Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adoption Changes?

Scroll to the bottom of this Newspaper Article of 1878 for an advertisment which is in many ways reminiscent of the advertising of today. Perhaps the language is slightly different in some instances, prettied up for a customer base that wouldn't accept an advertisement that seems so blatantly to be about finding free servants. No doubt 'donations' changed hands and some money was involved.
Most of you have seen those lists of babies available for adoption, or as they are sometimes called  'adoption situations'. Can we honestly say there is any difference, that adoption has changed in any way?
 Parenting may have changed over the decades and the adoption industry, taken advice from the advertising industry and made changes in order to sell adoptees 'better' to willing buyers. Some adoptees who would once have had access to records and information no longer do, although others have experienced changes for the better. They are few. Sadly not so for the adoptees who remain uninformed of their adoption, some of their relatives uninformed of their existence.
My own brother and sisters knew nothing about me, their half-sibling, for over 60 years. Fortunately their mother was dead once they knew, as it is suspected she did not know either. I was very relieved not to have to have been instrumental in bringing the glad tidings to her and would have avoided it at all costs. It is adoptees, those 'little mistakes', who take the burden of the indescision, negligence and choices not to tell, who agonise over what to do and try to balance that against their need to know medical history, ancestry, identity and where they have come from.
Adoptees who have not been told they are adoptees by their adopters and discover by accident or in some other way, have enormous adjustments to make to their sense of self, their place in the family and their course for the future. If they also happen to be someone who's existence has been kept a secret in the biological family, a double blow bringing with it other fears and concerns!
Those who take their identity and history for granted sometimes seem to think so little about how it must be not to have that certainty and security, the dilemmas, the contradictions and complications.  Lucky them!

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