- 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
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