What is the Primal Wound?

What Is The Primal Wound?
Understanding The Trauma of Infant-Maternal Separation
by Marcy Axness

Throughout the generations of routine obstetrical, hospital, and adoption practice in this country, the assumption has always been, "Why would the separation from its mother affect a newborn baby?" But with the advent in the last twenty years of pre- and perinatal research, we now have astounding findings about what a fetus experiences in the womb, what a strong connection it has with the mother long before birth, and how intelligent, aware and remembering a newborn is. Many researchers now feel the more appropriate question to be, "Why wouldn't the separation from the mother to whom he/she was connected for nine months affect an infant?"

"Many doctors and psychologists now understand that bonding doesn't begin at birth, but is a continuum of physiological, psychological, and spiritual events which begin in utero and continue throughout the postnatal bonding period. When this natural evolution is interrupted by a postnatal separation from the biological mother, the resultant experience of abandonment and loss is indelibly imprinted upon the unconscious minds of these children, causing that which I call the primal wound'." So writes Nancy Verrier in her book, The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child (1993).

Rather than deeply question whether the experience of adoption is traumatic, we as a society tend to believe that enough love and care can make everything right. But psychologists from Freud on down have taught us that the first stage of psychological growth includes the development of trust, as a foundation for secure relationships with others. Babies who are separated from the only connection they've ever known--their matrix--have had their nascent sense of trust deeply violated.

And so all that love and care we give to the adoptee often has a hard time "getting in". As Verrier says of her own relationship to her adopted daughter, "I discovered that it was easier for us to give her love than it was for her to accept it." On very deep levels, adoptees often feel it too dangerous to love and be loved, authentically and deeply; they can't trust that they won't be hurt or abandoned again.

Children often split themselves off from the injured parts of their psyches, and develop functional, acceptable, "false selves". This concept of the false self is often the explanation behind what seems like "wonderful adjustment" on the part of an adoptee (or any traumatized child) who has responded to the deep fear of further abandonment or trauma by becoming compliant and adaptive to the needs and expectations of the parents or caregivers. However, their grief and anger is simply buried, even out of their own consciousness, where it can remain throughout the years, curdling their emotional lives.

But all is not lost--parents needn't feel hopeless in the face of these revelations, for one of the most powerful healing forces is available to every parent, free of charge, empathy. Empathy allows a person, even a tiny baby, to feel his feelings, rather than repress them, so they can be released. Babies who have lost their original mothers--permanently or even temporarily--or have suffered other painful or traumatic experiences, need to express their feelings of grief and rage.

To support them in this process, we need to empathize with their experience and their feelings, in its various forms. In babies, these powerful feelings are expressed physically, through such behaviors as inconsolable crying (or the other extreme, virtually no crying at all), extreme startle responses, arching or stiffening at being held, 'spacing out' or sleeping all the time, severe colic or other illness.

The feelings of loss, abandonment and rage that result from this trauma of separation are overwhelming to a newborn who hasn't yet developed an ego, much less ego defense mechanisms. Thus, they need our help in processing these powerful feelings, and this help needs to take the form of active empathy--saying the words, out loud, that let the baby know that what he or she is feeling is allowed, and that the parents truly see and hear the baby and what that baby is experiencing.

"You miss your mother. You miss your connection. You've lost something very important, and I understand. I'm not the mom you expected, I don't smell like her, I don't sound like her. I'm a different mom, and I love you, and I'm not going away. I am here for you forever, even when you feel sad." Or, " You had some scary and painful things happen to you, I'm really sorry."

These may be difficult words to say, words which prod at our own losses and hurts--of infertility, of the death, miscarriage, or stillbirth of a previous child, or other deep pain suffered on the road to adoption. But I can think of no greater gift we can give our precious new children than the freedom to be exactly who they are, with all that they feel, so they don't have to bear the leaden emotional baggage of banished feelings throughout their lifetimes. And our priceless gift in return, as truly loving parents, is a secure, trusting, and profoundly intimate bond with our children.



Editor's Note: Article (1994, by Marcy Wineman Axness. Author retains first rights. The book, The Primal Wound, can be ordered from the author, Nancy Verrier, 919 Village Center, Lafayette, CA 94549; $14.95 plus $2.50 shipping & handling.



I don't agree with primal wound theory

A lot of primal wound rhetoric shows up in ex-gay, conversion "therapy" and reparative "therapy" shinola. The idea is to reconnect one with the (nameless, faceless) birthmother and then you'll turn out heterosexual and start crapping out babies and pushing strollers just like everyone else does.

Oh christ and don't be one of the queers and be adopted at the same time...pushers of "ex-gay" intolerance just lovvvvve us. More excuses to abuse and harass adoptees and abuse and harass the queers, based on pseudoscientific claptrap.

I wish I could provide some good links for this, but my conclusions are based mostly on personal anecdotes which haven't shown up on the internet, at least not yet.

The Pseudoscience of Primal Wound

Dear Marion - Thank you for the info. Very troubling stuff.

I don't think Nancy Verrier has every provided any credible research to back up her notion of "primal wound." It would see to rather go against what we know about child development.

Jean Mercer has written some eye-opening essays on "primal wound" and challenged Verrier:



My concern is that belief in primal wound might have a nocebo effect.

Is it science Mercer wants?

Whether I believe in The Primal Wound, or not, is academic.

However, when I read key studies on maternal deprivation, (and the effect stress hormones have on growth, development, and learning), I began to question the benefits given to immediate maternal-child separation, as it's promoted by the infant adoption industry.

For quick references, please see:

*Neonatal maternal separation predisposes adult rats to colonic barrier dysfunction in response to mild stress http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/47192

* Neonatal Deprivation of Maternal Touch May Suppress Ornithine Decarboxylase via Downregulation of the Proto-oncogenes c-myc... http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/47190

* Neonatal maternal separation alters stress-induced responses to viscerosomatic nociceptive stimuli in rat http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/47191

Based on these studies, I have to believe maternal separation does in fact have SOME affect on certain aspects of physiological development in infant mammals. Changes seem to be most frequently found in the gut. With this backdrop, how can this alteration in physical make-up not affect certain behaviors found in certain mammals?

I still don't get it

I read The Primal Wound many years ago.  Some of it made sense, other parts read like a typical AP telling others how an adoptee (in an ideal situation) feels.  I know some love the book, while others don't buy a word of it.

This is what I don't get:  if IT (separation of mother and newborn) causes a wound (that can last a lifetime), why are so many encouraging and promoting IT?

Something's telling me when an "assisted" relinquishing mother at Bethany or Gladney receives the adoption papers to sign, she's not given a copy of The Primal Wound to read.

If Verrier's theory is indeed correct, I'd like to see adoption contracts with the following warning at the bottom of each page:

On very deep levels, adoptees often feel it too dangerous to love and be loved, authentically and deeply; they can't trust that they won't be hurt or abandoned again.

Children often split themselves off from the injured parts of their psyches, and develop functional, acceptable, "false selves". This concept of the false self is often the explanation behind what seems like "wonderful adjustment" on the part of an adoptee (or any traumatized child) who has responded to the deep fear of further abandonment or trauma by becoming compliant and adaptive to the needs and expectations of the parents or caregivers. However, their grief and anger is simply buried, even out of their own consciousness, where it can remain throughout the years, curdling their emotional lives.

Truth is, I really don't think true honest feelings are allowed... not when you're an adoptee.

adoption books

For me it's also years ago that I read the Primal Wound. I read the book in a period that I read several books about adoption, oddly most of them were written by adopters.

The first book I read was a Dutch book. written by the adoptive mother of a Colombian girl. I remember yelling at the book, reading it. This mother, superbly failed to recognize anything about the girl she adopted, and even in retrospect, as the author of the book, she seemed totally oblivious. In many ways, this was the best adoption book I ever read, exactly because it had no insight whatsoever. It honestly showed someone having no clue about what was happening to her adopted daughter.

There was a sequel to this book, which presented the learning process of the adoptive mother, suffice it say, there was nothing interesting to it. Eventually it resulted in some sort of theory that vaguely resembles RAD with a touch of Primal Wound.

As a book based on an idea, the Primal Wound, which I read immediately after the two Dutch books, was much more consistent, although it lacked the raw and honest energy, utter oblivion so much provides. In that sense, I believe there is much more to be learned from adopters who don't have a clue, than from adopters who have learned a few things.

I think Nancy Verrier belongs to the group of adopters who have learned a few things, which makes her a dull read. I also don't really like the notion of a Primal Wound. It seems too much of a symbol, or a simplistic objectification of the adoption process. It all fits too neatly into one tight framework to work for me.

My basic objection to all these books about adoption, written by adopters, is their attempt to give meaning and understanding to something they simply cannot understand. They can try to have empathy, as I can to someone who has lost a limb, but they cannot really understand, like I cannot really understand what it is to live without a leg or an arm. So in the end all these adopter books, unless they only reflect their own ignorance, tend to have a disconnect with the experience of adoptees.

There are parts of the Primal Wound that I do appreciate. I believe many adoptees repress parts of themselves because they really don't trust. Some rebel excessively to constantly test that trust, others fearfully walk the line. Some are over achievers, constantly building new pillars of trust that are grounded in quicksand. Others are notorious under achievers, fearing doing good will lead to expectations that cannot be met.

For me it all boils down to trust or lack thereof, which is a much more workable concept than a mythical "primal wound". I wish more adoptees would write about issues of trust, because in the end, real insight cannot come from adopters. Some of them may be good observers, but in the end they lack a real understanding, only adoptees can provide.

Writing a Book?

Why don't some of us adoptees write a book?  People out there need to know this stuff.  Adoptive parents really need to know.  Mothers considering giving up their babies need to know.  I would have given up all of my material things to just have the touch, the hearing her voice, the love of my biological mother.  These moms need help; first, in making the decision, and then the support needed to help them to keep and care for their babies. 

By the way, do we have any data on the effect on children of in-vitro surrogates?

Where to begin?

The only adoptee-written books that sell are the ones that offer an element of praise for either the first or the adoptive mother, preferably both.  After all, in order for an adoptee to go public, he/she must first receive the adoption industry's nod of approval.   Criticizing adoption -- the agencies, the lawyers/law-makers, and the first and adoptive mothers -- in any way, is like walking into the lion's den, wearing a steak-suit and ringing a dinner bell.  The sane who want to preserve a modicum of mental-health know better than to trust those who say they want an adoptee's honest opinion.

It just so happens this afternoon I read yet one more suicide alert... (another adoptee chooses death because of feelings of depression and "not fitting in")... so when it comes to putting an adoptee's feelings into words, where does one begin?   Do we speak on behalf of the living, or do we speak on behalf of the dead?  How many of the struggling walking-wounded/ living-dead, stuck betwixt and between, have the strength of stomach and spine to put the unsaid crap into words?

Long ago I gave-up needing a loving mother's nurturing all-accepting touch.  [That was the easiest wound to heal and mend.  In my case, that option, (loving protective mommy for me), simply was not given.  I mourned the loss, and moved on, just like a good strong adoptee should.  Next adoption-related issue?]

Learning how not to be rejected... (not be seen as a burden, and learning to suppress all the feelings of guilt and loathing that go with it)... took precedence.  I'm no longer ashamed to admit I am still stuck on stage 2.

How does any hurting adoptee put that in words... words that won't get criticized and corrected - or ignored - over and over again?  [Trust issues, anyone?]

People want to read the happy endings, the feel-good rewards that come with resolution... not the realities that make a person want to cry and scream in complete speechless mind-numbing heart sinking frustration.

People want a hollywood ending, namely closure

Reality is, for many, especially those of us who were abused, there is NO closure.

Things like "primal wound" -- Niels's post hit on this a bit -- make up closure where there may be none, in the solution of a deterministic rhetorical device called a wound.

The challenge is how to live without closure, without answers, or with answers one would rather not have.

Indeed, the ultimate life-challenge

The challenge is how to live without closure, without answers, or with answers one would rather not have.

Very well said; totally agree.  That "not having", especially if you have been abused, can be a royal bitch, in so many ways.

Dude,i so second ur

Dude,i so second ur words!
It really sucks knowin dt no mattr wat u achiev in lif,u stil cant feel complete bcz derz always gonn b those wounds n those doubts n those guilts n ol..dt pain of havin been givn up by smone,who is actually supposed to embrace u n protect u frm d wrld..it feels terrible to keep makin compromises wid every fuckin emotional need of urs,n at every stage of life..i wish my socalled mothr wudv killed me in physical instead,dan having left me wid dis never endin deep n dull pain dat kills me on almost daily basis..it doesn feel lik i too hv been whelped lik norml ppl..it feels lik i carry only haf of my soul wid me,n d othr haf being captivated in a dark prison far away frm my reach,wher it is tortured to d core.d imprisoned half knows dt it hs to learn to bear d worst til d last breath,n it happily does..bt d othr half present wid me cries n grieves 4 gettin a rescue 4 d formr one..4 wid every torture to d formr haf,d la8r bleeds!

Adoptee accounts/books

I would love it if you could point me to a list of adoptee-authored books that present the best picture of the traumas and difficulties from their point of view, no sugar-coating. I've read the book by the Korean woman adopted to Minnesota who re-patriated, and found her birth family--it was outstanding. But aside from blogs, it would be good to get more immersed in that literature. Any bibliographies you know of?


Here are a few international adoptee books, I think these are all on amazon

A Single Square Picture: A Korean Adoptee's Search for Her Roots
The Language of Blood (this might be the one you read)
Outer Search Inner Journey
Dust of the Streets: The Journey of a Biracial Orphan of the Korean War
The Boy from Baby House 10
The English American

There are more at tapestry books http://www.tapestrybooks.com/categories.asp?cID=126&p=1

No sugar-coating?

That's hard to find. 

I know for myself, I choose NOT to publish my own memoir because doing so may easily upset my own children. 

In fact, in a thread posted in our Adult Aftermath group, it was strongly suggested to NOT make the details of my own story all that known because of the harm it would do to my own kids.  There are retaliation issues one needs to consider... and that's the sort of scary threatening stuff that can make post-adoption matters/issues much more complicated.

In addition, given all the attacks (and bans) angry adoptees have received from both adopters AND adoptees on blogs/forums found on the internet, it's easy to let the fear of more attack stop a penning adoptee from going public.  Writing down the thoughts and experiences is easy.  Getting those collected pages published in an easy-to-read paperback format, that too is relatively easy, especially if one takes the self-publishing route (like so many do).  The hard difficult part is dealing with the short and long-term consequences, especially if the confessions written by the adoptee were honest and not sugar-coated. 

I am proud to say, over the years, PPL, as a website, has grown, matured and as a result has gained much acceptance.  However, by no means is PPL promoted like the more AP/B.mom praising books/websites/forums/blogs written for and by members of the adoption community.  We still have a long way to go before the voices we represent feel safe and strong enough to go public with their more honest inner-thoughts and experiences.

So.... over the years, I have found books closely related to topics/issues that touch the abused adoptee are helpful, especially if one wants a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors.

I have found Mad In America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and The Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill (Paperback) a good read.

For myself, to date, the most "honest" book, written by an adoptee, is:  Chasing Away the Shadows: An Adoptee's Journey to Motherhood.  I met the author at a book-signing event in my own home-town (where I grew-up).  I appreciated her honest confession regarding substance abuse, but felt that measure of disappointment I often get when many pages, before the actual text, get dedicated to the safe disclaimer: "this is my experience, and my experience only".  That disclaimer is the written reminder that any time an adoptee admits he or she did the common -- turned to sex, alcohol. and/or drugs as a way to cope and numb oneself to the rage that goes with very difficult times -- that "commonality" will be attacked by both adoptees and adopters who insist such turns are NOT common in Afamilies. 

OK....If THEY say so...

Once again, there are no studies to prove or dis-prove what is a common occurrence in an adoptive home/family.

Adoptee Memoir

Dear people,

I just had to write and say that I'm an adoptee who has just had my memoir published: 'Not Your Ordinary Housewife' (available from Amazon, etc).

Central to the backdrop of the sex and porn industry in Australia (yes, I became a sex worker, which I hear is a fairly common profession amongst adoptees) is my relationship with my four parents: how I found by birth mother and what a bitter disappointment that was. I definitely haven't sugar coated anything. I grew up in a cultured and wealthy home, the adopted daughter of Holocaust survivors, but my birth mother was about as far removed from this as was possible to be. Despite our differences (my sex work and her devout Catholicism), I desperately wanted to bond with her. But she rejected me!

More adoptees shoud write of their experiences, even if it doesn't get published. People in the non-adoption-aware community need to know the long-lasting legacy this practice has had. As I said to a friend recently, one can't just "transplant" a baby and expect it to thrive, no matter how loving the environment; something has to give. In my case, it wasn't drugs or depression or even sex work (that was just a symptom); it was low self-esteem, and yes, possibly rage. I'd be interested in any comments. This is a great forum and I'm so glad I've discovered it.

Cheers, Nikki.

thank you

Thank you for sharing your life history, Nikki--I can't imagine how painful the attempt to reconnect with your first mom must have been. I'm very grateful to you and to Kerry for your efforts.

"not sugar-coated"

Cheers back to you and congratulations for your writing accomplishment. At the risk of coming off as Kerry Kill-Joy, the blurb I read describing you book didn't quite sell the idea that this project of yours will be promoted as a book about adoption or "an adoptee's memoir".  [<laughing at the idea of Adam Pertman reading this book!>]

Descending into the depths of the sex industry as a dominatrix, stripper, prostitute and porn star there was almost nothing she didn’t do. Despite a stormy marriage, she and Paul starred in and marketed their highly successful Horny Housewife X-rated videos as she became the queen of Australian erotica. Leading a double life as a mother of three small children, Nikki struggled not merely with censorship but with child welfare authorities and the judgement of mainstream society.  [From:  "Not Your Ordinary Housewife" ]

My first guess is, without reading the actual book, this is a book that includes core (universal) adoption issus, but focuses on the woman, the sex-object, (the adoptee), and how she got where she did, thanks to her own forced displacement (adoption), her past (filled with gaps), her need for unconditional love, and how she identified herself as a woman in society.  [BTW, I DID read a book-review:   it describes the book as, " Well written, [the book] is quite a lubricious read. Most disturbing, though, is Stern's persistent equivocation throughout the book, leaving the reader to ask whether she was a victim who made the most of her circumstances or a woman who sold her soul along with her body."]

Truth be told, as an adoptee myself, when a fellow-adoptee tells me he/she penned a "memoir", first image that comes to mind is the account of an adoptee who was/is happy/satisfied with the Afamily chosen for her, but through search and reunion, that adoptee experienced the rejection that often comes after an adoptee meets-up with a less-than-impressed Bmother. Books, essays, posts etc focused on this specific subject-matter can be found on just about any adoption forum on the internet. [Just as popular and common in adoption story-telling is the Adoption Classic featuring the happy/satisfied adoptee who is UNABLE to meet/reunite with the Bmom, because the Bmom was dead.]

In regards to these types of published adoption stories, I find even the "no sugar-coating here" is very sugar-coated. These adoption stories are sugar coated because the APs mentioned get to keep their hero role and status. This is very fitting since this is how those in and out of Adoptionland prefer to see the adoptee experience: the APs were grrrrrrrreat!

What, in my opinion, makes a book written by an adoptee NOT sugar-coated?
NOT sugar-coated means the adoptee took a real risk.
NOT sugar-coated means the adoptee dared to give example after example how messed-up, abusive and dysfunctional Amothers and/or Afathers can be in the adoptive family/relationship. Not sugar-coated means the adoptee will dare to touch topics not normally addressed by other adoptees, like adoptive family incest, genetic attraction disorder, and how ALL sexual relationships, (and how sex leads to parenting), are perceived by the adoptee.

Any adoptee who dares to tackle the "taboo" is brave in my book, but the truly brave and daring adoptee has to do much more for his/her fellow F'ed up Foundlings. That brave adoptee needs to understand what it means to NOT sugar-coat the APs, and how to make that relationship part of the foundation of what is, and what becomes of the adoptee...when that adoptee becomes an adult.

I myself would have loved to offer the adopted version of David Pelzer's "A Child Called It", or the adopted version of Augusten Burroughs's NYT best-seller "Running with Scissors".
But here's the twist and kick. Readers do not want to accept bad APs exist. Readers would much rather accept the adoption myth that all first-parents are either bad or dead, and the angry adoptee has mental health problems caused by abuse, neglect, and very poor first-parenting.

Sadly, I believe most people do not want to do the math that suggests any mental health issues an abused adoptee may have is the direct result of poor and abusive adoptive parenting.

In addition, there are many who will want to give others reason to doubt the validity of negative claims made by an adoptee. In fact, here's a quick fact-check: who would want to discredit the angry abused adoptee more -- "outraged" members of an allegedly abusive Afamily, or "stunned" members of the adoption community, including social workers, volunteers working in children's charities, and directors of adoption agencies?

I have found most "adoptee authors" take the less-risky approach when it comes to memoir-making. This easy writing approach involves one basic principle: one must please the people, somehow.  In most cases that means the adoptee must maintain the social bias society has given APs; this is done by praising the APs and blasting the living Amom (or gloifying the dead Amom), whenever possible. This "not sugar coated" approach is used over and over again by all sorts of American adoptees, and in my opinion, the theme plays like a broken record.

I believe the less-risky adoptee author helps the adoption industry (spelled: adoption agencies) because these "safe" adoptees help perpetuate the belief that an adopted child can do no serious wrong or ever really fail because those "brave" adoptees had great award-winning APs.

More odd to me is the fact that more praise-points go toward the adoptee-writer if that "author" took the time to check a few facts related classic adoption issues, (feelings of rejection/abandonment, thanks to the Bmom). Bonus points are given if that adoptee writes about his/her rise above these issues and how the environment chosen for the adopted child was "ideal".  Ideal meaning it was loving (not abusive), supportive (not rejecting) and filled with love (not hate).

PAL translation: the ills caused by poor care-systems can be cured and corrected by adoption agencies, only. Only through an adoption agency can a cared-for child receive a safe loving environment, complete with understanding patient APs, who will never abandon or leave. [Go see for yourself... check-out all the memoirs written by adoptees who'd be in jail or on the streets...or dead, if not for their wonderful APs].

Speaking only for myself, I have read enough of those rah-rah adoption stories found online and in traditional book stores. After a while, each story/memory from the adoptee looks the same; whether the adoptee becomes a captain of industry, or winner of many AVA Awards.... the adoptee finds happiness through self-help and personal success, and of course, in the end, the good grateful adoptee will always gives thanks to his or her APs for their undying unfaltering love. By no means are these "bad" things, but for the adoptee with NO positive adoption experience... NO family... NO support, self actualization and happiness can only come from the adoptee, herself.

Back when I was in my darkest times, I would have given my limbs to learn HOW to find myself, if the only tool I had was my own messed-up self.

Recovery from adoption, with or without the added freak-fest that comes with the search and reunion process, is a step ALL adoptees have to take for themselves. That's just how it is: adoption requires recovery.

I have found recovery from adoption is a messy mess, made more difficult if there is no stable satisfying foundation provided by the APs.

With that, I think it stands to reason, given the vast differences found between the loving AP and the abusive dysfunctional AP, the adoptee who grew-up with abusive rejecting APs will have a very "unique" adoption experience, and a very difficult recovery period.

 In my mind, it's these not-so-little details that make the real difference between an adoption story that is daring, new and different, and an adoption story that's already been reported and repeated many many times, since BJ Lifton's "Journey to the Adopted Self".

And so, I'd like to be fair to you, Nikki -- would you describe your "not sugar coated" book as a real uncensored look at abusive/dysfunctional APs, or is it more like most adoptee recounts already out there: it's focused on the ugly-side of search and reunion, and how first-mom rejection (done a second-time) opens old wounds in a whole new way? What makes your book all that different? ... is it your open willingness to discuss your chosen profession -- did you go into detail as to why the sex industry appealed to you so much? I'll be blunt -- I think if you went into details as to why you, an adoptee, ended-up in the sex industry, in spite of adoption and "great" APs, you just may have yourself a really good read.... something I'd like to read, myself.

Meanwhile, I really like this discussion...
In my own social-circle, I never really went into real depth or details as to why I stopped writing "my book". One day my friends knew I was doing something serious and productive for myself; next day they saw my writing had stopped, and my vague book-plans ("I want to get published") got ditched for a website that made no sense to them.

I still feel as though we, as a general society, are not ready for an adoptee like me to go more "public". I still believe the unsugarcoated description of an Afamily will get an adoptee in a LOT of trouble. With PPL having over 7 yrs of "public appearance", is it realistic to think times have changed and it is now safe for the angry adoptee to come out? ... or is coming-out still an enormous risk? I still feel as though the first adoptee who gets the abused memoir published is going to get tarred and feathered by APs and those adoptees determined to defend their own stories... not to mention dismissed and criticized by others, (much like Peter Dodds has been vilified on various threads found in the mainstream news media).
How much of a risk should an abused adoptee take so this very sensitive subject-matter (abuse in the adoptive home/unfit APs) will be taken more seriously? In my case, the facts of my past and the stress from the effort to go semi-public almost cost me and my children my life. Will it only be safe to go public if the memoir is done posthumously?

Finally, I realize my tone in-response may seem especially negative and grim... paving new paths from old roads tend to drain and exhaust me... so I feel compelled to insert one more of my "healthy reminders" about the mind of the abused adoptee. Abused adoptees, like myself, (born healthy and razed poorly)... we can find happiness and we can own a large margin of personal and professional success, however, let's be clear -- if self-esteem for a loved adoptee is low; imagine how low lowself-esteem goes for the not cared-for/supported adoptee.

It takes great courage and self-esteem to publish a book.

I think it takes an exceptional dose of strong selfless courage to publish the memoir of the abused adoptee, especially if all members of the adoptee's family -  Afamily and family created through marriage -  are still living, and the book showcases the unsugarcoated AP and all the aftermath that goes with life in that living nightmare. But there are consequences, too. If the adoptee has children, that "selfless" publication can really hurt and upset them, for a list of valid reasons.  What's a concerned, loving, still hurting abused adoptee to do?

I think whoever gets full-credit for being The First Published Abused Adoptee, (complete with book tour), we must all remember, the abused adoptee is the adoptee given the least amount of encouragement and support, both in and out of the adoption community. Five to fifteen minutes of fame won't change that every-day reality.

It's no accident you

It's no accident you substituted "razed" for "raised," I guess.

Wishing I had some sort of connections in the publishing world, I still would like you to overcome the esteem blocks and finish your book. The public awareness moment is right, I have a hunch, as the tide of circumstances turns against ICA. There are lots of taboo-breaking memoirs out there, but the saintly adopter is one of the largest ones that's not been tackled.

Intersperse memoir with analysis of others' accounts, journalism

Maybe you could blend first-person writing with some third-person accounts, using what you've compiled at PPL? It would add to the book's impact, and maybe take some of the emotional burden off of you as a writer. Just a thought.

recent response

I'll be honest, lately I've been getting a lot of private feedback urging me to continue with my book idea. The response has been overwhelming and very encouraging...humbling... so who knows.... maybe in a year or so we at PPL will have a major announcement to make.  



Not an accident....

Some children are "raised"... lifted up; brought to a higher position... by their parents;  other are "razed"... torn-down; destroyed.

I was one of those adoptees who got torn-down A LOT in my Afamily.

[Thank you for picking-up on my non-accidental word-choice. ]

Pound Pup Legacy