Sunday, September 6, 2009

Why the Jaycee Dugard Kidnapping Reminds Me of Adoption


Re Jaycee Dugard, the girl who was hostage for 18 years.

Over at Facebook, there has been a lively discussion going on regarding adoption terminations, and we will have a post about that later this week. In the meantime, I've been thinking about the Jaycee Dugard case and though it seems almost sacrilegious to bring this up....when I first heard the story I could not help but think how Jaycee's situation is not unrelated to adoption as it is practiced in the western world today.

Stop screaming and hear what I have to say: In a way those 18 years that Jaycee spent with her captor were not far from being adopted: The child who is to be adopted is unable to have a say-so in the process and the situation, just like Jaycee, who was abducted. Let's assume most babies, like Jaycee, don't think, Gee, I'd rather be given away for a perfect stranger to raise than stay here where the feeling smells right, where the heartbeat is the one I'm familiar with--HEY, what's going on? Why are you giving me away? You can't afford me? Isn't there someone who will help you? Write the president! Call the bank! Call someone! You say I'll get a college education if you give me away, and I won't otherwise? Are you sure of that? HEY! MOMMaaaaa....

And then what? Does adopted people ever get free will back? By the time they understand what has happened, it's too late and then they have to come to the understanding that their mothers agreed to this situation, which has got to be a lot for a kid of six or seven to swallow, and maybe, even worse, this was done without any way for them to find out who she is, and the rest, and furthermore the state sanctioned this irrational and unjust agreement without EVER ASKING ME! The big difference of course is that adoption is done with the biological parent's, or parents' agreement, but how is that different in the psyche of the adopted person? Like, worse? Of course, it's got to be psychologically worse. How do you remove the "my mother did not want me?" from the adopted child's (and I do mean youngster here) psyche?

It seems to me that adoption, particularly closed adoption, is not unlike...a state sanctioned--well, it's not kidnapping, but then what is it?

The Chinese and other Third World adoptions where the children really were abandoned are not the same here, and though the demand for babies has made international adoption a sick situation, there are/there were thousands of babies who were abandoned and no one would take them in their native country, and so this connection that my brain is making does not apply here.

But still. I am really interested in what you have to say about this.
--------------------
Later: Over at Salon we are getting the usual pap baloney about the "loving" decision to give away a child..
."Adoption Diaries" is the sort of poignant fare that demonstrates what a generous and loving act adoption is, an incredible gift by the birth mother to hopeful parents longing for their own children."
Please do drop into Salon and leave a comment. We need to educate the public over and over and over again. You know, about the "loving decision" of an "adoption plan."

54 comments :

  1. I have blogged about this and about adoption and indenture. IMHO the major difference between adoption and kidnapping is the legality or illegality....in terms of DEFINITION. Both are the taking of another's child. Which for me brings up the fact that I hate the definition of adoption because it relates only to the tAking and not the LOSS.

    I also see a comparison in the feelings of Stockholm Syndrome - gratitude and indebtedness to one's 'rescuer who convinces you that no one else wants you or are dead. I hear more "gratitude" from adoptees toward their parents than I do from non-adoptees. Non-adoptees will speak of loving, admiring their parents...but few I have ever heard will describe feeling grateful to them simply for having raised them! I mean, under special circumstances a person might be grateful for a parent who stood by them through in illness or such...but not for food.

    my blogs:

    adoption and kidnapping:
    http://familypreservation.blogspot.com/2009/07/
    kidnapping-or-adoption.html

    is adoption indenture?
    http://familypreservation.blogspot.com/2009/07/
    is-adoption-indenture.html

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  2. "The child who is to be adopted is unable to have a say-so in the process and the situation..."

    The problem with this logic is that by the time the child IS able to have a say... the crucial developmental years have generally passed by...

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  3. How much more constructive it would be to discuss what adoption is, including what is wrong with it, than to say it is "like" kidnapping, slavery, child prostitution, murder, etc. In my opinion this clouds the issue and raised defenses rather than clarifying anything or leading to understanding. But that's just me, the perpetual minority opinion:-)

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  4. Mei-Ling: That is exactly my point. The child never gets a say-so.

    And I do not relate the adopters to kidnappers, I'm talking about the child, period.

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  5. I know we've been around this one before so I'll try not to wander too much into old territory.

    Essentially, we are powerless as babies to choose our parents or our family situations. For me adoption is part of the same roll-over that all children experience to some degree as powerless children. So for that reason, the comparison doesn't hold for me. Children are not consulted on a wide range of issues that leave an indelible mark on them, including whether or not they actually want to be Catholic or Mormon, listen to the President's speech at school, take piano, or go to college. In many families, it's considered parental privilege to pass the stuff on—literally to enforce it. But the bottom line is that the child is still not choosing. In order for your argument to work, you would have to assert that, by comparison, biological parents would always do exactly as needed for the child and we know that isn't the case.

    ALL parenthood is tryanny, a kind of grand abduction, and ALL the work of moving from childhood to adulthood is fighting the tyranny of parents and individuating—forming a sense of self. Incidentally, IMO there are many people wandering around who don't do this work and are still patsies and clones of mommy and daddy. Hopefully, kids and parents get through this process without killing each other. But the important thing is for them to get through it and for parents to respect their children as individuals.

    The one thing that is similar is that the child and the network of history, heritage, and relationships are changed by both adoption and abduction. It can be argued that abduction destroys what should have been. With adoptions that are unethical (coerced, illegal, etc.), that is also the case. When adoption is necessary, it still changes the adoptee (my daughter is now irrevocably Chinese-Canadian) but I'm not sure one could speculate on the what-should-have-been so clearly without rearranging history—ironically, the very history said to be lost through adoption. On the other hand, working out the idea of one's abandonment/surrender is work unique to the adoptee and isn't relevant to the abductee.

    Well, I wasn't thrilled when you blogged about this again, Lo, but I do appreciate the opportunity to work out my own thoughts on the subject!

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  6. The main reason I am anti-adoption is because the child cannot consent to the adoption. Also, there is no "opt- out" option when the child reaches the age of majority.

    Adoption of minors should be illegal.

    Good post.

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  7. When you put in an article that shows or implies even the slightest reference to kidnapping...

    How can that be seen (from an adopter's point of view) as anything but an accusation of a "kidnapper"?

    "That is exactly my point. The child never gets a say-so."

    But the child isn't old enough to *have* a say-so. By then, it's too late and the developmental years have suffered.

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  8. Children don't consent to anything. That is the defining experience of childhood, but not the exclusive experience of adoption.

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  9. The Facebook discussion is sooo much more interesting.

    Adoptees are discussing the Patty Hearst case and how in her trial she was chastised for "bonding" with her captors and thus being an ungrateful little bastard (and also a menace to society by becoming "criminal")-- the exact reverse in that sense of what happens to an adoptee. Whereas there is a great deal of societal pressure for adoptees to be grateful.

    They seem to have their minds open enough to discuss comparisons re Stockholm Syndrome effect. What a refreshing concept that is to discuss things with an open mind. Perhaps small email lists are more conducive to intelligent real conversation and sharing -- ore so than blogs where some seem to think it an invitation to argue more than to discuss. I don't know, just thinking aloud, so to speak.

    Anyone with an open mind, is welcome to read my thoughts on the kidnapping and adoption on my latest blog post at FamilyPresrvation.blogspot.com

    Note that my views are at least in part stemming from what has happened in the global adoption market.

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  10. "On the other hand, working out the idea of one's abandonment/surrender is work unique to the adoptee and isn't relevant to the abductee."

    I'd think a person that was abducted would still have a difficult time understanding how their parents didn't prevent the abduction. Just as many adopted people struggle with being told their mothers were forced to surrender. It depends on the situation, if the abducted person never knew that the people calling themselves parents weren't their parents then they wouldn't have grown up with the same narrative as those adopted, similar to the Late Discovery Adoptee.

    A lot of adoptions are a form of abduction. A baby snatched from its mother's arms and hidden from her so she can't consider leaving with her child - what's that if not a type of abduction? Drugging women to get them to sign adoption papers? What about stealing children from parents and selling them to orphanages? Is that not a form of abduction? The only difference is the the word adoption masks the truth.

    Do adopters ever tell their a-kids that there's a chance they weren't abandoned, rather abducted and sold before they were adopted?

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  11. Michelle said "I'd think a person that was abducted would still have a difficult time understanding how their parents didn't prevent the abduction."
    How so? You've lost me here.

    I can understand why an adoptee might feel that way, at any age, but an abductee who is no longer an infant, expecially if the abduction took place when the parent(s) weren't even present to try to prevent it?

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  12. AdoptAuthor,

    Does "an open mind" mean ultimately agreeing with your point of view? There are many comments here, very few on your blog no matter what the subject.

    You are a woman with VERY strong opinions and the conviction that you are right, as well as being prone to argue a point until the opponent says "uncle.". Nothing wrong with that, I am too. But people agreeing with you or me does not make them "open-minded". It just makes them "like-minded".

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  13. I do believe all adoptees suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. We have no choice but to learn to adapt to strangers to have our basic needs met. We grow to love our "captors". It is a harsh comparison when I say "captors" instead of adoptive parents, but that is what I truly believe. (Oh and YES- I do love my adoptive parents) And it does make it worse for adoptees when we realize our first parents made that fateful decision- whether or not they were coerced into doing so.


    Loraine, you wrote, "The Chinese and other Third World adoptions where the children really were abandoned are not the same here, and though the demand for babies has made international adoption a sick situation, there are/there were thousands of babies who were abandoned and no one would take them in their native country, and so this connection that my brain is making does not apply here."

    I feel this general statement feeds into the most common lie of international adoption- that babies are abandoned. I feel women in "third world countries" are in the SAME situation most of the BSE first Moms were in- they are coerced into giving their child away. Sorry, but non-third world first Mothers are NOT the only mothers who were and are still coerced. If anything, "third world" first Moms face even MORE coercion than you did- their child could be killed if not sold into or given away to their corrupt governments.

    But to quote another poster,"But that's just me, the perpetual minority opinion". I guess I should add Im a "perpetual child", since that is how most refer to adoptees...even when we are adults.

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  14. Michelle, it's not always easy to go back and piece the story together internationally. But if one's orphanage had been associated with a baby-selling ring in a specific time frame, the writing would be on the wall, wouldn't it? We know from experiences like Chennai, India, and orphanage scandals in China that some parents do the right thing and others batten down the hatches and say nothing. I always worry about these kids piecing it together themselves, like Subash, who is apparently living in the Midwest. How many adopted Tamils are living in his town? When he starts putting in those key words and following the trail of his own interests. . .what will happen? If not him, then someone will mention it to him.

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  15. "Do adopters ever tell their a-kids that there's a chance they weren't abandoned, rather abducted and sold before they were adopted?"

    Um...

    That would frighten the %$*% out of the kid.

    Either that, or they'd think their a-parent was crazy for suggesting it.

    (I do admit I wonder that if the original parent is legally know, then why doesn't the a-parent make more an effort to try and return the child?)

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  16. Lidalouwho, read the Lost of Daughters of China or Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son. There is abandonment. Admittedly, there is cultural pressure because of the need for sons--an idea still strong in the rural areas. In Kay Johnson's research on girl abandonment in China, she found that *fathers* actually made the decision to abandon in half the cases and both parents made the decision together in the other half. This was also the first time it was noted that the husband's parents (most abandonments are done by married couples) were often key in pressuring for girl abandonment. This is not to say that the adoption system in China hasn't been tainted by corruption, because it certainly has. And this is not to say that any of this is good. But it is what it is.

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  17. My understanding of "Stockholm Syndrome" is that it always begins with a forceful, often violent abduction or imprisonment against the imprisoned or kidnapped person's will, and that it starts with fear and hostility towards the captors, later turned to a kind of dependence that includes trying to do the captor's will so as not to be hurt, and ending with identification with the captor.

    It might also involve a "good cop/bad cop scenario with two or more captors, currying favor of the "good cop" character to avoid the wrath of the "bad cop". It is not normal affection rising out of consistent good treatment or real caring from the captor. It is something twisted and sick. Do some here really see all adoptive families this way? That is sad.

    I do not think saying "all adoptees suffer from Stockholm Syndrome" is a valid statement.
    Yes, adoptees sometimes seem excessively grateful to their adoptive parents, and some adoptive parents use guilt to exploit this feeling and maintain a sense of control of their adult child long past when this is appropriate. This is certainly a dysfunctional family dynamic.

    But Stockholm Syndrome? It is assumed in any family, adoptive or biological, that children will form an attachment to their parents, which includes some gratitude, love, responsibility. This is normal family stuff in normal, loving, decent families.
    It is not motivated by fear or violence except in abusive families, and that is a whole other issue.

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  18. I dunno, Mei-Ling, I think learning that one's parents are missing would be frightening no matter what the reason. Suggesting abduction would mean learning the truth ASAP, though. Abduction would atleast make more sense than abandonment(imo). I read about pre-adopters not even caring that a mother's child was stolen - they want the adoption to go through anyway. Don't understand that at all.

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  19. 1) The discussion going on at FB is private as agreed upon by those taking part, a small group of adopted individuals and birth parents.

    2) Of course there are differences between abduction and sequestering a child for a long period of time and adoption, but there are also similarities in the emotional context of the person so abducted or adopted. To prima facie ignore them because the parallels are offensive, which is what I sense here, is the same kind of flabby reasoning that led to closed adoptions where one's identity was removed and a new one attached much the same way one changes a suit of clothes. We have not discussed this before unless you are referring to the post about the certain similarities between adoption and slavery, both cases of identity theft. The similarity begins and ends there, but it is there.

    3) We are First Mother Forum have repeatedly decried and publicized the corruption in international adoption. We can not follow every strain of thought every time we post because we do not have the time, and readers would find it excessive and repetitive. The reason I excluded international adoption is that some of the children, particularly the older Chinese girls, were abandoned and would have died, one supposes, or grown up in a state-run home in China without adoption. Though we oppose to the wholesale removal of children from their culture, surely that is better for the abandoned individual, given a stark choice between no family there and a loving, willing family here. So the difference is, given that an adopting mother or father has no opportunity to locate the original mother, there is no tacit agreement on the part of the birth mother to the adoption, as there is, say, in an adoption even today in this country.

    To find our previous posts on "international adoption," put those words in the search box in the upper left corner of the home page of FMFoum. You'll find several.

    4) Yes, I agree, all childhood involves a certain amount of tyranny (don't touch the fire, don't play in the street, you must be home by nine), but that is the normal course of raising a youngster to grow up to be an adult who will do the same to his or her child. Yet the circumstances of those conditions --involved in perpetuating the human race--are irreparably altered when the individual is removed from the original home and deposited in another. And that's where the similarities lie, n'est -ce pas?

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  20. Kippa,

    I had a hard time grasping what caused the separation from my mother, father and family. I had some sort of story (which I later discovered was completely wrong), but I still didn't understand how she didn't have choices - how she couldn't have done things differently. Someone who was abducted from a playground, for example, could wonder (as an adult) why did my mother not see the person who took me, how did she let this happen, and why did she never come back or find me? It's these types of questions and unknowns that I think both and abducted person and an adopted person would have in common, and even when hearing the truth, it could can take time to process.

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  21. Maryanne, you wrote:
    "My understanding of "Stockholm Syndrome" is that it always begins with a forceful, often violent abduction or imprisonment against the imprisoned or kidnapped person's will, and that it starts with fear and hostility towards the captors, later turned to a kind of dependence that includes trying to do the captor's will so as not to be hurt, and ending with identification with the captor."

    You made my point- It is against a newborn's will to be taken away from his or her natural Mother. We are frightened when we are placed with our adoptive parents. They are strangers. Strange smells, sounds, heartbeats- everything about them is strange.

    Once we have been placed, we realize that we must interact with them in such a way that we are not abandoned again. We study our a families, so that we will seem to be just like them. It IS a dependance, and it is a necessary skill set that most adoptees acquire early on.

    We must do this in order to survive....both physically, and mentally.

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  22. Oslomamoma,

    I agree with you that abduction doesn't apply to all the stories we hear in international adoptions. In China, I've heard that fathers will sometimes take the baby girl to the orphanage or they have state or town officials that will do it automatically. It's still taking a child from its mother/family/village - not sure what we call that, technically.

    I've just never been comfortable with the term abandoned. A child could have an older sibling that witnessed the removal of her/his sister - the grandparents could be devastated. There's always more to the story and more people are effected by this terrible situation than just one or both parents.

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  23. "Abduction would atleast make more sense than abandonment(imo)."

    In your opinion, if the adoption was legally agreed to by both parties in the process, is it still abduction?

    As a child, if I had been told I was "abducted" from my Mama, I don't know what I would have thought - even if it was legally acknowledged by both parties (I have the consent form) and money was taken out of the equation.

    Either:

    1.) You're crazy! She didn't even want me, so how could I have been abducted? Besides, even if I was abducted, couldn't she just try and reclaim me?

    2.) I wasn't abducted. THIS is my family! That other woman didn't even try to fight for me!

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  25. When i read the story of Jaycee being found, a split second later I felt a wave of grief and nausea. Not because Jayce has been found -- for this I rejoiced -- but for what her mother must have gone through all these years: because I know what it was like. I lived this agony myself. :(

    What is the difference? In practical terms, it is perfectly legal to coerce a mother to surrender her child, and really no-one cares. The few laws that exist are toothless. The mother won't get sympathy as everyone sees her as having "abandoned" her child, not realizing that a 4th party, the broker, profited financially from the sale. In the case of B.C. in the 1980s, our right-wing government viewed adoption as a great way to keep single mothers off of welfare -- take their child and you save thousands (the same Ministry that handled welfare also handled adoptions -- our very Government was the broker).

    Adoption is all about coercion, choicelessness, and market demand. Other than the methods involved, how does this differ from other forms of abduction?

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  26. Lindalouwho, please speak for yourself, not for all adoptees.
    Newborn infants do not have the cognition to react to being surrendered the way a child of 11 reacts to being kidnapped. I know there are some theories out there that propose this, but they are questionable at best and certainly not universally true even if seem true for some cases.

    You may believe this is so in your case, and your are welcome to your beliefs, but to generalize this to all adopted people is not credible. No, I did not "make your point" because I do not hold the same unprovable belief system that you do. We are talking about very different things.

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  27. Bethgo said, "This is not about abduction. It is about abandonment and the ramifications of a single choice."

    Exactly. Whether the choice was coerced or not, and if so, to what extent if at all, the relinquishing mother was complicit (because there can be degrees of complicity. Sometimes there is none, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot) the adoption came about as the result *someone's* final decision.

    And it certainly wasn't the adoptee's.

    Abduction is a red herring.

    I wonder what Jaycee Lee Dugard would have to say about all this talk.

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  28. "It is against a newborn's will to be taken away from his or her natural Mother."

    I respect your view of this issue, Lindalouwho, but infants don't have the same level of cognition that an older child has. They do not react in the same way because they process it differently.

    I realize that many adoptees did not act out in fear of being abandoned. I am one of the adoptees who did not have a fear of abandonment. If there was a fear of abandonment, it was towards my original mother for "abandoning" me in the first place - not my adoptive parents.

    Please do not speak for me.

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  29. Maryanne, the infant doesn't have the cognition to recognize abandonment like an eleven year-old. True enough.

    For an infant it is much worse because they don't have such capacity, they don't even know they are a separate being from mother---

    I am an adoptee, and Lindalouwho can speak for me any time she wants. I don't like to see her chided by a non-adoptee about such matters.

    The differences for me between my adoption and Jaycee's abduction.

    Had Jaycee not been abducted, she would have continued to be cared for by her mother.

    Had I not been adopted, I would have continued to live in foster care or institutionalized care, not really sure where I was, except I was not in my mother's care.

    My adoptive father did not rape me.

    I didn't live in a tent in their backyard, I had a nice room with a canopy bed, as many girls of my era.

    I was sent to a good school and was encouraged to study.

    There are more differences, but I assume you can get my drift.

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  30. Joy,

    If Lindalouwho speaks for you,no problem. You two are in agreement, as are some others.

    However, she does not speak for every adoptee. I don't speak for every mother who surrendered. If I tried to, you would have every right to call me on making overgeneralized statements, even though you are not a mother who gave up a child.

    If Lindalou were speaking only about her own feelings and beliefs I would not challenge her, but she was not. I know many adoptees who would not agree with her. At least two here have said she does not speak for them. Subjective feeling is not the ultimate reality, there is also objective observation.

    I don't know how it feels to be an adoptee.I don't pretend to. But I do know what many adoptees tell me, and not all agree with you or Lindalou. Some do, that's fine, but nobody can speak for "all".

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  31. for Beth:
    My adoptive parents adopted me, they did not "abduct" me. But the infant mind does not know that. They only know their first Mother is gone. Period. And it is traumatizing. The infant is an intelligent creature, and will adapt to survive.

    And yes, my relinquishment, even if there was coercion involved, was ultimately my first Mother's choice.

    Maybe I should have said "all adoptees suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, but some do not recognize that fact, because they are still foggy and believe the rainbow unicorn crap about adoption."

    I do BELIEVE that all adoptees suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, Maryanne, just as YOU believe it's no big deal for people to call first Mothers "birthmoms or bm's" Take your OWN advice.

    It never ceases to amaze me that when first Mothers and Adoptive Mothers ask for dialogue on their precious blogs, adoptees are chastised for THEIR opinions.

    And you DID make my point. Go back and read what you wrote about your understanding about Stockholm Syndrome. Its what happens to adoptees. Sorry if it is too painful for you to think about. Maybe it's too close to home for you?

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  32. Mei-Ling wrote: "In your opinion, if the adoption was legally agreed to by both parties in the process, is it still abduction?"

    No, I don't see it that way. If a mother's child was taken right from her by a state official, no, it's not the same as a child being abducted from a schoolyard. A mother in China, for example,is likely aware of what's happening to her child or what could happen because she gave birth to a girl. But I can't believe that many Chinese mothers want their babies taken away. And what are her options? So, could it be forced removal? Not sure what to call it when it appears to be legal or a culturally accepted practice.

    But a mother who went to the hospital to give birth then changed her mind about surrendering and was then told that her baby died, but was really sold for adoption, I would consider that a form of abduction. But I don't know for sure that that's what it would be called.

    My point is that I would prefer to know the truth (whatever it is) instead of being be left to ponder the abandoned or given away explanations. There's alawys a story and about five more within that one.

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  33. "all adoptees suffer from Stockholm Syndrome"

    I know what definition of Stockholm Syndrome is being used in relation to adoption.

    So, since you're leaning on that explanation for attachment, how about this question?

    How is an adoptive parent supposed to tell the difference between "forced attachment" (due to abduction via abandonment) and when it gradually evolves into "real attachment" (loving adoption)?

    Where is the line drawn?

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  34. Kippa, I think that "complicity," not "abduction," is the red herring. Jaycee was in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Do we label her complicit in the crime? Or label her stepfather complicit as he watched her abducted and was helpless as the abductor drove away with her?

    Similar with many natural mothers. There was nothing we could do to prevent the loss of our child. Often this just came down to "We saw or had no other viable options." Often it was being strapped down to a delivery table, screaming while hospital staff put a sheet up to prevent us ever seeing our babies, while other staff briskly abducted our child (took and withheld by force without our consent) from the room.

    "(281) Abduction of Person Under Fourteen - Every one who, not being the parent ... unlawfully takes, entices away, conceals, detains, receives or harbours that person with intent to deprive a parent ... of the possession of that person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years." -- Criminal Code of Canada

    That is what was done to me when they stole my son. The "signature" later on was already a moot point -- i had no way to get him back -- or even find him as they had moved him from the hospital in order to prevent me from finding/seeing him. I was not "complicit" to this evil deed.

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  35. Lindalou, I dunno. Was Mei-Ling chastised for her opinion? Was BethGo or Joy? All of them brought significant points to bear.

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  36. Lindalouwho said: "And yes, my relinquishment, even if there was coercion involved, was ultimately my first Mother's choice."

    Perhaps in your case? I was 15 and I know that I had no choices. I was sent 1000 miles away from home without resources. At least my son calls my life in his hometown "the time you were imprisoned." I am grateful he understands.

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  37. "How is an adoptive parent supposed to tell the difference between "forced attachment" (due to abduction via abandonment) and when it gradually evolves into "real attachment" (loving adoption)?"


    Oh, Mei-Ling, for those here who don't acknowledge adoptive family as family, it's a moot point. Once DD is old enough, though, I will ask her.

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  38. No, Maryanne, Mei-Ling is the only one who says that and she still lives at home and expends a lot of energy trying to please not just her own APs but the APs and PAPs of the world.

    Certain things are biological imperatives outside the realm of opinion.

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  39. That is an excellent question, Mei-Ling. I do not know....At what point do kidnapped persons begin to love their captors? When they realize they are stuck in that situation? When they realize they just need to put up, shut up and play the game in order to survive? Then maybe they say, "Oh well...at least I wasn't killed...maybe they really do care about me...maybe I should be grateful." Are their captors aware of it?

    As adoptees, most of us are spoon fed the grateful stuff, the chosen child, be glad she didnt abort you or put you in a dumpster crap...at what point do WE start to believe it? Is it at THAT point we say, "Well, gee....I guess they are right- maybe I DO love my parents..."

    Again- my ap's did not abduct me- but that does not change the way my infant mind reacted. My ap's knew there was and is a difference with how my brother (also adopted) and I interacted with them, versus how our sister (their bio daughter) interacted with them. Heck, you can even see it in pictures. There is an element of sadness and confusion in our eyes & faces in almost every picture. The pictures of our sister show a happy baby, looking at the people she knew BEFORE she was born.

    I do not know at what point the forced attachment becomes a loving adoption. I do know that my adoptive parents have always loved me, but bought into the agency lies, so how were they to know? Most BSE ap's had no clue as to how parenting a stranger's child would go.

    I do know that my feelings about this grew even stronger once I had children of my own. They were never happy being with anyone else, even when they were hours old.

    It also made me sad for my aMom, because she wanted that closeness, that love, that attachment from me, but did not ever get it. She got it with her own natural born child, though. I don't know if there is ever a "line drawn", but parents who are intuitive just know.

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  41. Lorraine,

    I'm not sure why you excepted Chinese and other international adoptions. The impact on the child must be exactly the same -- my mother didn't want me. In some ways their situations are more like Jaycee's because their mothers may well have lost them unwillingly due to coercion or kidnapping by the government, the babies' fathers, or adoption profiteers. I suspect that poor third world women have far less say in keeping their children than American women who give up their children in order to pursue their education or career.

    And tragically, like Jaycee, some of these foreign children have been held captive and raped.

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  42. Cedar, I didn't express myself very well, so allow me to explain.
    What I meant (when I imperfectly wrote 'because there can be degrees of complicity. Sometimes there is none, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot') is that there are some cases the mother is not complicitous in *any* way. But that this is not always the case.

    MY response was to BethGo's comment, and of course I wasn't talking about Jaycee at all.

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  43. Can we stop calling China a "third world" country? It bugs the hell out of me. "First, second, and third world" labels reflect an outdated model of the world centred on the supremacy of the US and its cold war with the Soviet Union.

    China is the largest trading nation in the world today and it has the third highest GDP in the world--it may inch out Japan for second place in a few years. And to answer somebody's question a few weeks ago: would anyone go to any of "these places" for medical care? The answer is yes. People do go to China for stem cell therapy.

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  44. Osolomama:

    Absolutely right, China is not a Third World country and it is outdated language. Thanks for reminding us.

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  45. Further, to Cedar - the post to which you are responding was not about Jaycee, except in regard to wondering what she'd think about her situation being compared to that of an adoptee.
    Actually, that was my first thought upon reading this blog post.

    You wrote, "Similar with many natural mothers. There was nothing we could do to prevent the loss of our child."

    My point was that many is not all.

    "Often this just came down to "We saw or had no other viable options."

    Often, but not always. Besides, seeing no viable options and having no viable options are not always the same thing. Though I fully understand how panic and distress have the power to obscure alternative options.

    " "(281) Abduction of Person Under Fourteen - Every one who, not being the parent ... unlawfully takes, entices away, conceals, detains, receives or harbours that person with intent to deprive a parent ... of the possession of that person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years." -- Criminal Code of Canada"

    The majority of adoptions *are* legal. While a law may not always be ethical or just, it is nevertheless the law. If it is a bad law, we have a duty to try and change it.

    "That is what was done to me when they stole my son. The "signature" later on was already a moot point -- i had no way to get him back -- or even find him as they had moved him from the hospital in order to prevent me from finding/seeing him. I was not "complicit" to this evil deed."

    Regardless, signing 'sealed the deal'.
    Besides, this isn't just about you.

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  46. Kippa wrote:
    "Often, but not always. Besides, seeing no viable options and having no viable options are not always the same thing. Though I fully understand how panic and distress have the power to obscure alternative options."

    This was exactly the case for me. I had options, but did not see them, or was afraid to take advantage of them. I am only speaking for me here; and feel all our discussions would have more meaning, humanity, and less antagonism if everyone spoke only for themselves, and did not view other people's different stories as a criticism of theirs.

    We all did what we could at the time, against various circumstances, but we all ended up at the same place, and our kids all had to deal with being surrendered however they could.

    My son was not kidnapped. He was not torn from my arms. He was legally surrendered when I reached such a low point in what I now know was clinical depression that I saw no other way for him to have a decent life.

    I was wrong about that, to the eternal sorrow of myself and in some ways, my son, but I could not see that at the time.

    I take full responsibility for my part in his surrender, and will regret it til the end of my life, but can't change it, nor can I fully blame others. Their guilt for their part is their own. My parents and aunt carried it to their graves, and I suspect my son's father will as well.

    Many different kinds of mothers surrender, for many different reasons, with some choice, none, and everything in between. It is not a contest to see who is the most guiltless or most guilty; we all have our own pain, our own demons to fight.

    We can be less alone if we are able to look beyond our own situations and show some understanding of those of others, even very different stories.

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  47. "she still lives at home and expends a lot of energy trying to please not just her own APs but the APs and PAPs of the world"

    What? No.

    I just happen to treat adoptive parents with more respect. People often mistake that for "people-pleasing."

    And I recognize my own adoptive parents are only human. That doesn't mean I am not angry at them because they had some involvement in my adoption, but I still recognize they are only human.

    Somehow this is always recognized as "people pleasing." I call this courtesy and human decency to realize the ability of human beings to make unintentional mistakes.

    I stopped being grateful for my mere existence a while ago.

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  48. ETA re: Maryanne's statement which caused Joy's reply about being people-pleasing:

    "I know many adoptees who would not agree with her. At least two here have said she does not speak for them"

    It is entirely possible to be anti-adoption and NOT be "fogged up", thank you very much.

    And my living at home has little to do with my mindset. (Yeah, I know, some people on here are going to call me out on that)

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  49. Mei Ling,

    These long threads can get confusing. It is very hard for me to tell what Joy was responding to,and am not sure if she confused my comment with Kippa's, but when I said "I know many adoptees who would not agree with her. At least two here have said she does not speak for them" all I meant was that at least two adoptees had said they did not agree that all adoptees suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. That would be you and Bethgo. Nothing about whether or not either of you are anti-adoption.

    Nor do I think either of you sound "foggy" or "fogged up" just because we do not agree on everything. You are quite articulate. I don't know you at all but thought the comment about you living at home and being a "people pleaser" was too personal and a cheap shot.

    Bethgo,

    I have a lot of respect for Nancy Verrier as a therapist and person even though I do not agree with her theory as a universal. Her second book Beyond The Primal Wound has a lot of good practical advice for adoptees about living an adult life that I think works whether one accepts the original theory or not.

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  50. ML

    I am confused about the anti-adoption + fog comment. Really don't get that, or who suggested that.

    Personally, I am not anti-adoption and have not been a day in my life. I think adoption has its place.

    I find it hard to believe being dependent on one's adoptive parents doesn't interfere with one's ability to separate from their wishes and desires and establish one's own identity. I think the same is true of biological offspring for what it is worth.

    I really believe that young adults need to get out and practice independence while mom and dad are still pretty much around in case back up support is needed.

    I say this as the mother of a young adult.

    As far as your claim that you are "more respectful" I would very much consider that a matter of perspective.

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  51. [As far as your claim that you are "more respectful" I would very much consider that a matter of perspective.]

    You wrote this:

    "Mei-Ling is the only one who says that and she still lives at home and expends a lot of energy trying to please not just her own APs but the APs and PAPs of the world."

    I'm responding with this: You see it as people-pleasing. I see it as being respectful.

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  52. Re. the private discussion on Facebook, "Critics of Stockholm syndrome maintain that those who display evidence of the syndrome captives are exceptions. According to a 2007 FBI report, 73% of victims displayed no signs of such affection for their abductors."

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/
    0,8599,1919757,00.html

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  53. Oops sorry. Misquote. Should copy and paste, and not rely on memory. Here's the correct quote:
    "But as critics of Stockholm syndrome maintain, these captives were the exceptions. According to a 2007 FBI report, 73% of victims displayed no signs of such affection for their abductors."

    Also interesting, "Experts note that because they are especially vulnerable and impressionable, children may be particularly prone to forming bonds with their captors, a phenomenon that may differ from Stockholm syndrome in adults."

    Anyway, you can read it for yourselves.

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  54. "The Chinese and other Third World adoptions where the children really were abandoned are not the same here"

    Unfortunately, not all of them were abandoned. Some of them were literally stolen. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-china-adopt20-2009sep20,0,491086.story

    But you are right that there are many cases in which the babies really were abandoned. Even in those cases however, the situation might be more complicated than it appears. True, it could have been a heartless mother who truly did not want the child or it could have been a mother who was forced to abandon her child for reasons beyond her control (economic factors, being pressured or coerced by other family members, etc.).

    There is definitely an element of Western paternalism in many international adoption cases.

    What do you think of this site?
    http://www.transracialabductees.org

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