Seek Help!

Oct. 1st, 2012 08:09 pm
[personal profile] 7rin
Adoption Truth
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2012
Two Kinds Of Help

So, we've all been there. We've all heard it at some point or another . . .

When you dare to talk about adoption outside society's accepted views of rainbows and sunshine, you will be told, more than likely many, MANY times, that you need to seek help. That you are somehow sick and unhealthy for your views and opinions and should seek counseling so you can just be "happy" and accept adoption like everyone else does.

It's ironic, to me, when someone makes such a suggestion because I have actually sought help twice in my life.

The first was when I was sixteen and pregnant and trusted my adoption counselor to help me make the best decision for myself and my unborn child. At that time, I never imagined that their counseling was the same counseling they offered every pregnant mother who walked through their doors.

It was not about my own personal situation. It wasn't about me or my child. It was about how best to convince me to see adoption as a loving, selfless option so I would give up my child to the waiting couple who was willing to pay to adopt him.

I could have been Jane Doe from Anywhere, U.S.A. It didn't matter. The counseling would have been the same. Just as it still is to this very day for any vulnerable, pregnant mother trusting her counselor to help her make the right decision for herself and her baby.
Read the rest of the post over at Adoption Truth.
[personal profile] 7rin
Lifton, B.J. (1994) Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness. New York: Basic Books. pp259-260
During a trip to Hawwaii, I met a therapist who had been invited to work with a group of adoptees who were in various stages of search and reunion. The adoption experience was new to him, but he was no stranger to grief and loss and pain. He was an empathic man, and he seemed puzzled. He said that the adoptees in his group, and the ones he has begun to see in his private practice, seemed traumatized. They do not shed their symptoms like his other patients. Their trauma seems deeper, as if it were very early - almost as if it were cellular.

Trauma is earlier for adoptees than for most other people, I told him. It begins at birth, with separation from the mother. And it's more persistent because adoptees have no pre-traumatic self. And then I explained what I meant by this.

We know that when adoptive parents have been traumatized by not being able to conceive a child, they already have adult selves that can absorb and work through the shock. So too, the birth mother may have been young when she was traumatized by her unwanted pregnancy, but she had a self to fall back on as she continued her life. But the adoptee, who experienced separation and loss early in life, usually at birth, has no previous self - no pre-traumatic self - from which to draw strength.
[personal profile] 7rin
Adoption Issues From a Strengths Perspective
By Deborah H. Siegel, PhD, LICSW, DCSW, ACSW
Social Work Today - July/August 2008 Issue - Vol. 8 No. 4 P. 34

Birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees face predictable crises given the life-changing nature of this event. Idealized or deficit approaches don't work, but a strengths perspective does.

Sam is a bright, energetic, enthusiastic 12-year-old boy. His mom and dad, Mary and Mack, love him dearly and are earnest, skilled parents who conscientiously create a nurturing home. Sam thrives; he has a best friend next door, gets Bs in school, attends weekly religious school and prayer services, walks his dog every day after school, and enjoys riding his bike and playing his electric guitar. He and his parents often go on hikes, attend sporting events, and take day trips as a family or with friends. It appears that Sam is doing well because he is adopted.

This description accurately summarizes Sam's life, and so does this: Sam was born with cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol in his tiny body. Sam's birth father, incarcerated shortly after Sam was conceived, has never seen him. The state child welfare agency removed Sam from his mother's custody shortly after birth, and in the first two years of life, Sam lived in four different foster homes before he was legally freed for adoption. Sam's behavior is often impulsive, hyperactive, and inattentive. His classmates tend to steer clear of him because he bumps into them, grabs their things, or blurts out rude comments (e.g., "You're stupid!"). Homework is a daily struggle, as Sam finds it hard to sit still and stay on task. He often forgets, loses, or partially completes his assignments. Lately, his behavior at home has been especially irritable; when his parents prompt him to do a task he doesn't like, he yells, "You're not the boss of me!" and stomps away. He's spending more time alone in his room. It appears that Sam is struggling because he is adopted.

Read more... )

- Deborah H. Siegel, PhD, LICSW, DCSW, ACSW, is a professor in the School of Social Work at Rhode Island College, a clinician specializing in adoption issues, an adoption researcher, and an adoptive parent.

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