to call it Dear Diary. Today, Amanda at The Declassified Adoptee made a brilliant point in her post, Oxygen’s “I’m Having Their Baby:” Oh Look, Another Show I Won’t Watch! that we need to consider talking about it because it matters. Of course her post is clear, concise, well written, and I recommend those who have not already read it to take the time to read it now.
Last time a new version of this type of show aired, I did the post Adoption Should Not Be Entertainment – but like Amanda noted, we need to name it and get others to see the flip side. That post said this, and I also said at the end that “It’s all pretty hypocritical if you ask me. When it is your adoptee – they must be protected, but at the same time, you watch another adoptee exploited.”
What strikes me most though is the invasion of privacy for the adoptee, and if I am being completely honest, humiliating. It is one thing to have pictures of arriving home to your new family, it is whole other kettle of fish to have the video of your surrender and everything leading up to it, shown on TV and forever available to any and all for their viewing. It was hard enough for me as a mature adult to read my surrender court document of my mother giving me up – I cannot imagine watching it on TV and having friends whose parents watched it as well, because you know it will come out. Unbelievable.
When the Time cover last week showed a mother breastfeeding a 3-year-old the outcry was intense – that picture will follow that boy throughout his life. He will be teased and bullied in school. He will be so embarrassed. He will be so angry his mother did that to him by allowing that picture to be taken. What about his privacy and how could he give his consent as a 3-year-old. There was such an outrage that any mother could do that to her child. Yet show a mother giving up her baby and another couple adopting – oh well isn’t that just a beautiful tear-jerker – what the hell? Does no one realize that being adopted makes you a subject for teasing, bullying, snickering, ignorant comments in school? But of course you recognise that, because that is a subject on blogs and message boards, and how horrible it is for the child and how outraged the parent is. How one (the breastfeeding picture) is oh-so wrong, and the other one (watching a mother surrender her right to parent) is oh-so-beautiful, never ceases to amaze me.
Getting back to the points I wanted to make is that this is something that has serious potential to hurt the child in the future. Understanding and accepting being adopted can be difficult when you are a child as your cognitive abilities grow and your understanding of the outside “normal” world expands. One day you realize that not everyone is adopted. That most kids live in the family they were born too in some version. Then of course comes the bullies, and believe me that anything out of the ordinary is fair game for a bully, and they will use it any way they can. Hence my Dear Diary post which is really a continuation of the above post – this is as far as I got in imagining what it would be like as the child – because it upset me just thinking about it.
January 2015 – age 7 – At the store I saw a picture of my birth mom on the cover of a magazine. Mom didn’t want to talk about it.
January 2017 – age 9 – I woke up last night and went to get a drink and found mom watching a show where babies are given away.
January 2019 – age 11 – Christmas holidays are over and guess what happened the first day back in school? Tommy was saying something about his mom watched my adoption on TV. Mom didn’t want to talk about it.
January 2021 – age 13 – Remember me talking about Tommy and my adoption on TV? He sent everyone but me a link to a video about my birth and my birth mom giving me to my mom. They were making fun of me. Why would that be on TV?
July 2021 – age 13 and 1/2 – I found the video and I watched it and it hurts – why did they have to put it on TV? What was wrong with me that my birth mom didn’t want me.
At the same time, I also wonder if those creating or promoting the show did any research into how stress affects both the mother, and child in the womb? They have done research and are doing more research into this, and a mother considering adoption is already under stress. Why are they promoting adding MORE stress on the mother and the impact on the child in the womb – how is this even considered ethical? How do you handle stress? This post provides details on exactly how the stress on the mother is transferred too, and affects the baby in the womb and the long term consequences to the child. Three different articles are linked – read them please.
I will never watch those shows – they are in extremely poor taste and set a very bad example by exploiting not only the mothers but the children as well. I am against pre-birth matching as it is practiced today and detail out exactly why here – I don’t like the methods used today. A snippet from that post below.
I am against prospective adoptive parents being at the hospital watching the mother go through labor, and even more so when they are in the delivery room. It reeks of entitlement and co-opting of something, that is at it’s fundamental core, is a very private and spiritual event between a mother and her child. A child she has nurtured in her womb for 40 weeks. The birth of your child is one of the most intimate moments of your life, and having an audience, especially the audience who is there because they want your baby cheapens and degrades the experience. It must also damage the ability of mother and child to bond because there is always that elephant in the room. I believe it enhances an atmosphere ripe for manipulation of the mother to ensure the outcome is surrender, rather than parent.
That is why I am adamantly opposed to creating a reality tv show that pushes the exploitation envelope even further.
Just say no – boycott the show and tell others why they should too.
How do you handle stress?
I have had this post brewing in my mind and in several drafts but it never seemed right – probably still isn’t right and will be dismissed, picked apart, denied, whatever. Take it or leave it, but it is what I believe. I over-react to everything. I have been told literally hundreds of times (since I was small to just the other night) that I worry too much, am too stressed out, and need to relax. That I need to work on my anxiety levels. I can’t “not stress” despite trying every trick in the book. We are all told stress is bad for you. I know that genetics and evironment also play a role in who we are, and how we handle things, but I do believe the stress in the womb and then separation can impact us in ways we are just now starting to understand.
I think unplanned pregnancy is one of the most stressful times of your life, especially if you are not in a secure stable place in your life. Add on the stress of making the decision to surrender your child solely due to financial, societal pressure/requirement, violent partner, whatever reason or version of events that lead to adoption, that you wouldn’t have chosen otherwise. That stress impacts the baby. When a mother is stressed, the hormones released hit the developing baby. From the article last updated December 2010:
How is stress communicated from mom to fetus?
Understanding how prenatal maternal stress can affect a developing fetus requires some knowledge about the biology behind the stress response. Response to stress involves a number of organs and systems within the body; from the brain to specialized organs, such the adrenal glands, which are adjacent to the kidneys.
The process begins with a stressor stimulating the brain, which evaluates the threat and processes it into an appropriate response, physiological and behavioural. This results in the secretion of corticoids, such as cortisol, and glucocorticoids from the adrenal glands into the bloodstream. The corticoids are molecules, which trigger the “flight or fight” response of an individual to stress
Cortisol is the link between prenatal stress and infant outcomes. Prenatal maternal stress is associated with increased levels of cortisol in the mother. It is believed that this molecule has a direct effect on the fetus. Moreover, because a linear relationship exists between maternal and fetal cortisol levels, relatively small increases in maternal cortisol are equivalent to relatively large increases in fetal cortisol.
What is the impact on the developing baby who is being nurtured by someone with objective or chronic stress day in and day out throughout pregnancy? (from the link above)
When is a fetus most susceptible to prenatal maternal stress?
Timing is everything, especially for the effects of prenatal maternal stress (PNMS). New research findings show that the first two trimesters are the most sensitive to prenatal stress. Two periods are especially crucial :
■At week 10, the embryo becomes a fetus and it begins to move. The vital organs now have a solid foundation. During this time, the brain will produce almost 250,000 new neurons every minute. This is called neurogenesis
■During weeks 24 and 30, nerve cell connections are occurring. Guided by chemical signals, nerve processes seek out their target and establish contact. Communication between neurons begins. At birth, there are an excess of nerve connections, those that are not used will degenerate. This is called synaptogenesis
Exposure to extreme stress during these critical periods of pregnancy will influence which developing structures are affected and therefore determine the physical, cognitive or behavioral outcome.
July 2011 comes this article from the BBC on German research…
Mum’s stress is passed to baby in the womb
A mother’s stress can spread to her baby in the womb and may cause a lasting effect, German researchers propose.
They have seen that a receptor for stress hormones appears to undergo a biological change in the unborn child if the mother is highly stressed, for example, because of a violent partner.
And this change may leave the child less able to handle stress themselves.
(go read the rest because it is important and the quote above does not even cover the worst part…)
The above is one of the reasons why I do not like domestic voluntary infant adoption when practiced as the first option – not the last option. Stress hormones, changes and outcomes is an area of intense scrutiny by scientists, although much of the research is conducted on rats like this one see the number of references to get an idea of volume of the research happening.
Yet they have and are conducting studies and research on expectant mothers and children, but doing it on those who were part of natural disasters like the article (first link above) discussing Prenatal maternal stress. That research was on expectant mothers during the Ice Storms in Quebec in January 1998 which saw some without electricity for 6 weeks – it is now being expanded to research the impact of other natural disasters. (snippets below […] indicates portions missing)
Impact of prenatal stress on mothers-to-be and their fetuses
A unique opportunity for PNMS research
“This study is the first of its kind,” stated Suzanne King. “Thanks to our colleague in Australia, Sue Kildea, PhD, we have access to samples of placentas, umbilical cords and blood from births that occurred during a natural disaster. No one has ever had access to this kind of biometric data. We now need to analyze this information to understand the mechanisms through which PNMS can affect fetuses. This major grant is essential to the advancement of our research, as the process we are embarking upon will be long and require a huge investment.”
Sue Kildae oversees more than 400 midwives at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, which was at the epicentre of the Australian floods. Her team was already following about one hundred pregnant women in a study on prenatal care when the 2011 catastrophe hit. She recruited 200 more mothers for QF2011 as the disaster was unfolding. Another collaborator of Suzanne King’s is American researcher Michael O’Hara, who is coordinating a study in Iowa that follows 300 pregnant women and their children, about one hundred of whom had been recruited before the flooding in Iowa in June 2008.
[…] Project Ice Storm: an innovative and groundbreaking project
Launched in 1998 during the Montreal ice storm, the work of Suzanne King has led to major advances in our understanding of how prenatal stress affects child development. “We have found that PNMS has long-term effects on children’s cognitive, behavioural, motor and physical development,” explained Suzanne King. “Given that minor problems persist in children who were born in the context of a moderate disaster such as the ice storm, we suspect that these symptoms could be much worse in the case of a tsunami or an earthquake like the one in Haiti.” […]
We really need to understand that it isn’t just smoking, drinking, drugs taken/ingested during pregnancy that impact babies – stress impacts them as well and in ways they never imagined.
Shouldn’t we as society, and especially those who hold themselves out as looking at the best interests of the mother and child – who operate CPC’s and Christian Adoption Agencies etc. be first and foremost providing services that actively promote parenting? That instead of offering adoption as a good or better solution to unplanned pregnancy, that they sit down and say “we have found the resources that will allow you and the baby to thrive” and start there, instead of starting with the end goal being adoption? Why not start with finding out what the expectant mother needs and then providing a plan that includes whatever is needed regarding housing, food, medical, daycare resources, and turn the current scenario around to “we offer scholarships to those who parent” (instead of surrender)? Isn’t that the best solution for the baby? A solution that reduces that risk to the baby growing in the womb that will impact that child in different ways throughout life?
(don’t forget to include all the disclaimers that go without saying)…