The Legacies Of Trees

The Legacies Of Trees
Children face loss in the best of homes. Adoption is not always a better life but a different one. Support The Legacies of Trees.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nature Vs Nuture

During the twentieth century, child adoption was reimagined in scientific terms, as a social experiment and human laboratory that could produce knowledge as well as help children. Researchers were persuaded that adoption could answer basic scientific questions about development, nature and nurture, and family norms. Professionals and parents were persuaded that scientific research would improve family-making by minimizing risks and maximizing safety. Adoption has been the subject of four major types of empirical research: field studies, outcome studies, nature-nurture studies, and psychopathology studies.

Field studies conducted in several states during the 1910s and 1920s were the first real empirical investigations of adoption in the United States. They aimed to gather basic statistical data on how many and what types of adoptions were occurring, drawing primarily on agency and court records. How many adoptions were there? At what age were children adopted? By whom? Who arranged adoptions? Field studies had two main purposes: to determine whether states’ regulatory requirements were adequate and to discover whether those requirements were being followed or ignored. Field studies did not contact families after adoption decrees were issued or follow up on children later in life, as outcome studies did. What they did was link child welfare and the promise of safety in the adoption process to policies promoting extensive regulation by professionals, agencies, and courts.

Outcome studies are a well-established research genre today, but early in the twentieth century, they were new. How did adopted children and adoptive families turn out five, ten, or twenty years after placement? By finding out what had happened to children and parents later in life, outcome studies offered a way to predict and control future adoptions by studying the results of adoptions arranged in the past.
These studies defined outcomes in many different ways, but all tried to correlate “inputs”—such as child's sex, age at adoption, natal family background, and adopters' characteristics—with measures of child development, parental satisfaction, and success (or failure) later in life. They aimed to reveal which variables, in which combinations, produced which outcomes. Which family-making practices and kinship configurations had good results? Which had bad results? Outcome studies embodied the conviction that systematic research was essential to improving the results of future adoptions for children and families.
The first major outcome study was conducted by Sophie van Senden Theis and the New York State Charities Aid Association. How Foster Children Turn Out, published in 1924, followed up on the cases of 910 children placed between 1898 and 1922.

Nature-nurture studies utilized adoption data to answer basic scientific questions about how and why human beings turn out as they do and where individual differences originate.
Because non-relative adoptions separated parental genes (nature) from family environment (nurture), adoption amounted to the sort of scientific experiment that could not otherwise be ethically conducted with human beings. Nature-nurture studies were designed by developmental psychologists and other researchers in the human sciences to reveal the relative power of heredity and home in intellectual and psychological development. In this sense, nature-nurture studies are different than field studies and outcome studies, which were conducted mainly by social work researchers interested in using empirical data to refine future adoption practice and policy. But like these other kinds of adoption studies, nature-nurture science reinforced the belief that producing knowledge and protecting children were mutually reinforcing.
Researchers whose initial interest in adoption was abstract and theoretical often found themselves confronting very practical questions from parents and professionals. Did nature-nurture science support or contradict the placement of newborns and infants in adoptive homes? Should children with shameful or unknown natal backgrounds be placed for adoption? What did nature-nurture studies suggest about matching children and adults?

Does adoption jeopardize the mental and emotional health of children, making adoptees especially vulnerable to developmental, behavioral, and academic problems? Most people connected to adoption today think it does. Most Americans agree that adoption is a “risk factor,” according to public opinion polls.
The belief that adoption has a psychology of its own is recent, indebted to a tradition of controversial clinical studies linking adoption to psychopathology. Beginning around World War II, some mental health professionals, often influenced by psychoanalysis, proposed that the losses associated with adoption made normal development tricky for adopted children and stability difficult to achieve for adoptive families. The new worries about adoption generated by psychopathology studies added to already well established concerns that available children were feeble-minded and adoption unusually risky.
Psychopathology studies equated difference with damage. They helped to transform adoption into a full-fledged object of casework and counseling, and this was essential for the emergence of therapeutic adoption. The rapid spread of post-adoption services, non-existent in 1950, indicates that many parents and professionals now accept the need for long-term, perhaps permanent, help in order to avoid or manage adoption-related problems.
Awareness that the parties to adoption face unique psychological challenges may well be one of the things that makes twentieth-century adoption practices historically distinctive—as distinctive as the psychology of adoption itself.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Why Most Adoptees Are Not Religious

Closed adoptees all suffer the same thing...the lack of not knowing who they are or knowing another genetic relative. This causes similar thoughts that they are not from this earth. That they are somehow alien-hybrids. It causes great trauma and is a profoundly painful experience to not look like anyone you know.

Genealogical bewilderment is confusion and uncertainty regarding genealogical continuity, tied to the lack of knowledge about one’s ancestors. Accordingly, the lack of ‘‘biological mutuality’’ among adoptive family members, such as shared biologically based characteristics regarding appearance, intellectual skills, personality traits, and so forth, impedes the adoptee’s ability to identify with adoptive parents. Moreover, the lack of information about one’s biological background is likely to create a ‘‘hereditary ghost’’ which may contribute to a confused, unstable, and distorted sense of self.  Self development does not have closure in adolescence, especially among adoptees, but continues to evolve over the lifespan through reconciliation and integration of many complex perceptions, cognitive systems, and self-object representations. Adoption loss comes in "waves" and the full magnitude does not hit until adulthood.

The overwhelming majority of adoptees are atheist, agnostic or deistey and this is greatly different from the average American population of 24%. (it is been pointed out that people who identify as Catholic, Baptist ect may not be active in the religion or belive all of its teachings) One reason is the bad adoption practices of the middle 20th century by religious agencies. Religion itself pressured unwed women into surrendering their children. Having to rethink everything you were taught may contribute.

Adoptees have been removed from one possible timeline and placed into another. Most adoptees have a lifelong view into a parallel universe in which they weren't surrendered. It is like existing in two different timelines. Two different families. One theory  sometimes called the sixth sense, is that there are two sub consciousnesses. This theory conjectures that two realities exist – a physical one and a second one. The theory claims that a sixth sense can occur when there is integration between both realities. Adoptees studied view the passage of time differently and are able to peel back the layers of what is real and what is not.

Studies differ as to the actual existence of this adoptee sixth sense. Daryl Bem, an emeritus social psychology professor at Cornell University, did nine experiments with over 1000 participants. Bem had a computer program hide images either on the right or the left side of the screen. When erotic images were shown, participants got it right 53% of the time. The researcher could not explain why extrasensory perception tended to work more with erotic images than other kinds of images. One theory is that somehow humans evolved in an attempt to survive and reproduce an ability to sense things out of the three dimensions in which we exist. Primal reasons for this are encoded deep within our DNA. Scientists conclude that time may not flow evenly in one direction. We are just scratching the surface of how the brain works.

 Knowledge of and definite relationship to his genealogy is necessary for a child to build up his complete body image and world picture. It is an inalienable and entitled right of every person. There is an urge, a call, in everybody to follow and fulfill the tradition of his family, race, nation, and the religious community into which he was born. The loss of this tradition is a deprivation of self.

Stephen Hawking compared religion and science in 2010, saying: "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority [imposed dogma, faith], [as opposed to] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."
Whatever you believe is fine. Be sure to question everything and don't believe what you want to believe. Look only at the facts.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Right Reasons To Adopt

1. You plan to tell the child she is adopted
2. You will always treat this child as well as your bio children (if applicable)
3. You agree to an open adoption and intend to honor that agreement and obtain their OBC for them
4. You allow your children to seek out their birth families and support them understanding it isn't a loyalty or love issue and not mere curiosity. It is a search for the missing parts of yourself.
5. Address that you can't "love" their loss away and make the issue of adoption something that is OK to talk about.
6. Understand their heritage is not your heritage. Most adoptees take a mix of both to build their id's with.
7. You love kids and love being a mom/dad and would honestly risk your life to protect them just like if they were born to you.
8. Understand there is a stigma surrounding adoption from horrible practices of the past. Others will question your family bonds and judge you for being infertile. Adoptees are viewed as less adjusted.
9. Honor the Birthmother always and don't tell the whole world your kid is adopted unless you are asked.
10. When you go to the doctor remember their medical history is not your medical history

 Adoption should be about finding homes for kids that need it and not creating orphans to give to childless couples. I am against embryo adoption for this reason. I support adoption from foster care as long as birth family contact is understood and respected. Adoption should always be a last resort.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Why Closed Adoptions Should Be Outlawed

I can find no reasoned, principled justification for closed adoption. Its only defense is that it has positive law on its side which is no defense at all. The laws continued to become more and more about the adoptive parent's needs and less about birth parents and their children. Shame, secrecy and being underage at the time kept these people from speaking out and now a whole generation of displaced people are organizing to put and end to it.

When the injustice of slavery was recognized, the "impossibility" of removing it from a culture dependent on its existence became morally irrelevant. The difficulty of accommodating millions of displaced slaves has no bearing on the justice of slavery, and the difficulty of the possibility of some of the children who may have otherwise been aborted ( there is no evidence that women have chosen an abortion because of lack of privacy) has no bearing on the justice of closed adoption. Appealing to the social cost of abolishing closed adoption does not justify the cruel act of closed adoption itself.

The National Council for Adoption (NCFA) points out that "there are many couples hoping to adopt for every one adoptable infant." Their studies show that one-third of all women, aged 18-44, have considered adopting, and their coverage of the dramatic rise in international adoptions is further evidence that the demand to adopt is well ahead of the number of infants available to be adopted. There are more than 1.2 million abortions performed each year in the United States. The NCFA also points out that roughly 98% of the unmarried women who give birth decide to parent their baby. Only 2% place for adoption. In 2002 there were 130,269 domestic adoptions in the United States. 175,000 domestic adoptions that took place in 1970. From 1970 to 1986, annual domestic adoptions decreased from 175,000 to 104,088. Abortion became legal and society evolved.

Closed adoption has been increasingly criticized in recent years as being unfair to both the adoptee and his or her birth parents. Some people believe that making the identities of a child's parents quite literally a "state secret" is a gross violation of human rights. The decision is up to the adoptive parents regarding how to inform the child that he or she has been adopted, and at what age to do so, if at all. Difficulties include the lack of a genetic medical history which could be important in disease prevention. Often, this was not given at the time of adoption, and the father's history is usually little known even to the mother.

For many years in New York State, adoptees had to obtain the permission of their adoptive parents (unless deceased) to be included in a state-sponsored reunion registry regardless of the age of the adoptee. In some cases, older adults or even senior citizens felt like they were being treated like children, and required to obtain their parents' signature on the form. In a broader sense, they felt it could be inferred that adopted children are always children, and thus second-class citizens subject to discrimination. The law has since been changed.

Another practice that has ceased because of cruelty is fostering until legally free. Prior to adoption, the infant would often be placed in temporary and state-mandated foster care for a few weeks to several months until the adoption was approved. This would also help ensure that he or she was healthy, that the birthparent was sure about relinquishment, and that nothing was overlooked at the time of birth. Nowadays, this practice is discouraged, as it prevents immediate bonding between the mother and child. Also, much better medical testing is available, both prenatally and postnatally. Many children suffered from bonding issues and orphanage type behavior such as rocking, head banging and hand flapping.

The trend in adoption policy and practice in the U.S. and most other nations during the last few decades has been toward less secrecy, more honesty and greater openness. Adoptive parents are routinely prepared to share the fact of their child’s adoption at an early age and to make discussion of adoption part of their family’s natural communication. It is rare for parents today not to tell their children they are adopted or to try to hide this reality from others – and it is considered bad practice, with negative repercussions for those involved.
Closed adoptions also have become much less common in infant adoptions in our country, birthparents and adoptive parents most often meet each other, and many maintain some level of contact . With social media a fast-growing number of adopted adults and birthparents are able to successfully gain information about each other without access to adoption records. Modern adoption practice, with its emphasis on openness, honesty and family connections should be the only legally allowed form of adoption. Closed adoption has undermined the institution itself. It has caused pain for adult adoptees and their descendants and should be stopped forever.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Adoption Vs Abortion

Whether or not you are pro choice or pro life, adoption always comes into the issue. Adoption is not a means of birth control and for those who say adoption is better should be aware that it causes negative effects to the child and the birth mother. Abortion also causes grief for the mother and death for the fetus in a beginning stage of life. Birth control and sex education in young people is the only tool in stopping unwanted pregnancy. Obviously teaching your children to wait until marriage is a great idea, but in today's society it is not effective.

Adoption is a lose-lose situation except for the hopeful adoptive parents. Infertility is one of the main reason for adopting and adoptive parents aren't always told adopting a child is not the same as having your own. Adoption removes a child from one family and places him in another and this can have lasting emotional effects. Adopted children have needs above and beyond biological children. It can be profoundly painful to the adoptee and to their descendants.

These effects include :

1. The trauma of being separated from at birth will be present throughout every aspect of child's life. The child will experience the mother's loss as the psychological death of his mother. This is a life long trauma. The brain reacts to stress in the womb and after birth and wires itself differently as the baby grows. This knowledge is recent as only now are we starting to study the effects of stress during infancy.

2. The child will think about his birth parents everyday. This is true with knowing the parents and without in open and closed adoptions. When the child is asked who she looks like, what time she was born or who was there at the delivery room...all these questions cause the child to realize that she is different. There is a shame and stigma from past adoption practices in history that all members of the adoption " triad" must deal with.

3. As the child becomes an adolescent he will have great difficulty establishing a sense of self because he will have no sense of his true history or heritage. He will not know who is supposed to be because he will not know his true origins if the adoption is closed or semi open. Not knowing another biological relative makes one feel like a misfit. The first relative most adoptees meet is their own child. The birth of a child in an adoptees life always brings the question..."how could I give this baby away"?

4. As current laws stand, the child may not have access to his medical history or birth records. This is being fought by adoptee rights groups and laws are slowly changing. Adoptees even well into adulthood are denied the basic human right of knowing who put them here and why.

Women who have given away children usually have great difficulties in getting on with their lives and endure psychological problems stemming from the separation including: grief, relationship difficulties, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and secondary infertility.Contrary to popular belief these women don't go on with their lives like nothing ever happened. The same thing can be said for women who have abortions.

So you see it is not an easy decision. Being poor, unwed, young or not having adequate resources to raise a child should not be a reason to abort or surrender. There is help out there for women to keep their babies and keep families intact. Guardianship, kinship placement or third party help should be explored with infant adoption as a last resort. If adoption is the choice, the adoption should be open which research finds is in the best interest of the mother and child.