Adopted in the UK

The life of a UK adoptee

Posts Tagged ‘Martin Narey

Lost Daughters: Baby Veronica: What Adoption Does to Adopted Persons from a Legal Perspective

with 7 comments

Lost Daughters: Baby Veronica: What Adoption Does to Adopted Persons from a Legal Perspective.

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.

Written by 7rin

Sat, 26 October, 2013 at 7:22 am

My heart’s desire

with one comment

In the thread from which https://twitter.com/martinnarey/statuses/375024235753639936 descends, there’s the usual bunch of us complaining that Sir @martinnarey isn’t listening to us and doesn’t want to help any of us get anywhere ’cause we don’t fit into his “helpable” category of #adoption stuff. The linked post is the first time he’s commented directly to me to do anything other than answer ‘easy’ stat’s/yes/no stuff since my 7rin respecting Narey? post, a point upon which my protestations have been based on.

I’m guessing from his response that Sir @martinnarey hasn’t been reading too many of the links I’ve been posting with his @ name attached. Then again, he may’ve just been confused by me pointing out that I actually wasn’t fighting for face-to-face time with him, unlike so many of the others within the thread. My fight is not personally for me, and so doesn’t need to be conducted behind closed doors in order to protect identities or ongoing cases nor any such things, which is why while I understand his request to take this to email, I’d actually rather not because I need *MY* comments open to others in order to make sure I’m not missing any fundamental points out from my reasonings during my arguments.

Thus, this post is answering what it is I’m hoping that Sir @martinnarey may be able to help current and future adoptees with.

For those who’re unaware of the extent of my ‘relationship’ with Sir @martinnarey, https://adoptedintheuk.wordpress.com/tag/martin-narey/ will give you a brief run-down. I don’t dislike the guy, and think that actually yeah, his heart is (generally) “in the right place”. However, I do think he is deeply misguided in his belief that the impact of adoption loss on adoptees is “minimal”. There is a massive collection of voices out in the adoptee blogosphere explaining quite how much simply the act of getting adopted hurts in ways that the unadopted usually fail to comprehend, and even those like Michael Gove who’re Adoption Poster Children(tm) demonstrate quite how much pain even the “happy” adoptees get. Adoptee socialisation is insidious, and unrecognised as trauma by far far far too many.

I summarised the two small changes that *I’m* wanting to be made to adoption practice in the UK (heck, in the whole world, actually) in https://adoptedintheuk.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/stop-trashing-adoption/ but for Sir @martinnarey and anyone else who might not’ve read the post, I’ll quote it here:

I’ll stop trashing adoption when just two very very simple things happen.

1. I’ll stop trashing adoption when http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38120 has been passed into law, thus giving the ADOPTEE the right to make THEIR OWN choice.

2. I’ll stop trashing adoption when https://adoptedintheuk.wordpress.com/tag/post-adoption-support/ is available to ALL ADOPTEES from professionals fully conversant with the devastating impact that the process of adoption can have upon the psyche of the adoptee.

That’s it.

Nothing more.

However, back in the 7rin respecting Narey? post, Sir @martinnarey conceded that despite his position as the incumbent UK Government’s Adoption Advisor (and not an Adoption Tsar as suggested by some press :p), he:

can’t help you with your wish to change the law so that an adult can annul adoption.

What I don’t understand, and what I’d like Sir @martinnarey to explain to me (and anyone else willing to read his words) why it is the UK Government’s Adoption Advisor *can’t* help with such a thing?

Of course, personally I believe that such moves should come with a whole other bunch of changes in legislation about how getting names added on/taken off BIRTH certificates, but that’s a whole ‘nother bunch of posts on their own.

I’ll also keep fighting until adoptee get access to specialised adoptee-comprehending psych mental health support from people who understand the true depth of issues that adoptees grow up experiencing. While I know budgets are being cut left, right, and centre, and that even juvenile adoptees are going short on the help needed, if you’re (generic Governmental Minister/Advisor etc.) going to be creating more of us faster – at least give us all the tools to be able to deal with it.

What I’d really really REALLY like from Sir Martin Narey is the support to get these two significant but minor changes through, even if only eventually (I know legislation can take years of pushing), but I don’t think I’m gonna get it. What I’d at least appreciate is an answer to the points I’ve raised in this post, taking into account the stuff said in the 7rin respecting Narey? post. Such an answer doesn’t need to be on here, it can be one his wonderfully crafted over at SlideShare or anything like that. My only requests are that such an answer is both publicly available, and a continuation not ending of discussion.

This post also being added to http://theadoptionsocial.com/weekly-adoption-shout-out/weekly-adoption-shout-out-waso-week-33/

Written by 7rin

Sun, 8 September, 2013 at 1:07 am

{7 of 30} Neglecting Narey

with 8 comments

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.

Written by 7rin

Wed, 14 November, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Martin Narey is wrong. #justsaying

with 3 comments

Martin Narey is entirely wrong in his belief that…

… and that …

So very very wrong.

Socialisation is what makes being adopted so hard. The socialisation adoptees get IS different, whether it’s politically correct to admit it or not.

Read Verrier and Lifton and Kirschner and Brodzinsky and learn that it’s actually far far harder than you currently believe. No matter how much you want it to be, it’s not “better”, it’s just different.

I have other post in progress, but just wanted to point ^that bit out.

Written by 7rin

Sat, 10 November, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Narey on Adoption

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Martin Narey answers some parents… but not the adoptees.


 

Embedded above, rewritten below by me (so any typos’re likely to be mine, and I apologise in advanced if I got any wrong – all corrections’ll be followable by any thread :p); originally pimped out on Twitter by Mr. Narey himself.

{quote}

This is an open letter to some people who use Twitter to challenge my views about adoption. Some of those people have written or e mailed me and have received replies (albeit often necessarily brief replies). Others have preferred to stay anonymous and that’s fine. Some who tweet and blog have been abusive. I don’t much like that but I understand it because I believe it reflects an anger and sometimes a helplessness about their individual cases. I would, I am sure, feel the same way were our positions reversed.

I have never denied the reality that sometimes children are taken into care unnecessarily. It would be silly to believe otherwise when we have a workforce that is fallible. But I believe, and all I have read and seen supports this, that we have a far greater number of cases where we leave children at home when they should be removed. My interest is in children who are neglected (I know that children are taken into care for other reasons). I believe that, as a society, we tolerate neglect for too long. We do not, as many people believe, have record numbers of children in care. At the end of the eighties the care population was half as big again as it is now. And that was at a time when there were at least three times as many adoptions.

So I believe the case for care, for intervening earlier to stop neglect and then sourcing a new permanence for a neglected child is overwhelming and of course I shall continue to argue for that.

Incidentally, I do not – as many tweeters suggest – profit in any way from adoptions. And Barnardo’s, which I ran for six years never, in all that time, made any profit or surplus from the very small number of adoptions they dealt with. Nor do I have any power to intervene in cases. So I cannon, even if I wished, help to achieve the return of anyone’s child.

My role is simply to offer a view to Ministers about adoptions. That view is based on my experience at Barnardo’s and, since my resignation, many, many days spent visiting local authorities, voluntary adoption agencies and speaking to adopters and the adopted as well as children in care and charities which support families struggling to keep their children. Some people call me the Adoption Czar, evoking an image of a large salary and a retinue of staff. Those things, like the Adoption Czar title, are inventions of the press. I have no staff and last year my total earnings from the Department for Education were about £40,000.

So what advice can I offer those who feel their children have been wrongly removed? It is this. Fight your case of course. But do not seek to do so by attacking adoption in general. Whatever the circumstances of your case it is demonstrably true that thousands and thousands of adoptions are successful. The number which breakdown are much lower than commonly believed (new research from the University of Bristol is likely to confirm this) and there are thousands of adult adoptees willing to speak positively about their experience. I am very close personally to four such adoptees and have met hundreds of others.

Nevertheless, I believe (and say frequently) that adoption 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.

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 addictions) and if good quality kinship carers cannot be found, to find an alternative stability through adoption. Those who might advise that the way to seek resolution of your own cases is by seeking to undermine adoption are – at best – misguided. Instead I offer this advice sincerely, concentrate on demonstrating that the authorities have made grave mistakes in _your_ case

Kind regards

Martin Narey

{/quote}

Written by 7rin

Tue, 9 October, 2012 at 1:36 am

7rin respecting Narey?

with 5 comments

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
> adopted.

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.

Example 1.

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.

Example 2.

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.

Example 3.

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.

Information taken from: http://www.mind.org.uk/help/rights_and_legislation/nearest_relatives_under_the_mental_health_act_1983

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
> in.

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
7rin

Written by 7rin

Thu, 4 October, 2012 at 4:44 pm

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