Sunday, March 04, 2007
A Book for your Consideration
David Kirschner, psychologist and long time adoption activist, has released a new book, ADOPTION: UNCHARTED WATERS.
I have not yet read it, but cannot wait to! It looks very exciting.
While many object to the term "adopted child syndrome" as pathologizing adoptees, Kirschner seems to very correctly point out the ways in which adoptees are all too often put into a pathological situation because of closed adoptions, secrets, lies and half truths...in other words living a crazy-making life.
"Adoption," says Kirschner, "does not necessarily give rise to psychopathology; however, it must be considered a risk factor-perhaps a precipitating one-in some families who are dysfunctional in terms of key adoption issues and parent-child interactions." Dysfunction caused by lack of proper counseling, lack of having dealt with the loss of fertility, and the amount to which there is a pretense that adoption is 'the same as if" the child were born into the family, ignoring the reality of the child's first family and his loss thereof.
"The atmosphere within an adoptive family often discourages curiosity about adoption, thereby leading the child to conclude that something painful and bad-something pertaining to his or her own character-is being kept secret."
Of course not all adoptive homes fall into this category, but a good many do to one degree or another. And too, all children are born with their own unique capabilities to cope better or worse with their environmental stimuli. We are all of us - adopted or not - products of BOTH nature and nurture; heredity and environment. Clearly living in a family system based on lies and secrets has been documented to cause and/or exacerbate many emotional problems. That is why there is ACOA for children who grow up in alcoholic families, where more often the not the alcoholism - or at least the extent to which it causes familial problems - is understated, ignored or denied totally. This is referred to as living with an elephant in the middle of the room that no one talks about.
In all too many families formed by adoption, this is the case. Either it is talked about inappropriately [chosen child] too little, or not at all. In some homes it is only brought up in anger ["I ought to send you back where you came from" or "you're not my real parents, anyhow"] because it is brewing just beneath the surface.
It is important for the public to understand the dynamics and pitfalls of adoption and this book appears to one that could make great strides in that direction.