Tuesday, May 27, 2008

20th Anniversary of My Son's Death Plus....

Yesterday, Memorial day, May 26th was the 20th anniversary of my son, Michael's fatal accident. As I do every year since finding my son I called his adoptive parents; they are such wonderful people. We had a nice conversation but didn't speak specifically about Michael this time for they are very concerned about my husband Bob. (On December 18, 2007 my husband was diagnosed with a very rare and often fatal blood disease called Amyloidosis.) So we spoke mostly about the disease and what options we have for his treatment.

I feel ever since finding my son deceased there's been a black cloud following me wherever I go. Bob's condition is not improving and we may have to relocate to get him into a clinical trial.

God help us!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A reason to celebrate adoption? I don't think so, here's why....

Did you ever hear someone say, "Isn't it wonderful, so-in-so just adopted a baby," or did you ever get one of the cards in the mail announcing a new edition to someone's family showing a newly adopted infant? I've had both happen to me and truthfully, it makes me cringe.

I want to know, when someone says it's wonderful that so-in-so has adopted a baby, wonderful for whom? Wonderful for the adopters maybe but that's about all who are benefitting from the adoption of a new born infant. Adoption is NEVER a reason for celebration. If you don't agree, lets break it down.

(Side note: this examination of the separation of mother and child does not include cases where the child is orphaned however, orphaned infants in the United States are rare. In most cases, if the mother is deceased, the child still has the mothers extended family as next of kin, but, the effect is the same; however, an orphaned child needs a home, opposed to a child whose mother is still alive and/or to a child who has an extended biological family. Also, this particular blog is examining the effects of adoption on the child; the effects it has on the mother will be discussed in future blog entries.)

When a new born infant is adopted, it means that it has been separated from its mother. Any time an infant loses its mother it's a sad state of affairs. The gestation period for a human is nine months; from the moment of conception to the time of birth, and normally after birth, the mother and child are forming a bond. By the time a child is born it knows the sound of its mother's voice, her smell, even the exact pattern of her heart beat. Tests prove that an infant as young as a day old can recognize its mother when she enters a room. (This is proven by the baby's heart rate; if it cries and its mother comes the heart rate returns to normal, if the mother does not come the baby's heart rate increases as the baby becomes more upset because its mother is not answering his/her call.)

So when a child leaves the safe cocoon of its mother's womb it needs the comfort of someone familiar, i.e., its mother. The only person this child really knows is its mother. Therefore, the child suffers an emotional wound when its mother never comes to dry its tears. It suffers because it has already bonded with its mother and not even the most loving, well meaning, attentive adoptive mothers can give this child what it needs emotionally. In time the child will adjust but a baby who suffers from the initial loss of its mother will carry that emotional scar for the rest of its life.

Do you still think it's a happy day when a couple adopts a new born infant? How can a child suffering from the loss of its mother be something to celebrate? If one is celebrating, they are celebrating for the adoptive parents, which I find selfish and appalling. The child's needs should always come first!

Further research shows that most adoptee's suffer from a long list of adjustment problems along with lack of trust, not feeling like they belong, they have trouble in relationships....the list goes on and on. Yes, you can argue that many people who are not adopted suffer from the same self-esteem issues, however, adoptee's are greatly over represented in psychotherapy. According to 1985 statistics used by Parenting Resources of Santa Ana, California, although adoptee's at that time comprised 2-3% of the population of this country, they represented 30-40% of the individuals found in residential treatment centers, juvenile hall and special schools. They show a higher incidence of juvenile delinquency, sexual promiscuity, running away from home, difficulty in school both academically and socially than their non-adopted peers. Again I pose the question...is this something to celebrate?

What's that you say...what about children born to alcoholic mothers or mothers who are habitual drugs users, or those who are abusing these babies? Isn't it better if they are removed from the care of that mother and placed in a loving home? Yes, in the long run it is better to remove an infant, or any child, from an abusive mother but still...is that a reason to celebrate? Are you celebrating the fact that this poor child has been born to a woman who is unfit to care for it? The bottom line is it doesn't matter to the child if the mother is unfit, the child STILL SUFFERS the loss of its mother. An infant can't use logic and reason to pacify itself. All it knows is "my mother is gone." Therefore even in cases where it's best to separate mother and child there's no reason to celebrate because an infant has lost its mother and it will suffer the consequences.

You ask what about these poor abandoned children in China? I say these children are abandoned only because the Chinese government has made it illegal for any family living in a city, or within a certain boundary of a city, to have more than one child. So when someone adopts a child from China, we are enabling the government to keep such an inhuman law in force. In addition, Chinese society has the ingrained notion that boys are more valuable then girls. So if a young couple wants to have a child, many times they will abandon their baby girl in hopes of having a boy the next time. I have a very strong feeling that this is something the male, and/or father, pushes the woman to do. I know for a fact that giving a child away is the hardest thing for a woman to do and if not for the pressure of her husband or family she would, in most cases, not give up her daughter. If we did not adopt these children the government would have to change its law and that's what almost happened until someone within their government got the bright idea to open its doors to Americans' who want to adopt. However, these children still suffer from the loss of their mother. And do you think just because the mothers are forced by law, and/or pressured by husbands or family, to give their female children away that she forgets them? No way. And although the vast majority of children being adopted from China are females, a couple must, by law, give up their second child even if it's a male.
So my point, in cases of Chinese adoptions, is that we are enabling their government to keep doing this to their citizens. The child still suffers and the mother (and I suppose the fathers as well) suffers the life long effects of losing a child. I don't know how anyone can justify this barbaric practice. Most expert opinions predicted the Chinese government would have been forced repealed the law of only one child per family if not for the huge numbers of Americans' that help the out Chinese government every year by eliminating the growing number of children that they once were responsible for. Because they have admitted to not knowing how they would have cared for these children before we started to help them out. So, again, in my opinion, no reason for celebration.

However there are children in war torn countries who are truly orphaned, these children need loving homes, but again, the fact they lost their mothers, their entire families is not a reason to celebrate. I find it very sad whenever I look into the eyes of a child, so young, that has lost so much. Furthermore, what about the thousand's of children in this country who are being kicked around in foster care? Why not adopt these children? Too often I hear couple's who want to adopt say they want to give a home to an unwanted child....the children in foster care, for the most part, are truly unwanted children. Nine times out of ten a new born infant is wanted. The mother may feel she does not have the means and/or the support to raise her child, therefore, she chooses adoption, which doesn't mean the child is unwanted, for she would certainly keep her child if she thought she could.

And how is it really good for a child to be the second choice in a couples life? How many couples, who can have their own children decide to adopt? Yes, I'm sure there are some but out of all the couples looking to adopt a baby how many of them chose adoption as their first choice? How many have forsaken having one of their own to adopt? In most cases a couple decides to adopt a baby when they have exhausted themselves trying to have one of their own.

So if any of the adoption celebrators out there can give me a reason, other than fulfilling the needs of an infertile couple, beside the joy felt by the couple adopting, to celebrate adoption, I'd
like to hear it. I'd like to hear how a baby benefits from losing its mother. I'd like to know how one could feel it's a happy occasion when a baby loses its biological roots...tell me, what are you all celebrating? Shouldn't we be putting the needs of the baby first?
I don't get it...I really don't understand what most people are thinking.......
Until next time......