Archive for the ‘Fight the good fight’ Category
This post from Julie details much of why my Petitioning Parliament post was written. This is the basis of many of the issues created by adoption, some of which I extrapolated upon in my reply to Sir @martinnarey (who still hasn’t responded to my My Heart’s Desire post).
Julie’s post over on Lost Daughters (and the comments that follow it) talks about the impact that the act of being adopted will have upon Veronica’s life. The act of adoption changes the status of a person in ways that are more than just legal. The societal aspect of living as an adoptee is a minefield. If we’re happy with adoption, then we’re happy with the fact that a child is growing up unrelated to their own kin – whyever this happens, it is something sad. If we’re pissed at adoption, then obviously we must have “had a bad experience”.
One of my more recent FB page creations is The Lucky Adoptee, who – contrary to popular perception – I consider myself to be. I did get the steady life that adoption promises. While we weren’t by any stretch well off, my APs were excellent at juggling money (a trait I sadly missed out on picking up ;)) and so the life I lived was comfortable. In fact, were it not for the issues that BEING ADOPTED has caused for my life, I actually would’ve had that fabled “better life” that is the lure of adoption.
#WASO40 hints at posts relating to the future, so for inclusion I’m finishing where I started; wanting to get legislation changed so that the ADOPTEE is the one who ultimately gets to decide what they want for their life. Giving adoptees the chance to annul/overturn/however you wanna phrase it THEIR OWN adoptions scares people though – any of us could become ungrateful bastards if we can all undo what’s been done to us, think of how the number of adopters’d plummet if they knew we the adoptees could have the final say over whether our adoptions’re “forever” or not.
It takes time and luck to get things moving in the right direction, but today I had my first ever real tangible “success”.
— 7rin (@7rin) March 8, 2013
One of the things I know helps adoptees is having other adoptees to talk to. It’s part of the reason I make so many “places” for us, or to direct us towards. When I saw Amanda’s post, I couldn’t not make the suggestion.
That the following Twit was posted very shortly after makes all the fighting I’ve done worthwile, because one of the hardest things about getting support groups together IRL is having an appropriate physical location to do it in, but I’ve managed to help make it available to at least some of us.
— Amanda Boorman (@BoormanAmanda) March 8, 2013
This IS a success.
Of course, now it’s up to the adoptees to take up the offer and get themselves there.
Still thrilled I managed to help make it happen though. Am incredibly chuffed. :D
But still we need more offers like this. More awareness of adoptees, and not just of adoption.
The following’s a direct c’n’p of an email response from myself to “Adoption Czar” <vom> Martin Narey, which occurred as a result of me finally poking him often enough of Twitter to get him to respond. It’s on here because it explains so much of what I’m fighting for, and why.
At some space near in time to 02/10/2012 11:03, Martin Narey swore:
> Dear [7rin],
It’s Mx [surname], but please, feel free to call me 7rin[snippage].
> Thanks for this E mail which I saw for the first time yesterday (my
> guess is that the anonymity of your E mail address will be picked up
> by other Spam filters as well as mine).
Point accepted, however this email address is as old as Gmail (bar a few months), and so it’s not something likely to change in the near future.
> Also, I’m sorry if you thought I should have replied sooner but,
> contrary to popular belief, I have no staff, no assistance and am
> supposed to work on adoption issues for just one or two days a week.
I didn’t know you were so limited on the time you’re supposed to spend working on adoption issues, given your (sorry, but it’s appalling) title of Adoption Czar. I did also imagine you would have at least some staff aiding you in your task, however, the nudge on Twitter to reply was, as much as anything, to let you know the email had been sent. After all, there would be little point emailing you again to ask if you had received it, because if you hadn’t, then chances are you would also not receive the prompt asking such. I apologise, however, if it came across as demanding an immediate response (a “yes I’ve got it, I’m working on it” reply on Twitter would have sufficed – but of course, you weren’t to know that).
> I can’t help you with your wish to change the law so that an adult
> can annul adoption.
Your sentence following ^this aside, can you please enlighten me on why you – our famed Adoption Czar – can not help with such a thing? Only, it seems to me that such a thing could easily be integrated into any improvements you plan on making to the current adoption system, as it would simply be yet another improvement made. Thus if our famed Adoption Czar can not help change adoption for the better, then surely your role is essentially redundant?
> Others will have told you this but, essentially, at the age of 18 we
> are all adults and adoption has essentially expired. Your adoptive
> parents cannot restrain your behaviour in any way. You can change
> your name and, if you so wish, ignore the fact that you were ever
If that were true, then I would have no qualm with adoption – however, it is patently false that at the age 18, adoption has essentially expired. We remain adopted for the entirety of our lives, once adoption has occurred, and yes, even as adults, our adopters can – should they wish – restrain our behaviour. The following examples highlight instances of where the adopted remain – even as adults – perpetually infantilised by their adoptee status.
Contrary to popular belief, not all adopters are suitable parents, and some are overtly abusive to the children they adopt. Further, even those who are generally suitable as parents, may in fact be abusive in ways are not currently recognised as being abusive – such as attempting to prevent the adoptee from even contemplating reunion with their genealogical relatives by demonstrating that their feelings would be incredibly hurt by such. It is for this reason that many adoptees – including Michael Gove (who explained exactly this in his interview available at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/election/article-1268403/MICHAEL-GOVE-My-birth-mother-knows-I-Ill-try-track-down.html ) – suppress their own entirely natural desire to seek out the genetic reflection necessary for the healthy development of the personality that can be found from reuniting with their genealogical relatives. Even where adopters (nor the wider adoptive family) do not emphasise this, the adoptee remains pressured by socialisation to not reunite – with those doing so being described as “bad adoptees” or “ungrateful”. Again, Mr Gove’s interview gives an example of this, as he shares that his adoptive mom has previously informed him that “My mother has always said if I want to [trace her] I should”, yet he still says that “I know, though, that she would take it as an indication that I did not feel my life or upbringing was fulfilled”. Whilst it is understandable that there may be apprehension and wariness of the unknown (especially for those removed through Social Services’ interventions), being perpetually forced into the role of a child results in many adoptees negating their own needs in order to satisfy what they have been taught is the ‘right’ way to behave as a grateful adoptee.
Adoption is the legal severance of a child from one family, whilst grafting that child legally on to a different family, in the main for whom they are not I any other way related to. As adults, these adoptees remain legally severed from their own genealogical relatives, despite the fact that they may live with them. Indeed, I am aware of some older adult adoptees who were expelled from their adopters’ homes at 15 years old, and who have spent the intervening decades living with and amongst only their own genealogical relatives, having absolutely no contact what-so-ever with any of their sill-legally related adoptive families. Yet should anything happen to those adoptees, it is the still-legally related adoptive families whose preferences would be taken into account should any decisions need to be made regarding those adult adoptees, despite the fact that they abandoned the adoptee before adulthood *and* that the adoptee has spent the intervening years encompassed within their genealogical relatives. It is for these people that the ability for adoptees to be able to annul THEIR OWN adoptions is necessary.
This example stems from my own personal circumstances.
I lost my genealogical family connections at seven months old because Social Services wanted to put me into foster care (yet strangely, they didn’t want to remove my half-sister, who was 18 months older). In order to “save” me from “bouncing around” foster care (her words), my mom asked around friends and family to find out if there was anyone who would be willing to take me in for adoption. Thus, the Saturday before the Wednesday that Social Services were planning on removing me, the couple who eventually adopted me turned up following a telephone call to their next-door neighbour (the sister of a friend of my mom’s friend) to decide if they wanted to take me on “as if” I was “their own” (which is what adoption implies). As they had been unable to produce a child of their own they had already been seeking to adopt, and had recently been “scammed” by someone who eventually gave the boy they were planning on adopting to a different family. Thus, they decided that I would be a suitable replacement for both the child that they had been unable to produce between themselves and that the boy that they had hoped to adopt, and took me away immediately, and the adoption order was granted six months later. The day that I was taken away from my mom and my sister was the last time I saw anyone to whom I am genealogically related (other than my own daughter whom I bore at 18 years old), until I entered reunion at 37 years old.
Following reunion, I discovered that in addition to my maternal older sister (whose existence I was only informed of at the age of 17 whilst my adoptive mom was enraged at discovering I was pregnant with my daughter), I also have a younger maternal brother. Due to the appalling state of the bedsit in which my brother was living, at the beginning of this year, my brother moved in with us (again – he originally moved in within four months of reunion, but moved out to take on the bedsit that turned out to be in horrendous condition).
This brings me to my final point in this section.
Under the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA), Nearest Relative (NR) is a default designation that is applied to family. As my maternal half-brother is living with us, were he to be taken into (adult) care under this act, I would usually become his default NR due to our sibling relationship. However, because I am adopted, we are no longer legally related, thus any decisions that would need to be made would automatically default back to our mom, who abused both my siblings enough that either of them being detained under MHA is not beyond the realms of possibility (I am also suffering similarly, but from being adopted rather than from not being adopted). If I were able to annul my own adoption, this horrific state of affairs would no longer be true as my brother and I would share a legally recognised sibling relationship.
In addition to this point, were ANY of my genealogical relatives admitted to hospital, because I am no longer legally related to ANY of them, it is entirely possible that the hospital could refuse me entry to see any relative, as I am unable to provide ANY proof of our relationship. Further, the converse would be true were I myself to be admitted to a hospital, with it being possible for my genealogical relatives to be barred from seeing me due to our lack of legal relationship.
Thus, as you see, adoption does NOT “essentially expire”, and continues to create problems for both adoptees and our genealogical kin far into adulthood – hence the necessity for it to become possible for adoptees to annul THEIR OWN adoptions *should THEY CHOOSE to*, because yes, our adopters can, should they wish, still control our lives.
> But, of course you should continue to campaign for what you believe
Oh, I will. Whilst I may feel like I am forever pounding my head upon a brick wall with not a soul listening except thousands of other adoptees who also experience these problems, I will continue to fight because if no-one fights for it, then those who remain unaffected by these issues may never learn that these issues exist for us.
> But you should, I suggest, look realistically at the fact that your E
> petition has only 37 supporters.
Early days yet.
No, I don’t expect to get anywhere near the number of signatures necessary to get my petition heard in Parliament, but this is far more to do with the general public’s perception that adoption is all sunshine and rainbows. Whilst I already suspected such would be the case (due to interactions I’ve previously experienced around the Internet), this has been confirmed by some of the responses my posting the link to the petition has garnered, and so I do have a FAQ post under construction detailing some of my responses to the criticisms (and insults) that have been aimed at the petition itself, as well as at myself for daring to want such a change. Unfortunately, both living life and coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to adoption has hindered my writing skills somewhat – although constructing this response has aided in clarifying even more of some of my ideas, so hopefully the FAQ won’t take too much longer to produce (once I have completed cleaning up http://7rin-on-adoption.dreamwidth.org/ which has been created as a repository for adoption-related information).
> What I really wanted to say to you however (and because your tweets
> have sometimes been misleading but at least have been courteous)
Please do not presume that every comment I have made about you has been equally as courteous. I do not deny that I have made comments far more vindictive towards you than either Mr Hemming or Mr Lonsdale have shared on Twitter. I just don’t think somewhere ‘public’ like Twitter is the place for such displays, though obviously their opinion is otherwise.
> is that however much your experience of adoption has been painful for
> you it undermines you to suggest that is always the case.
I have never yet met an adoptee who wasn’t in pain. Some – many – disguise it by fitting into the image of a “good” adoptee, of which Michael Gove is a perfect example (e.g. previously mentioned article). Unfortunately, this results in those of us who do express the trauma we have experienced as being “bad” or “ungrateful” adoptees, whilst the truth is far more like Amanda explains in this post over at The Declassified Adoptee: http://www.declassifiedadoptee.com/2011/07/fallacies-of-angry-adoptee-and-happy.html
> Describing adoption as *n**ever right* as a *horror* or as *stealing*
> (as you have tweeted in the past few days) weakens any reasonable
> reservations about it which you may have.
That I may have? I understand that you’re saying my language goes too far in my expressions, but the latter half of your sentence has confused me. Feel free to rephrase if the following part fails to answer what you’re commenting on though.
Whilst I actually am aware that not every single adoption is unwanted (indeed, I actually assisted a friend who had been a long-term foster parent to two youths in his fight to adopt them because that is what the youths in question wanted), if no-one is seen to be complaining about nor suffering from $subject, then change is not deemed necessary. Unfortunately then, without extremists highlighting the worst case scenarios, it is extremely unlikely that necessary changes will occur within that subject. Thus, I speak in extremes in the majority of my Internet interactions in order to bring attention to the issues, but (as I’m hoping this email to you demonstrates), I am capable of rational discussion on an issue without being quite so extreme, as within a rational discussion, both sides *should* be able to listen to each other far more easily than in general interactions on social media.
> Because, of course, adoption isn’t always right. I believe (and say
> frequently) that it is only appropriate for a small minority of the
> children taken into care in England, largely those neglected by
> parents who are unlikely ever to be able to be successful parents. It
> is indisputably right that for those children adoption brings
> stability and compensates for that neglect.
And therein lies the problem; the belief that adoption _does_ bring stability, *and* that it _does_ compensate. Again, it is part of the socialisation aspects popularising adoption, while negating the actual real everyday issues that adoptive families face, the same as every other family. Adopters – especially in the current economical situation – are as prone to job loss, and death, and divorce, and the myriad other issues that occur throughout life. Further, the very societal insistence that “adoption is good” adds even greater pressure to the adoptee, since it means that even those who are abused by their adopters (I know several adoptees who were physically, sexually, and mentally abused by their adoptive families) are still expected to proclaim the joys of adoption.
Adoption doesn’t make life better, it just makes it different. I was no better off growing up away from my genetic relatives than I would have been growing up with them, despite the fact that my kept maternal siblings suffered recognised abuse, while I was raised by a decent family. Closed adoption is ultimately destructive, and I have seen no indication that you desire to move away from as closed an adoption system as possible – however I am willing to be corrected upon this perception.
This also highlights how difficult talking about “adoption” is. Research into open adoption may show far different outcomes than research into closed adoption, yet it all categorised as “research supports the view that adoption is good”, while not delineating between which aspects are relative to what. I say adoption is abhorrent, you say adoption is great – nowhere in those sentences is enough information to tell if we are discussing remotely similar circumstances other than that the child involved can use an adoption certificate for identification purposes.
This is just another reason why I believe that adopted adults should be given the choice as to whether or not *they* want their adoption to be “forever”.
> Research around adoption is very clear about that.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of that research is funded by those with a vested interest in the continuation of the trade in children. In example, how many of the books on http://adoptionmania.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/recommended-reading/ have you read? My guess would be not a single one of them (though I am always happy to be proven wrong about such things), yet these are books that are strongly recommended by adoptees as these are books that deal with the traumas of adoption in a far more honest manner than a single article or book that I have seen from (for example) BAAF. Indeed, BAAF, Adoption UK, TACT, etc. not only produce adoptER centric material, the adoptEE material they produce do nothing more than reiterate the message that adoptees are “special” and “chosen” and “lucky” – even in the writings that directly state that these things are not the case, they still manage to make the adoptee seem to need to feel grateful for being “rescued” (regardless of circumstance).
Please, talk to people like Nancy Newton Verrier (see http://nancyverrier.com/about-the-author-nancy-verrier/ for more details) as the research from such as she is far more realistic than that put out by BAAF, Adoption UK, TACT, etc.
> My interest in it is an objective one, prompted by my experience in
> running Barnardo’s (who are involved these days in very few
> adoptions) and my anxiety about our tolerance of neglect and the need
> for us to intervene more promptly on neglect cases.
This is a conflation of issues though. Child protection can be done without the legal annihilation that is inflicted by adoption. This is why we have other measures such as Legal Guardianship. This is something I covered in my post over at https://adoptedintheuk.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/who-wants-to-take-bets-on-whether-i-presumed-correctly/ that was posted last night.
> There are some cases where the care decision may be wrong and of
> course not all children are taken into care because of neglect. You
> and others are right to expose such cases and the anger of some of
> your co-tweeters is understandable because sometimes they have lost
> their children. But my sincere advice to them is to concentrate on
> those cases rather than seek to suggest that adoption is *always*
> wrong. That is the stance often taken by John Hemming MP, and I’m
> afraid he may sometimes encourage others to take that approach. It
> does them no good at all (nor,might I add, does the abuse generated
> on Twitter, including some from someone who works for Mr Hemming).
Whilst I understand that you personally cannot look into each and every case – why not make it possible for cases to be presented to a TRULY independent body in order for their merit to be assessed? After all, with Social Workers under such pressures as they currently claim to be (a claim I am not denying may contain a vast amount of truth), then surely a system in which issues can be referred elsewhere will both free up time from those SWers who are having to try to repeatedly fight the same problems over and over, and give the public a far greater confidence in the work actually carried out?
I do sincerely detest the idea of children being removed for “at risk of future emotional harm” however, as removing children period inflicts emotional harm. This particular phrasing is something I will not fail to fight against, as it does NOT protect the very children it is claimed to be helping, but DOES inflict the emotional harm that is supposed to be being prevented in the first place.
> A few final points. You recently tweeted that Martin Narey *p**oint
> blank refuses to talk to adult adoptees. *That isn’t so. I talk to
> adult adoptees frequently and I know some adult adoptees particularly
> well including some whose lives have been transformed for the better
> by their experience.
My apologies – however, it was incredibly frustrating to see you responding to John Hemming and co’s insults, whilst seeming to ignore my own very un-insulting request for support for my ePetition. Even had it only been a short reply to say “I’ll look into it” or “email me to discuss this as Twitter’s not a suitable place to be able to discuss this”, it would have been better than no reply at all.
In reference to the talking to other adult adoptees, I would question whether those adoptees are in denial of the problems created by adoption, such as Mr Gove (as covered elsewhere), or whether they accept that there are issues within adoption? An example of alternative perspective to those in denial of the issues can be found at http://yoonsblur.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/sole-trauma-is-loss-that-occurs-before.html for comparison.
> I also talk to and exchange views frequently with some who disagree
> with me about adoption.
Which aspects though? There’s a difference between disagreeing about minor issues such as the time-scale that X should happen within, than about whether it should exist at all.
> The BBC radio documentary tomorrow night only includes John Hemming
> because I urged the BBC to speak to him and because i believe the
> system will sometimes get things wrong. We need to do more to
> identify those cases while accepting that care is right for the vast
> majority. You need to decide for yourself whether or not Mr Hemming
> serves the interests of those he claims to represent.
Oh, fret not. I’m well aware of whose interests Mr Hemming serves, however, up until I found the FFJ types at the start of this year, I felt like a bit of a lone voice in the UK. Previously, the only other people I had found interested in discussing the deep psychological impact that adoption has upon the person tended to be American adoptees. American adoptees, in the majority of states, have far less ‘rights’ than UK adoptees, and thus has engendered a far larger ‘movement’ towards fighting for adoption reform.
> So, continue to pursue that which you believe in. But don’t undermine
> the specifics of your argument by ignoring the reality of neglect and
> the need for us as a society, when parents cannot be supported to
> offer decent homes (often because of drink and dug addictions) and if
> good quality kinship carers cannot be found, to find an alternative
> stability through adoption.
Please note, I’m in no way suggesting that children should be left within abusive situations – this is again a conflation of the issues of child protection with adoption, a common mistake that is encountered by many attempting to highlight the issues facing adoptees. I am only suggesting that the ADULT adoptee is given a choice as to whether or not they wish to remain adopted. Surely it is of little relevance whether the adoptee chooses to or not, since, as you yourself have said, “adoption essentially expires at 18 years of age” anyway? Thus, making it legal for an adoptee to annul their own adoption can only be beneficial to the system, as it means that it is not a permanent solution inflicted on someone who was in no position to give THEIR OWN consent to such legal annihilation.
Sincerest thanks for your considered reply, and I ask that we may please continue this dialogue? Whilst it may ultimately prove fruitless (from my perspective), I would far rather exhaust the discussion completely and retire knowing that at least we did try to find solutions, than to just have my very real and valid concerns dismissed as a one-off rarity. I am not a one-off, rare, special case. I didn’t have a “bad” adoption, nor did I suffer from an awful adoptive family – yet adoption still did not leave me (nor many others) any “better off” than any kept and abused siblings – it simply gave us different problems to deal with that are currently unrecognised by the majority of society. This results in us being further traumatised as – unlike our kept and abused siblings – our traumas are dismissed as nothing more than us “having a bad experience”.
After all… “Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.” – The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBE
As a final note, I will be pasting this reply of mine to you into a post on my site, http://adoptedintheuk.co.uk/ – not in an attempt to discredit you, nor show you up, nor any such thing, but (a) because it demonstrates that I was wrong and that you actually do talk to adoptees, and (b) helps explain some of my own ideas, thoughts and suggestions without having to write separate posts out. Whilst I have no problems with putting completely new posts on the site, I find it redundant to re-write something already explained elsewhere.
Yours, with respect
Sign the petition I’ve created to demonstrate your support:
Allow adult adoptees to be repatriated into THEIR OWN families
Responsible department: Ministry of Justice
Adoption, as it currently stands, is irrevocable. However, if adoption equates to child protection (as the Gmt seems to think), then adopted adults should be able to annul, revoke, divorce, or otherwise abort THEIR OWN adoptions, which would naturally result in repatriation of the adult back into THEIR OWN family.
Adults can *choose* to get married, and then *choose* to get divorced. Adults can *choose* to live as their binary opposite gender and get a new “birth certificate” showing this – yet adoptees are forced to remain legally grafted to a family of strangers.
If adoption is truly about child protection, then at 18, the adoption should be able to be terminated by the adoptee if the adoptee so chooses.
PLACING CHILDREN IN SIBLING GROUPS FOR ADOPTION
1. How can we find more adopters willing and able to take on sibling groups, particularly larger groups?
It is not adopters willing and able to take on sibling groups needed, but instead people willing to help another family out by being there for the kids while the kids are growing up.
Increasing community capacity volunteer family mentors is a step in the right direction and an example of where the Government should be aiming.
Further, this is the wrong question to be asking at the out-set. The first question that needs asking – and answering by the Government – is why is adoption seen as such a panacea that the first question is not “how can we help families to keep their children within their own kin?” Another good starting question would be “how can we encourage more kinship carers to come forward?”
2. How can we better support those families willing to adopt sibling groups, particularly larger groups?
In exactly the same way you could be better supporting children to stay amongst their own family.
3. Please give your views on why this is difficult to achieve at present:
The dominant ideological perspective on adoption is one of positivity and joy. Unfortunately for the adoptee – the very person this being done to – positivity and joy are far from regular experiences. Instead the adoptee faces the loss of all that is familiar while being expected to assume a whole new personality. Further, through socialisation (media, fiction) the adoptee learns that they are not to mourn this loss, but rather they are to be “grateful” for “being saved”; this theme is a constituent of the adoptee being “second best” or “an inferior product”. Until the societal perspective towards adoption changes, adoption is always going to be nothing more than a lifetime of child abuse, inflicted by agreement when the adoptee was too young to have a voice. Giving adoptees the option to legally annul, divorce, or otherwise abort THEIR OWN adoptions would herald the beginning of the new era, resulting in the Government introducing such measures potentially portrayed as humanitarians.
3a. What are the barriers to children in sibling groups being placed together for adoption?
3b. What elements of social work practice support the placement of children in sibling groups with adopters?
3c. What elements of social work practice inhibit the placement of children in sibling groups with adopters?
4. We think that placing siblings together should be considered on the merits of the case for each individual child.
Should the law be made more explicit so that placing siblings together is considered on a case by case basis for each individual child?
Absolutely placing siblings together should be considered on the merits of the case for each individual child, however, the Government and those responsible for the trafficking of children both need to be educated on the true impact that loss of contact has on the person who is lost.
4a. How should legislation and guidance be revised to achieve this?
It is imperative that the Government and professionals involved within the child procurement and distribution industry are educated in the true impact of adoption loss. Social workers and family justice professionals need to demonstrate comprehension of the impacts of adoption upon the adoptee, as explained in the following referenced books, before they can accurately educate others.
Brodzinsky, D.M. and Schechter, M.D. (1990) The Psychology of Adoption. New York: Oxford Press.
Lifton, B.J. (1988) Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.
Lifton, B.J. (1994) Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness. New York: Basic Books.
Verrier, N.N.(1993) Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child. Baltimore; Gateway Press, Inc.
Verrier, N.N.(2003) The Adopted Child Grows Up: Coming Home to Self. Baltimore; Gateway Press, Inc.
As explained by Verrier (2003, pp. 162-3):
“Sometimes, terrible things happen to little children. Perhaps more often than we realize. Things that aren’t always recognized as terrible, such as being put in an incubator to save a life or placed with foster parents to avoid abuse, feel terrible to little children. We know that leaving children with abusive parents is a bad thing, but we don’t often recognize that children also suffer when placed with other people, even if those people are good. I am quite sure that many CPS (Child Protective Services) case workers don’t recognize the harm in taking children away from their real parents. Yet in the life of the child it is a huge transgression. These actions, although perhaps necessary, create attitudes in children that are sometimes harmful to them. … Sometimes social workers have to make these decisions, but they need to understand the pain for the children when they do. … Children may be harmed by keeping them in their abusive homes and by placing them with foster parents. … I am referring to the harm that comes from being separated from everything familiar – from family, even a bad family.”
4b. In what other ways could a case by case basis be promoted for each individual child when considering the adoption of children separately?
If Child Protection professionals are not already basing their decisions on what is best for each individual they assess, then their job role has been wrong all along. This is further evidence that the Government and Child Protection professionals both need to stop looking at the fallacies espoused by those within the child distribution industry, and start listening to the adults who have lived through it. The Government needs to investigate the evidence amassing that categorically portrays adoption as anything but “for the best”.
5. Should we revise legislation and guidance to set out the features of good arrangements for contact with siblings when children are adopted separately?
Yes, legislation and guidance should be revised to set out the features of good arrangements for contact with siblings when children are adopted separately. Again though, this necessarily entails the professionals following the guidance to be aware of the impact of ALL the decisions they make – hence the previously referenced books should become required reading for ALL who are dealing with such issues.
5a. How should legislation and guidance be revised to achieve this?
Legislation and guidance should be revised to set out the features of good arrangements for contact with siblings when children are adopted separately by making it compulsory for all adopters to keep siblings’ lives as integrated on a day-to-day basis as humanly possible (keeping them within the same school, for example). “Contact” should not be set arrangements in contact centres and other such child-unfriendly places, but sharing times such as swimming lessons/sessions, playing on parks, and other such child-friendly activities. The main theme should not be “we must spend X hours a day/week/month locked away in a small room together so we can say we have seen each other”. The main theme should be “we are spending time together doing fun-filled, productive activities so that we can learn to work together and grow together whilst having a fun time and living our lives sharing experiences.”
Legislation should be enacted that compels adopters to ensure that siblings are not traumatised by each other’s loss, but instead enforces a high degree of time spent together with siblings. For this reason, future legislation needs to ensure that siblings adopted separately are not made to live more than a few easily travelable miles from each other.
There should also be a way for those adoptees to later annul, divorce, or otherwise abort THEIR OWN adoptions. This prevents legal contracts signed before the adoptee was of an age to give consent from perpetuating their loss into adulthood. It is imperative that the Government enacts legislation that enables the adoptee to no longer languish under the adoptee status inflicted upon them whilst they were below legal ages for submitting to such contracts (e.g. marriage – for which divorce can be filed).
Until such a law is enacted, it should be considered child abuse to legally sever any more children from their own families, and should cease immediately – at least until the ramifications of adoption as it currently exists are truly explored.
5b. In what other ways could good contact arrangements be promoted when children are adopted separately?
Make adoption more like a marriage – not a severance from one family while sticky-taping on to a new one, but a merging or blending or extending of all families involved. Attempting to restrict a child’s access to their own kin is inherently harmful to that child, as described by Verrier, Lifton, Brodzinsky, etc.
6. Please use the space below for any other comments you would like to make on placing children in sibling groups for adoption
The Government is approaching adoption from the wrong perspective. Instead of perceiving adoption as a panacea for the problems of children with parents who can/t or won’t parent adequately, and people who would like to have children of their own but can’t; adoption should be seen as a last resort. Adoption should be reserved for those wanting to be adopted by the people who have raised them, with full and accurate knowledge of all the sociological and psychological implications that are inherent in being adopted.
Adoption does not “save children”, instead it destroys their lives in ways that are not recognised as causing trauma.
“Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.” (Griffith, K.C., no date)
The whole premise that adoption is a ‘golden option'[ ] is wrong.
Adoption is the legal severance of a person from their ENTIRE heritage, FOREVER! Irrevocably!
That’s not child protection; it’s legalised post-natal identity abortion, after which the child is expected to grow up as entirely different person to who they really are.
The tools are already in place to both establish and revoke parental responsibility, so why does the person growing up as Somebody Else’s Child need to have their entire identity obliterated, irrevocably and forever?
If adoption is about child protection, why have I had to spend twice as long as an adult suffering from the repercussions of what was done to me as a child? If adoption is about child protection, then once I am no longer a child, but am instead an adult, I should be legally in some way be permitted to annul that adoption, yes?
I was fortunate in that I grew up within an awesome adoptive family, with whom I still have strong bonds and relatively close contact. Others have been less fortunate however, with several adopted friends having last seen their adopters around the time they were thrown out of the adoptive home – usually around 15 years old. Yet even decades later, with often many of those intervening years spent living amongst biological relatives, the adoptive family would still hold all the legal ties to that person. That this cannot be in some way undone, or revoked, or annulled, or divorced, is a human rights abuse, given that it is inflicted upon a person below any legal age of consent. More when it is possible to acquire a newly issued birth certificate showing the person is living as the binary-opposite gender.
If I can divorce my husband, why can I not in some way undo my adoption in a likewise fashion?
There are many legal ramifications to adoption – especially taking into account the high degree of emotional trauma experienced by the adoptee and any unadopted children.
Both this response form and the response form for the contact with parents starts wrong. In order for children to achieve their fullest potential, it is important for them to experience a high degree of genealogical reflection, upon which they can then establish their own identity. It is necessary to see the mistakes the people you come from make to learn to understand how to see the world.
Additionally, I would like to invite whomever reads my Sibling Contact Response to read my Parental Contact Response too, as this describes much that is relevant to the issues surrounding sibling contact.
This is a continuation of the string of posts started over at Contact Responding – Post #1.
This is my critique of the the Family (fucked-up) Futures Top 20 Wishlist for annihilating even more people through adoption, as included in my parental Contact Response form.
1. National campaigns to raise awareness of looked-after children’s needs
State funded and professional media advertising campaigns designed to raise public awareness of the plight of looked-after children and their need for permanent adoptive families.
Even from this outset, there is the emphasis on adoption being necessary, and that more adopters are needed. This is categorically false because adoption is unnecessary to “save” a child from a situation deemed harmful. “Saving” a child from harm involves removing them from the situation – removing that child’s identity through adoption and replacing it with a false identity is not a necessary part of that. Indeed, removing that child’s identity and replacing it with another is not only inherently harmful to the child, but is nothing more than a punishment of the child for the sins (real or imagined) of their parents.
Brodzinsky and Schechter (1990, pp. 95-104)[ ] describe a Swedish study where results of “Adjustment in School at 11 Years” (pg. 99) shows that adopted children fare worse than even fostered children, with 56% of adoptees demonstrating symptoms that in some cases resulted in the child being labelled a “problem child”, while only 45% of fosterees demonstrated similar behaviour.
A far better solution for long-term care is the use of Special Guardianship.
“The 2002 Act introduced Special Guardianship as a new legal permanence option for children who cannot live with their birth families, but for whom adoption is not suitable.”[ ]
Special Guardianship provides the stability needed during childhood, while not annihilating the child’s own identity and superimposing a false one upon the child. Nor does Special Guardianship result in the child being legally severed from their own kin, meaning that they do not need to spend their adult life legally attached to complete strangers that they may not have been in contact with for decades. Thus, Special Guardianship contributes to the healthy development of an adult with minimal identity conflicts, unlike adoption.
Further, adoption is not something done to just the child. Adoption is not something that ends at 18 years old. Adoption is something inflicted upon that person for the rest of their life. Adoption is – currently at least – irrevocable.
“Adoption orders are made by the High Court, county courts and Magistrates’ Courts. … The order is the only document which contains details of a child’s birth identity and his or her identity after adoption.”[ ]
ONS data[ ] reports more than one hundred and eighty thousand adoptees created since 1974. Yet reunion statistics[ ] show that even the vastly under-advertised Adoption Contact Register contained almost twenty thousand adoptees within its first ten years of existence, while by the end of 2011, NORCAP’s contact register held details of more than sixty-eight thousand people[ ]. This demonstrates that despite legal severance from their kin, a massive proportion of adoptees return to their families of origin – with many adoptees having no further contact with their adopters. However, contrary to all sanity, adoptees who have lived with biological relatives for several decades, can still have all their preferences over-turned by genetic strangers simply because they were raised by those people for child protection issues.
Adoption should be revocable!
2. Earlier removal of children
Earlier removal of children from traumatising family environments would enhance their capacity to thrive in adoptive families.
Whilst it cannot be denied that it is better to remove children swiftly from dangerously abusive environments, too many children are being deprived of contact on too nebulous reasons. A relevant example is of removing children deemed “at risk of future emotional harm”. Children removed from their own families simply because they might be “at risk of future emotional harm” are having actual and real harm inflicted upon them by the very services supposedly in place to protect them.
“many children … would be far better off if they remained with their own families even if those families got only the typical help (which tends to be little help, wrong help, or no help) commonly offered by child welfare agencies.”[ ]
Losing your family as a child results in genealogical bewilderment, stress and anxiety, and genuine terror. This is not something child protection specialists should be inflicting upon children in anything other than the most extreme circumstances. Instead of removing children from their own homes at the earliest possible opportunity, the Government needs to look at and learn from the Australian model where there are very very few adoption or removals of children unless absolutely dire circumstances are encountered.
3. Post-placement support/therapy for adopted children and their families
Every child who is adopted having access to post-placement support for their adoptive parents and therapeutic intervention to heal the scars of trauma.
This is very necessary, and – as with the current legislation in place – needs to be extended so that adults who have suffered adoption can also get the right help in dealing with being adopted.
4. Committed funding for therapeutic/educational input for each adoptive child/family
Adoption saves society a huge amount of money in comparison to a lifetime in the care system. Given that adoptive parents have full parental rights, it is appropriate that they are expected to pay for the day to day living expenses of their children. However, there is growing recognition that the majority of children placed for adoption will have or do have the need of additional educational and therapeutic input. I believe that this should be paid for out of a grant or a pot of money that goes with each child into the future which could be a proportion of the expense that that child would have been to the state had they remained in care (say, 25%).
If the state facilitates adoption, this investment would represent a win-win situation for state, the child and their family. Currently we have a lose-lose situation; adoptive parents feel under-resourced in terms of service provision and the state continues to pay the high cost of children remaining in the public care system and beyond, in terms of involvement in the criminal justice and adult mental health systems.
This feeds back into all of the answers already given, and is a part of the paradigm change that MUST occur if adoption is continuing to be used.
5. Adoption leave equivalent to maternity leave for both parents
Adoption leave to be equal to maternity leave for both fathers and mothers as it is vital for children with a poor attachment history to spend time with their new adoptive parents in order to ‘build the bonds of attachment’.
6. Prioritising early intervention in adoption, whilst supporting members of ethnic minorities to adopt
Adoption and fostering need to embrace the fact that Britain is the most multicultural country in the world. We need therefore to be more realistic about matching children ethnically, culturally and with respect to religion, bearing in mind that time is of the essence and early permanent placement should be the priority above all other considerations.
However, so this does not become a justification for some form of subtle institutional racism or social imperialism, financial and other incentives should be offered to members of ethnic minorities in order to facilitate them becoming adoptive parents or permanent carers of children from within their own communities. We need to do both: it is not either/or. Easier access and more generous adoption allowances would enable potential adopters to have income supplements to enable them to take on the financial demands of parenting an adopted child.
The biggest problem with this is it means the adopters are getting the help that the child’s original family should have in order to help keep the family together. It is pointless to pay complete strangers substantial amounts to raise someone else’s child in a system of lies that causes great psychological harm to the child when that child could stay within their own family with such substantive support.
7. Swifter and more inclusive assessment and selection of prospective adopters
Currently there are many more childless individuals and couples who would consider adoption as a route to parenthood than there are children needing adoption. However this imbalance is not reflected in the adoption system in terms of placement outcomes. I believe there are a number of reasons for this.
i Poor public perception and understanding of adoption today
ii Media and internet savvy potential applicants who are aware of the complexities of need that children have and the paucity of resources currently available to support them through the process
iii The constraints of ethnic matching
iv The lack of financial support for the poorer sections of the community who, if assisted, could become part of the resource pool of parents.
The selection process currently and routinely followed suffers from the following drawbacks:
i Group information days and training sessions for prospective adopters delay and depersonalise the process
ii As the complexity of needs of children in the care system appears to increase, so does professionals’ and panels’ anxiety levels when it comes to selection and matching. This leads to procrastination and indecision. BAAF Assessment reports typically contain volumes of information but no tools for analysing the information in order to develop a psychological profile of the potential parent. More SMART tools need to be used as part of a more concise, focussed and shorter selection process (eg Adult Attachment Interview/Attachment Style Interview).
iii The Family Futures’ 20:80 principle. We believe that 20% of an agency’s resources should be front-loaded into the preparation and assessment programme of potential adoptive parents and 80% into post- placement support where parents ‘learn on the job’ how to be parents.
Adoption agencies that do not adequately resource their post-placement support packages become too reliant on assessment leading to a tendency to look for ‘ideal’ candidates and matches which will be able to stand alone in the future. In our experience, this is unrealistic, and we need to move away from a model of adoptive parenthood that is recruiting parents knowing that in the future they will have to go it alone. This model is theoretically flawed and morally wrong.
Swifter and more inclusive assessments could be made possible if there was a guarantee of post-adoption support. Post-adoption support is not just about resolving post-placement difficulties. It is also about providing a safety net for any shortcomings and the inherent difficulties there are in predicting parenting capacity.
There does not need to be swifter assessment, instead, the method of assessment needs to change dramatically in order to ensure that the adults who are acquiring someone else’s child to pretend to raise as their own are fully conversant with the harsh realities of being adopted.
8. Use of special guardian ship to be limited
The use of ‘special guardianship’ should be confined to the role it was originally intended, which was to be more the exception than the rule as a route to permanence
No! No! No! No! No! Special Guardianship should be used far far more widely than it is now as it does not result in the person being severed legally from their own heritage – at least until the laws around adoption change to allow the adoptee to annul or otherwise overturn their own adoption in order to regain their rightful place back within their own family.
9. Short term foster carer role to be professionalised
Adoption is only as good as the short term foster care that the child has received.
The status of foster carers should be raised to that of ‘barefoot therapists’ who are dignified with the role of primary agents of change for children.
In order to achieve this they need to be treated as colleagues, trained to a professional level, and supported through the emotional tsunami that will inevitably follow if they endeavour to truly engage psychologically and emotionally with the children in their care.
Without such engagement, the child’s early traumas can become fossilised in their mind and in their bodies. This makes the prospective adoptive parents’ ‘job’ far harder and longer as they endeavour to form a more secure attachment relationship with the child. Foster carers need the emotional and psychological support to go with the child, at the earliest opportunity, to the dark and dirty places that the child has just left, whilst the child’s fears and memories remain vivid and plastic.
ALL Foster Care roles should be professionalised, not just short-term!
Foster Caring should be considered a full-time job, and Foster Carers should receive adequate training in order to deal with the children they are looking after.
Further, this question demonstrates yet again the incongruity between being an adoptee, and the perceptions held by the industry involved in their creation. Adoption also ‘fossilises’ within the adoptee, leading to a variety of seemingly maladaptive symptoms (which are very normal coping mechanisms), and these need to be understood by the professionals involved in the creation of adoption loss.
10. Extension and enhancement of social work training
Training for social workers in general to be on a par with that of psychologists in terms of duration, to ensure that for career grade social workers, they are equipped with the knowledge base and skills to carry out the highly complex task of assessing children and families.
Absolutely the training of Social Workers needs extending and enhancing, and not only because current wisdom is contributing to the inherently harmful practices already in place within adoption.
11. Attachment theory and understanding of developmental trauma to underpin social work practice in adoption and fostering
Social work training needs to come out of the closet of political correctness, social policy and politics and focus on assessing and meeting the holistic needs of children, adults and the elderly in a way that is based on neurological, psychological, physiological and developmental research and theory. Attachment theory and the science of interpersonal relationships need to be at the heart of all areas of social work practice. For those social workers working in the field of adoption and fostering, there should be a specialist module on the effect of developmental trauma on child development and recovery.
Yes, however attachment theory as it is currently understood is deeply flawed as it does not reflect the true traumas faced by adoptees growing up within the closed adoption system. Again, this is all part of the paradigm change that needs to occur in order to return “child protection” back to protecting children rather than traumatising them further.
12. Neuro-scientific evidence-base to inform decisions on children’s welfare
Because of inadequate training and limited staff resources, children are remaining in neglectful and traumatising birth family environments for too long. The double-bind for social workers is that they are criticised for either being ‘pathologically optimistic’ (about a parent’s capacity to improve their parenting style) or ‘child-stealers’, in the public view.
The resolution of this double-bind is for social workers to be fully conversant with the latest neuro-scientific research and theory and its implications for child development, so that their assessment and decision-making can be more evidence based and robust during the child’s early formative years. We need social workers to get out of the stocks of tabloid prejudice and into a more respected role of safe-guarders of children’s welfare.
Absolutely Social Workers need to be fully conversant with the latest neuro-scientific research available as this would all-but eliminate the current horrific practice of snatching babies from their mother’s breast when there is no immediate threat to the health or safety of the newly born baby.
13. Multi-disciplinary adoption services
Adoption services becoming multi-disciplinary as part of integrated health and children’s service provision, and that the multi-disciplinary team takes case responsibility from the moment that adoption as a care-plan is agreed.
Of course, expanding a business is only possible with integration, and so of course a company dealing in the procurement and distribution of children would want to expand into other areas in order to be able to earn more funding.
14. Birth family contact with looked after children to be re-defined as a responsibility
Contact pre permanent placement and post permanent placement should be seen more as a responsibility of the birth relative towards the child rather than as the exercising of a human right. Too often in the court domain, contacts between birth relatives and looked after children are seen as a negotiation, as a right, as continuity for the child.
We need to see contact in the light of what we know about the impact of trauma on childhood development and attachment behaviour. The questions regarding contact that need to be asked are
i Can the birth parent behave responsibly and conduct contact in a way that is in the ‘best interests of the child’ as defined by the developmental and therapeutic needs of that child?
ii Does the contact help the child to feel good about themselves, to absolve them of responsibility for what has happened in the past, and reassure them that it is OK to feel safe and form attachments to current carers?
iii What is the purpose of the contact? Does the decision-making process about contact take on board the fact that the child will be having contact with someone who has caused them ‘significant harm’ whilst remaining a significant figure to them?
iv What support and facilitation and reassurance will be offered to the child in order for them to feel safe, in order for them to make sense of what is happening, in order for them not to be re-traumatised?
The language used within this ‘wish’ epitomises the disparity between the child procurement industry and the experiences of those children that industry has trafficked.
Contact is a human right – it is continuity essential for healthy personality development. To deny a child contact with their own genealogical kin is yet another method of punishing the child for the sins (real or imagined) of the parents.
The question conspicuous by its absence from this list is “how harmful to the person is removal from all genealogical reflection?” Removing contact will not remove the abuser as a “significant figure”, but removing contact may exacerbate any trauma already caused on a grand scale.
15. Automatic joint or collective placement of siblings to be challenged
Conventional practice and our natural instincts are to endeavour to keep sibling groups together in permanent placement. Indeed this consideration is enshrined in children’s legislation.
This presumption needs to be questioned for two reasons.
i Firstly, is it possible for foster carers or adoptive parents to deliver the intensity and quality of developmental re-parenting that each individual child needs to recover from the ‘significant harm’ they have experienced in their birth family (and sometimes within the care system), when siblings with
similar needs are placed together?
ii Have sibling attachment relationships been so distorted and pathologised by living in an adverse domestic environment that their ‘trauma bond’ will only perpetuate past patterns in their new family, leaving foster carers and adopters managing the matrix rather than parenting the child?
We need to change custom and practice from a presumption that siblings should be kept together at all costs to prioritising the potential for children to form a secure attachment to adoptive parents which may require them to be parented as ‘onlys’ rather than siblings.
There is a vast difference between siblings being raised apart from each other, but still in frequent and regular contact, and the legal and physical severing inflicted upon families by the closed-adoption system. Having to try to build a relationship with a sibling who didn’t even know you existed for over three decades is exceedingly traumatic, difficult, and unnecessary. Siblings may fare better raised in separate households, but that should not negate the relationship they already have with each other. Further, being parented as an ‘only’ when part of a sibling group is additional trauma inflicted upon the child, forcing the child deeper into a world of fantasy and deceit, rather than acceptance for who they are.
16. Longer placement transitions
Commonly, regardless of the age of the child, placement transitions are made over a two to three week period. For older children (4+) this time frame is too short. Children from the care system who have often lost their trust in adults to care for them and protect them approach a change of placement with fear and trepidation.
They have ‘internal working models’ (personal schema) of parents which are based on a template of their biological parent(s)’ parenting of them.
We need therefore to revise our time-scales for introductions and make them age appropriate and developmentally attuned. This may force us to change our expectations of foster carers and adopters during this complex and emotionally charged process. In recognition of this, higher levels of professional involvement both to support participants and to mentor them into the new and uncharted territory of adoptive parenthood will be necessary.
Yes! However, as previously described, the ‘educating’ that occurs necessarily requires a significant revolution to bring the incongruous picture painted by the child traffickers in line with the realities of the people who suffer this for the ENTIRETY of their life.
17. Health screening/Paediatric monitoring of all looked after children
For children who may have been conceived in a foetal environment contaminated by drugs, alcohol, cortisol (as a result of intense maternal stress) and are then born into a neglectful and traumatising environment, the developmental and ill health sequalae are short, medium and long-term. We would advocate more rigorous paediatric monitoring of all looked after children. This should continue for adopted children post-adoption, as some of the implications and manifestations of developmental trauma on the health of the child are sometimes subtle and problems that children grow into and not out of. Family Futures’ paediatrician’s research on the children screened through our service reflects this* (available on request).
Absolutely – and this deeply necessary help should also extend into adulthood, as it is not until adulthood that many adoptees find the language necessary to be able to describe their truths.
Being adopted brings a whole slew of problems to the person that are not encountered by the rest of society. Predominant in these are the archetypes of ‘second-best’ or ‘inferior product’, but it has been widely acknowledged (Lifton, Brodzinsky, Verrier, etc.) that the sociological impact of adoption upon the adoptee is tremendous. Unfortunately, these problems are currently either abstruse to the majority of the industry traffickers, ignored by them, and in many cases scorned by them.
18. Assessment of adopted children’s need for ‘catch up’ educational provision
Every adopted child of school age should be assessed for appropriate supplementary and complementary educational provision. This will enable them to catch up developmentally and achieve their full potential in mainstream school.
19. Attachment theory and the damaging effects of developmental trauma on the capacity to learn to be integral to all teacher training programmes
It would be advantageous for all children at all ages and stages that their teachers had a good working knowledge of attachment theory, child development and the effect of relational trauma on the capacity to learn, delivered through their primary teacher training.
The child’s capacity and potential to learn takes place in a social and emotional context which needs to be understood by teachers in a holistic way if we are genuinely to be ‘inclusive’ in our approach to education. Though this is of specific relevance to children in the care system or those who have been adopted, there are many children living in the community whose lives are on the threshold of state intervention whom such understanding would benefit.
Yes, however as already discussed, the Government is obligated to revise the ‘education’ being delivered to professionals to incorporate knowledge of the traumas faced by adoptees.
20. Dedicated support for birth parents
Birth parents should have dedicated workers as part of the multi-disciplinary adoption team who continue to work with them to help them resolve their deep sense of loss, their own early personal traumas, and facilitate meaningful contact with their children who are adopted or in the care system.
Unfortunately, Narey’s rush to maximise adoptions fails to take into account that adoptees represent “disproportionately large referral rates” to mental health services.
“Although adopted children raised by non-biological relatives account for only 1 to 2% of the population of children in the United States (Zill, 1985), mental health clinics report disproportionately large referral rates for this group of individuals.” (Smith & Brodzinsky, 1994) [ ]
In another instance, Narey gives an example of “where the separation of siblings is probably wise”. Unfortunately for the children involved within the example, Narey appears oblivious to the idea that whilst it may not always be in the siblings’ “best interests” to remain living in the same physical space, that in no way negates the fact that contact should NOT be lost on a permanent basis.
Yes, regulations and guidance should be strengthened so that contact arrangements are purposeful and reflect the needs of the child, but children need the genealogical reflection provided by their biological relatives in order to fully assimilate their own inherent personality and identity.
“For the adoptee every day is a challenge of trying to figure out how to be, although he probably doesn’t understand the difficulty this presents for him. It has been true his whole life and, therefore, feels normal. However, it takes a great deal of energy and concentration. And it never feels quite right. He never quite fits. Therefore he feels as if he is never quite right.” (Verrier, pg. 50) [ ]
Continue reading Part #3.