Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Adults still challenged by childhood adoption experiences

Adults still challenged by childhood adoption experiences


Adoption is a childhood experience but the psychological consequences of the process can last a lifetime doctoral research confirms.

Concerned by the over-representation of adult adoptees among clinical populations in health settings, including mental health services, Doctor of Philosophy graduate Denise Blake from Massey University’s School of Psychology, interviewed adoptees to discover how they experienced the adoption process.

They articulated the loss, grief and dislocation that characterised even the most successful adoptions among the participants.

Dr Blake, who graduated last month, examined the language that adoptees draw on and the processes that govern their experiences in her research. It showed that even as adults adoptees still struggled to understand their challenging experiences of being removed from the care of their birth mothers to another
family.

“Adoptees have a normal response to an abnormal event,” she says of the experience many adoptees struggled with throughout their lives.

Dr Blake interviewed 12 adoptees, aged between 26 and 52, born from the early 1960s to late She identified the passing of the Adoption Act (1955), which legalised closed adoption, where birth parents had no physical or written access to the children (who in turn had no way of tracing their birth parents) after an adoption was completed, as producing feelings of loss among those adopted out.

Although it aimed to remove the burden of illegitimacy and dependence on the state while offering hope for childless families, the inherent secrecy of the act created other issues for many adoptees.

“Many adoptees interviewed had similar experiences of feeling second best and incredibly sensitive to rejection.”

While the passing of the Adult Adoption Information Act (1985) went some way to removing the secrecy surrounding the process, the fact it did not replace the earlier legislation, which is still on the statute books, meant adoptees still felt a stigma about being adopted, Dr Blake says.

“It didn’t stop feelings of illegitimacy among adoptees,” she says, describing their situation as living in a ‘no-man’s land’ emotionally. Adoptees experience the tension of wanting to learn more about their original identity without disturbing the environment created by their adoptive parents, she says.

Such feelings dated back to childhood days, with classroom family tree exercises proving “incredibly painful” for some, while reunions with birth mothers were described as “tricky” for adoptees trying to manage the “highly complex social relationships between them and their natural parents.”

One study participant spoke of the pain they experienced when their adoptive parents divorced, a situation they described as being like ‘a double rejection.’

Dr Blake notes that the Ministry of Justice has started work on reforming the legislation on five separate occasions but has never followed through.

“The issue of adoption matters in terms of how we understand kinship and family.

"For me, adoption needs to be open and transparent and have the interests of the child at the heart of it.”

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Eddie Izzard: UK Comedy Legend Returns

Hailed as one of the foremost stand up comedians of his generation. Star of stage and screen. Tireless supporter of charity. Runner. Political campaigner. Fashion Icon... February 2015, Eddie Izzard will bring his massive FORCE MAJEURE world tour to New Zealand with tickets going on sale at 10am on Tuesday 28th October. More>>

Festival Starts 28 Oct: Improv Fest Makes Up New Show

For any other festival, finding out less than two weeks from showtime that half the cast of a programmed show can’t make it to New Zealand would be a nightmare. Instead, the New Zealand Improv Festival Director Jennifer O’Sullivan saw an opportunity ... More>>

NZ Music Awards Finalists: Lorde, Sol3 Mio Top 2014 Tuis Charge

Lorde has taken the music world by storm during the past year and she co-leads the 2014 Tui charge with five finalist spots. Joining her is newcomer family opera trio, Sol3 Mio. They are followed closely by Ladi6 and David Dallas, both up for four awards each. More>>

From 'Luther' Creator: Major New Zealand Crime Series For BBC

Libertine Pictures and writer Neil Cross have teamed up with leading international TV producer Carnival Films to develop a major new crime series set in Rotorua. Libertine will develop the contemporary drama series with Carnival, producer of internationally-acclaimed British period drama Downton Abbey, for the BBC. More>>

ALSO:

Family Statement: Death Of Ewen Gilmour

“Ewen was a much loved and cherished member of our family, he was a larger than life character and by his very nature was kind, generous and always giving of his time to those who asked for his help." More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: St. Jerome's Laneway Festival - Line-Up Announced

Traversing seven cities and three countries, the festival has well and truly settled into its home in each state. From the grassy knolls and towering silos at home in Auckland, to the sparkling backdrop of the Maribyrnong... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: No Longer An Island

Simon Nathan reviews 'Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed': The idea that New Zealand is part of a large submerged continent is not new... There was renewed interest in the extent of offshore New Zealand from the 1970s onwards with the start of offshore drilling for oil and gas, and this was given impetus by a UN agreement which allowed countries to claim an Extended Continental Shelf (ECS). More>>

Art: Simon Denny Recreates Kim Dotcom’s Personal Effects

Who owns what? How has the internet changed our relation to the world? These are two of the many questions Simon Denny raises in the latest exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery, opening on Saturday 4 October. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news