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The Adoption Birth Connection (this article was photocopied from Recovering Adoptees: Facing up to Dysfunction

Beginnings of Healing
by Robert L. Wheeler

I am a recovering adoptee. I'm aware of the negative affects of adoption and I'm trying to do something to counteract those affects. I spent four years in the prison system. I had a failed marriage. I thought I was crazy. I thought I was a drug addict. I thought I was an alcoholic. I could have been any and all of these, but in my case, I had Adoption Syndrome.

Adoption Syndrome is a set of problems common to adoptees, each of us to a different degree. I grew up in a system where I was not allowed to acknowledge the pain that I went through. If there was an elephant in the living room, we had to pretend it wasn't there.

This is the same sort of system that we find in alcoholic homes or other types of dysfunctional, abusive homes. We live a lie.

The adoption system takes advantage of infertile couples, making them believe that they are not whole human beings. Making them believe they have to live a life of pretend. Making them believe that to be full human beings and to experience parenthood and love, they have to have the perfect white baby. In reality, there are many options for infertile people. One of the prerequisites, however, is that they band together and share their pain and share their common strength and hope together. They can openly grieve and deal with the pain that they suffer and not feel ashamed. It is not a moral issue to be infertile, it is a medical one. It does not require secrecy and false dramas to be played out in order to have an adjusted and happy life. The prospective parents are promised a package that is never delivered. They are promised that adopting a perfect white baby cures infertility pain.

The entire adoption system is set up from the standpoint of having the needs met of the social workers and agencies and individuals that work within those agencies, making money from the system, making a living from the system and having power and control over other people. The net result of this is that the baby's welfare is always the last consideration. It is the infant that never has legal protection or counsel. Adoptees have to band together, just like war veterans need to gather together. Just like alcoholics need to gather together for their recovery. Just like individuals of all different faiths need to join together. Just like birth mothers need to join together. Human beings need to know that other human beings understand their pain and their hurt. Human beings need to be fully loved and understood. In our work with recovering adoptees, we seek to love and to forgive all individuals involved in every aspect of adoption. There are acts that are unforgivable, done to human beings, but there are no human beings who are unforgivable.

Adoptees who are in recovery break the silence. We no longer have to suffer alone. We no longer have to pretend to live a life that is a mask. We no longer have to protect the system that oppresses us and made victims of us, our birth parents and our adoptive parents.

It's a common phenomenon when children are abused by parents or primary caregivers that those children protect their abusers. The adoptive parent, the birth parent and the adoptee are all persuaded by our culture - by our churches, by our schools, by our institutions - that we owe a debt of gratitude to the closed adoption system. This is a myth; this false; this is a lie.

Although we live in an era of modern democracy politically, socially and in many cases spiritually, our culture is still living in the days of kings and slavery. Closed adoption is unenlightened soul slavery. It is spiritual abuse of the highest order and ranks on the same level as physical abuse to children.

The first step towards recovery or rehabilitation or just getting on with your life for anyone that suffers from an oppressive system or an oppressor is to admit that the oppression is being done. I grew up in a system where it was taboo to ask about my adoption. The few times that I tried to share it with anyone, like in first grade, I learned right away that people are going to treat me as if there is something wrong with me; that I'm different; that I'm outside the other group of kids. That means that I became ashamed of who I was. I became a shame-based person. Adoptees run away, commit suicide, vandalize, lose their marriages, go to prison, go to nut houses. Adoptees are misdiagnosed, mistreated and abused.

Today in almost all psychiatric institutions, it is still not a standard form of intake to screen for adoption. Adoption is not yet recognized as a syndrome or disease or harmful characteristic, and yet the statistics are obvious and overwhelming. While highbrow intellectuals argue back and forth about the detrimental affects of adoption, adoptees are out there dying.

All adoptees share a common brotherhood and sisterhood. Adoptees are one tribe, the lost tribe. Whenever one adoptee is in trouble, it is the business of all adoptees. The same as the alcoholic. The same as the war veteran. Adoptees and Triad members are now gathering together to form a circle, an alliance. Together, we declare that our experience has been painful and detrimental to our well-being. Together, we are not asking for a scientific evidence for the fact that we hurt. We are a self-help, healing tribe, just like AA or ACOA or ALANON.

As we members learn to live by our Bill of Rights, and as we as individuals become stronger and healthier spiritually and physically, the closed adoption oppressive system will crumble.

The Recovering Adoptee's Bill of Rights

  1. We have the right to dignity and respect.
  2. We have the right to know we are adopted.
  3. We have the right to possess our original birth certificate.
  4. We have the right to possess all of our adoption records.
  5. We have the right to full knowledge of our origins, ethnic and religious backgrounds; our original name and any pertinent medical and social details.
  6. We have the right to updated medical and social history of our birthparents.
  7. We have the right to personal contacts with each of our birth families, as all other humans.
  8. We have the right to live without guilt toward any set of parents.
  9. We have the right to treat and love both sets of parents as one family.
  10. We have the right and obligation to show our feelings.
  11. We have the right to become whole and complete people.
  12. We have a right and obligation not to violate the dignity of all people involved in the adoption Triad, and to carry our message to all adult adopted children who will suffer.

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