Thursday, May 28, 2009

Telling the Truth in Adoption - Harvard Medical School Conf 2005

  • Psychotherapy of Adoptive and Complex Families
  • Harvard Medical School
    April 1-2, 2005
    Telling the Truth in Adoption
    by Thomas F. Brosnan

    Telling the truth in adoption is best begun by telling the truth about adoption.
    Why telling the truth in and about adoption for the adoptive family might be sacrificed in the first place: the “protection-myth.”

    § Protecting the adoptive parents’ feelings:
    discussion of infertility and loss within a family
    § Protecting the adopted from the reality of their unique histories
    discussion of consequences of illegitimacy
    § Protecting the anonymity of birth parents
    discussion of legal maneuvers to keep records sealed

    When the truth is sacrificed, lies must be told and safeguarded by secrecy
    discussion of the difference between secrecy and confidentiality

    Secrecy within any family, but especially one created through adoption, has debilitating results:

    q Secrecy in Adoption (SIA): a deadly virus

    SIA’s defenders intended to protect the adoptive family’s integrity; it has had, ironically, the opposite effect. SIA (as opposed to confidentiality) necessitates lies. SIA erodes familial trust, creating distance and isolation within the adoptive family.
    SIA removes familial mirrors – we adopted can’t see whom we look like.
    SIA creates an ambiguity for the adopted – we do not feel ourselves as the result of sexual intercourse. Like Superman, we ruminate about falling out of space into the home of the kindly Kents; or, as specially chosen from the proverbial cabbage-pack, delivered by stalk rather than vaginal canal.
    SIA robs the adopted of (at least) the knowledge of our first parents’ names, our ethnic and cultural heritage and, perhaps most importantly, of the names given us at birth.
    SIA is the continuance of that flawed and fatal dualist philosophy, pretending that genetics doesn’t matter, that matter doesn’t matter: SIA seeks to separate body and soul, matter and spirit, nature and nurture.
    SIA is based on the most astounding myth of all: that law can eradicate biology.

    q The only antidote: TIA (Truth in adoption)
    · Adoption is all about Loss
    · Adoption is all about Sex
    · Adoption is all about Belonging
    · The truth of one’s origins is an unalienable right,
    requisite for human dignity.

    (Rev.) Thomas F. Brosnan
    215-35 38th Avenue
    Bayside, NY 11361

    Suggested Bibliography:
    Allen, Elizabeth Cooper. Mother, Can You Hear Me? New York: Dodd, Mead & Co, 1983.

    Andersen, Robert, M.D. Second Choice: Growing up Adopted. Missouri: Badger Hill Press, 1993.

    Babb, L. Anne. Ethics in American Adoption. 1999.

    Baran, Annette, M.S.W., and Reuben Panor, M.S.W. Lethal Secrets: The Psychology of Donor Insemination. 1993.

    Brosnan, Thomas F. “Strengthening Families,” in Searching for a Piece of My Soul by Tammy L. Kling. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1998.

    Brodzinsky, David, Marshall Schechter and Henig, Robin. Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self. 1992.

    Brodzinsky, David, Daniel Smith and Anne Brodzinsky. Children’s Adjustment to Adoption: Developmental and Clinical Issues. 1998.

    Cox, Susan Soon-Keum. Voices from Another Place: A Collection of Works from a Generation Born in Korea and Adopted to Other Countries. 1999.

    Dodd, Peter F. Outer Search, Inner Journey. Puyallup, Washington: Aphrodite Publishing, 1997.

    Dorner, Patricia. How To Open An Adoption. 1998.

    ________. Talking To Your Child About Adoption. 1991

    Fisher, Florence. The Search for Anna Fisher. New York: Fawcett Press, 1973.

    Franklin, Lynn C. May the Circle Be Unbroken. New York: Harmony Books, 1998.

    Freundlich, Madalyn, and Peterson, Lisa. Wrongful Adoption. CWLA. 1998.

    Gritter, James L. The Sprit of Open Adoption. Washington, DC: Child Welfare League of America, 1997.

    ________. Lifegivers: Framing the Birthparent Experience in Open Adoption. 2000.

    ________. Adoption Without Fear. 1989.

    Kirk, H. David. Shared Fate: A Theory and Method of Adoptive Relationships. Revised Edition. Washington: Ben-Simon Publications, 1984.

    Kittson, Ruthena Hill (pseud.) [Jean Paton]. They Serve Fugitively. Acton, California: Life History Center, 1959.

    ________. Orphan Voyage. Country Press, 1968.

    Koenig, Mary Ann, PhD. Sacred Connections (Stories of Adoption). Running Press: Philadelphia. 2000.

    Lifton, Betty Jean. Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness. New York: BasicBooks, 1994.

    _______. Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience. New York: Dial Press, 1979.

    ________. Twice Born: Memoirs of an Adopted Daughter. New York: Penguin Books, 1975.

    Melina, Lois R. Raising Adopted Children. 1998.

    ________. Making Sense of Adoption. 1989.

    Melina, Lois R., and Sharon Roszia. The Open Adoption Experience. 1993.

    Partridge, Penny Callan. Pandora’s Hope: Poems and Prose about Being Adopted. By the author, P.O. Box 3193, Amherst, Massachusetts 01004, 1997.

    ________. An Adoptee’s Dreams: Poems and Stories. By the author, P.O. Box 3193, Amherst, Massachusetts 01004, 1995.

    Paton, Jean M. The Adopted Break Silence. Philadelphia, PA: Life History Center, 1954.

    Pavao, Joyce Maguire. The Family of Adoption. Boston: Beacon Press, 1998.

    Romanchik, Brenda. A Birthparent’s Book of Memories. 1999.

    Severson, Randolph W., Ph.D. Adoption: Philosophy and Experience. Dallas: House of Tomorrow Publications,1994.

    ________. Spiritual Existential Counseling. Ennis, Texas: Heart Words Press, 1998.

    ________. Adoption: Charms and Rituals for Healing. Dallas: House of Tomorrow Publications, 1991.

    ________. A Letter to Adoptive Parents. 1991.

    ________. Can’t You Sit Still? Adoption and Attention Deficit.

    ________. Dear Birthfather.

    Sorosky, Arthur M.D., Annette Baran M.S.W. and Reuben Panor M.S.W. The Adoption Triangle. New York: Anchor Books, 1984.

    Steinberg Gail, and Beth Hall. An Insider’s Guide to Transracial Adoption. 1998.

    Verrier, Nancy. The Primal Wound. 1993.

    Winkler, Robin, Dirck W. Brown, Margaret Van Keppel and Amy Blanchard. Clinical Practice in Adoption. Psychology Practitioner Guidebooks, ed. Arnold P. Goldstein. New York: Pergamon Press, 1988.

No comments:

Post a Comment