Umm... Triad, what Triad?

I first aired this on the Norcap Forum some time ago, because they seem find it difficult to get beyond the triad concept of adoption at times, even to the  point of using the impossible triangle illusion as their corporate logo.

I've always disliked the use of the words triad and triangle in adoption, which invariably involves a whole network of different people and interests, not just three. I find the triad and triangle symbolism a constant burden especially when trying to communicate with the government departments involved in adoption, they sometimes seem to find it difficult grasp just how complicated the network of broken and re-formed relationships in adoption can be.

One of the questions in the Civil Registration: Delivering Vital Change Consultation here in England & Wales was Supplementary Question S6: Do you have any views on the proposed definition of family in respect of accessing registration records? My answer was as follows

<<<........ I can see very little merit in the Government taking some arbitrary definition of family and making it a mandatory definition for the purposes of this legislation. A family should be defined by those who comprise it, and not by the state.

Families come in many shapes and sizes and different kinds. I and my brothers and sisters consider ourselves to be a "family". But we have been adopted or kept by nine different other "families" some of which include other adoptees from different "natural families" and there are probably eight different fathers involved whose "families" one or more of my half siblings also belong to.

But the law sees me only as a member of my adoptive family and my brothers and sisters as members of entirely different families.

I am pleased to be a part of my adoptive family, but it is the least useful definition of family to me in terms of investigating my genetic heritage.

It would be far more practical for the government to restrict access to information on vital records either on the basis of need to know or leave it as it is now with the proviso that anyone who feels that access to their records will endanger them can seek a Confidentiality Order.

However if the Government does decide that it is essential to have a definition of family, that definition should be as wide as possible, to include people who are related whether by blood or by adoption. In terms of blood relationship, access to cause of death information should be extended to aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin, and second cousin relationships.....>>>

Since I first wrote this, I've become involved in trying to find my agnate siblings by several other mothers that my father had relationships with. It is very difficult it  to get civil servants and their Ministers to understand all of this when those of us who are supposed to understand it, all continue using the over simplified language that we often do, and I'm probably just as guilty as everyone else. Sorry to ramble on but In my opinion we really do have to be more thoughtful about the terminology that we use. I don't that mind what first mothers call themselves, but calling a thing that is as multifactorial as adoption and those affected by it is farcical

Then of course there's the politics, as I've seen Ron point out on alt.adoption  The Triad is a Five-legged Stool...

Well I'm recycling there, but wondered what you all think here, doesn't the word 'triad' really confuse what adoption is all about, when think about it adoption is just fixed form of fostering (or least it should be if get the 'lets pretend it's really ours' element of adoption), would you describe fostering as a 'triad'




Who Birthed The Triad

I wonder where this whole Triad thinking is coming from. Checking it up on the internet I read people calling themselves a member of the adoption Triad, as if belonging to some secret brotherhood. There are all sorts of support groups claiming to give hope and comfort; and I found some critical voices too, regarding the use of the terminology. The origin of the term I cannot find, though. Who birthed the Triad? I bet it was a man.

I don't consider myself a member of a triad, never felt that way. There is nothing shared among the constituents of the so-called triad. It is a triangle defined by the absence of a line between the dots. It's seems so contrived to me, as if there actually are bonds between the three actors in the triad. How many adopters and natural parents know one another and if so, how many maintain a relationship with one another and if so,is that a healthy situation?

When I was little and still had to figure out what playing was all about, one of the first things I discovered was "three is a crowd". Playing with 5 or 6 can be fun, playing one on one can be fun, but three never works out. There is always someone being left out. That's what I see in the adoption triad configuration too. Once two parties in the field team up the remaining party is left out all alone.

"Odd man out"...

I always saw adoption as something based on The Other Woman; The Other Mother.... the 'odd one out', so to speak.  The choices she made.... eh... not so desirable.  rather than erase the mistake through abortion, just give birth to it, and sell it to a good family.  Don't bother calling the dad, he's moved-on to the next chick.

"Search and Reunion".  Why should such an act follow a legal adoption plan?  WHY should anyone have to pay for estranged family members be reunited?  Because it feels so good?  I don't think so!  Since when is adoption about doing the right thing at the right time?

I never understood why a child's name and birth certificate has to be altered, or why a mother's name has to be removed.  Why does family lineage have to change?  That makes no sense.  To protect the child, we're told.  To protect the mother, we learn.  Oh, there's a lot of protection being done, and it's pretty damn scary.

Did the church and state give it (adoption, as a practice) THAT much thought before they set up their first houses for unwed mothers? Maybe they did.  Maybe they knew lots of bastard children will not want to learn mummy and Father P were doing things that should not be discussed in public.  Maybe grandma and grandpa have worked years to build a great reputation, the last thing they will want or need is a mixed-breed ruining all the family photos. Good heavenly father above, imagine the horrors!

I wonder whose charity cases these sealed secrets have become.  "Charity"  what a joke, since someone is gonna have to pay.  In whose name are deeds and services being rendered when mother with child is forced to surrender to the commands given by strangers in strange lands with strange hands?

God forbid we ask such leading questions!

Now stop this three-some discussion.  There are children with very good respectable parents listening.


By all means ask those questions! Cause if we don't address the core issue at hand, we will always keep these contrived constructions as the Triad.

By the way who ever invented the phrase "touched by adoption". I've never felt it as a touch. I see adoption as too destructive a force to only be touched by it. Besides it sounds too much like "touched by an angel"

how about...

Bludgeoned like a royal MF bastard!


Yep, about sums it up

Hi Tina

Reminds me of the SWs when you go for 'Birth Records Counselling', who want to know 'how it was' 'because they're working in placement now and it 'might help them to know', well actually I suppose it might, but yer feel like dumping them in the nearest bin because if they were going to be any good at counselling grown up adopted people they'd know the full range of 'how it was' before they were allowed to the job. It's patronising enough that anyone adopted before Nov 1975 in England & Wales is supposed to have counselling before being allowed a copy of their OBC

Wish I'd had bin to throw some of them in, but then, suppose I'd have been labelled too 'challenging' to know who I'm related to, its taken nearly its take a THIRD of my life and a large slice of my wealth to find out what I've found so far and still I have to go cap in hand to someone who doesn't have clue despite all those other adoptees they've asked, all us "Stakeholders" who were asked what we thought in the "Consultation" seem to have been ignored to a large extent. Then, adoption social workers, agency managers, court staff etc etc were also "Stakeholders" . I think some "Stakeholders" were more equal than others, to paraphrase one my fave writers



Changing shape, over time

It's been a while since I went-back to old-school issues like the adoption triad.

For many of us, the adoption-triad has been more than a bad one-sided joke.  I myself always saw the triad as a rectangulated formation;  two shorter sides (birth parents one one side and birth child placed on the other side, the only thing in common is some biology and a few denied rights) butted-up against two opposing sides (adoptive parents and adoption agencies, with amended rights up the wazoo).  In any case, adoption has never been modeled after something equal or even like a square or a circle.

In fact, to my knowledge, no matter what shape a member of Adoptionland chooses to use as the illustrated teaching tool, not once has an educator used a shape that can easily show the student (interested in adoption issues) 1) all legal rights are given equal consideration, and 2) all adoption laws are created so the adopted child will be protected from the harms of institutional living and current adoption laws ensure the adopted child's future best interest will be preserved.  [That's because these adoption laws honoring the adopted child (first) don't exist, just yet.  And equally interesting, there is no shape that can easily illustrate just how complicated adoption laws and human rights can get.]

We at PPL have discussed radical reform and the adoption triad in other threads like A Position on Adoption Reform - Doggy Style and When is adoption an acceptable option?, but this type of discussion is given a new-twist, thanks to long-time blogger Baby Love Child. 

In her latest piece, "Adoption Pentagon - terminology",  BLC describes the power of PAL (positive adoption language -- a language I myself have trouble using and following... good lord it's as if certain word-combinations make me choke, stutter, and spit...) And she introduces the geometric design that best describes Adoption, as a term and as a practice.  The shape that best describes a very complex family-business rooted in family values? 


The pentagon.  [Adoption issues:  To be or not to be associated with the US Pentagon, that is the rhetorical question trans-racial adoptees from Korea or Vietnam can ask themselves, quietly, in another room, thank-you.]

<shaking head at the insanity that comes from Adoptionland>

BLC was gracious enough to provide a very clever depiction of a seemingly transparent adoption triangle, which may even be seen as a stable structure that can easily float atop the choppy waters of life -- suggesting with it's broad sturdy foundation, the person within the contained closed-system will survive the roughest of tides and times only the stormy international seas will bring it's unsuspecting swimmer. 

"Ah, but what is that, below the surface?",  Baby Love Child asks the general crowd.  Why, it's the submerged,  infrequently seen, often hidden from public view portion of a much bigger more powerful "family-value" body. 

Yep, you see, that transparent tip atop the surface?  Yea, well, it's nothing more than the not-so-transparent  tip of the proverbial iceberg -- which happens to be in the shape of the pentagon. 

<visons of The Great Titanic dropping bodies and insufficent life-boats like a warped Pez dispenser>

Brilliant, really....the adoption pentagon.  As one who is intimately familiar with the dark-side of adoption practices, and vaguely familiar with the way in which many pro-life service providers get funded by the government, the shape and proportions do matter.  [Just ask the single mothers still living in S.Korea, and the adult adoptees who try to support their "keep the child" efforts.]

I especially like the part where BLC explains the logic behind the descriptive shape given to all-things adoption-related: 

Though mind you, any number of these positions may also overlap. An adopter may also be a Judge, a Bastard may go on to be become a legislator, a parent may go on to become a professional adoption marketer. This can lead to any number of either ethically disclosed potential conflicts of interest (possibly resulting in individuals recusing themselves) or disingenuously utilizing one’s position without disclosing that potential conflict of interest.

I should note from the outset one of the many limitations of the diagram, though.

Equal sided and angled pentagons may lead the reader to infer a set of equal power relationships in perfect balance, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Which is not to imply that each of the “triad puppets” has equal power, access to resources, or ability to control their circumstances relating to the adoption itself, as adopters are often in a far more advantageous position when compared in relation to the amount of control retained by both parents and adoptees.

Adopters after all, despite being manipulated in a variety of ways, are still ultimately the driving engine behind the adoption market itself (or at least their cash is.)

[From:   Adoption Pentagon- terminology]

Why, it almost reminds me of circle, with a pentagon IN it, making it a very complex math equation, my mind just cannot follow.

<shaking head, ridding itself of horrible memories in equally horrible math classess>

Kinda makes me want to resurrect the Round Table Discussion Robin started years ago.... because there are a lot of troubling developments taking place in  Adoptionland.  A new-wave in parent-teaching classes for the AP has hit the US and it's about to hit Europe like a tabasco-swallowing tsunami, (this summer, if announcements are correct).  If no laws are written to prohibit or restrict the use of  "reasonable (yet questionable) forms of discipline" we will be seeing more abused adoptee stories surface, as PPL tries to explain the problems within.

For instance, in a recent post of mine, I updated the use of holding therapy in Utah, and what  the federal government response has been to the questioned use of harmful restraint and seclusion as a means of discipline.

Sure, enough, HB0356, amends the Mental Health Professional Practice Act and the Psychologist Licensing Act,  making it unlawful to use or recommend rebirthing or similar therapies, in the state of Utah.

Unfortunately, this ban does not apply to lay-people, like....oh, I dunno.... parent-educators like..... uh.... Nancy Thomas, who oddly enough, is scheduled to present a seminar in Salt Lake City, Utah on March 18-19, 2011.  The cost for this two-day educating event is $95 for individuals, and $130 for couples, and continuing education credits (for professionals) will cost $35, in addition to the registration fee.

The only other bill I found that relates to child maltreatment and abusive methods to control children is H.R. 4247, Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act, a federal bill proposal which will apply only to students in both public and private schools that receive federal funding.  I have yet to see if the bill has passed, because it still seems to be stuck in the senate. 

[See: Restraint and Seclusion, as it is used in therapy ],

So where does this leave us?  Parent-educators like Nancy Thomas, and her ilk, are free to charge people to learn their teaching methods for the child unable to bond, because there are no laws protecting a child's right to safety in his/her foster/adoptive home.

There's a fine line between "earning a child's respect", and torture.  There's also a fine line between "discipline" and severe punishment.

A lay person promoting his/her style of parenting should be held accountable if she's profiting from her written suggestions, which happen to be promoted by many service-providers within the adoption industry, who receive money, via adoption subsidies.

[From:  Not quite finished, or gone ]

[Robin... in case you're reading... this particular parent-educator is scheduled to hop-over to your side of the pond right around American Turkey-Time, (November, 2011).  Before she does that visit, she will  visit Romania (August 31st - September 10th 2011), and Russia (February 2012).  In all three locations, she will be conducting seminars, as advertised on her website.  She gets paid to teach parents how to treat/discipline their adopted children with attachment problems.  Lovely, isn't it?]

Better yet, it seems any one in America can open-up an adoption agency that will sell foreign children given the "orphan" label.  [See:  International adoption - as easy and as American as apple pie?!? ]

This is good news for trained professionals who insist they know how to treat children with special ailments like "Institutional Autism".

Thanks to my own digging around efforts, I was able to learn what a "trained professional" puts down as a diagnosis will determine how much money a parent will receive in adoption subsidy.  This is turn, is given to the quacks teaching punishment as a means to train, control and discipline the fostered/adoption child.  Yes, some parents need to be educated how to deprive, neglect, and abuse -- crazy, ain't it?

Yes, even a former dog-trainer turned adoption specialist can earn about $100/hr, and never be fined or convicted of a crime that has been committed at home,  because very few laws protect the rights of the adopted child.

Better yet, radical religious groups, like the Pentecostal Christians, will still be free to do as they always did behind closed door, provided they don't voice their homosexual views as much as some have, in court.

Ah, remember the good ol days, when Adoption Reform was all about open records and OBCs?

Pound Pup Legacy