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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Not All Of Your Problems Come From Being Adopted

Sure some things like attachment disorders and PTSD are direct results of the adoption, but would you have had problems if you had never been adopted in first place?
In order to answer these questions we would have to look at studies of twins who were separated at birth. People who are genetically the same, but exposed to different experiences and environmental conditions.

 A secret research project in the 1960s and '70s that separated identical twins as infants and followed their development in a one-of-a-kind experiment to assess the influence of nature vs. nurture in child development was done. In the 80s public opinion was so against the study that it wasn't published. The results of the study have been sealed until 2066 and given to an archive at Yale University. New laws went into place and guidelines that twins should not be separated out at birth and adopted to different families.

A study of 2 New York City twins separated at birth and unaware of each other showed that in nearly every respect, one's personality followed in lockstep with the other one in a less nurturing home. Thumb-sucking, nail-biting, blanket-clenching, and bed-wetting characterized both of their infancy and early childhood. One became a hypochondriac and, like the other was afraid of the dark and of being left alone. She, too, became lost in role-playing, and the artificial nature of her personality was, if anything, more pronounced than that of her twin. She had similar problems in school and with her peers. On the surface, she had a far closer relationship with her mother than the other did with hers, but on psychological tests she gave vent to a longing for maternal affection that was eerily the same as her identical sister's. One did seem to be more successful with her friends and less confused than the other, but she was also less connected to her feelings.

The differences between the girls, despite in their environments, seemed their pathology was fundamentally the same. Did their family lives mean so little? Were they destined to become the people they turned out to be because of some inherent genetic predisposition toward sadness and unreality? Maybe it is because they were both adopted. Maybe just being adopted causes low self esteem. Maybe not knowing another biological relative causes mental trama. Or maybe it is all genetics.

Genes can help explain why someone is gay or straight, religious or not, smart or not, and even whether they're likely to develop gum disease.

A 1986 study found that genetics plays a larger role on personality than previously thought. Environment affected personality when twins were raised apart, but not when they were raised together, the study suggested. Another study found that happiness and well-being had a 50 percent genetic influence.

In yet another study, researchers surveyed the separated twins about how close they felt to their newfound sibling. Among identical twins, 80 percent of those surveyed reported feeling closer and more familiar with their twin than they did to their best friends, suggesting a strong genetic component in the bond between identical twins.

Moreover, a study in 1990 found that genetics account for 50 percent of the religiosity among the population — in other words, both identical twins raised apart were more likely to be religious or to be not religious.

Using twins, and also data derived from adoption studies, scientists can now estimate what proportion of the variation in our intelligence, our personality, our behavior, and even seemingly random life events such as bankruptcy or the divorce of a spouse, might be caused by inherited tendencies.

OCD , Schizophrenia , Bi Polar, and Depression all have a strong genetic component. Depression is a huge and multi-faceted disorder with a really strong environmental component, but its genetic component is large.

Children who are adopted may be at elevated risk for mental health disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity, oppositional defiance, major depression and separation anxiety disorders, according to a wide body of research. There's also evidence to suggest that children adopted internationally could have much higher rates of fetal alcohol syndrome, autism and brain damage. The longer a child is institutionalized the more pronounced certain conditions may be.

A 2008 study comparing about 500 adopted and non-adopted children found that the odds of having an ADHD or oppositional defiant disorder diagnosis were approximately twice as high in adoptees compared with nonadoptees.
But some of these studies include internatonal adopted children from deprived, neglected orphanages without proper care or education. With years of institutional damage , alcohol, drug exposure, developmental delays, neglect, abandonment the environment plays a much stronger role over the genetic predisposition of children.

The longer a child has been institutionalized increases the potential for behavioral and other problems. If a child is adopted earlier in his or her life, this reduces some of the risks. For most domestic infant adoptions these extreme environmental factors have much less to do with development.

So the big question is... Who would have had the better life or non adopted you ? Would you have been the same person ? Unless you suffered extreme abuse the answer is... pretty much the same person. You'll never know for sure if the next family on the list of people to adopt you would have been the better life. You'll never know if you would have been a happier person in the life you are living now.  You can take comfort in the fact that you would be a similar person. You are not controlled or predestined by your genetics. You still have free will and every decision you make is your own. If you want to lose weight, you simply eat less. If you don't like your teeth you can have cosmetic dental work done. If you don't like certain people in your life, you don't have to talk to them. In reality there is very little we don't have control over.

Adoption is a part of the adopted person's life. Being adopted never goes away, but how you live your life is your own. Those who grew up adopted cannot undo their adoption. Maybe they can take comfort in the fact they would have turned out the same, but if a child turns out the same what's the point of adoption if solely to give the child a better life.


  1. Yes, we have free will. If we would have turned out pretty much the same, it surely shows that adoption did not help us. As long as our natural parents did not abuse us, we would be fine. So why bother giving us to strangers?

    Seems like trauma for no good reason.

  2. Maybe the biological parent felt ill prepared financially or emotionally. Maybe they were unwilling to make the sacrifices required of every parent. I can only imagine the decision to give up a child is heart wrenching and certainly not made lightly. Only the person making that decision can truly know how or why they made it. But in my heart I truly believe that the people that were once "strangers" are now family. In every sense of the word. DNA has no sway on how I feel about my children (I have both bio and adopted children; both bio and adopted nieces and nephews). I would do anything for them no matter if I was their at the moment of their birth or not. The article may be saying some things are "hard wired", but growing up in a loving and giving family can't be a bad thing.

  3. The one missing component in this study of identical twins separated at birth: One raised by biological parents vs. the other raised by adopted parents. Then we'd get a real, true picture of whether or not adoption factored into the outcome on personality. Otherwise, adoption of course would have a similar impact on both adopted identical twins. That tells us nothing about whether adoption itself had an impact on them (or not), simply because they have similar personality traits. The core issues of adoption would be the same in both households. Unless one twin clearly suffers much greater abuse, and still, both have experienced the issues all adoptees experience. Abandonment. Separation. Loss of identity. Lack of mirroring in our adopted families. Primal wound. Etc.

  4. I'm quite sure that I would have my same personality, only I wouldn't have all these terrible feelings about adoption, had I not been adopted. I would not still be dealing with the many issues that I have pertaining to my adoption aka loss of my identity and heritage. It would not have taken me meeting several cousins in my middle age to realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. My personality is genetic. This deep hurt that I feel will never go away is related to adoption.

  5. I also wonder if the people who tended to get pregnant or give their child up for adoption were more likely to have ADD/ADHD, etc.


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