I'm a gifted adult survivor of child abuse by my adopted parents, who left me with chronic depression, PTSD, and a touch of autism for good measure. Here I examine the fragments of my past. It's enlightening but not pleasant. You've been warned.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Two Generations of Adoptions, Two Generations of Secrets

I come from a second generation adopted family.  I was adopted, my sister was adopted, my father was adopted, and his sister was adopted.  All were closed adoptions outside any family connection, and my sister and I were private adoptions, so there was absolutely no oversight.

My sister and I were given some basic, non-medical information about our birth parents' ethnicity (French/English and Welsh) and circumstances.  We were told that our father and his sister had been given such information as well (Black Irish and Native American), but when we asked them about their backgrounds, they became defensive and denied knowing anything.  It discouraged us from looking any further into our own backgrounds as children, not openly but by example.

Both my adoptive mother and my adoptive paternal grandmother were infertile.  The story was that their condition was caused by malnutrition but even as a child I had problems with that explanation.  Neither woman showed any of the physical signs of an adult who was severely malnourished as a child, nor were there childhood stories full of tales of privation.  While their families weren't rich, they were well-off by rural standards.  My mother did grow up during the Great Depression, but her stories were always about how she had more food and better clothes than her classmates.

(Always.  Mom was nothing if not class conscious.)

Theses days I suspect a different cause.  According to recent findings,several studies have shown that women presenting with a history of infertility have a higher than expected rate of sexual abuse in childhood.   That finding makes a lot of rather gory anatomical sense.  Unfortunately, for various reasons the profile of adult victims of childhood sexual abuse fits my adoptive mother and adoptive paternal grandmother far better than the profile of childhood malnutrition.  I doubt I'll ever know the truth though.

Given the frightening ease with which patterns of child abuse replicate themselves in families I would personally send every woman who wanted to adopt due to infertility to be screened for childhood abuse issues and if necessary sent to counseling first, with frequent checkups later.  Seems like that would only be common sense.

Yeah, right.  Like that's going to happen.  Adoption is a ten billion dollar/year business.  I doubt it's providers are going to let common sense get in the way of their paychecks.


  1. Just reading your post and the sum of eleven million jumped into my head....Oh yeah the Federal Dept. of Social Services paid Pew Research to fund an Adoption Study of outcomes. The Pew Adoption Study results, regards and professional recommendations: The need for research studies on the topic of Adoption. Who-What-Where-When-How to stop this
    administrative financing of desk jobs?

  2. I should warn you I'm a hardcore social sciences geek. Pew research reports are my catnip.


    Geez, how many Pew reports have the word "adoption" in them anyway? Most seem to refer to computing trends.

    I've found gay adoption acceptance, foster care reform, and paternal involvement studies, but nothing directly related to adoption outcomes. Could you tell me more about it?