Tell me again

I think we can all agree that soldiers coming back from war have the potential for some serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, yes?

Here’s an article that says soldiers with diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are two times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.

Here’s another article that says adopted teens are FOUR times more likely to attempt suicide than the average person in the same age cohort.

I know comparing attempts vs. successful suicides is a little “apples vs. oranges” – but even if only half the soldiers attempts were successful and both adoptees and soldiers with PTSD have similar attempt rates, that still says a lot.  (And I’m guessing a soldier is more likely to succeed at his attempts than a teen girl, making the above stats more comparable.)

So, tell me again that adoption isn’t traumatic? That we’re all just a big bunch of whiners? Do you think the soldiers are a big bunch of whiners? 

Adopto-Snark

Just found this new-to-me blog: Adopto-Snark.

I’m really loving it so far. My favorite post: Downton Abbey’s Alarming Failure to Pander

Love me some Downton Abbey talk.

As you can probably tell by the blog’s title, it’s very snarky and sarcastic.  Since I grew up in NJ, I speak sarcasm as my first language – this blog is right up my alley. But if you don’t like that, you’ve been warned. 😉

This

Robin Williams

I think this is one of the reasons us “happy adoptees” (i.e. as opposed to the kids who acted out) do what we do.  Part is the people-pleasing brought about by shame and terror of being abandoned again (however far buried inside us) and part is this. We know what it’s like, and no person should feel this way.

A Win and a Loss

Today at the dinner table, the kids were asking, “What nationalities are we exactly?” …and I was able to tell them! Well, not “exactly” what they are, but regionally: 41% Great Britain, 23% Scandinavian (which I know from my mother is mostly Norwegian), 15% Irish, 11% East European, and 5% West European. That’s me, so my kids are half those percentages. Thank you Ancestry DNA.

Baby Girl B  1,  Adoption Trauma  0

**************************************

I’ve mentioned that I think I know who my father is, but that I haven’t contacted this person. A few months ago, I found a short interview of him on YouTube for his business. It was a poor quality video, and he wasn’t even very clear, but it was better than nothing. I’ve never found anything else like that, not even pictures anywhere. Well, I went to look at it again, and it’s gone. They’ve deleted it.

It’s all I had of him.

Baby Girl B  0 ,  Adoption Trauma  1 

Mira Via

I know several “Catholic” organizations have been less than stellar (understatement) in their involvement in adoption over family preservation, but Belmont Abbey College has a wonderful program for college age pregnant women:

Kind of a goofy “interview” LOL, but it gives you the idea.

Mira Via, on the campus, provides housing and support, and the college provides 10 free college classes.  I hope more campuses decide to do this.

Playing the victim

Something that really bothers me is when people say to adoptees, “Stop playing the victim” or “I’m an adoptee too, but I refuse to ‘play the victim’,”  simply because the adoptee dares to say adoption hurts, adoption is trauma.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think they understand what “playing the victim” really means.

Playing the victim is a manipulative effort to get what you want out of someone, or get out of things you don’t want to do. It’s a fabrication in order to gain attention, or justify abuse. Yes, sometimes it’s a misguided coping strategy (meaning maybe you don’t intend or realize you are doing it), but even then it’s a way to manipulate your environment so that you don’t have to take responsibility for your actions or the things you need to do in your state in life.

None of which is what I see when the average adoptee on the internet is accused of playing the victim. In fact, most of the adoptees I know have awesome, successful lives, myself included. They might just happen to feel like crap while they are living that American Dream. (See also Paul Sunderland’s video on how his adopted clients were testing off the charts depressed while appearing perfectly normal.)

Saying “I have psychological damage because I was adopted and raised a certain way,” or “Adoption is a traumatic experience for any child,” is simply a statement of cause and effect. A truth.  It’s like saying “I have cancer because I smoked 3 packs a day,” or “I broke my arm and it hurts a lot.”  No one tells those people they are “playing the victim.”    Smoking = cancer.  Arm broken = pain. Adoption = trauma, and for many people complex developmental trauma = psychological damage as adults = physical and emotional pain.  It just *is*.  Saying what is true is not playing the victim.

People come on to an adoptee blog, forum, or Facebook page centered on adoptees who are healing — and so since adoption and it’s consequences are the subject of the page, of course we are going to be talking about that — and then somehow extrapolate that those 10 minutes we took to post about our pain are Our Whole Lives. It is assumed must always be whining to others that our life sucks, taking on Victim as our identity. Others of us take more then ten minutes, maybe researching and writing about adoption for hours a a day even. ( *ahem*  My excuse: old habits die hard, I have a degree in the effect of biology on psychology, this stuff fascinates me) …but I do it to help others, to tell truths, to be strong, to make a difference, which is the exact opposite of “playing the victim.”

Accusing someone of playing the victim is a shaming way to shut down discourse because you don’t like what someone is saying. So really, the people who say these things to us are the ones being manipulative, not us. We are simply expressing fact.

Maybe if people would ACTUALLY LISTEN, we wouldn’t have to keep saying it.

Review

New Republic has a review and article about God and Jetfire: Confessions of a Birth Mother by Amy Seek, a memoir of an open adoption.

From the article:

Still, she finds it difficult to live in an arrangement that feels like an ongoing experiment. You don’t need to be a citizen of “Adoptionland”—as some in the adoption community have come to call their unmapped country—or even necessarily a parent, to appreciate what Seek has mourned, and sometimes celebrated, for so long. The heart of God and Jetfire isn’t, ultimately, about the litany of systemic problems in adoption, but rather the more universal experience of making a hard, unclear choice, and having to live with its outcome.