08 November 2007

NoIsNaAdBeMo 8

My NoIsNaAdBeMo almost went like this:

Today I came home from work and did three bong hits and then drank half a bottle of Pinot Noir and then made a burger with sautéed onions and fresh thyme with a fried egg on top and also Amish cheese (on wheat!), and potato wedges and asparagus and then I ate five Krispy Kremes and just sat in the dim of my living room listening to Novocain by Beck and everything by Animal Collective the end.


I am reading The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child. A bunch of my adoptee pals will be like, "Psh M******* why are you JUST reading this now?" And there are several answers to that question. The first answer is that I can't get it out of the library because I have this chronic problem that involves me getting books out of the library and not taking them back for like. Three years. There was also this stretch that lasted about 23 years where I had no disposable income. That is, income that was not to be disposed on thing that weren't Grey Goose, Flamin' Hot Cheetos, and Rolos. (I never needed to spend money on weed. Boys will just give it to pretty girls.)

Now the interesting thing about this book, and the major component that I believe makes it all the more credible: it was written by an adoptive mother. She recognized the difference between raising a biological child and not, the genetic connection, the abandonment, the acknowledgment of abandonment, among other things.

I haven't finished the book, so there's no way to summarize it, but I want to share some things from it:

According to 1985 statistics used by Parenting Resources of Santa Ana, California, although adoptees at the time represented 2-3% of the population of this country, the represented 30-40% of the individuals found in residential treatment centers, juvenile hall, and special schools. They demonstrated a high incidence of juvenile delinquency, sexual promiscuity, and running away from home. They have had more difficulty in school, both academically and socially, than their non-adopted peers...had relatively consistent symptoms, which are characterized as impulsive, provocative, aggressive, and antisocial.


Too often in our approach to the newborn we deal with him as if he is exactly that--"brand new." We neglect the fact that the neonate is really the culmination of an amazing experience that has lasted forty weeks....By looking at the neonate as if he had "sprung full-blown from the brain of Zeus" we are missing the opportunities that the newborn's history as a fetus can provide.


One woman told me that she had intended to write a long letter to her birthmother about whom she had no conscious memory but for whom she had been thinking about searching....Taking a pen in her hand, she wrote: "Dear Mommy, Come and get me." After that, she told me there seemed to be nothing more to say,


Just because they do not consciously remember it does not make it any less devastating. It only makes it more difficult to deal with, because it happened before they had words with which to describe it and is, therefore, almost impossible to talk about. For many of them, it is even difficult to think about. In fact, some adoptees say the feel as if they either came from outer space or a file drawer. To allow themselves the memory of being born, even a feeling sense of it, would mean also having to remember and feel what happened next. And that they most certainly do not want to do.


A young boy lies in a hospital bed. He is frightened and in pain. Burns cover 40% of his small body. Someone has doused him with alcohol and then, unimaginably, has set him on fire.

He cries for his mother.

His mother has set him on fire.

It doesn't seem to matter what kind of mother a child has lost, or how perilous it may be to dwell in her presence. It doesn't matter whether she hurts or hugs. Separation from mother is worse than being in her arms when the bombs are exploding. Separation from mother is sometimes worse than being with her when she is the bomb.

I am not suggesting that we keep a child with a mother who will set him on fire, but I am suggesting that we have to understand what we are doing when we take him away from her.


An infant or child can certainly attach to another caregiver, but the quality of that attachment may be different from that with the first mother, and bonding may be difficult or, as may adoptees have told me, impossible.


And finally:

It is my belief, therefore, that the severing of that connection between the adopted child and his birthmother causes a primal or narcissistic wound, which affects the adoptee's sense of self and often manifests in a sense of loss, basic mistrust, anxiety and depression, emotional and/or behavioral problems, and difficulties in relationships with significant others. I further believe that the awareness, whether conscious or unconscious, that the original separation was the result of a "choice" made by the mother affects the adoptee's self-esteem and self-worth."


suz said...

sigh. kudos to you. i cannot crack the spine. its like an ouja board to me. it will for sure release demons i am not prepared to battle.
it just hurts so damn much. why didnt anyone tell me this stuff? why didnt they tell me adoption was going to fuck up my child as much as it might (emphasis on might) help her.
: (

Robin said...

i haven't read it either buuut... now I'm going to. thanks for sharing those.