The possibility of trauma passing down through generations as genetic mutations affecting health had reason to re-enter my awareness last night.
My mom was an adoptee. I know for a fact she suffered because of it. She told me so. She died believing she had been stolen. While her made-up story based upon other stories that were sadly all too real under the reign of the notorious Georgia Tann were not entirely accurate, I do believe deep in her soul “stolen” was not that far off. She died believing it and now that I have her adoption file from the state of Tennessee, I know that her mother never intended to give her up and was trapped into an impossible situation.
She had left my mom at an orphanage in Memphis (Porter-Leath) for temporary care. That was a decision point from which there was no return of the mother-child bonding for my mom and her mother. My grandmother was allowed to see my mom one final time before she was ripped away and placed with strangers. I have those black and white photos now. The happiness upon seeing her mother again is evident in my mom’s body language.
The adoption file tells me she screamed all the way from Memphis to Nogales Arizona as my adoptive grandmother carried her home. No wonder my mom felt stolen. When they reached Arizona, she was drugged to calm her down. Eventually, with no other choice, she adapted to her circumstances and coped.
Yet, the health impacts left her a medical basket case all her life and I believe her stress at conceiving me as an unwed high school student impacted my health. And it may go on down the line to my daughter and granddaughter. Medical science is discovering through research some truth to these theories on my part but they have a lot of work to do yet.
It does appear that genetics loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger. Some people are born with genetic vulnerabilities and circumstances can then cause those vulnerabilities to manifest as disease. This is true for every adoptee, regardless of what the manifestations are or how minimally impacted that adoptee may appear.
2 thoughts on “Trauma and Stress”
I have followed your blog for a while now,out of curiosity really, I am adopted so I know first hand how I feel and probably most adopted children, your comments are from a third hand perspective! People like you who have no first hand experience are too quick to give all the tags! Abandoned,neglected etc etc, like society isn’t already messed up enough,
I understand your feelings and you are correct that I do NOT have first hand experience as an adoptee. The experience that I do have is as the child of TWO adoptees. Both of my parents. The experience that I do have is as the sibling of two women who also gave up a child to adoption and my reunion with those now adult children. I make no apologies for having an observed perspective. Beyond that, I have read extensively all sides of the adoption triad. And I knew 4 adoptive persons as my grandparents.
You may feel that I have no right to speak my mind on this topic. To be honest, I had NO opinion for almost 65 years. It was simply a FACT OF LIFE in my family. My parents died knowing nothing about their original parents. Within 1 year of their deaths (they died 4 months apart and were high school sweethearts married over 50 years), I knew who ALL 4 of my original grandparents were. Sadly, I will never be able to know them in person but I am in contact now with cousins and one aunt who did know them.
I never intended to become an advocate for adoption reform. It was an unintended consequence of trying to understand the impacts of adoption on my own family. I honor your feelings and honest perspective and I defend my own equally. I wish you ease and peace of mind. I am grateful for a more complete wholeness. It came by my personal effort, not by accident.
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