exposing the dark side of adoption
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by RobertHafetz on Monday, 01 October 2007

   Attachment VS Dependence

There is a great paradox at the center of human attachment theory. We must create a secure attachment with our primary caregiver so that we can become independent and autonomous. We must be as one with another... so that we can be truly one, independently. 

Attachment is an end unto itself while dependence is a means to an end. In any adoption the relationship between new mother and infant will be a dependent relationship. Ideally we want it to progress to an attachment so the child can develop a sense of autonomy and self. Infants are already attached to their first mother at the moment of birth, given the endocrine advantage and shared existence. Trust is already established in the womb. Then in an adoption the trust attachment progression is disrupted by the disappearance of the first mother. The first lesson of life is now misstrust. What often results is a duality within the adoptee. The creation of a false self and an incomplete self. The false self creates a dependent relationship with the adopting mother as a means to survive. The incomplete self is the true self searching for its authentic self. I wonder how many of us find that authentic self? How many are too afraid to search? How many pretend it doesnt exist or that it doesnt matter?  I would rather not be dependent. I want to be free.

by RobertHafetz on Saturday, 29 September 2007

Affective Dissonence In Adoption Transition and Attachment

Robert Allan Hafetz

       The first obstacle after an adoption occurs is the transition of attachment behavior by the adoptee from the bonded first mother to the new adopting mother. This transition does not simply happen by itself. There is an intricate process that lies at the foundation of attachment.  Infants, who are not yet cognitively aware, but are affectively sensitive, should be regarded with delicate precision. A complete and fulfilling attachment will not occur unless a state of emotional harmony develops between the adopting mother and the infant. The new mother does not have the benefit of familiarity, bonding hormones or the shared existence of gestation to support her. I believe that a unique, familiar, touch, recognized by the infant is the basic method of communication between mother and child. It is this touch that bridges their emotions and creates the cherished harmony we call attachment.

         Before there is an adoption there must be a separation. The name we give to this process, adoption, ignores this event as if it never occurred. A thorough understanding of separation in adoption will create a context from which we can examine the psycho-social dynamics of adoptees and their adopted families. The separation is a significant experience that has lasting results and may result in a traumatic event to the infant. An infant is helpless and dependent on the mother for all of its needs. When fear or anxiety is experienced the infant uses the mother to cope. When adoption separation occurs she literally vanishes from the universe of the infant. Not only has the mother vanished but also the infant’s ability to manage distress has departed with her. Trauma is an event that overwhelms ones means to cope with it. Therefore a separated infant, now alone, has lost its primary means to adapt (Verrier 2003). In this light we expect a separated then adopted infant to transition and attach to a new mother as if the bonded, birth mother never existed and the separation never occurred. Historically, the adoption culture has assumed that a cognitively undeveloped infant cannot experience such events. The lack of cognitive development is seen as a type of “anesthesia” that protects the infant from traumatic memories. While it’s true that infants don’t comprehend the world cognitively, they do experience it affectively. They know and they remember in an affective domain. Adoptees will struggle for the rest of their lives to build a bridge of understanding connecting this affective experience with their cognitive ability to recognize it.

          Our objective, scientific based culture has created a hierarchy of awareness. We place cognitive awareness above emotional awareness and in the case of infant adoptees we assume there is no awareness at all. Infants, while cognitively undeveloped, are still very much aware. They have memories and remember their separation experience as an implicit, affective, memory. Memories are not only explicit and cognitive, memories can also be intrinsic and emotionally based. Think of a loved one that has passed away. Don’t you naturally experience that memory as an emotion first and then cognitively explore it? Isn’t it always there just beneath the surface exerting its effect on you? In the case of a pre verbal infant whose undeveloped brain can only process affects, a memory as intense as separation from the bonded mother would, naturally, be retained only as an emotion. The affective responses caused by separation from the bonded mother would be anxiety, grief, and repression (Robertson and Bowlby 1952). According to Silvan Tomkins, memories are organized chronologically or in a linear mode. They are prioritized in proportion to the intensity of the affect created by the event. The intense affect associated with the disappearance of the bonded first mother creates a memory that will be experienced for the remainder of the infant’s life. We used to think a baby’s mind was like a blank slate but we have been discovering that infant’s minds are very much aware. Infants from their first day of life, possibly even earlier, communicate with their mother. In adoption we have avoided recognizing the critical significance of this process. Adoption separations occur at one of the most critical periods in human development and we have minimized the effects of this at the expense of bonded first mothers, adoptees, and the families that adopt them. We must recognize the importance of the adoption separation experience in order to facilitate the transition of the infant to the new mother.

The Primal Wound

by RobertHafetz on Friday, 10 November 2006

This is the third rail of adoption. The wound denied and celebrated by adoptees. Created in infancy,a narcissistic phase, by the separation of first mother and child, this experience is the foundation of many adoptee problems.It manifests itself as shame, vulnerability, feelings of isolation, disconnectedness and makes trust difficult. Form Nancy Verriers Comming Home to The Self; "People with narcissistic injuries are concerned for the most part only about themselves. THis may be very deceptive because there is a perception that they are interested only in others. They are great rescuers. This is often a projection, "I need rescuing therefore I will rescue." Many of you have opbserved the person who is doing things for other people. The question is; Is he doing it for others or is he doing it because he needs others to like him? If it is the latter then it is being done for narcissistic rather than altruistic reasons." I have this experience in my own life. I have been abandoned twice, once by my foster mother and also by my first mother. All of us are effected differently by this experience. ITs important to understand that this is an affective event, remembered as an affective memory, often a painful one. It is painful to explore and thats what makes it hard to overcome. We re-experience shame and grief whenwe open ourselves to it. Many keep it hidden because its just too painful to explore. In my experience it can be overcome, the experience can be owned and strength can be drawn from it. In that case we become better people, more sensitive loving and considerate to others. ITs a long road and not an easy one to follow. More about this later


by RobertHafetz on Thursday, 09 November 2006

The First Book of Moses is called Bereshith, " In The Begining."

Today we call it by its Greek name Genesis. It is a story taken from Hebrew folklore and in no way was it ever to be taken literally. The symbols must be understood in the culture of those who wrote it.I wont go over the whole story I just want to focus on the creation of man.

"Let us make man" the plural us is used when God speaks. This is called the royal we and does not mean plural.It implies after great deliberation. Mans name is Adam derived from the word adomah or from the earth. Adam is earth born. In our image in our likeness, Adam is potentially divine made i the likeness of God. Adam is endowed with reason and free will. God breathed the soul into his nostrils. Adam was not the first man he was the fist man with a soul. Adams birt is recorded as 6000 years ago.

Genesis recognizes that other primitive humans pre-existed Adam. The creation of women. Maybe God should have thought a little more before he created these complicated creatures. OK I put that in but from the perspective of men He could have spent more time on limiting their verbal profundity, emotional liability, and clinginess after sex. Also a little less uterocentrism as a context would have been nice.

OK enough digression. In creating woman Genesis is very clear. Woman is not the inferior of man. Woman is a "help" for him, not his shadow, but his other self. The term 'K'enegado" is used that defines her to be at his side, or corresponding to him, and completing him. Never beneath him. The next portion is called The Trial of Man.

by RobertHafetz on Thursday, 09 November 2006
In this time of high taxes and intrusive government, it concerns us all, to look closely, at a program most people are not aware of. The State of New Jersey currently maintains a program that keeps a select group of mothers in hiding. Participation in this program is not a matter of choice or even desire on the part of the women whose secrecy it maintains. Many of these women have been abused by state and private agencies, made to feel unworthy, ashamed, and guilty. Their most cherished needs have been ignored trampled, and denied. They have committed no crime against their state. They have in fact made the greatest sacrifice a mother can make. Their sacrifice defines them as having the most fundamental quality of motherhood. They selflessly placed the welfare of their children above any needs of their own, denying their most primal love and devotion for the sake of their children.

A sacrifice of this magnitude is unbearable and unthinkable. These vulnerable mothers were often compelled and coerced to make this most painful of all choices under duress. In return for this the state holds these women in secret, forever apart from their children even as they grow into adulthood. The desires and choices of these adults carry no weight in the face of government mandated secrecy. Mothers must be “protected” from their offspring even when their sons and daughters grow into adulthood. Their desires as adult individuals carry no legal authority. Further, no law has ever been passed with the intent of keeping mothers from their legally adult children. How then does one become a part of this witness protection program for mothers? Just relinquish your child for adoption. You will never see each other again even if you desire it decades later. The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled in Jane Doe 1,2,3,4,5,and 7 VS The State of Oregon, 12/29/1999 that; “ Neither a birth nor an adoption may be carried out in the absolute cloak of secrecy that may surround contraception or the early termination of a pregnancy.” The Tennessee Supreme Court in Promise Doe, ET AL., VS Donald Sundquist, ET, AL., 9/27/1999 has ruled that; “Limited access to adoption records is in the best interest of both adopted persons and the general public.”

My first mother fought to keep me but what can a single 17 year old do against a society’s beliefs that deny her emotions and mine. A society that believes mothers are simply interchangeable devalues motherhood as a whole. In defiance of New Jersey’s archaic secrecy law, I searched for my first mother. By the time I found her she was in a grave in Texas. We deserved better. Because I have no right to know my name the search took half of my life.. We should have had the right to know each other if we chose to. The state should assist us not stand between us. We should have had the right to know each other if we chose to. A bill is pending in New Jersey to preserve the heritage of families so mothers and their adult children will have the same rights as any other citizen, to know each other once again. Support S1087

Robert Allan Hafetz
Born January 28, 1951 in The Door of Hope Booth Home, Jersey City, New Jersey.
Currently resides at;
1014 Surrey Lane
Warrington, P.A. 18976 Roberthafetz@comcast.net, Bio; www.neaspa.com/id14.htm
215-343-3319 (If you choose to publish this essay please include my Email)