Adopted in the UK

The life of a UK adoptee

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{7 of 30} Neglecting Narey

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In both his “open letter ” on Twitter, and in the Community Care Live report (both fed from SlideShare), Martin Narey extolls the virtues of adoption. Whilst repeatedly cautioning that adoption is only right for a small minority of children, there is a persistent reiteration of a specific concern regarding the swift removal and adoption of children experiencing (or likely to experience) neglect. Nor is such concern unfounded, as Nancy Verrier confirms in her book, The Primal Wound (1993; p.102):

Abandonment and neglect are reported to be the two most devastating experiences that children endure – even more devastating then sexual or physical abuse. That’s why some neglected children do naughty things to get attention. Even though the attention is hurtful – being yelled at, hit, or otherwise harmed – it is better than neglect.

However, while seemingly validating Narey’s concerns for the neglected, Verrier’s inclusion of “abandonment” as the other most devastating experience does throw a proverbial spanner in the works when considering adoption as a ‘rescue package’. This is more especially emphasised in consideration of the closed-adoption scenario that Narey seems to favour strongly (as evidenced by his ostensible fervour for separating siblings in order to facilitate faster adoptions). I argue that in his quest to salve disrupted childhoods through adoption, Narey is himself neglecting those he is seeking to empower through his apparent refusal to accept the implications that abandonment contributes to the formation of the psyche of those he desires to protect.

Verrier elucidates further:

Anything is better than abandonment. Abandonment is a child’s greatest fear. For adoptees, it is also reality, embedded in their implicit and unintegrated memory.

Narey is engaging in a cause based upon a false premise through his failure to acknowledge the combined devastation that both neglect and abandonment inflicts upon the child supposedly saved. This research is not new either, having long been catalogued as issues faced by adoptees of all eras.

I can personally attest to the flaws in Narey’s arguments because I am the example of whom he keeps speaking. I was about to be removed or neglect, but was “lucky enough” to be adopted, and so spent no time bouncing around the foster system. I got the dream adoption; going from poor, uncoping welfare teen mom who had no clue if Dad’d be of any help, to a modest life, raised by a stable couple with healthy outlooks, boundaries and bonds.

When my adopters met with my mom to have a look at me and decide whether they wanted to take me home with them, I was a mere 7 months old. My adoption decree was issued 6 months later, and so I was 13 months old at the time of finalisation – thus fitting neatly into Narey’s stated preference for removing children sooner rather than later from reportedly neglectful situations.

Unlike contemporary adopters, there were scant resources available to guide the adopters of the early 70s, and so my adopters, like many others, were thrust into parenting a hurt child with no clear education upon the implications of the incredible loss being experienced by that child. Like far fewer others, my adopters were clearly cut out for parenting, and strived to raise me with all the love and the care and the attention that all children deserve.

According to Martin Narey, love and permanence are what counts.

I had the love. I had the permanence. I had adopters that lavished security upon me, and an entire afam. that had no problems absorbing the stranger that was me. If love and permanence are what counts, then why have I spent the vast part of my life in desperate need of intervention therapy? From the precocious child letting people do what they want because “(e)ven though the attention is hurtful … it is better than neglect“, to the educated adult who has realised that being adopted has driven all aspects of my personality from long before I realised it was happening. If love and permanence are what counts, why have I spent almost a decade fighting to be able to get some adoptee-specific counselling because being adopted HAS affected me nad the whole of my life this badly?

It’s not just me either – being adopted has also affected so very very very many others this badly, too. So why, when even adopters are admitting that love is not enough, is our Government’s Adoption Advisor still pretending that the very real trauma of adoption loss only exists at inconsequential measures?

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

The answer, as I’ve explained many times, is socialisation.

The socialisation surrounding adoption has its own quirks, foibles, and contradictions. Adoptees are expected to believe both that they’re special and chosen, and that if you love someone enough, you’ll give them away and leave them. All this while finding themselves repeatedly the butt of jokes, along with very real feelings of abandonment and other psychological abberances. The non-adopted are similarly given stories of the adopted, the out-cast, the weird one – and were such stories not based upon commonly-shared ‘truths’, then lines like “he’s adopted” in The Avengers would not have provoked the very real outburst of laughter that followed.

The accepted language surrounding adoption is, in very real terms, funded by the Adoption Industry. It’s the same reason BAAF, PACT, After Adoption and so many other UK agencies partaking in the child trafficking business silence the dissenting adoptees on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Unless the product shouts “hallelujah for adoption” then the stories are not wanted, after all, they don’t want us scaring off the paying customers (potential adopters). It is also echoed in the language used by agencies in their clamour to emphasise the wonders of adoption – for example, the National Council for Adoption offers the following:

Infant adoption also often offers many positive benefits to children. Children who are adopted are less likely than their non-adopted peers to have divorced parents and are more likely to be raised by parents with college degrees. They score higher than others in the general population on many indicators of wellbeing, including school performance, friendships, volunteerism, optimism, self-esteem, social competency, and feelings of support from others. They are also less likely to exhibit high-risk behaviors such as alcohol use, depression, vandalism, fighting, theft, weapon use, and driving/riding while drinking.

Indeed, with the NCfA suggesting such favourable outcomes, one wonders why it is not compulsory for ALL parents to relinquish their children in order for them to be adopted by “better” parents – yet the positivity behind these demonstrations directly contrasts the research offered by authors like Brodzinsky and Kirschner.

Adoptees are also given conflicting reports as to who their ‘real’ family consists of. Many avow that our real families are those that have adopted us, and with whom we have a tangible shared history, while others swear that those who are blood related are our real families. All this despite the remonstrations of many educated adult adoptees that ALL of our families are real.

Finally, Narey says “the sense of loss often minimal, particularly if neglectful birth parents not romanticised

I call shenanigans.

The report obtained from Staffordshire Adoption Services in 2009, ~4 months before I hit reunion, is a pretty accurate summary of the details I was told of my own adoption story growing up – in a similar language. The report is descriptive rather than emotional, and so was the language I grew up hearing about adoption. I wasn’t told about growing in hearts, but was instead taught biology and learned the practicalities; I was given the facts. I wasn’t told that I was especially chosen, but I was told that I was wanted, and loved, and cared about – which left me wondering who why was I unwanted and who had unloved me, and pondering whether I’d ever really been cared about.

Were my adoption problems – as has often been suggested – an exceptionally rare case, then my out-cryings against adoption would need not be so vociferous as they are. However, my issues stemming from and relating to adoption are not in the least exceptional – far from it. I am for once, demonstrably normal.

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Written by 7rin

Wed, 14 November, 2012 at 6:28 pm

{6 of 30} Works in progress

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Yesterday I failed again to manage to churn out a single entry to reach the daily quota of one whole blog post – not because I have nothing to write/say, but because I have too much to write/say. Indeed, one of the biggest problems I experience during almost all of my discussions about my desire to annihilate adoption like adoption annihilates us is not lack of subject matter, but too great and disparate subject matterS, all intertwined under the seemingly simple notion that is adoption.

Thus, this – my second catch-up post in less than a week – will be my effort at untangling some of myriad issues involved. Hopefully, this may also help me get to grips better with writings in the future. On the other hand, because there IS so much overlap within the subject, such delineation may simply confuse the issue more, resulting in my writings becoming even more stifled than they already are, simply because it is so difficult not to stray across subject boundaries.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It’s several hours later, and I’ve given up on trying to write this from scratch. Instead I’m pointing you at the Changing Paradigms .docx file that I created for the presentation I gave at the Birmingham Child Stealing by the State Conference back in June.

Unfortunately, this lack of being able to write coherently is one of the many side-effects I’m suffering from CAUSED BY the closed-adoption system within which I grew up. It is, I strongly suspect, one of the relics of the untreated P.T.S.D. that I (and many other adoptees) am experiencing. It’s also the biggest reason that – contrary to all my hopes and dreams – I have yet again failed to make it through university. After all, being able to write coherently is a major part of successfully attaining a Sociology degree, thus despite the massive wealth of knowledge on the subject that I KNOW I possess, being unable to translate that knowledge into coherent form in essays and the like, I would be wasting yet another year’s Student Loan by going.

Written by 7rin

Wed, 7 November, 2012 at 11:35 pm

{5 of 30} Why adoption?

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So, it’s now officially National Adoption Week in the UK.

@twitter is already plastered with posts “celebrating” #adoption, and calling for more to be subjected to the legalised post-natal identity abortion that is adoption. I don’t do television (often), but I have absolutely no doubt that it’s also plastered with articles on how wunnerful adoption is, and how much adoption saves lives. Radio and the newspapers probably are too, but again, they’re not something I do.

I have a question though that no-one seems to want to answer: Why adoption? Why is adoption seen as “the solution” to the problems faced by kids with parents who can’t, or don’t want to parent?

Adoption is a legal procedure that legally annihilates someone’s identity, and replaces it with a fake identity, an assumed identity, a pretend identity. Yet this falseness is supposed to the answer to the issues of kids who’ve already lost enough – why?

Taking just one example from Twitter, ‏@KnowsleyCouncil has posted saying that “573 children in the NW are waiting for their ‘forever family’” – yet no-one seems to be asking one of the most important questions – why do these children think that being adopted equates to being in a family forever? Why is no-one suggesting that these children are taken in and raised in love and with care WITHOUT having to forgo THEIR OWN identity? Why are so many advocating for these children to lose yet more from their lives, simply to be afforded the love and care that all children should be able to depend on?

During my presentation at the Birmingham Child Stealing by the State conference in June, I pointed out that adoption is nothing more than punishing the child for the sins (real or imagined) of the parents. After all, it is not the parents who have their identity legally and IRREVOCABLY torn from them, but the kids who have already been taken from those parents. Why?

Why is adoption seen as the solution? It’s not something I’ve had any answers to yet.

Written by 7rin

Mon, 5 November, 2012 at 12:35 pm

{4 of 30} Guilt, Fear & Paranoia

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I got kinda side-tracked in my last post about the stuff I was actually aiming to address. While I wanted to cover the aspect of not being able to get help, it was really intended to be far more of a personal post about my own coping – or, more specifically, my own lack of coping – with dealing with living life as a post-reunion adoptee. So this post, my post that should’ve been today’s only post but isn’t ’cause I’m something of a failure at even managing to write something daily for a week, let alone a month, is going to be my attempt to cover some of my more personal experiences of living post-reunion.

Some of the guilt part is probably the easiest bit to understand – especially given that so many adoptees are berated for even contemplating accessing THEIR OWN birth records, let alone entering reunion (e.g. the comment Pip refers to in this Y!A question). I get it both ways though; I feel guilty because I don’t go ‘n’ see amom anywhere near often enough, but that’s because I feel guilty when I do go ‘n’ see her too. It’s not because I’ve needed to hide the fact I’m in reunion or anything like that from her, but because of how weird it feels now that I am in reunion. Now that I know who I’m from, and so am slowly starting to learn who I am because I’m being able to unravel the nature/nurture parts, I’m feeling like crap because – like the bad adoptee I am – I’m not grateful enough. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful that I got the afam. that I did get, but that’s because they’re a lovely bunch of caring, wonderful people – not because I’m adopted.

I also feel guilty because I know my amom loves me like a mom should love her kid, and I know that when I go down to see her, it hurts her to see that I’m hurting – and I am hurting, so very very badly, which is part of why I’m striving to fight so hard to be able to get some adoptee-specific psych-therapy into my life. Yet the biggest proportion of the hurt has hit since getting into reunion, because no matter how prepared anyone is for reunion, it’s just about the biggest mindfuck on the planet short of being abandoned in the first place. I feel guilty because if I hadn’t hit reunion, I might be outwardly less hurt, and so she wouldn’t see it so much, and so wouldn’t hurt for me so much, when she’s already got enough crap in her own life without what’s going on in my life adding to it.

So I avoid going to see her so she doesn’t have to see me this hurt, which hurts her because I don’t go, which adds on to my not being able to go because then I feel worse because I haven’t gone. I know the answer to it is to go see her more, but then she gets hurt because she sees how much I hurt no matter how much I try to hide it. Welcome to vicious circle number one.

On a similar theme of vicious circle guilt is how I feel for not going to see the bfam’s. With them, it’s less that I’m worried they’ll see how much I hurt, as I’m not sure they can necessarily read me quite as well as amom can – after all, despite all the genetic similarities, we’ve only known each other barely over three years, and those three years haven’t exactly been filled with weekly, nor even monthly visits. It’s part and parcel of the same kind of thing though, only with this side it’s more that I’m scared (hence the fear part of the title) I’m gonna put my foot in it and say something one of ’em won’t particularly like all that much, and bam, there goes my reunion. So I don’t go because I’m not convinced I’m always gonna be able to keep my big trap shut if we get on to the subject – yet all we’re doing is skating around the subject, walking on eggshells because we don’t know how the other’s gonna react. Of course, doing the walking on eggshells, I have absolutely no clue if they also feel lie they’re walking on eggshells because we don’t really broach the subject all that deeply. I’d really really like to because there’s so very much I want to be able to say, but is there really any point in saying any of it anyway? After all, they all already know I’m not exactly over-joyed at being abandoned to adoption, but at the same time, I’m also not sure that they have a clue how much I love them *just because* they actually are MY family. Heck, even the stroppy little sis. who’s decided she doesn’t even want to acknowledge my existence is loved, because she is MY little sis, and that’s what you do – you love your family. Ok, you may not always like your family, and your family may contain utter arseholes, but they’re still YOUR family, and so get loved just because of that fact.

This family stuff’s also part of the paranoia part – especially the bit where I perpetually feel left out, yet have too much fear of saying anything about it just in case I nark them too much and again, bang will go the reunion. I do though. Not on the maternal side. I fit in with that bunch of reprobates without a problem at all. We’re all as fecked up as one another, and all have such similar personalities that it really was just like going home when I met them. The paternal side though, that’s all kinds of weirdness abound. More so when everyone seems to interact so happily together, and I’m left sitting on the side-lines, wondering how I fit in, where I fit, if I even CAN fit in anywhere. They all seem so close, and are always all over each others’ Facebooks and seeming to be going to this party, or that wedding, or even just saying “happy birthday” to each other on FB. All except me. The one who wasn’t there with them growing up, so they think they don’t know me, so they leave me out because they’re just not used to including me, so then I just end up feeling even more left out than usual because I don’t KNOW how to interject myself into their lives without being something they ain’t gonna wanna know. I just sit on the sidelines watching as they talk to each other, and feel like I’m intruding every time I do finally get the balls up to say anything to any of them, and so wind up slinking away again with my tail decidedly and firmly between my legs. And it does hurt, enough that I’ve gotta stop typing now ’cause I’m having trouble seeing through the tears that’re once again falling, because all I wanna do is see them and know them and have them know me, and know how to interact with them, but I don’t. I grew up an only child, in a house of three, and I have no idea how to be around them, because I have no idea who they really are, because I don’t know how to get in to get to know them, because I feel so wrong among them.

Vicious circles for the lose.

Yay for siblings. The one who don’t wanna know me aside, I can – at least sorta – talk to them without too much fear.

Written by 7rin

Mon, 5 November, 2012 at 12:17 am

{3 of 30} Wasting Away

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Less than a week in, and already I’m a fail – it’s the 4th already, yet I’m only on the third post.

One of the main issues I’ve covered in this blog in the past (in general, not just this month) is my battle to get some form of adoptee-appropriate therapy (see the post-adoption support tag for some examples). Indeed, one of the biggest criticisms I’ve got against adoption as it stands for UK adoptees today is that, aside from the irrevocability of it all, while there’s this insane drive to create more of us, it seems as if nothing is being done to help those of us that have already been created. It’s not even compulsory for any of the authorities to provide adoptee-specific counselling once an adoptee hits 18, yet it is not until far into adulthood that many adoptees even realise that some (many, often) of the issues they’re dealing with are related to the impact that adoption has upon the psyche.

Quoting Nancy Verrier’s essay:

The coping mechanisms the adoptee believed would keep him safe while growing up are not very helpful in adult relationships. They are just that: coping skills, not true personality. Each adoptee is a unique individual, yet those coping skills are quite predictable. Gradually replacing coping skills with the true self should be a goal.

However, all the self-help books in the world can not help the adult who wants to be able to claw back some semblance of humanity over coping skills if that adult can not see which of their behaviours are true personality, and which are simply coping mechanisms borne of the devastating loss of ones own genealogical everything. This is why adult adoptees are at least as in need of trained, adoptee-specific psychological assistance as those adoptees who have not yet reached that magical cut-off point of 18 years of age, yet we get nothing.

We get nothing, and are expected to be grateful for our loss.

This fails to make sense, especially considering that had we stayed with our genealogical progenitors and been abused by them (’cause all adoptees’d be abused if they stayed with their b’rents, doncha know :p), then we would have no problem accessing appropriate psychological interventions as adults – as my own brother has demonstrated by his repeated ease of obtaining counselling. Yet adoptees can not undertake just any old counselling. The adoptee requires adoptee-specialists who don’t come out with idiotic and DANGEROUS questions such as “but aren’t you grateful?” like I got asked by the Chase Wellbeing counsellor that was the last person I got access to (back in ~May 2010). Yet this specialist help is not available – or, at least, not available without paying extortionate charges. Yet still the government continues to create more of us – with tomorrow being the first day of National Adoption Week 2012 (which I refuse point-blank to link to, since they refuse to print anything this “Adoption Champion” has written (it’s true, I am, I have the pack ‘n’ get e-mailed each year)).

This is cruel and abusive treatment, surely?

Written by 7rin

Sun, 4 November, 2012 at 4:32 pm

{2 of 30} Is this really the place for negative comments?

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I got asked this last night.

Well, I say *I* got asked it; what I really mean is that those very few of us who were in there fighting against the tide of …

We are in the final stages of adopting … can’t wait till he has our name and he is forever mine

… and …

I tell people that he may not have been conceived BY my husband and I but he was conceived FOR us…no doubt!

… got asked it when we started doing things like spelling out the actual truths of the issues.

In particular, one of the comments incensed those of us in there who actually understand the very real horrors of what it means to be adopted:

I have a 19mn old girl. She came into my world at 2wks. I have been fighting for her since. There is a threat of her leaving to a family member she has meet 1 time just last month. Please pray for her to stay with her known family. And i can have the joy to adopt

So we called her on it. We pointed out that to fight to keep a kid OUT of, and separated from, her OWN genealogical kin is nothing short of child abuse.

Indeed, far from showing how wunnerful adoption is, this woman’s post actually highlights the utter depravity that adopters indulge in to get “kids to call our own“. It demonstrates, along with the comment of …

one minute thinking your dream if having a family will happen and the next realizing that a family member may get the chance to raise the beautiful children

… that adoption STILL is not about doing what’s best for the kids, but doing what’s best for the wannabe-adopters.

So then we got asked the question of the title, and told that we should be leaving it for positive stories. As is my wont, I replied at length, asking questions such as…

1. Please tell me how https://www.facebook.com/notes/justice-for-grayson/rachels-statement-to-sheriffs-dept-for-kidnapping-report/127354994081660 can EVER be seen as in any way positive? And look at the date, this isn’t ancient history, but LAST MONTH!

2. Please explain how an INDUSTRY making $$$millions, as highlighted in http://www.divinecaroline.com/34/39676-national-council-adoption-mothers-money can be seen positively?

I also pointed out that if they actually TRULY loved the kids they’re raising (or hoping to be able to buy to raise), then they would want to read and understand the truths of what we’re telling them, so that – unlike my own adopters (who are (were, adad died over a decade ago) utterly wonderful people whom I love very much) – they can have a clue how to deal with the issues that those growing up adopted face and have to deal with on a daily basis FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

After all, surely if you love the kid you’re raising – whether that be ’cause you created your own, or adopted, or fostered, or have step-kids, or are kinship carers – then you want as much information as humanly possible available to you in order to do the best job you can?

So yes, any thread where people are wittering on about how wunnerful adoption is IS the place for negative comments, because really, they’re not “negative” comments, but “honest” comments, sharing the truths of the issues that NEED to be dealt with so that the kid being raised can be helped as much as possible to grow up as healthy as possible.

Written by 7rin

Fri, 2 November, 2012 at 1:25 pm

{1 of 30} I understand…

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“I understand how you feel.”

“I understand what it’s like”

“I know what you’re going through.”

I realise that when people say this to others, or about others, that they’re generally trying to be helpful, and to convey acceptance and comprehension of the issues at hand. However, unless you’ve lived through the same things that the person being discussed has lived through, then no matter how close you may be to another person who HAS lived through the same occurrence (in this instance, adoption, but it could be anything, from being raped, to growing up cis-male), then actually no, you don’t know. You may empathise, and you may recognise some of the myriad issues on an intellectual basis, but you can never know how it feels to live it.



I was hoping that this, my very first NaAdAweMo post ever, would be considerably longer than it’s turned out to be. It hasn’t needed to be any longer though, as the concept’s pretty simple; you don’t know unless you’ve lived it.

This NaBloPoMo was brought to you by the letters J and C, and the number 3.

Written by 7rin

Thu, 1 November, 2012 at 7:46 pm

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