Friday, November 11, 2011

Adoption and Child Abuse

Lisa Belkin addresses the connection between adoption and child abuse in a recent Huffington Post column and relates it to attachment disorder.

The sad reality is that more than 226 children MURDERED by adoptive or foster parent abuse are identified here by Pound Puppy Legacy.

The public often calls these atrocities, anomalies. Yet, the 226 plus listed on the Pound Puppy post these are just those who actually died as a result of being beaten, caged, starved, tortured, beaten...Many more have survived such torment including sexual abuse.

In my 1988 book "shedding light on the Dark Side of Adoption" I first called attention to this phenomenon and called for research into the question posed about abuse rates in adoptive families. After all, it is a known fact that sexual and other abuses are far more common in foster families than the general populace. Belkin identified one of the pieces of the puzzle of why people who go out of their way to be parents, pay huge fees to adopt in some cases, and are alleged to be motivated.­..why they would harm children trusted to them. The other part of the puzzle is the reason identified for abuse in foster homes: absence of kinship.

Children born into their families often act out. However, there is the ability to see some of oneself or another relative in their independence­, defiance or rebellious­ness and even admire that spark. In unrelated children there is a fear of what it might lead to. Did the child inherit "bad blood"? What is he capable of? There is fear of the unknown possibilit­ies with a child who is, after all, not your flesh and blood.

Surely absence of kinship increases the risk of sexual abuse and there are no taboos against sex with an unrelated person in your home, despite taboos and laws against pedophilia. Just ask Woody Allen. Adopted children are at risk for sexual abuse from parents as well as siblings. Yet no one is admitting these risk factors or researchin­g their prevalence­.

Penn State's Jerry Sandusky who adopted six children and took in untold numbers of foster children is the latest adoptive father charged with sexual misconduct with children. The latest, but not the first and unfotunately, not the last.  In 2008 Stephen Frank Karban, of Arizona, adoptive father to nine children, was charged with 14 counts of criminal sexual conduct.

There are two reasons we turn a blind eye to these abuses that are glaring in our face once again with the headlines about Sandowsky.

The first reason is one that a publisher told me when rejecting The Dark Side. He said that adoption is society's fall back position and we do not want to see any flaws in it.

The other reason is that it is a mega billion dollar industry and like all such money-make­rs has lobbyists who convince lawmakers to keep passing legislation­n to make it easier to adopt and provide incentives and benefits such as huge tax credits, most of which goes to internatio­nal adoption despite being presented as a way to help the foster child population be adopted.

We must stop looking away and ignoring..­..we must stop continuing to encourage adoption and market it as a win-win.

NOTE to those who want to comment: There is no need to tell me that you are happily adopted. The fact that there are happily married people does not negate the enormous number of failed marriages and the pain divorce causes families and children. We do NOT encourage divorce for this reason.

If you are happily adopted, count your blessings. Adoption is nothing more than a crap shoot. You could just as easily have been another casualty.

Sandusky update: Sandusky Scandal Could be Linked Back to Possible Abuse of Adopted Son in 1995: Report

10/14 UPDATE: Sandusky's Angel in Adoption Award Rescinded


Anonymous said...

I survived my adoption. The man who adopted me used to threaten to kill me all the time. I knew he was capable of doing it. He hurt me in so many ways, that would have actually been a release from my pain.

Mirah Riben said...

I'm so sorry. There are so MANY. So many more than anyone would believe.

Anonymous said...

You say:

"If you are happily adopted, count your blessings. Adoption is nothing more than a crap shoot. You could just as easily have been another casualty."

While this may be partially true (I have seen no evidence to suggest that the majority of adoptees are abused), it ignores the real that life itself is a crap shoot. You could be born to abusive natural parents or poor parents or to parents who are religious or to parents who live in a third world country or to parents who live in a war zone.

Assuming you make it to adult hood you could be murdered or die in a car accident or from some nasty disease.

I do think people who adopt huge numbers of children are a bit suspect but I am fairly sure the Penn State football coach did not restrict himself to his adopted children.

Mirah Riben said...

I do not disagree. The difference however is that only adoption is set above the rest and praised, exalted, encouraged, supported by tax benefits, promoted by churches, and thought in general to be an altruistic, humanitarian act - something good; a win-win...and something that is to provide a "better life" or even "rescue" or "save" a child otherwise doomed.

Adoption is SOLD to expectant mothers as the unselfish, loving thing to do to provide their child with a "better life" with two parents.

THAT is why I say - no, not true! There are no guarantees anymore than if that mother raised her own child. Either option could be the better of the two or worse. Usually, it is, at the least, a trade off of material advantages for the knowledge of one's roots.

As for your parenthetical comment:
"(I have seen no evidence to suggest that the majority of adoptees are abused)," I never said that was the case.

We do not know if a higher or lower percent of adoptees are abused as compared to non-adopted because no one has ever bothered to research it! We just keep promoting adoption as a win-win without any proof whatsoever that it is any better than encouraging women to raise their children. And if you read my post that is exactly what I said - no research on numbers or percentages of abuse.

Mirah Riben said...

Sandusky Scandal Could be Linked Back to Possible Abuse of Adopted Son in 1995: Report

Mirah Riben said...

And here you have it: the final word on the adoption crap shoot of which I spoke. Jerry Sandusky has been awarded the Angel in Adoption Award in 2002!

Anne said...

Being awarded and eventually determined to be a predator is not rare. In Canada two major foster parent awards were given, one in Alberta and in Ontario.

Both foster care and adoption are rife with abuse for many reasons, but the primary reason why so many kids are suffering for so long without being detected is society is not even looking. They relish this so much that it is not contemplated that they are being abused. It is long overdue that people start looking and start being aware!

The damage the adoption brokers are doing as well as adopters are also to blame for this, nonsense terms such as "forever family" and other ridiculous terms paint a fairytale that is simply not true.

Half the battle is awareness here.

Anne said...

And thank you Mirah for discussing this issue as it is in dire need of being exposed for the sake of these kids!

Robin said...

@Anon 9:39,
The argument that one could have just as easily been born into an abusive family as adopted into one does not hold water. The purpose of adoption is to have a conscious intention to place the child in a (supposedly) better situation. Social workers do home studies, etc. to ensure that the child will get a safe and loving home. The purpose of this post is to show that that is a myth. That adoption most certainly does not ensure the child will be in a good environment. Comparing being born into a family with being adopted into a family is like comparing oranges and oragutans.

Mirah Riben said...

I've been exposing it since my first book was released in 1988! Very sadly, no one cares...or they tsk sk, but nothing changes.

Anonymous said...

The real problem, which Lisa Belkin avoids discussing in her article, is religion.

Quoting from the article: "In each case, one or both of their parents has been charged with their murder.

And in each case, those parents are said to have essentially punished their children to death, allegedly because they believed it was God's will"

Some one who new the parents in one case said : "Initially, I think their intentions for adopting were "good" (although I am uncomfortable with the idea of adopting children solely because you are religiously motivated to "rescue" them)."

Adoptive parents aren't the only ones reading that nut case's book and plenty of other children have been abused by those who profess deeply held religious beliefs including the Taliban (and other muslim groups, the Amish and of course the Catholic church. The Morman chuch is of course infamous with birth parents for its adoption laws.

Some might even argue that brainwashing a child with ridiculous religious dogma is itself a form of child abuse.

Anne said...

The real problem is not religion, there are many adopters who are abusive and not religious. Adoption is an abnormal experiment in the first place, it is in no way the same as having your own children. As it is abnormal it paves the way for abuse.

Mirah, people care, I have been speaking out about this as well for 20 years, the problem is the industry has a huge and never ending pit of money to keep the myths, lies and nonsense going full tilt, and to market adoption as being wonderful. It is most certainly not what so ever.

Your book is spot on as to the industry which is full of fraud, corruption and baby buying. Family preservation is being destroyed for big business. Children should not be bought to begin with let alone abuased.

Anne said...

The book in question is purely evil, but this is not about other people, this is about adopters and abusive adopters. Every time abusive adopters are mentioned the subject gets changed to appease them that is part of the problem. People should be able to talk about this without adoption and adopters constantly being defended, but it is rare for it to be honest.

That such an abnormal experiment is producing this level of abuse should be no surprise. It is an unnatural arrangement that is foreign.

Mirah Riben said...

When I said no one cares, I meant the public and the gvt. Nothing has been done to stop any abuses since my book was published in 1988. No studies done. Nothing.

You caring is not enough! We need to write letters to our lawmakers and newspapers CONSTANTLY and get these issues into the public eye. We have a HUGE enormous job to do with no funding. And we are fighting very well funded enemies who are vested in keeping the status quo, keeping the babies flowing for their profit!

We need to insist in tighter regulations. Stop "drive-by" home studies, for one thing. Really make children the priority, NOt the paying customers!

Caring and talking about it - preaching to the choir - is NOT enough!!

Anne said...

I have been saying the same thing for years Mirah and totally agree and write all the time about this mess. More people need to as well, and yes the public does not care nor do politicians as they themselves benefit from adoption.

Anonymous said...

There may be abusive adopters who are not religious but there are probably more abusive non-adopters who are religious or claim to be (starting with a large number catholic priests and those nice Muslims who throw acid in girls faces). There are many more religious people in the world than there are adopters so religion is a much bigger problem for those of us who do not wish to see children abused.

Also even if you do think adoption is the problem, churches are some of the leading facilitators of adoption (e.g. the catholic church and the mormons) and religious belief is often used to pressure birth mothers.

Mirah Riben said...

I am by no means a fan of religion, especially not fanatical, extremism or fundamentalists. However, there is absolutely nothing to support your MAYBE that "there are probably more abusive non-adopters who are religious or claim to be."

Further more, I really don't care if they are religious, secular, conservative, liberal, atheists, or cult members.

Religion ay be your cause and a bigger problem for you. This blog however focuses on family preservation and adoption.

Finally, churches and faith-based adoption agencies USED to be the major players. Today in the Us the vast majority of adoptions are independent - facilitated by doctors,attorneys and other non-professional facilitators.

You say "even if you do think adoption is the problem..." It is clearly the reason these 226 children are DEAD and no longer alive!

It is because they were adopted and by people who were poorly screened...THAT is the problem. Whether they were religious or not has nothing to do with it. The problem with this matter herein is adoption is too loosely regulated and anyone with money can pay for their own home study and be approved to get a child: anyone, including pedophiles and other monsters.

Anne said...

Yes as children are for sale they will be sold to anyone that breathes, and this is by far not the only pedophile adopter at all either, other children have been sold to these parasites.

More have came forward about this evil pedophile adopter piece of crap as well.

No doubt this sick, disgusting pig used his adopter status to parade around as a saint adopter as well -creating a guise while he attacked children. He should be hung!

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget