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Born abandoned - adoption

Dawn
Community Member

Hi dear reader,

I'd like to open with addressing the issue of adoption, abandonment, separation anxiety, trauma, no past memory of a safe place and it goes on.

Firstly, I'm new to this site. The first thing that I noticed is a list of disorders and the causes of them on the homepage. What greatly concerns me is that there is NOTHING on there which mentions adoption nor addresses the issues of which adoptees face which is not that different from that of other trauma "victims". With the recent federal apology and the collective voices becoming louder, I would hope to see that this issue IS being acknowledged at the least and addressed and there is some sort of support out here for us. I was adopted at birth, am 43, female and would really like to see some support. I have managed to scroll through to about page 5 and not found anything to assist with this issue. I might point out, that this type of trauma is a specialised trauma in that it's not relative to every day living (although it is). What I mean by this is that if a person who is not adopted experiences a trauma, they have a memory of pre trauma. In other words, as I recently heard it, if you're driving along the highway to work, the same route every day, on one day you are involved in an accident on that highway. From then on you avoid that highway to avoid another accident but you have a memory of what it was like to safely drive on it prior to the accident which is something you can fall back on. For an adopted person this is not the case. There is no pre trauma memory therefore an adopted person is born into trauma, anxiety, separation, wounding - the one source of sensing, knowing the world is safe, its mother, is taken from them. This has a life long impact and varies in degrees. Of course what follows in a persons life also adds to this trauma. There are extremely limited helpers out there for this type of person yet these practices occurred 4+ decades ago (if we take this type of adoption to the early 70s). Help is LONG overdue and if there are any counsellors or assistance out there for this type of PTSD please make yourselves known to us via Beyondblue!

Thankyou for reading

7 Replies 7

Vegetarian Marshmallow
Community Member

Fascinating.  I wasn't adopted but I'd be interested to learn more about this, too.

I had never attached any importance to biological parentage, and I've always thought (as one does, in idle moments, think about such things as "If I was adopted,,", "If I had an elephant..") that if I found out tomorrow that I was adopted, that particular fact would be relegated to the "How Well Do You Know Each Other game show" category of properties about me, along with what colour my school uniform pants were and how many weetbix I had on Thursday of last week.

My natural inclination is to feel like the baby that's been given up, was just a blank slate at the time.  A newborn baby doesn't have any discernible personality, so it's not like the parents abandoned *the person*.  It's not like they decided "I hate you because of your views on X political issue, and your habit of doing Y, and the way you pronounce the word Z".  The *person* didn't even exist yet.  What was abandoned was a little blubbery thing that cries and poops a lot, which looked exactly like every other blubbery little poopy thing on the planet.

I'd always thought adoptive parents would do exactly the same job as biological ones.  Apparently not.

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

dear Dawn, welcome to the site.

This is an important issue, one that you seem to have been struggling with for a very long time and this is concerning.

You could post a comment under the 'grief loss separation', where people will reply back to you, however it doesn't solve the problem that you raise.

With all of these 'adoption, abandonment, separation anxiety, trauma' creates an envy of future types of depression, and this list is as long as your arm.

It sort of puts you on an island way out in the bass strait, crying for help, but no one can hear you, you are defenseless.

With being adopted there are chances of being abused, these quite lovely people suddenly turn into monsters depraving you of the qualities of life, and then taking advantage of just because they believe that you owe it to them by taking you in.

The list goes on, schooling, boyfriends being allowed in to the house, clothes, being subject to continual cleaning of the house etc.

This has affected you for as long as you can remember, which is horrible, so thanks for posting and when you want please reply. L Geoff. x

Hi Rodentdron and Geoff. Adoption is a massive and complex issue which I cannot possibly cover however I can say that over 250,000 babies were placed for adoption between the 1950s and  1970s in Australia alone. This means that there are hundreds of thousands of adoptees out there with no one to assist them, for decades, and hundreds of thousands of natural parents having to live with silenced grief for decades, being told, among things, to "forget it and move on with your life" after having lost a child, possibly forever.There is no specialised counselling or assistance out there for us which is why the government has only now recognised this and pledged $1M odd in assistance for services. Anyway, to address what you mentioned, unfortunately much of society live in a very similar bubble, unaware of the effects this has had on these people (including me). It's not like an adoptee will go about their life broadcasting they are adopted however they may make mention of this in counselling and when this occurs, the counselor needs to sit up and listen as this is a very relevant statement. The natural parents were told to forget it, sweep it under the carpet and get on with life, so it was very rare to hear mention of  it. Many have been lobbying for years to enlighten the public awareness of this and only now is this beginning. Unfortunately it is not as simple to dismiss the adopted baby as "a little blubbery thing that cries and poops a lot". That blubbery thing is left with a permanent void in their life. Growing up not looking like anyone, not behaving like anyone, no similar interests, no biological connection, not knowing your medical history when asked at the doctor. Perhaps meeting your biological family however not having grown up with them, never feeling connected therefore never having a connection to any family. A void, a hole which remains forever. Then there's the trust. Think of it for a second. A baby is born and immediately given the nurturing, warmth and love of its mother. A baby is born and immediately taken away, never to experience the primal connection to its mother outside the womb, never to have that first safety net, that first sense of "the world is safe" in fact, its the exact opposite. It becomes an instant "I need to survive" instinct.

Geoff, You have certainly captured exactly the essence of what these adoptees are feeling when you say "It sort of puts you on an island way out in the bass strait, crying for help, but no one can hear you, you are defenseless." Some of the biggest challenges are identity and direction and for me, when I first wrote here, finally discovered that I am hypersensitive to some things. Now I need to discover the reasons why - at my age! I really don't want to be like this but I fear that it's so deeply ingrained that I will never shake it. I will make mention also that I have no close friends. I have a couple of people in my life who I have known for many years however they are both male and I hardly see them. There are many people in my life, yet no one. I will mention also, that I was raised an only child by my mother, my adoptive father leaving home when I was 4 and I rarely saw him after that. Obviously this leads to further issues aside from adoption but the reason I'm here is to really raise awareness and perhaps make this a safe place for now to "chat" with someone. I saw recently a short film on the subject, made in Adelaide, The Lost Souls, which somewhat reflects the rounded impact of adoption. The trailer is on YouTube. Perhaps you might understand a little better by watching it.

I will perhaps make a post at your suggestion in the grief loss separation forum a bit later. Thanks x

Dawn

Marcsa
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
Hi Dawn, I wonder if you are still out there on the Forum. You have articulated some of my thoughts exactly. I wonder if in your circumstance you have known of your Adoption your whole life. I am in the situation of only having been told at the age of 41 when most of life's major milestones are behind me. So, I feel a certain fraudulent aspect to much of my relationships.

Hi Marcsa, I too am interested in this, my wife found out at 22 years old straight after her father died that she was adopted, and the whole thing including her mother (adopted mother)'s reaction was just out of control and terribly traumatic for her. Now she basically won't talk about it, and hasn't for the last 5 years, she sometimes cry's at night over the whole thing but still won't talk about it or see someone.

We snuck out one night while staying at her mothers and saw her birth mother but my wife now refuses contact. Her birth sister, mother and nephue constantally try to contact her however she refuses to even mesage them back. I worry that if she never contacts them then she will regret it later in life. She won't see a counciler or anything and i really feel for her but feel there is no way to help her.

I know i will never understand and I can't push her to contact others and i understand that is not my business, but I really wish there was something i could do to give her some form of closure.

Having said that my wife is probably one of the most mentally tough people I know, so mabie it just genuinely doesn't bother her that much.

Marcsa
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Greyhound123,

Wow ! Is my initial response to your wife's discovery and subsequent reaction to her Adoption. My very first reaction was - 'oh, how ridiculous !'. For me , my Adoption happened to be a good match - certainly in physical appearance. I kind of looked like my Adoptive father. But now, nearly ten years after finding out my status, I can see that that was just what i wanted to see.

I am sorry to hear that your wife doesn't feel able or ready to have contact with her biological mother and relatives. It can be very difficult. There are issues of identity ( the person she thought she was before she discovered her true status) and of loss (that identity) and also the loss of a parent, be it Adoptive or biological.

Do you have children? How is your wife's relationship with her Adoptive mother and/or Adoptive siblings? Perhaps she will change her mind at some later stage. Does your wife know any other Adoptees ? There are organisations in each state which can offer counselling to Adoptees, Birth Mothers and Adoptive parents. In NSW, the Post Adoption Resource Centre has a variety of resources.

If I could just mention that when you say 'I understand that it is not my business' , I have to partially disagree, because you support her (emotionally from what you say) and you are part of her family and these biological relatives are part of her family. If you already have children they will have maybe some relevance to the children. It's very complex, I know. I understand you don't want to push her into something that may be unpleasant or difficult in the longer term, but from my perspective I wouldn't cut ties with the biological mother. I'm afraid too, when you say 'closure', what I hope you mean is acceptance. I am not there yet, struggling very hard with the Adoption journey, which I feel is lifelong and rather like a rollercoaster. Added to that, the normal course of life's struggles - work, teenagers, bills etc.

I'm glad you think your wife is a mentally tough person , but you say at the beginning that she sometimes cries at night. I guess my simple advice would be to keep lines of communication open. Support your wife in her choice, but may periodically 'test the waters', she may feel differently in the future.

If you need support, which you may - there is always this forum. So I hope to hear from you again. 🙂

Hope that made some sense.

None_Known
Community Member

Hi Dawn,

This whole adopted life stuff is hard isn't it. I have felt so isolated and unconnected from so many things. I stumbled across the beyond blue forums about 2 weeks ago, and it is so insightful. It is nice to know that there are others out there that are going through the same things in life. Albeit a terrible feeling most of the time, it is nice to know I am not alone. It is hard to explain to people the feelings you have in relation to isolation, and lonliness sometimes, and when the mention of being adopted comes up, everyone seems to think how great my adoptive parents were to "choose" me. Unbeknownst to them that there was no connection, so on the surface, life seems grand, underneath that, there is none of those parental connections that you see with friends and other family members.

I too have no close friends anymore, I find that I give my all to be there for others, who make it seem like you are expendable and I take that really hard, so I have made a conscieous effort to have space everywhere. I have friends lots of them, but none that I would consider close anymore. Likewise with my adoptive family, after my adoptive grandmother passed away 2 years ago, I have been very solitary. Friends sometimes say to me about hanging out more etc, but it is hard to explain that I prefer to be on my own as I find the hurt that I get over being oversensitive to matters, is hard to deal with.

Anyhow, sounds lilke most adult adoptees are in the same boat, well mostly anyhow.

Thanks for having the support for us here, there isn't too much help out in the real world for adoptees.