Adoption Issues | Adoption in the United States
“Adoption is not about finding children for families, it’s about finding families for children”, says Joyce Maguire Pavao, founder of the Adoption Resource Canter in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Adoption is a process that our society developed so that children can grow in a loving environment. Every child has a right to grow in healthy surroundings. Adoption is a legal procedure that makes the birth child of one man and woman into the legal child of other adults. It is a process involving three parties, the birthparents, the adoptee and the adoptive parents. Thus it manifests its effects on all three.
Major issues triggered by adoption are loss, rejection, guilt and grief. Effects of international adoption include the outbreak of malpractices such as child trafficking and sale of children. Apart from these there is lack of intimacy in the new relationship.
There is a feeling of loss of control. Identity crisis can trouble the adoptee. Many of the issues intrinsic to the adoption experience come together when the adoptee reaches adolescence. At this time there is an acute awareness of being adopted. There is a drive toward liberation accompanied by the determination to develop one’s own identity. Adoption is a life stressor affecting the overall personality of an individual and has a major impact on the rest of his or her life.
Loss triggered by adoption is the loss of ones identity, one’s separation from his or her birth family. For the birthparents, it’s the loss of their child. A feeling of rejection worsens the feeling of loss. Adoptive parents feel rejected to be parents. Both adoptive parents and birthparents experience role confusion. The sense of rejection leads to a feeling of shame. The grief over not having children suffocates the adoptive parents, as they are encouraged to adopt. Grief is obvious in the parents who lose their child to adoption. Feelings of confused identity lead to identity crisis. Relationship is deficient of intimacy. Neither the natural parents of the child nor the child feels in control of the situation or the process of adoption. Effects of adoption can be categorized into three classes, as there are three classes of individuals affected by the process of adoption.
Effects of Adoption on the Adoptee
Attention deficit disorders, eating disorder, alcohol abuse can be seen in some adoptees. There is a tendency to seek for alternative lifestyles. Worse of all is the tendency to commit suicide that prevails in an adoptee. Statistics says that adopted children are represented with learning disabilities and organic brain syndrome. Adopted children are shown to be vulnerable. Adopted children know they were not involved in the decision of adoption and thus realize that they had no control over loss of their birth family and the choice of the adoptive family. It is observed that adoptees at their teen age never feel close to anyone. Some long for their birthmother. Adopted children feel insecure because they are questioned about their identity. They lose an identity and then borrow one from the adopting family. Birthparents being parents are not parents whereas adoptive parents suddenly become their parents. This is when identity crisis is born. Separation from his or her biological parents affects the adoptee on a profound level.
Effects of adoption on the Adoptive parents
Adoptive parents have been made to face the bitter truth of infertility, a failed pregnancy or the death of their child, after which they take to adopting. The adoptive parents have a sense of dejection and defeat instilled into their minds. An adoptee, who is constantly questioning, creates feelings of rejection in the adoptive parents. They become sensitive about his or her slightest of actions that in some way show rejection. They complain of not experiencing an intimacy from their adopted child. The grief of the adoptive parents continues as the child grows up since the adoptee can never fully meet the expectations of the adoptive parents. Adoptive parents feel that they were never meant to be parents. They tend to worry that the child might know of adoption and at times are struck by depression with the thought of them not being the real parents of their child. The intricacies of the adoption process lead to feelings of helplessness in adoptive parents. Sometimes they become overprotective about the child. Alternatively some feel they were entitled to be parents thus turning careless about parenting.
Effects of adoption on the Birthparents
There is a genetical connection between a child and his or her birthparents. Adoption leads to its loss. Subsequently, they lose contact with their child and suffer from a loss of their role. Birthparents frequently hate themselves for being irresponsible, as does society. Adoptive parents create stories for the adoptee about his or her birth family. This makes the birth parents feel abandoned. It is heartbreaking to learn that birthmothers have an intensive monologue with the fetus during pregnancy. It is seen that birthmothers feel pressurized and surrender their babies to adoption against their will. They have anger at their prolific body, anger at their helplessness. They are angry with the families adopting their children. They are anxious about the welfare of their children. The most difficult thing that birthparents have to do is to live a lie for the rest of their lives.