Good article on myths of adopted children

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I posted this because I've always felt this way. Yeah, if your child is adopted out of foster care and alcohol affected or the child came to you at four instead of infancy...that's problematic. But infant adoptees do just as well as non-adoptees. Also, TV is very biased against adoption. I used to watch soaps and quit because so many kids suddenly popped up to find their "real" parents after years of being adopted and not one of them was happy in their adoptive home and they all longed for their "real" parents. Kendall of AMC is a big one--she dumped her adoptive family for Erika Kane. Adoptees are perceived as damaged and sad almost all the time on television. I digress, here is the article and I agree with it. That does NOT mean I don't think adoption makes an impact on children, just that it's not a "disability." Thoughts?

    How Happy Are Adopted Children?

    Myths and media bias

    Successful Adoptions: A Well-Kept Secret?

    These positive findings seem to contradict those of some older studies on adoption, which indicated that adopted people had a higher rate of problems than nonadopted people. Why the discrepancy? Here's the primary reason.
    Older studies on adoption (and even a few newer ones) almost invariably lumped together kids who were adopted as infants with kids who lived in troubled situations (sometimes for years) before they were adopted. These included kids who were abused, for example, or kids who were shuffled from foster home to foster home until they were finally adopted when they were 10 or 11 years old or older.
    Children who were adopted as foster children are usually children with heavy emotional baggage. They are very different from kids who are adopted as infants! But too many researchers group all adopted children or adults together.
    Another problem is that many other older studies contain subtle biases against adoptive parents or adopted children and adults. For example, in 1960, psychiatrist Marshall Schecter conducted a study that has been misunderstand and is still, unfortunately, cited frequently. In a population of 120 child mental patients, Dr. Schecter noted that 16 had been adopted, or 13 percent. This 13 percent statistic was mistakenly interpreted by some researchers to mean that 13 percent of all adopted people are mentally ill, an error Dr. Schecter himself tried to correct.
    Another complicating factor in the Schecter study and others is that researchers didn't differentiate between problems that children had that may have been related to adoption versus problems related to nonadoption issues.
    Some of the adoptive parents in the Schecter study were given bad advice that contributed to (if not caused) problems the children were experiencing; for example, a pediatrician told one family adopting a 14-month-old child to force toilet training immediately. (Most experts today don't push potty training at such a young age.) It's not surprising the child had trouble with potty training and with adjustment into her family. Had she been born to the family and had they pursued potty training with the same zealotry, it's likely she would have also experienced problems.
    What I'm trying to say here is that many of the myths surrounding adoption—that adopted children do not thrive or that all adopted families are unhappy—can be traced back to flawed research or unfounded generalizations. Adoption isn't perfect. But millions of Americans have used adoption to create happy, successful, and loving families.
    Media Bias

    Some suggest that another reason adopted children may get a bad rap is because the media has a bias against adoption. In 1988, Dr. George Gerbner, a researcher at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, found evidence of negative bias against adopted children in many movies and TV shows. He found that these programs often portrayed adopted kids as “problem children”—drug addicts, victims, and so on. Unfortunately, many people get their ideas about adoption from such shows. Do you really think that life is like a soap opera? If you do, then maybe you have been married eight times, have suffered amnesia or a multiple personality disorder, have had dozens of affairs, and have forgotten the co-creators of your biological children. If you're like most of the rest of us, this does not describe you.
    Adoption Alert

    You've just watched A New Day Dawning, your favorite soap, and Felicity Ferule has suddenly changed her mind—she wants her adopted son back! (He was placed with the Halfmain family six years ago.)
    Can that happen in real life? No way! Most states have a time period during which a birthparent can challenge an adoption; depending on the state, that time period can be hours, days, or even months. But after an adoption is finalized, it can only very rarely be overturned.

    The news media has also been guilty of showing a bias against adopted people in its news reports of actual events. For example, if an adopted person commits a crime, the adoptive status is often accentuated. (In one case, a reporter wrote that an adopted man had committed a crime because he had been torn from his “roots” as a baby. This was news to the criminal. He stated frankly that he thought it was because he'd been high on crack cocaine and alcohol. Silly him.)
    The fact is that most adopted people are not more criminally inclined, nor more violent, than nonadopted people. When we're talking about several million people who were adopted, from those who are infants to those who are elderly, it's impossible to generalize. Some are very talented or brilliant, some are less capable. Most are within the normal range, just like most nonadopted people of the world.
    The media also tends to pounce on adoption horror stories. Sensation sells. For example, you may have heard or read stories about adoptions that went wrong because of some horrific dispute. These stories are newsworthy because they are unusual. Most adoptions go through without a hitch and would be considered very unnewsworthy by media.
    That's not to say that the scary media stories about unusual situations can't be helpful if they teach everyone involved one key lesson: It's important to be careful in adopting, and if something that you are involved in (or are thinking about becoming involved in) doesn't seem quite right, you should ask questions. Lead with your heart, but don't throw your brain out of the equation.
    Very few challenges are made to most of the thousands of infant adoptions that take place in the United States each year, particularly after the babies are placed with adoptive families.
    Lasted edited by : Dec 11, 2008
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I wish this were true but unfortunately it is not what I have experienced. The review of this study was very superficial.

  3. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    MWM, when difficult child 2 told a classmate in 4th grade that he was adopted he was shocked when she took two steps back and said "oh! I'm so sorry!". Before that moment it hadn't occurred to him that there was anything "wrong" with being adopted. Now where do you think she got that from? From listening to family, friends and the media. Adoption horror stories make for good press.

    We all have had to overcome grief and loss, it's part of life. I, for one, wish my parents had adopted me out. I realized at an early age that I was in the way of my parents' partying lifestyle. My mother used to whip me with a cat o' nine tails (perfectly legal in France at the time) and demanded complete submission. I couldn't fantasize about some perfect biomom out there who would have treated me with love because she was right there, abusing me. Biomom has cost me THOUSANDS of dollars in therapy and slandered me to every one she knew. You'd better believe that, had I been adopted by her, people would not have been so ready to believe her lies.
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    MWM, I'm with you. I, too, believe that most infant adoptees are actually happy and live very fruitful lives as adults. Those adopted out of foster care have more problems and their "success" is not measured in the same terms as the child who goes on to college, etc. but there are successes.

    What does need to be factored in is genetics. Whether adopted as an infant or later, there are more genetic risks for the adopted child. Most bio parents know their genetic makeup and compensate for it. Some even decide not to have children because of the dangers to any children they might have. Those who choose to give up their children for adoption or are forced to do so, frequently have mental health issues they hide. This obviously puts the child at much higher risk to be deemed unsuccessful and unhappy. I am surprised that this article doesn't address that issue.

    As to the media and especially soap operas, no comment. They are what they are and I pity the fool who thinks there is any reality in them.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Great stuff! Thank you.

    by the way, the "official" percentage of legally disrupted adoptions in the U.S. is 1 percent.

    Judging by our media (newspapers and Hollywood trash) you'd think it was 99 percent. What a horrid disservice.
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Over the past 20 years, I have spoken with countless medical professionals "off the record."
    The have ALL told me, that they have more adopted patients (adopted as infants and otherwise) with mental health issues proportionately than not. In addition, one told me that some of these cases seem to be more severe than typical. I know several teachers of severeally emotionally handicapped children, and they also feel that the numbers are disproproportional. This doesn't mean that both groups have not seen perfectly healthy adopted's just that the numbers seem "off to them." When I was writing, I asked a few of these people if they would let me quote them about what they have observed and they all said "no way."

    Like Meobunny said, perhaps some families decide to "compensate" for family difficulties by thinking there could be a gentic link and deciding to either not have children or to limit the number of children they have. With adoption, this is often not the case. In fact, SOMETIMES birthmothers have multiple children and sometimes birthfathers also have difficulties. If both mom and dad are difficult children, the chances that the child will be a difficult child are very high and so the cycle repeats...

    It might not be a bad idea for the media to feature positive adoption stories so that children don't get a bad rap needlessly. However, I do think social workers and those in the medical field should be open and honest.

    by the way, the main reason I'm in graduate school is to be a therapist for families of difficult children or gravely ill children. I think few really understand the full impact.
    Lasted edited by : Dec 11, 2008
  7. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    My maternal family was filled with disfunction, my mother had undiagnosed Borderline (BPD), husband's family had cases of major depression and possible BiPolar (BP). I'm really glad we were unable to reproduce and REALLY grateful that a 20 y.o. difficult child biomom gave us the opportunity to experience the agony and the ecstacy of raising our two difficult children. This has been a rocky road and has shaken every assumption I once had about parenting. I wouldn't be the tough cookie I am today if it were not for the fact that two difficult children met, made love and created these lives.
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    "One review of the literature on adoption disruption suggests that this is a reflection of the concentration in the pre-1970 research on placements of very young, nonhandicapped, white children. Of such adoptions, only 1.9% disrupted.14 More recently, with the emphasis on placement of children with special needs (as discussed below), higher rates of disruption are reported, ranging widely from 3% to 53% depending on the group being studied and the calculating techniques being used.14,15 "Current estimates indicate that approximately 10% to 13% of all adoptive placements disrupt."16 Placements of older children and children with records of more previous placements and longer stays in the foster system are more likely to disrupt."14

    While there are many many successful adoptions it does no one any good to hide the fact that a very disproportionate percentage of adopted children are in the mental health facilities, jail facilities, foster care systems, etc. We love our difficult child with all our heart and cannot imagine loving her any more if she were our biological child. That said, I wish I had known some of the problems we would be facing.

    I can only go by my experience and the many many people I have networked with over the years who have adopted. Our stories are not the exception.

    Irregardless, adoptions will go on as they have in the past. There is no shortage of parents for infant adoptions in this country, which is the type of adoption that the story refers to. There are a lot of flaws in that study and it is only recently that any attention has been given to infant adoptions.

    It's also important to understand that an adoption disruption is different than an adoption dissolution. A disruption occurs before the adoption is legalized where a dissolution occurs after the adoption is legalized. AND most adoptive parents do not dissolve their adoption, they go through years and years of seaking help through unresponsive agencies, unexperienced therapists, and unsympathetic community members. In the end they stick it out after they have exhausted their savings and compromised the health of themselves and other members in the family. Noone hears about them. They don't make the studies. If disruption is the standard by which we judge successful adoptions, that is very misleading.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I have been closely related to 3 adoption for years from several different perspectives.

    All three were adopted as infants.

    Infant #1 is the happy ever after story. A 30-something easy child in every right.

    Infant #2 is middle aged, hates his birth parents (tho never found them), has all sorts of problems, and spent most of his teen years living with someone other than his parents. He would have been sent to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) had he NOT been adopted. Major difficult child.

    Infant #3 is in his mid-20's. The adoption was disrupted when he was 11 and he was sent back to his birth mother. He has since made amends with his adopted family and includes them all in his family tree, but it is certainly not a happy ever after tale. Another easy child.

    Thru these adoptees, I have learned of an organization for birth parents. I'm sure difficult child birth parents don't join it, but it is an interesting group, largely made of people who went on to be successful.

    I'm not arguing one side of this coin or the other, but I think, along with a lot of other things, perceptions of how "perfect" it can be are skewed for a number of reasons, both related to and not related to being adopted. And I don't think that is info that is shared when new parents bring home that bundle of joy.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  10. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I'm kind of on the fence about studies like these. On the one hand, it does make sense that there could be issues with adopted foster kids. These kids were removed from their birth families for usually not so good reasons so it would make sense that the possibility for problems would be there. NOT that the reasons are the children's fault but just that sometimes people, even without mental illness, are going to have problems dealing with or getting beyond past abuses. But then again, there are people out there who had awful childhoods until put into the system and adopted, and turned out very well adjusted. And people that should have been in the system and weren't but still turned out well.

    The same could be said for bio children though. How many of us know (or have) kids that have been raised in loving, safe homes and still behave in ways that are different than how they were taught. I guess it kind of relates to the whole nature/nurture debate. It can really go either way in all types of situations. I think some of it depends on the individual and his/her outlook and attitude is on their life and situation.

    On a personal note....I have wondered over the years if things would have been different with difficult child had we gotten him at an earlier age. Yes, partly because he wouldn't have gone through some of the things he went through but also partly for another reason. He was 9 when he came to live with us and, looking back, wasn't the most stable kid at the time. I have never felt that we really bonded and I can't help but wonder if that made a difference for either of us. For his part I wonder if that just added to his "I don't care" attitude and for my part, hard as it is to admit thinking this, I wonder if I would have been more ferocious in demanding help for him. Logically, I know we've done so much for him but I still doubt myself at times.

    Sigh. I don't know. This subject has so many factors and some only apply here while others only apply there. I don't think there is one hard and fast rule of what can or does happen in these situations.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Interesting article, isn't it? This is what I tend to agree with, from what I've seen (taking into considertion that a good portion of birth children are also big problems).
    Children who are adopted at birth from physically and mentally healthy birthmothers who took good prenatal care of themselves are probably doing fine. I knew several adopted kids growing up and none of them were any worse than the rest of However, the trend now is to keep the baby, even when born to a teenager. Therefore, the infants available for adoption tend to come from very unstable teens who may NOT have taken such good care of themselves. Maybe they drank and smoked and didn't tell us. Lots of them have mental health issues themselves, which, of course, are hereditary. It is now the norm, not the exception, that an adopted child is special needs (or from special needs birthparents). My youngest daughter, who I worry about so much (because I'm a nervous ninny) is my best adjusted child, even though I have a birthchild. My most intelligent child came at age six and it was too late for him. Although he didn't get into trouble and overcompensated for feeling like a nobody (and his culture says that if you have no "name" you are a nobody)--he never really attached to us. He was bright enough to articulate that he felt detached from everybody. We don't see him now. It's sad, but, when you think about it, this does make some sense. We didn't have him for his formative years and nobody nurtured him. He grew up in an orphanage. Before he got overly religious and married The Woman from Hell (my nickname for, he had told me many times "You didn't mold me. I wasn't here for my formative years."
    My Korean daughter came at age five months and her foster mother had carried her on her back and spoiled her. She had problems (she was my druggie), but I truly think it she was sensitive and insecure by nature. She'd always been that way. Plus her dad and I divorced when she was ten and that made a huge impact on her. She is very bonded to both of us, and is doing well as a young who knows. My Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son is doing super. We got him at two. I think he lucked out--his first foster family was wonderful so he got a lot of love and nurturing. However, he has Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) His birthmother took drugs and he was born with crack in his system.
    All in all, I think adoptees have changed. In the 1950's if you were mentally and physically healthy and got pregnant, you went to your "aunt" for a while then came back after the baby had been relinquished. It wasn't even up for discussion. You did not keep the baby. Nowadays only the least stable parents give their children up for adoption...or else unstable parents have their parental rights terminated. The result is more unstable adopted kids.
    I do also think many therapists tend to hear "adopted" and almost react like a soap opera character. "She has a problem and she's adopted? Aha! Has to be the reason why!" And I think sometimes they get fixated on that issue.
    Anyway, just my .02 worth of garbage ;)
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member


    I've personally, closely, known three adoptees from the time they were adopted. The first one was my best friend's adopted little brother. He was 6 when adopted from an orphanage. He and his brother had been left there/taken from birth mother because the birth mother was unfit. I believe drugs and alcohol were involved. The boy was damaged but wanted so much to belong.

    The adoptive family were loving, caring and well-off. They (in my opinion) spent a lot of money on the boy, I think it was too much too easily and with hindsight should have been handled better. They sent him to the best school they could (a local military school) but he just couldn't hack it. With hindsight, they really should have had ongoing counselling and supervision from a therapist to help the boy transition. I understand the adoption was dissolved (at least unofficially) when the boy ran away in his teens. I haven't seen him since he was about 14, haven't heard OF him since he was about 30 (and had a criminal record, was shacked up with an old classmate of mine and had her pregnant).
    Outcome - not good, despite apparently positive beginnings and (at the time) the best placement. The adoption was probably due to genetic/environmental factors which predisposed the failure of the adoption; needed more services not available in those days. I believe he has tried to find his birth brother. When a young child he told me he wanted to find his natural family but I knew (he didn't) that they were dead, apart form his brother.

    Adoption 2 - my sister's first adopted child. A son, adopted at 10 months and believed to be (in the vernacular of the day"mentally retarded" because at 10 months he still wasn't responding, still wasn't sitting up and his mother was also "retarded".
    Within a week of arriving, and my sister working with him to stimulate him, it became clear than he had been simply left to lie on the floor with no toys and no interaction. A week after arrival he was sitting alone with good balance and was beginning to crawl. He walked at 13 months and form there seemed to develop well. In fact, he cottoned on to the "Santa" clause, as we call it, before his older brother but agreed to keep it all going so as not to upset the others.
    However, he DID have learning problems (severely dyslexic and we wonder if he also had Asperger's). His adoptive father was a total ratbag and was horrible to the boy. Despite my sister's best interventions school didn't give him any support for the dyslexia. The only reason we knew about it was because I was a trainee teacher and recognised the signs in his schoolwork, when he was 6.
    He ran away from home at about 14, was on drugs and undoubtedly prostituting himself to pay for it as well as break and enter. He accumulated more and more criminal charges, did serious time in jail and finally at about 40, has started going straight. He has had numerous children by numerous women (a serial father) and the eldest is definitely very bright, but also dyslexic. Not as bad as his father. The little boy is also being assessed for Asperger's. My nephew is now following up on his other children to have them assessed.
    Outcome - bad for a couple of decades, probable genetic reason for problems also connected with higher likelihood of adoption. Has not shown any interest in contacting his birth family (a pity, at least as far as birth grandmother is concerned; she was his sole carer as an infant, only gave him up reluctantly).

    Adoption 3 - my eldest sister again, adopted a girl at 7 months old. The little girl had been very ill in hospital numerous times with malnutrition. Her birth family fought the adoption despite being charged with neglect. The baby would never take a warm bottle, and wouldn't be held while having a bottle; would only take it while lying in her cot. Very sad. She was a problem growing up in that she CRAVED attention to the extent of sabotaging others. Her younger sister (my sister's natural child) would step back and let the adoptive one have the attention she wanted. Both girls became child care workers, the younger one's insight now has her running her own centre. The adoptive girl has been very troubled at times but stayed on the straight. Got pregnant young, now has about five kids but is a VERY good mother and is still close to her family. Has expressed curiosity about her natural family but is scared of failure/rejection. Interestingly, her youngest child was admitted to hospital with all the signs of malnutrition and it took my sister (the baby's grandmother) to intervene and convince authorities that there must be a physical cause. They eventually found a hereditary digestion disorder and now believe that this is why my niece was "in hospital for malnutrition" so much as a baby. Because her natural family were already "on the books" as being charged as neglectful, the adoption did eventually go through but it took several years. we now think an injustice was probably done; although my memory of that little girl refusing to take a warm bottle, or refusing to be held, makes me very sad. But you can't take a baby from its mother just because the mother chooses to feed the baby by putting her in a cot and grabbing a bottle of formula from the fridge and tossing it into the cot.
    Outcome: success, but still problems probably indicative of hereditary digestion disorder, but a lot of emotional fallout perhaps as a result of very early disruption.

    My sister was told (and I was being taught, in my teaching classes) that it's all down to nurture. The old ideas that a kid can be born to be bad and nothing can change that, was being thrown out. I used to read avidly, including the Dr Spock books my sister bought. I remember Dr Spock in that vintage loudly claiming that there was only one form of hereditary mental illness (Huntingdon's Disease). At that time, Bipolar (or as it was called then, Manic Depression) and Schizophrenia were both included in the category of mental illness. But back then, they were considered entirely environmental.

    The people more likely to put a child up for adoption (apart from teen mothers) were often people who themselves had problems, often from their own genetic makeup or something in their make-up that predisposed them to problems that meant they were less likely to cope with a small baby. SO the question then becomes - how would THIS child have fared if tey stayed with their natural parents, compared to how they fared with their adoptive family?

    Instead of being critical of adoptions gone wrong, or with a less than glowing success, you need to consider how well the child would have gone if the adoption hadn't happened. And looking at this - with my friend's brother - he had a happier childhood away from the orphanage and I think a better outcome. My nephew, I think he would have been much worse off with his birth mother. My niece - it's hard to say. If her natural family WERE looking after her, then maybe she would have been equally well off or even better off, with her natural family.
    With my niece and nephew you also need to consider that the family they went into was NOT a happy one. Their adoptive father was eventually divorced by my sister but he had succeeded in doing a lot of damage by then. My sister had three natural kids; the youngest is definitely a easy child. The eldest - a easy child who has since had a total breakdown, at least partly due to the stress of growing up the eldest in a dysfunctional family plus having been 'set up' by his very dysfunctional father with some black and white views and bigoted opinions which have directly led to his downfall. Their natural brother is a gentle difficult child, showing some physical and emotional damage from his environment and also his make-up.

    The picture is much more complex than is often credited. I do feel that adopted children do need to be handled more carefully, thoughtfully. But they also have every bit as much of a chance as they always had. Or should have. However, purely because of the circumstances that led to them being put up for adoption in the first place, they were already potential difficult children to start with. So frankly, ANY improvement from there is a bonus.

  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hey, Marg!!! Missed you yesterday :)
    I don't treat my adopted kids different from my first son and my biological son has as many issues as the other I think it comes down to genetics--oldest son inherited all my
    You described three adoptions that were special needs adoptions and I think that's become the norm. You can't make an older child attach to you the way an infant does. If you're lucky the child will grow to love you--it doesn't always happen that they CAN attach--but it's not the instant love you have when you hold a baby in your arms. It's a complicated person, who has already lost some of his childhood and has never been nurtured, being told he is now in a family.
    I don't think sending older adopted kids to the "best" schools is wise. Most have learning issues due to their past AND probably their birthparent's issues. When a child is adopted at an older age, I always recommend a complete non-biased evaluation to see what you have and how you can help.
    There are very few healthy infant adoptions from health birthparents in the United States anymore. My youngest would come the closest because I don't know about my Korean daughter's birthparents. My youngest daughter has a very sweet, competent birthmother who did not ever abuse drugs or alcohol--she was impulsive and got pregnant twice (ADHD?). Her son, N's half bro, was on Ritalin last I heard. N's birthfather is a drug addict who did jail time. So she doesn't have the greatest genes either, however on her paternal side MOST of the family is productive and healthy. N. does not seem to be mentally ill and is so far easy to raise. The problems I have with her are in my own I'm a very nervous, overly concerned mother so I worry. I treat her the same way I treated my biological son. Same with my daughter from Korea and my son from Hong Kong. L., my autistic son, is the only one I treat differently due to his disability. Most of the time I don't even think "oh, she's adopted!" Most of the time, I think, "They're the sunshine of my life! They're mine!" So far my son from Hong Kong, who came at six, is doing well, but has detached from us (I don't really think he ever bonded). Everyone knows about my Korean She is just a lovely young adult, but every gray hair on my head I always tell her she gave me when she was a teen. But she turned out really well! N. and L. are on the right track too. As for biological son, he's doing well, but he has A LOT of psychiatric problems he deals with every day and he's not as stable as I am!!!
    I personally tell people to adopt the youngest child you can if you want a strong attachment. We just lucked out at L. grew so attached to us even though he didn't come to us until he was two. I think I have to thank his foster parents who nurtured him like he was one of their own. He was able to attach easily and well.
    I rambled long enough. Don't ever go "missing" again, even for a day. You are one of my favorite people :)
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Sorry to scare you, MWM. I was just very busy yesterday/last night as well as very tired.

    Good point about the special needs adoptions. I fully agree about the "best" schools - I think the boy was confused enough with the drastic change in his fortunes, he had no frame of reference for "normal".

    Interestingly, I don't think, in the long run, any of them had attachment issues except maybe my niece (I think her 'neediness' was attachment-related, but it was almost an over-reaction and freezing out of the other kids, I mentally called it 'cuckoo syndrome'). But she is still very close to her adoptive mother and even to a certain extent her ratbag of a father, despite his appalling treatment of her and constant 'using' of her willingness to help him.

    Actually, given the history of these three kids as well as the problems I've read here in similar cases, I'm amazed that there weren't more problems with attachment.

    I think things worked better for my sister's kids because the kids went into a poorer family, it was more realistic, the kids were less cushioned from the sort of life they'd have had anyway. Instead of "little Lord Fauntleroy" my sister's kids were barefoot in the dirt making mud pies (right alongside me, an aunty enjoying the mud pie scene also). When my friend's brother was riding his expensive bike and being given whatever he asked for, my sister's boys were collecting dead beetles in matchboxes. Don't get me wrong - the boy was given a lot of the right sort of attention as well as a great deal of love - it's just that I don't think he ever really learned what was normal, and he always expected the world to give him whatever he wanted, to get it easily. Because that was what they accidentally taught him - orphanage is only a temporary stopping-place, life with his adopted family was how it should be for everyone. Only it isn't. He never really understood that.

  15. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    "Instead of being critical of adoptions gone wrong, or with a less than glowing success, you need to consider how well the child would have gone if the adoption hadn't happened."

    I totally agree with you Marg. While there are many hereditary factors that cannot be changed with environment, nuturing cartainly does impact how the child will handle those factors in his life. I truly believe that my difficult child has the best chance to be successful because she was adopted. Her basic personality and inherited traits have caused tremendous baggage and hardship in her life, but she has overcome many obstacles too, which her bm has not. We have been told many times by many professionals that when thinbgs are the darkest and when we are th emost hopeless we should consider where she would be if we had not adopted her. That outlook has completely changed our perspective.