Two of my friends have recently drawn my attention to issues of attachment and betrayal. One wrote in response to a self-betrayal graphic – The thought to comes to mind is that from a young age children are likely to experience examples of this when parents are perceived (rightly or wrongly) as not acting in their best interest. The possibility of this type of ‘betrayal’ is then opened in their minds and then acted out.
The other provided a LINK> to a Neurobiology of Attachment pdf and specifically pg 4 re:the infant’s brain. Families can recover from childhood emotional wounds when all members discuss openly the mental conditions of the parents as a regular family health routine… growth & compassion for all. We learned that ‘communication’ could actually happen through the placenta, in which the adrenaline and cortisol that’s coursing through the mom’s veins wind up crossing the placenta and affecting the development of the brain. “Our connections with other people are critical for being able to tolerate and regulate our own emotional responses.” “This sense of connection occurs through nonverbal communication.”
This caused me to reflect this morning on my two adoptee parents who were relinquished in infancy by their mothers into closed adoptions. They both died without knowing much of anything about their origins – which fortunately, I now know quite a lot about the people and circumstances, though clearly with the passage of time and the deaths of all 4 of my genetic grandparents, I can never fully know.
In trying to put myself into my parents hearts/minds and inner beliefs related to their adoptions, how could they not feel betrayed by their first/original parents ? They had no way of knowing their mother’s stories or challenges or reasons including being coerced (and yes, I will always believe that BOTH of my grandmothers were coerced in the 1930s into giving up their firstborn children) that resulted in my parents being adopted. I sincerely believe that no adoptive parent can truly undo this sense of betrayal by the parent in the child they conceived and birthed. In the case of my grandfathers, it is more complicated. Definitely, one never knew he fathered a son and it turns out he never had any other children (it was the same for my mom’s mother who never had any more children).
I’ll never be able to know exactly why my mom’s father abandoned her and her mother (when my grandmother was 4 mos pregnant, nor why he did not come back to rescue her, infant in tow and financially destitute). So, the line above about communication through the placenta could definitely been my maternal grandmother’s mental/emotional struggles without her husband (they were married, in the case of my dad’s parents, they were not – his father was a married man having an affair with a much younger woman).
No matter the reasons, being relinquished for adoption and never knowing why, is betrayal trauma for the adoptee. I do believe modern trends that keep birth parents in the loop or the effects of reunions instigated by adoptee searches are some mitigating factors to the sense of betrayal that, whether they acknowledge it precisely as that or not, exits within the adoptee.
Besides the pdf linked above, I found two articles via google search that may be useful to some of my readers.  LINK>The Effects of Attachment and Developmental Trauma and Ways to Heal the Adoptee from the Adoptions from the Heart’s WordPress blog. (Basically, they are an adoption agency).  LINK>From Abandonment & Betrayal to Acceptance & Forgiveness: The Gifts of Memoir by Julie Ryan McGue and Judith Ruskay Rabinor at Adoption & Beyond (a 501c3 non-profit child placement agency licensed in both Kansas and Missouri). The reader is welcomed to consider the source when reading either of these.