Why is closed adoption bad?
|I was asked the following by a fellow adoptee: "Why is closed adoption bad? I was in a closed adoption and have no desire to find my biological mom mom. And theres nothing wrong with that shes not my mother she is just simply a gentic code that is in my body. She is not a part of who i am and i think people arent victimized by a closed adoption i think they have other mental disorders or personal problems they blame on being adopted"
This will probably be longer than you expected. I hope you take the time to read it.
Thanks for sending me a message, fellow adoptee! I’m glad you felt confident enough to speak up. Know that I will never say you, as an adoptee, are wrong for the way you feel. An emotion can never be wrong. How you react to that emotion is another thing entirely. Only adoptees can understand what it’s like to be adopted and no two adoption experiences are the same. We are all unique snowflakes in that regard.
I’d like to mention right up front that I love my adoptive parents. They raised me to the best of their ability. I feel they have fallen victim to the lies and secrecy of closed adoption as well and they have had to suffer through the loss of my adopted brother, who died ten years ago this past March. He too was a victim of closed adoption. But, that’s another story for another time.
I am glad that you are happy with your experience. Unfortunately, your feelings don’t encompass how many adoptees feel about their experience. One reason you don’t hear them speak up as often as the pro-adoption crowd is because so often we face staunch ridicule, sometimes even from fellow adoptees.
There is a lot of confusion about our feelings, so much is shadowed in lies and secrecy, and there are few resources for us to explore ourselves and our experiences without fear of being shamed or cast out by our families or society in general. So never feel bad about contacting me. I will never turn an adoptee away, as long as they are respectful of course.
On to my feelings/thoughts..
Closed adoption hides from us our ancestry and in doing so it steals from us our potentially greatest teachers. It takes from us our medical information and it sets us up for immediate disadvantage.
All my life I’ve had to play medical guessing games with afflictions and, in this day and age, losing medical history could mean the difference between life and death. How many times have I completed paperwork at a doctor’s office with answers like “I don’t know/adopted”? Too many to count. History of breast cancer? Who knows. Diabetes? Your guess is as good as mine. What about depression, anxiety, or a host of other disorders? Nope. No clue. Tell ya what, let’s just do a whole bunch of potentially unnecessary yet expensive tests and waste money and time while playing doctor. I’ll be the pin cushion. While biological parents can tell their children, “Hey! Lay off the sugar, you know your grandmother had diabetes.” Just one example.
When I say ‘teachers,’ I don’t mean the classroom sort you’d be sitting in a desk while listening to their lectures. But, on that note, let me provide you with the following analogy: Why do we learn history in school? We learn our history lessons because it is important to learn from the past so we are not doomed to repeat the same failures in the future. Children do the same thing with their parents.
Children learn how to live according to what they glean from their parents. But, what if your parents have never had to live with your genetics? What if your biological family has a history of issues like alcoholism or gambling, or even depression, and your adoptive family has never had such issues? Your predisposition to have to deal with those issues has a high chance of going unnoticed. Even if those issues are discovered, the odds of your adoptive family knowing how to properly care for them is slim. Sure, you’ll go to a doctor for treatment. But, the adoptive family won’t be used to dealing with such issues and it’ll be just another thing that sets you a part from the rest of the family. There’s just going to be less of an understand of what you’re going through and how you should deal with the issue.
So much of who we are is based upon genetics and we’re just now scratching the surface of how truly important genetics are. Genetics isn’t limited to whether or not you’ll be a fast runner, if your hair might be curly, or if you’ll have an early onset of breast cancer. When I had my genome “unlocked” through 23andMe, I learned my IQ could have been a possible 12 points higher had I been breast fed. I’m rather miffed about that.
Your genetics even predisposes you to how you’ll react to stress. Did you know that prolonged stress can change how or which genes are activated in your body? It’s all tied together. But, if you’re in an environment that doesn’t allow for you to view and learn from how others with your genes react to life situations, you’re at an immediate disadvantage, and it could cost your mentally and physically.
I’d love to talk at length about how being removed from your biological mother immediately following birth effects brain development and issues with circadian rhythm, immune system development, etc - But, I’ll keep it shorter. Keep in mind, though, that the disorders you speak of could be traced back to the trauma of being separated from your biological mother.
For example, did you know that the development of babies is effected when they are intrauterine and their mothers fall victim to domestic violence? The babies haven’t even been born yet, but trauma is already effecting them for the rest of their lives. Simply following that train of thought, it is perfectly logical that a child’s development would also be effected if the child is suddenly removed after birth from the one individual they’ve known, developed rhythms with, and have been taken care of by for the last nine months. Trauma early in a person’s life shapes the way their brain develops and can effect the way they respond to situations for the rest of their lives. It’s science, and part of why the adoption industry is so very anxious to shut up adoptees whose view of adoption isn’t so positive.
Outside of the above issues, think of all the things teenagers go through. When a biologically related daughter looks at her mother, she can see how her body will likely develop. Her mother can prepare her for things like the start of her menstruation cycle. A biologically related son can look at his parents and know his acne won’t last forever, or at his grandparents and see how much hair he’ll have at 30. Biologically related parents will see similarities between their own adolescence and their child’s. Providing their personalities allow for it, they can innately lead the child through these issues. Not so for adoptees.
While we’re in adolescence with all the hormones flying around that we’re already dealing with, let’s talk about identity. I recall from a very young age looking around at the members of my adoptive family. I’d search their faces and bodies looking for differences and similarities to my own. All kids do this, by the way, whether they are conscious of doing it or not. There were few similarities, besides we were all white.
For me, that was a demonstration that I would always be an outsider. The feeling was exasperated by normal activities like doing a lineage tree for a school project or simply observing the similarities between the members of other families who were all biologically related. Being forced to follow my parent’s lineage back through generations when I didn’t even have one of my own was torture. I’ve spent my entire life waiting to see a face that looked like mine or a walking stride that was like mine. Anyway, you enter your teenage years and that rebellious streak sinks in and you begin to figure out who you are as opposed to who everyone wants you to be.
So, who are you?
That’s a question I’ve never been able to answer. It’s also part of why I’ve given myself the name ‘Cryptic Omega’. It means “Unknown End”. I choose it during my rebellious years, somewhere around the age of 15 or 16, when I really began searching for my own identity. And here’s a quick synopsis of why I chose it: Part of knowing who you are is knowing where you’ve been. If you don’t know your history, then how can you see your path? If you don’t know your journey, then how can you see your end? And BAM, you have an Unknown End aka a Cryptic Omega. I use it so regularly now that, in many ways, it’s more “me” than any other name.
Why did I explain that drabble to you? Because that feeling of identity loss in my adolescent adopted self was so strong that I not only gave it a name but I adopted the name as my own. I am the personification of the unknown end. I have met too many adoptees who feel the same, though none, yet, who have been as eccentric enough to do what I did. I can’t help my emotion, nor will I apologize for it.
I’ll just throw out a few other reasons I loathe closed adoptions. Adoption agencies, like the Edna Gladney agency in Fort Worth, Texas, don’t mind changing information related to the adoptees they issue out. Dates of birth, names, etc are all suspect on their sealed records. If adoption is really about the welfare of the children, they why do adoptive parents pay agencies for us? Because we’re not free. It costs to provide a product to a consumer. For instance, I cost $2,000. Any time money is exchanged for a human life that’s human trafficking. If you’d like to know how much adoption agencies make off of trafficking human babies, check out information sources like http://poundpuplegacy.org/ - You’d be surprised how much some people make off of us. Six figures. Sure is a lot of money for someone who’s “just caring about the children”.
Closed adoptions hide the facts of why a child was removed from its biological family. It wasn’t too long ago that children were stripped from their mothers simply because the mother was unwed. Sometimes, the mother was forcefully held down while the child was taken. I’m talking 1960’s and later here, not 1812. Women are still coerced into relinquishing the rights of their children, by the way. That hasn’t ended. The industry as we know it began to develop after WWII, if you’d like to go do some research of your own.
There is nothing you can do to break the bond between genetically related individuals, short of changing their genetics. Though, it is up to the involved parties to maintain those relationships, if they choose. Many adoptees have located their biological families and discovered they were financially better off for having been adopted out. Others find their biological families to be just the opposite. My point is we all have a story all our own, that others should not be forced to abide by, and that whether or not we want knowledge of or relationships with our biological families should be entirely up to us and no one else. That right has yet to be extended to us.
I said earlier that I’d never say you are wrong for the way you feel, and I stand by that. I actually believe that, by the way. I respect where you are in your journey and appreciate why you feel the way you do. I felt the same way at one point in my life. However, I feel it necessary to let you know about something we call the “adoption fog”. It’s the phrase we adoptees, who have been educated to and accept as truth the real life practices and realities of adoption, use to describe the state of adoptees who are not educated on the subject or aren’t at a place in their lives as to be able to accept the harsh realities adoption can bring. “Adoption fog” is the state an adoptee is under when they believe everything society has told them about adoption. A friend of mine has given a pretty good definition of what it is:
"A defense mechanism used by adoptees to survive the realities of growing up with parental impermanence and lack of self mirroring. As with many childhood defense mechanisms it is useful for a developing child but becomes problematic when it begins to impact later psychological growth." - Clayton B. Shaw
Here are some of those beliefs:
- We are lucky.
- The adoption was in our best interest.
- We have it better than we would have with our biological parents.
- We should be grateful. (And the sick variation: We should be grateful we weren’t aborted.)
- Looking for your biological family means you don’t love your adoptive family.
- We should just accept it and move on with our lives.
- We shouldn’t search for our biological families because it might hurt our adoptive parents/family.
- We have a responsibility to protect our adoptive parents/family.
- We are ungrateful and/or “bad” if we search for our biological family.
- We must have had a “bad adoption experience” if we’re not thrilled to be adopted.
- That our biological parent’s right to privacy is more important our right to our ancestry, cultural heritage, and medical history.
You don’t have to feel any particular way about your adoption. It’s entirely up to you how you feel. Never let anyone, including your adoptive and/or biological families, tell you otherwise. But, please remember, all adoptees are in that same boat. Just like you and I feel differently, but I accept your right to feel the way you do, please be cognizant that everyone has the right to feel the way they do and should not be shamed or otherwise put down upon because of their feelings.
Why do I hate closed adoptions? Because they make me a second class citizen. I am not afforded my right to know my ancestry, my cultural heritage, or my medical history. I cannot have access to my original birth certificate. I can’t even be sure I know my date of birth. All so $2,000 could be gained in an industry that has managed to legitimize the practice of stealing people’s rights. Ask yourself this: What if it was only black people who weren’t allowed to have their original birth certificates, ancestry, cultural heritage, and medial histories? Or LGBT people? Or handicapped people? It’d be called discrimination, wouldn’t it?
This is a topic I am very passionate about. I could talk about it all night, but I think I’ve delivered enough of my perspective for now. If you ever need an ear, I’m here. And there are other resources, if you’re interested.