The Lies That Bind

I finished reading this book yesterday evening.  On Saturday, it absorbed my entire 4 hour writing session because I simply could not stop reading.  That was the first time a book truly did that to me.  It is a page turner, at least it was for me, because having been on my own journey to discover my family roots – I understood empathically the disappointments and the excitement of being on the hunt.

There are differences in our experiences.  Laureen is an adoptee and she definitely offers a clear-eyed and honest expression of the issues that most adoptees face.  It was easy for me to recognize the truth in these descriptions.

I am not an adoptee but what I have discovered is that as the child of two adoptees (and neither of my parents knew much at all about their origins or heritage when they died after 8 decades of life) I am almost as impacted by the issues adoptees face as the one who is adopted is.  My situation has only been slightly better because I do know who my parents were  but nothing beyond them until very recently.

There is a bittersweet aspect that I won’t give away but I do highly recommend the book – even if adoption has not impacted you.  Why ?  Because it is written so very clearly about why reform is needed in adoptionland – from the practice of placing children to the unsealing of adoption records in all 50 states.  This is a situation with societal impacts which all people should care about.

Impact Of Adoption On Health

Every adoption is unique and every situation is different.  There have been well studied impacts on mental and emotional health for an adoptee that other people in the general population are less affected by.  Most have to do with a sense of abandonment or rejection.  No matter how much the adoptive parents try to convince their adopted child that they are “special” because they were “chosen”, nothing seems to shake that initial feeling of having been unwanted or not wanted enough for the original parents to work things out.  This is mostly a child’s perspective because they lack the mature experiences of life that most adults acquire.

My dad (both of my parents were adoptees) often accused my mom of being a hypochondriac because of her constant and evolving health problems over the long decades of their marriage.  They were married over 60 years at the time of my mom’s death.  I never judged her that way.  She did have a LOT of health problems from her heart to her kidneys to her pancreas and beyond.  She had a intervention scheduled for a blockage in her esophagus pending when she died just a few days before.

I am a believer in mind/body health implications.  I do believe my mom suffered from low self-esteem.  There is no way to know for certain whether her adoption had an impact but given her belief that she was stolen from her parents and then denied her adoption file and told at that same time that her mother had already died, denying her once again the reunion she desperately desired, there is a good chance that her mental/emotional state of being played a role.

Statistics tells us that 80% of visits to primary care doctors are the result of emotional distress.  Stress kills.  My mom had several interventions for her health beginning younger than I am now.  First a bypass and then angioplasties and stents.  My mom died of a massive heart attack that no one could have saved her from quickly enough.  The coroner said it was instantaneous and thankfully that she didn’t suffer.

Sadly there is a lack of financial incentive for doctors to prescribe stress reduction instead of surgery, drugs or other expensive medical procedures.  I continue to do battle on that front with my own doctors for my own best health as I age.