Thursday, July 12, 2007

Trying to Understand it All

I have been trying to understand the adoptees that say they miss their biological mothers. I am not saying anyone is lying or making things up...I really want to understand.

In a comment Heather UK wrote:
My friend's mother died in childbirth. She misses her terribly. Are you really saying that someone who lost their mother very young, whether by death or by adoption should have no ill-effects as a result because she can't remember?
Isn't it the thought of her mother and the regret of not getting to know her?

I liken it to when a child says they remember an event at two years old but it's really that they have seen pictures and people have talked so much about it that they actually think they remember it. If this child would have never been told about the mother that had died during childbirth would there be a longing?

It's not wrong to have regret and miss the opportunity to get to know someone but maybe that's why some adoptees have more feelings for their birthparents.... maybe that's why, like myself, there are so many with no real feelings for their biological families other than what you would feel for an acquaintance. We never really talked about me being adopted or my biomom. I didn't have pictures to see or stories to hear. I never knew anyone to miss.

It's sad this girl's mother died and she didn't get so see her daughter grow up.


LeRoy Dissing said...

I definitely think it is a greiving process over what should have/could have been and never was or will be....and for many that takes on different forms of expression. Some grieve the past for what was lost. Others grieve the future for what could have been and will not. And some grieve not it seems for they perceive nothing to grieve at all. Not sure there is anything right or wrong about this other than it is what it is to the person involved.

HeatherUK said...

It is really sad, yes. My friend whose mother died giving birth to her was offered sympathy and compassion; she was allowed to grieve her loss. Adoptees who also lose their mothers are rarely afforded that luxury.

The loss of your mother is a loss, whatever age you are.

Annie said...

Kids and people vary in their need to process losses, in how emotional they are, etc. I don't think that the people who feel grief at the loss of their first mother do so because of anything their aparents did or didn't do. I also don't think that your lack of grief is due to anything in your upbringing. Really all the research has shown that in the nature vs. nurture debate, it's nature everytime. You are who you are and your going to feel what you feel. It sounds like you were well matched with your aparents. Neither of you had a need to talk about it. Some are well matched in that both need to talk about these feeling and that works well. But, the best thing I think I can do as an aparent is to be sensitive to my daughter and neither hound her with my own feelings about her loss or pretend their is no loss. I hope to create an openess and opportunities for her to express her feeling without smothering her with it. Ya know. I think it will be a work always in progress. But, I wouldn't be so sure that there is anything you could ever do to make her not feel those feelings.

petunia said...

Annie, thank you for your comment. I do think I was well placed and there are some bad adopted parents out there but even the best ones will find some children have their problems...some of it is genetic I'm sure. I still am not convinced about the nuture vs. nature thing (And I know the experts aren't either). I really think the a parents have a lot to do with how the child feels about being adopted...good or bad.

Julie said...

Tishslp said...

I think crediting nature for all that a person does or feels is a fairly slippery slope. Yes, it takes guilt/responsiblitity away from adoptive parents whose adopted child is grieving, seperating from them, or engaging in destructive behaviors. It allows adoptees to say "I just FEEL this way". And it allows birthparents to say "that child is mine and will react to things as I do".

But, by the philosophy that nature determines all things, then the children of anti-social personalities should be institutionalized from birth, or whatever age they are determined to be capable of harm to others. Children of those people who "work" the welfare system will grow up to be "lazy" themselves and a further drain on society. Children of "less intelligent" people will never be able to "keep up" with the current educational system and should, therefore, not be educated.

And if nurture has no effective role, then why does one highly intelligent and driven person invent the cure for cancer and another highly intelligent and driven person turn his talents to a life of crime? Why does one person use their charisma to inspire while another uses it to dominate (think Billy Graham vs. Adolf Hitler)?

I think that nature and nurture interact in an ebb and flow pattern within each person. I don't think it's "knowable" how a child will turn out. Certainly extremes of either nature or nurture make things "more" likely. A child born to two parents with, say, muscular dystrophy, will have an extraordinarily high chance of having muscular dsystrophy. A child, regardless of genetic input, who is raised in an atmosphere of neglect and deprivation is highly likely to mainfest realated behaviors all their life. And, even within the term "highly likely" is room for the unlikely to happen. Which leads us back to the fundamental truth that no one knows for sure or with 100% accuracy what forms the personality/feelings of a person.

You simply do the best you can to provide a safe, loving, stable home with room for respectful exchange of ideas and feelings and support of others, even (especially?) when those feelings or ideas are contrary to yours.

petunia said...

Thanks Julie for the article. The only thing about it is Otto Rank follows the Freudian way of thinking...of which I cannot agree. There has been so much more evidence to the contrary when it comes to memory.
and "Babies know more than they are supposed to know. Minutes after birth, a baby can pick out its mother's face ... from a gallery of photos. Babies recognize the gender of other babies, even when cross-dressed, provided they are moving -- something adults cannot do"...
I think this is a very funny thing to put into an article - it sounds quite silly.
There is so much more that is known now about the ability for synapses to convey messages in the brain...

Julie said...

I chose an article that was understandable to the layman. There are many more recent scientific ones that support it.

As for Freud, I agree. But, as I said, that particular article was rather simplistic.

If people REALLY want to understand how memory works and how the human brain develops, I highly recommend "A General Theory of Love."

Julie said...

Apart from Neuropsychology, there is also Chemistry: