RAD and Normalcy: Is RAD Actually the Normal Response for an Adoptee?

Disclaimer:  This is certainly not a new topic.  I don’t want to pretend that this post represents any kind of brainstorm on my part– this topic has been bandied about for a long time in adoptee circles, and has a deep, thought-provoking expression here at Transracial Eyes.  Rather than just reblogging adoptee posts or linking, I did think there was value in expressing my thoughts about this topic, and addressing it to adoptive parents.  So here we go.

Reactive Attachment Disorder, or RAD, is a huge topic in adoption circles, especially among wary prospective and actual adoptive parents.  When reading Yahoo! groups and web fora, it would seem that prospective adoptive parents fear RAD more than a diagnosis of fatal cancer.  Yet with all that discussion, there’s little understanding of, and empathy for, the children who have this diagnosis.  Parents act as if the children are wild animals to feared, to be broken and tamed.  Some even talk about how “the devil” has their child.  They compare their kids with the “good” adoptees, the ones who immediately attached to their adoptive parents.  Who were eager to please.  Who strove to fit in.  The ones with RAD are messed up, are broken, are wrong.  The good adoptees are the model.

Let’s think about that.  What if instead of an adoptee we think about a child who has been kidnapped.  We’d expect a kidnapped child to resist, to fight.  If the child didn’t actively fight and resist, if the child were to begin to identify with the kidnappers, we’d say the child had developed Stockholm Syndrome.  We’d treat the child who complied as mentally ill and dysfunctional.

I know what you are thinking.  It’s not fair to compare adoption and kidnapping.  Are you so sure?  Think of it from the child’s perspective.  At least in our case, our unsuspecting child was ripped unceremoniously from her loving long-term caregivers, people she recognized as family, thrown on a train for five hours, then dropped in the laps of strangers who didn’t look, act or smell anything like what she’s used to.  From her perspective, how is that functionally any different from a kidnapping?  It’s not.

So, using that analogy, and understanding the trauma that adoption inflicts on the adoptee, why is RAD seen as such an abnormal reaction?  Why do we stigmatize children with RAD, say that they are possessed by Satan, inflict abusive therapies on them?  Why do we lionize the “good” adoptees, the ones who submit?

Here’s the important message: I’m not trying to argue that our kids with RAD d/xs don’t need attention from mental health professionals.  Of course they do– they’ve suffered huge trauma, and they need help resolving that trauma.  What I am telling adoptive parents, especially ones parenting children with so-called attachment issues, is we have to shift the focus.  We have to stop treating the RAD reaction as wrong, dysfunctional, and as something inherently broken in the child.  We have to stop trying to dominate and control our children.  We have to stop trying to resolve trauma by inflicting more abuse.  Daniel Ibn Zayd at Transracial Eyes hits the nail on the head:

“Much of the RAD diagnosis is focused not on the adoption itself, but instead on the child as manifesting an “illness” that needs to be corrected via a variety of therapies physical and psychological that I believe would constitute torture if performed on prisoners of war, as defined by the Geneva Convention.”

Put another way:  Our kids have suffered trauma simply by virtue of being adopted.  Their reaction to the trauma is normal, but they need help learning to process and cope with the trauma.  The parental element of that process is unconditional and patient love.  Unfortunately, many “attachment professionals” treat our children as abnormal and as little better than animals.

For example, if a child’s trauma manifests as anxiety surrounding food (i.e. food hoarding), we are told to lock up food, put alarms on our child’s bedroom doors, and deprive them of food on demand.  In other words, inflict more trauma surrounding food.  Prisoners are entitled to food under the Geneva Convention, yet alleged mental health professionals advocate depriving our traumatized children of food in the guise of therapy.

Think about that.  How does depriving a child of food, putting it under lock and key, do anything to resolve a child’s trauma?  All you are doing is inflicting more trauma.  That’s asinine, yet adoptive parents do this — and worse — every single day across the nation, all in the name of “fixing” their child.

Adoption creates trauma.  That is fact.  When you remove a child from his or her biological parent, whether at birth or later, the child suffers.  RAD seems to me to be a totally normal response to that trauma. Instead of viewing your child as broken and in need of fixing, first empathize with that trauma, then look to help your child cope.  And I do mean cope– you can’t take the trauma away.  It is there, and won’t go away.  Love and empathy are the answer, NOT additional trauma.  Reject dominance and trauma-inflicting therapies.  It’s not easy.  I won’t pretend it is.  When your child is raging, patience and empathy can be hard.  But it’s what’s right.  Choose love and empathy.

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About mad momma moogacat

I am a 40-year old mother, wife, lawyer and pop culture fiend who is looking for some beauty and meaning in life. I write about parenting, adoption, mental health, work-life balance, and pop culture. Hope you enjoy!
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37 Responses to RAD and Normalcy: Is RAD Actually the Normal Response for an Adoptee?

  1. This is such an important post. Thank you for writing it.

    I’ve actually been meaning to address this same topic on my blog, but now you’ve done it for me … and just perfectly.

    My daughter and I actually talked recently about how coming into foster care felt like kidnapping to her. She responded to that crazy situation in ways that I believe were perfectly normal, but she was treated as a problem to be fixed. Medicated. Hospitalized. Moved from foster home to institution to foster home to institution, and so on. Ugh. There was nothing wrong with her! Her behaviors were responses … attempts to communicate. Nobody heard.

    My husband and I started with the assumption that she was not the problem. We saw trauma rather than behavior. We focused on healing rather than “fixing” or controlling. And that made all the difference.

    • Thank you so very much for stopping by my blog. I am a regular reader of your blog and so appreciate your perspective. I know we’ve had this exchange on Twitter, but what I want by this post is not to downplay the trauma our children have endured or the difficulty in responding to that trauma as a parent– I simply want to change the paradigm, to shift the discussion. The trauma response is normal. Our children need to be approached in that light, not as dysfunctional problems to be fixed or controlled. When viewed in that perspective, both the process and goal are easier to see and achieve, if that makes sense.

  2. I think RAD develops because a child has no early connections with someone safe, someone ‘loving”. Young children in and out of foster homes, children raised in orphanages where there was not a lot of bonding and individual attention, even children like my son who was born addicted to heroin and his nervous system was so out of whack that he couldn’t stand any stimulation at all, including touch and eye contact, do not learn how to bond, so their little brains shut that part off, depending only on themselves. When my daughter with RAD came to live with us, I actually sat with her on a big rocking LAzy Boy chair and watched Funniest HOme Videos with her. Her laughter and warmth bonded us together. It takes a lot of little moments like that to have a child trust in someone else. Sometimes they are so “broken” that it is almost impossible….

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I definitely don’t disagree that poor institutional care and multiple changes in caregivers in early childhood raise RAD risk, but in my reading and my experience in parenting Bug I’ve come to the conclusion that any child can end up with RAD symptoms even with optimal non-parental care. For instance, Bug had a single dedicated nanny while in an orphanage from birth until 11 months, and then went into a loving foster home until her adoption by us at 28 months. She was well-loved and taken care of. Yet, she has a RAD d/x. Her story is one that most would put at a low risk of developing RAD, yet still she struggles with the trauma. That, along with the stories of so many adult adoptees who were placed with their APs at birth who struggle, tells me that there is something inherent to separation from first parents that can cause extreme trauma.

      I also agree that some children are so traumatized that healing is almost impossible. That’s true of trauma, generally, unfortunately, whether trauma from adoption, abuse, or war. It’s heartbreaking.

      I so love you story about rocking your child and laughing. Some of our warmest times have come while snuggling and laughing. So healing!

      Thanks again. I very much appreciate your post.

  3. RAD can develop because a child’s other developmental delays (like sensory processing disorder, fetal alcohol exposure… among others) and often adoption trauma combined make it more difficult for a child to adapt to a new situation, and process the adoption related trauma. I know a LOT of people helping children with these issues, but not many who view it as something being “wrong” with the child, or who are comparing the child to, or treating the child like an animal. If a child say has food issues, it might be safer for the child to keep food locked, than to just allow them to freely eat themselves into sickness. It all depends on the child, and what is going to be safest for them. Many therapist equate it to a “velvet box” which is creating love and safety in limits that will protect the child, until the child is able to safely handle… an unlocked food pantry for themselves.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I wish I could say my interactions with people who want to view the problem as being with the child and not the trauma as rare. Maybe I’m interacting with the wrong people, but I see so many people write off their traumatized children as manipulative monsters, when all the children are doing is trying to communicate the best they can. It breaks my heart.

      As for the food issue, while I know people have to do what’s best for their child, there are some things that are just wrong to me, and food deprivation is one. One comment I got on Twitter stuck out to me– there is no psychological trauma manifesting in food insecurity other than adoption in which food deprivation is advised. Why is that? I can get no good answer other than the parent (or therapist) is looking to control the child. In my mind, trauma is not magically taken away by imposing external control. Traumatized children need help in processing the trauma– not having more trauma imposed through external controls.

      Thanks again!

  4. mumdrah says:

    When it is just me and her, I do away with the labels and the theories and the science and simply try and react to her as a whole, to her patchwork of trauma. I am glad you have spoken about this so well; RAD seems to me to be a normal and ‘right’ response to horrific circumstances imposed on a child. Without the ‘legalities’ involved and ascribed by adults and state, the events – and outcomes in a child’s psychology and development – would certainly be viewed very differently indeed.
    Side note – I have to admit that the labels i detest so much can sometimes help in convincing a too busy to care uninitiated world to pay some attention – school for example.
    I hope you get lots of positive reaction to this, but I imagine there may be some opposition. Thank you! Mx

    • mumdrah– Thanks for coming by again! And you are absolutely right– the labels are sometimes vital for getting services. They just aren’t too helpful for parents at times, since the labels can make the parent focus too much on the child as the source of the “problem” and less on the underlying trauma.

      As for reactions, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reactions, thank goodness. But since my day job is as a lawyer dealing with unhappy people, I probably have low expectations! 😉

  5. TAO says:

    Great post and about those compliant perfect adoptees everyone holds up as the ones to get – they can still be hurting and scared inside and you would never know it….which is better?

    I can see how it would be terribly traumatic to be taken away and left with strangers – who can’t see that? When I lost my ability to speak or write as an adult – holy cow I was completely undone at how vulnerable it made me. That my only means of communication was nodding my head yes or no – it was terrorizing – can’t imagine what it would like being the little one in an international adoption where even the language changed so even nodding your head wouldn’t work.

    • TAO– I won’t post a picture, but the trauma is written all over Bug’s face the day we took custody. It was heartbreaking and obvious. She cried for her foster mother for weeks, and had no way of understanding what was happening to her. Just thinking about it right now makes me want to weep, and weep for children going through this horrible transfer every single day in China, where they for some reason think an abrupt approach is better. Not that it would solve everything obviously, but if there are going to be adoptions internationally, there has to be a better way to introduce the adoptees to the APs. I can imagine some children develop PTSD from the handover alone.

  6. I think it is very easy to cast judgement on others. To assume that people who are struggling have no concept of what is the reality of their life.I think it’s a mistake to virtually criminalize adoptive or foster parents who are simply just doing what they can with the tools that they have. Seeking professional help is a good sign in most cases and there are many good people who get misguided by detached professionals. The fact is the whole system is broken. It started with the biological parents not parenting well for whatever reason. Foster care is geared to be a stepping stone and so attachment is avoided. Siding with the scared child against the parents only leave the child open to another disturbed caregiver situation. The traumatized cannot listen to anything. It doesn’t matter if you’re the “good one.” Some people really do have the best intentions in their heart. The fact is many people despite living with their biological family also have serious problems. Life is not a vacuum. Just because the child resists attachment does not reflect the heart and efforts of the adoptive parents. I feel more sad for the adoptive children who try and try to please their adoptive parents and never get the carrot. The RAD parent many times offers great love, only to have it rejected. The RAD parents are just trying to pick up the pieces of life that is associated with adopting that particular child… You don’t know how much failure and pain adoptive parents experience while see the pain of the child and the helpless feeling to heal their children– the motivation identical to biological parents. Don’t forget that the adoptive parents didn’t abandon this child.

    My adoptive parents weren’t the best parents… they gave me different pain from my biological parents. But I don’t assign the blame of things onto them that doesn’t belong to them. I’m still thankful that they did the best they could with their tools and skills. I survived and I’m sure my parents could have used more support while they parented me. As a RAD child grown into an adult, I feel very sorry for detaching from them a long time ago. I should have given them more grace.

    Those criticizers can only think about today, this moment and here and now. But I’m telling you, don’t underestimate those adoptive kids. They will survive and they will be able to own the pain they caused their adoptive parents and they will be able to discriminate between pains from the adoptive parent and pains from the biological parent. We grow through our mistakes and we make bonds through persevering through them.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your very personal story. You are right– it is hard for parents of kids with RAD, and children who enter the foster system have quite often endured a lot of abuse and trauma before getting to their foster or adoptive placements. I’m not so much trying to assign blame to APs (except for abusive practices they engage in) as much as encouraging APs to shift their thinking. Focus on having empathy for your child’s trauma as opposed to viewing them as abnormal or broken. I know it’s made a whole world in difference in how I approach my child. I have more patience, more understanding, and I am better able to meet her needs. I have thrown expectations out the window and meet her where she is. That’s a hard thing to do as a parent if you lack empathy.

      I also echo your sentiments about the dearth of resources available from professionals. Desperate parents reach out, and the resources in the form of competent therapy aren’t there. Even if you can find a therapist who understands this kind of trauma, you very well might not be able to afford the treatment since very few of the truly good therapists take insurance. If they do, they may not take the right insurance. It’s a struggle.

      Thanks again for sharing your story. I appreciate your willingness to share.

  7. Very thoughtful post. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Dr. Karyn Purvis, but she’s done some great research on RAD and pretty much states what you’re stating. She, in fact, does not like the diagnoses and thinks many professionals use it to basically say the kid isn’t salvageable. She calls them “kids from hard places”. “Empowered to Connect” is her book and the name of conferences she gives. After 30 years of being an adopter it taught me a lot.

    • Thanks for commenting and reading! I love Dr. Purvis’s work, along with the work of Heather Forbes. They both helped me reframe things and reach a point of empathy when it was hard going at first. Tremendous resources that I recommend highly.

  8. eagoodlife says:

    The response of adoptees to adoption is normal, it is adoption that is pathological.

    • So true. So true. Adoption is such a vast industry in our society, driven by profits and PAP wants and needs. The real focus — the child, and his or her needs — gets forgotten. I can’t help but think there will always be a need for good, prepared adoptive parents, but that should be rare and frankly be limited to situations where children absolutely had to be removed from their first families for the own safety. So many children placed for adoption both domestically and internationally have good, loving families who want them and could take care of them with a little societal support. Adoption is NOT the answer in the vast, vast majority of cases.

  9. Excellent post…thanks so much for writing it. Because adoptees are expected to “become” their new role in a new family, new identity, etc. it causes a split in them. They HAVE to disown their true identity and loss in order to fulfill the role adoption demands. This adds a secondary trauma to them and is actually abusive, whether they react as “good” adoptees or those with “attachment” issues….it is just the outside coping mechanism. http://www.PeachNeitherHereNorThere.blogspot.com

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I sometimes wonder about the split in my own daughter– her original self, the self she feels the need to be for G and me. I wonder about the extra layer of trauma imposed by virtue of removing her from her birth culture and the overlay of having to pass as both an American and Chinese, but not fitting in either place because now she’s being raised by white Americans. Adoptive Parents need explore these issues more fully, especially before adopting, but sadly few want to talk about it, and those of us who do are usually shouted down. We are supposed to be supportive of other adopters, to paint the picture of rainbows and unicorns. I just won’t do it. No one forces us to adopt. We have choices. Our kids don’t have any choices– those are taken away. More adoptive parents would be well advised to keep that in mind when worrying about whether people are painting the proper picture of adoption.

      Again, thanks so much for commenting. I appreciate your perspective.

    • Thanks for the re-blog! I’m glad we’ve connected on Twitter.

      • 7rin says:

        Yeah, is nice to finally meet so many sane adopters. *wry g*

        Although I’m thinking I reblogged it on the wrong blog, having had time for the rest of my rush past few days sink in. I’m really thinking I need to go nose to find out if I can either change the reblog to be at http://postadoptioncharity.org.uk/ – or I’ll just have to reblog it manually there as well.

        So glad you’re getting so many warm responses too – gives me hope. :}

  10. Such an interesting discussion, and I truly feel for these suffering children. As an adult adoptee, I’ve found my voice. As a child I WAS the good, compliant adoptee. … Until it all came crumbling down and I wound up delusional and manic in a mental hospital. I’m glad that adoptive parents are looking for therapeutic ways to help their children, BUT it’s their act of adoption that was the abnormal event, too–so, I think that they need to acknowledge this as well. Kids are smart, they figure it out.

    • Laura– thanks so much for reading and commenting. I greatly admire your blog. Your point about adoption being “abnormal” is the one that most adoptive parents seem to want to gloss over. Even if you are the best adoptive parent in the world, you can’t even begin to reach your child where he or she is without acknowledging the fundamental unnaturalness of adoption. I look at my beautiful Bug, and am horrified at what she’s been through. People want to say she’s lucky, and I try not to explode. Lucky how? To be taken for some unknown reason from her first parents at mere days old and put in an orphanage? To be placed with a loving family in China, only to be ripped away 16 months later and given to white people and flown across the ocean? I know if that had happened to me I’d be royally pissed. Not happy, not lucky, not thankful, and definitely not normal. Normal would be snuggled up with her first mom.

      Thanks again.

  11. wackyadorablefamily says:

    Kids with RAD seem to exhibit near perfect behavior in institutions. The more strangers, the better. I am guessing this is because the love the foster or adoptive parents attempt to show is interpreted as lies by the hurt child, only making him/her angry.

    I am disheartened when I frequently read about how we should all “think” or “try” or “interpret” etc. RAD. When you are parenting a child with RAD, especially with aggravating factors like other children, animals, any civilization within 50 miles, etc, you cannot think, and you cannot try. All you can do is attempt to survive the next minute and the one after that. You can deal with the injured sibling, then the injured animal, then the felony next door, then the child self-harming, then quickly order a pizza since making dinner is out of the question. Then call an ambulance due to what happened while you were on the phone ordering a pizza. This is not an exaggeration. If you think it is, good news: misdiagnosis, yours doesn’t really have RAD.

    I have heard of kids recovering but it took the number of years of their age at the time of the permanent placement. The first question before a philosophical discussion about RAD should be, how can we support families to survive those years to keep those kids in one place until they start getting better? And maybe with that, do the kids want to stay, and should we maybe respect their feelings about it? Of course this is only in situations where the country has been scoured for family/kin placements and none can be found. And are counties scouring enough? Probably not. Just sayin.

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I do think a vital component is finding how to properly support the families who find themselves trying to help a traumatized child. Few of us out here have the proper credentials to treat trauma, and professional resources are almost nonexistent and sometimes cost-prohibitive. And as for trying to keep kids in one place until they can reach some level of healing, that seems like a pipe dream right now. As does a system that truly tries to find kinship placements. Just not enough money in finding kinship placements when people are willing to pay to adopt.

      I do think I’m fortunate in our RAD situation that Bug’s RAD is on the milder side, she was diagnosed at a young age, and we have no other children. Still I go to bed most nights exhausted in body and spirit. Any violence has been directed at us, not at other children or pets. Again, I know we are lucky there, but I do question the pre-adoptive screening going on out there. Why are so many kids who have been in the system a number of years, and thus increasing the likelihood of intense trauma for multiple reasons, being placed in situations where there are multiple other children, especially bio children, and where there are scarce resources for help? The system bears some substantial responsibility. These kind of placements must stop.

      I’m so glad you read and commented. Thanks so much.

  12. eagoodlife says:

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    A blog post to read for the comments as well as a the post content. The poster comments – ‘I won’t post a picture, but the trauma is written all over Bug’s face the day we took custody. It was heartbreaking and obvious. She cried for her foster mother for weeks, and had no way of understanding what was happening to her. Just thinking about it right now makes me want to weep, and weep for children going through this horrible transfer every single day in China, where they for some reason think an abrupt approach is better. Not that it would solve everything obviously, but if there are going to be adoptions internationally, there has to be a better way to introduce the adoptees to the APs. I can imagine some children develop PTSD from the handover alone’
    How heartening to find an adopter respecting a young adoptee and their trauma!

  13. “There is something inherent to separation from first parents that can cause extreme trauma.” Indeed. In Indian Country it is called the splitting sickness. I also wrote about severe narcissistic injury in my memoir. Makes you wonder how anyone can condone adoption when children have to adapt to survive.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by to read and comment. I will definitely check out your memoir. I have come to feel the same about adoption– I think it should be limited to circumstances where it is an absolute last option. All other options need to be explored first.

  14. Cyma Shapiro says:

    I’m not certain whether I’m more impressed that someone had the courage to write something like this or whether in writing about this, we can open a much-needed dialogue. For those of us dealing with this within our homes, esp. in “milder” cases, the effect can be insidious: while you see and deal with one side of your child/children, the world only sees the other (more kinder) side. I wouldn’t be so quick to co-mingle the terms RAD and adoption. I think by doing so, you demean one and exault the other. We all know biological children who suffer from the same affliction, whether because of or in spite of having differing experiences. In either case, thanks for putting a name and face to this. People need to know it’s real. It’s time to address it.

    Thanks for sharing – http://www.motheringinthemiddle.com

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I have to admit that I’ve gotten a much better reception than I thought I would– I thought I’d be castigated for bringing up the issue. I do agree that RAD and adoption shoudn’t be seen as co-mingled. Not all adoptees have RAD, and not all RAD patients are adoptees. But I do think RAD in adoptees is treated by the general public — and some therapists — as somehow something inherent in the child, whereas other trauma victims are treated with a lot more sympathy and empathy. I just want people to see my little girl for who she is– a beautiful child like any other who happens to have been hurt in life. She’s not a monster doomed to be a psychopath as an adult. She’s just been hurt a lot by this world.

  15. Coming to this late, but I would like to emphasize the point of the original post at Transracial Eyes which is that RAD is an invention. It is a tactical invention of a society that needs to destroy a resistant element within that society. The biggest mistake adoptive parents make is thinking that they somehow have agency outside of the economic and political deal they strike with this society that allows them, among other things, to adopt children from countries that the society sees as needing to be opened up, again, economically and politically. It is more and more obvious that adoptive parents are microcosmic agents of their society’s foreign policy goals, as witnessed by the very countries targeted for adoption over the past decades.

    As such it makes no sense to “discuss” RAD; it makes no sense to use the term when the whole point of the original post was to question the diagnosis and undermine the tactical use of the epithet. Furthermore, at this point the damage is already done. The idea that the “enlightened” view of the adoptive parent should be to “understand” their child’s resistance and try then to “ease” their child’s “transition” is no less offensive, no less punishing, no less aggressive, no less damaging than depriving a child of food, or “rebirthing” them in smothering blankets.

    It’s like providing comfortable galleys on a slave ship; it’s like dimming the lights and rounding the upramp approach to the slaughterhouse in an effort to “calm” the beasts dragged in to their death. Personally, I always preferred the upfront racism of the French to the “Where y’all from?” racism of Americans; here is no different. Normalizing RAD treatment is not the answer, and I would not sleep for thinking I might have contributed to such a mindset.

    What is troubling to me is the fact that the discussion leaves out the most obvious answer, for the apparent fact that duped by their sense of agency, adoptive parents are not even aware of what resistance might mean; they cannot fathom stepping down from the class position that afforded them a child; they are incapable of seeing that the fate of the world is predicated on their undoing of the class system that gives them the luxury and privilege to adopt children.

    And so the obvious answer is to find the sites of resistance within the child’s originating culture and focus on these. Determine how the child’s originating culture has resisted foreign domination, and provide the child with this as reference, as history, as a mindset, no matter how threatening it might be to the parents’ sense of self, or sense of patria. I know adoptive parents who have gone down this road, and I daresay they are not only doing right by the child temporarily in their care, but also in terms of the child’s community, as well as the world at large.

    It’s time for adoptive parents to step up to the plate.

    • Daniel– Thanks so much for posting back. I apologize if I’ve bastardized your intent. I do think more adoptive parents need to step up to the plate and get at the real root of the problem, which is the adoption in the first place. I feel sick at times knowing I participated in such a horrible industry at all. IA, in particular, needs to stop. For the rare situations where a child cannot stay in a family of origin, either with parents or extended family, the child must stay in country, with links to that original family.

      My heart does ache, though, for the children who have already been taken from their countries, who are suffering now, the ones for whom the root solution comes too late. Something has to be done about the abusive therapies, the dominance and control. I see children like my own being tortured. There has to be a better way for these children already caught in the web. I wish I had answers, but at least you in particular have been willing to start the conversation.

  16. eagoodlife says:

    “I think it’s a mistake to virtually criminalize adoptive or foster parents who are simply just doing what they can with the tools that they have” – time surely to ensure that home studies are done competently and by a central agency which has no vested interest in selling adoption bur only in finding the very best adopters for children who need really them i.e. not children who already have parents, children deemed ‘orphans’ when they’re not. Sadly it is not widely recognised that some children are ‘unadoptable’, far too damaged to cope with the pressures of family life and adoption particularly in an unfamiliar country. Few seem to acknowledge the attachment even very young children have to their motherland, culture, language as well as their parents and sometimes other carers.Why does the adoption industry and those who support it think it ok to take a child from all s/he knows and ignore the trauma, the existing attachments?
    Daniel says “The biggest mistake adoptive parents make is thinking that they somehow have agency outside of the economic and political deal they strike with this society that allows them, among other things, to adopt children from countries that the society sees as needing to be opened up, again, economically and politically.” Worryingly so few adopters and adoption supporters understand the politics of adoption, the economics of adoption, the deals struck between Governments, the wheeling and dealing and the exploitation of a market by countries in poverty who have plenty of children to sell. Great post and great comments! Heartened to see people at last starting to raise the difficult subjects.
    You’ll find others at http://thelifeofvon.wordpress.com

    • Thanks for commenting von. I agree that far too few adopters recognize the politics involved in adoption. I certainly didn’t when we were going through the process, and at this point in my life it sickens me that I was such a dupe, and my child is suffering for it. I have no doubt she’d be a happier person had she been placed with a family in China. She longs for it. I hope this conversation will not end. Something has to be done for the children being taken from their homes and homelands, and for the children already taken and suffering for it.

      • eagoodlife says:

        MMM I hope too that the conversation is just beginning and people like you will continue to be involved in it.It is heartbreaking to hear about your daughter and that she longs for her motherland.I hope she will find resolution.

  17. Pingback: Normalcy, Privilege and Stuff | The Life Of Von

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