Nearly every time I talk to an adoptive parent, I become saddened, disgusted, angry or each in turn. It recently happened again.
The parent in question is the mother of a pre-teen boy who was adopted in early toddlerhood – at least a year before the ability to remember past events develops. Research has established that no matter the intensity of an event occurring before thirty-six months on average and very rarely before twenty-four months, a child will not have recall of it. When “memories” of infancy and early toddlerhood are subjected to verification, they seldom pass the test.
The parents of this young fellow have been told by their assigned adoption specialists that adopted children retain subconscious memory of their “real” parents, separation from whom induced trauma, even if the separation occurred early on. Mind you, those claims cannot be proven. According to said specialists, the trauma in question requires that adoptive parents never say or do certain things lest a subconscious traumatic memory surface and begin wreaking havoc on the child’s psyche. Examples of said “memory outbreaks” include just about any dumb, antisocial, self-destructive thing human children are prone to doing whether adopted or not.
A tantrum, for example, is not simply an expression of a child’s natural self-centeredness, requiring a firm disciplinary response. It is an expression of the adopted child’s ongoing grieving, requiring that his parents cuddle and rock him to help him fill in the emotional gaps in his earlier childhood. I did not make that up. It is precisely what adoption specialists told the above mother. Another specialist told a mother that her five-month-old adoptee knew, from Mom’s heartbeat, that Mom wasn’t really Mom. That borders on criminal. Sadly, it is not a one-off.
I have long concluded that adoption specialists primarily specialize in infecting adoptive parents with “adoption bogeymen.” They claim, for example, that nearly every adopted child has “reactive attachment disorder,” one of the most ill-defined of all ill-defined psychiatric diagnoses. The diagnosis, as bogus as it may be from a scientific perspective, allows adoption specialists to point to just about anything and say, “See! Reactive attachment disorder!” In that fashion, they infect adoptive parents with anxiety and self-doubt, and a self-fulfilling prophecy is invoked.
It is a fact that the more anxious a parent, the more the child will begin acting in ways that affirm the parent’s anxiety. Around and around this dynamic begins to spin, the result being a parent who is increasingly beset by worry and sinking ever-further into self-doubt, and a child who is increasingly the subject of much anxiety and confusion.
When I said to the mother in question, “The adoptive bogeymen that you have let into your head are paralyzing your ability to discipline effectively,” she responded with, “That is precisely correct!”
Adoption is a compassion. There is nothing inherently risky about it. The risk seems to be the consequence of getting involved with certain adoption specialists.
Family psychologist John Rosemond: johnrosemond.com, parentguru.com.