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Thread: The Dark Side of Adoptions: Why Parents and Kids Don't Bond

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    The Dark Side of Adoptions: Why Parents and Kids Don't Bond

    In September 2009, 7-year-old Artyom Savelyev left Russia to live with his new adoptive family in Tennessee. Earlier this month, Artyom returned to Moscow — alone. All he had with him was a backpack and a note penned by Torry Hansen, a 33-year-old nurse and Artyom's adoptive mother.

    "I no longer wish to parent this child," read the note, in part. The mother also reportedly said Artyom was mentally unstable.

    The case has raised international furor, with Russian authorities suspending adoptions to the United States. It has also drawn attention to a rare but dark side of adoption: What happens when the bond between adoptive parents and children doesn't form.

    Building a bond

    Even for biological parents, bonding is complex. The hormone oxytocin, which induces maternal behavior in animals, helps to facilitate the attachment between mother and child.

    But hormones are only part of the story. Attachments take time, and postpartum depression or other mental health problems can disrupt the process.

    Bonding with adoptive children is similar. Some parents feel an immediate emotional connection, while others struggle for months or years. A study last month in the Western Journal of Nursing Research found that adoptive parents can experience "post-adoption depression" when their expectations about the adoption experience aren't met. These parents often report difficulty bonding with the child.

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    Adoption can be ugly

    I was adopted at age ten, my little brother was age 8.

    Our adopted parents are decent people, they are both teachers in Portland Oregon, my brother and I grew up on ranches and in cowboy and logging camps previous to that. We were as hick as they come, we had never watched a tv or heard of a sports car, heck I had never even heard of a jet plane or skyscraper, we were nearly completely ignorant of most modern technology. The first time we saw an escaltor we must have rode that thing 100 times in the span of an hour, it was so unusual and fascinating to us...

    Our adopted parents on the other hand were against any form or idea of country people, country living or manual type labor and constantly scorned us for looking up to country folk. It got so bad that they would not allow us to listen to country music even, because as music teachers it was improperly sung, really they were just afraid that we would grow up to be farmers or cowboys and whatnot.

    My brother and I were adopted by these teachers because we have exeptionally high IQ's they thought they were adopting built in Proffessors, we would do well at school and we would go to college and become respectable people...

    It did not take long for them to figure out that they made a serious miscalculation, high IQ does not equate to good grades and doing well in school. They were constantly complaining that we were an embarrasment to them for not doing better, and always warning us that those who do not go to college are second class citizens. I swore to never get good grades and to never get a college degree just to prove to them how ignorant their view was, and I suppose to get their goat to be honest... My little brother ran away at age 14 and spent the rest of his time as a runaway and in a boys ranch in Yakima washington.

    At age 13, I was 5 ft 2 and wieghd 165 pounds, I was able to bench press 200 pounds, my adopted father was 5ft 7 wieghed 170 pounds and was able to bench 155 pounds, we were as different physically as we were mentally.

    At age 17, I graduated highschool and was promptly kicked out of the house, that was quite a relief for I was worried they would make me stay until I was 18.

    At age 18, I joined the U.S Navy and went to school for advanced electronics where I recieved the equivelant of an associates degree. I worked on radar systems, missile systems and gun guidance systems as a Fire Control Technician. I then served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

    This is a rather drawn out and one sided story at this point, but as an adult I have looked back and studied this time period very closely....

    One thing to consider in adoption is the fact that the child you adopt may be so different from anything you understand as to make it nearly impossible to raise them... My adopted parents did not have nearly the IQ my brother and I possess, placing them at a severe disadvantage when dealing with us.. Physically we were far superior to our adopted father by our early teenage years.. By age 15, I was 5 ft 3 1/2 and wieghed 175 pounds benching 270 where Marv was up to 185 pounds bench, my little brother was 6 ft 1 and 230 pounds by age 16... My brother and I have 30 points IQ advantage over them.

    As an adult, I still have to say that I disagree with many of the things they believe, but I will be the first to admit that they are not bad people and were quite truly trying to do something noble and good. In the end I would have to say that most of the problem with our adopted parents being capable of raising us came down to the fact that we are physiologically very very different kinds of people.... They have no way to understand us and we had no way to understand them for we simply had different wiring and very different genetics...

    I would advise everyone considering adoption to look very closely at the personality and to some extent the genetics of who you would adopt and see how close you are... My father understands me incredibly well... but then he has very similar genetics and wiring to me... I understand my children very well, but then they are just like me...

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