Adoptee Abuse, and Agency Parent Preparation

I have always wondered what the process is like for prospective adoptive parents.  I’ve heard stories from parents, but how prepared are these agencies?  How prepared are they to discuss issues such as abuse, race, stereotypes, etc. etc.

I wonder because I know agencies are NOT adequately equipped to assist parents in understanding these things prior to adoptions.  I know that it varies from agency to agency.  But I also wonder what sort of background checks really go into these placements.  For the most part, I would like to believe that these agencies have experienced and well trained social workers who put a lot of time and consideration into deciding whether a family is right for a child.  However, there are some who slip through the cracks.  But it’s unacceptable, and as you are about to see, it can lead to some of the most despicable acts.

When I read this article it devestated me, it angered me, and it made me think about all the adoptees who have suffered at the hands of their adoptive parents.  Recently I noticed a post on the K@W listserv that an adoptee was working on a panel dealing with abuse in adoptive families.  I know it happens, but to what extent?  I want to warn you before reading this how awful this is.  Although it’s a short piece, it is a sharp warning that these types of people SHOULD NOT fall through the cracks when placements are being made.

Who is responsible for these children after they are in the hands of their parents.  I mean, when children are “troubled” (and I hate using that word but I will for this purpose only), parents can go to their adoption agencies and say “look my kid needs help, what can we do?”  When an adoptee is being abused, what resources do they have?  Who can they turn to?  It’s not the adoption agency, it’s not their parents…If it wasn’t for the school guidance counselor who would she have turned to for help?

Take a look at the article from the Seattle Times:

Lacey couple accused of raping adopted daughter

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5 Comments on “Adoptee Abuse, and Agency Parent Preparation

  1. I can only share my own experience as an abused adoptee:

    In my state, the matter of screening fell on the state, and they failed. They failed because there wasn’t psychological testing and because my parents looked like fabulous candidates. In the eyes of social workers and adoption agencies, all they looked at as indicators of parent worthiness was income, stability, personal references and community involvement. Now we know that a Ted Bundy could pass those kinds of checks and be approved for adoption as well, so what kind of measure are those? Answer: crappy.

    I vaguely remember a woman visiting my household. It was pretty sterile and I’m sure there was nothing amiss to indicate I was being abused at night by my father. As if I would run and tell a complete stranger so I could be shipped off to another unknown…People ask me why I did not report my abuses, as if these choices were a real option to a little child who has already experienced trauma and doesn’t want more. Even at four years old, I understood that my actions affected others’ lives – my mother’s, my brothers, my sister…who was I to destroy their lives?

    The thing most people don’t understand is that most parents who abuse are not abusers at the time of adopting. They become abusers. What needs to be measured is the propensity for abuse, and that is not always revealed by a history or criminal background check. Especially because many of those prospective adopters have never had a non-biological child before: it’s just an inherently dangerous proposition putting a child into the hands of strangers and their families. History shows us that incidents of abuse increases when a non biological family member resides in the same household. In an adopted child’s family, the parents themselves are non biological – the odds are already increased that those mechanisms which are socially taboo will be crossed. Screening should not be about house cleanliness or church activity or whether or not a checkbook can be balanced. Screening should be about balance, disposition, and healthy responses to stress, as well as oral histories and psychological testing.

    One or two announced visits by a social worker can not adequately reflect the child’s true home life. Adopted children should be moderated on a regular basis and have a trusted ombudsman as a regular part of their lives.

    And to what extent is abuse in adoptive homes? It’s probably one of the most under-reported phenomenon in existence. And it’s often not the parents, but others in the extended family who are privy to exploiting the vulnerable exotic adopted child, so they need to be screened as well.

    Give me an hour with some potential adoptive parents, and I can tell you what kind of parent they’ll be. Those of us who have been abused can smell sickness a mile away. Adult adoptees and psychologists familiar with child abusers and sexual predators should be the ones screening parents. Not adoption agencies with conflicts of interest or over-worked, understaffed social workers.

  2. Unlike girl 4708, I believe I was adopted to be abused. It was my adoptive father who wanted a little girl. I dont think my adoptive mother (it was her guarantee of getting a girl without having to go thru pregnancy) really wanted me and the way she treated or ignored me, reflected her attitude and lack of concern.

    There once was a time when I thought that I was the only Korean adoptee who suffered from abuse, but now I know different.

    I share Girl 4708’s belief – ” It’s probably one of the most under-reported phenomenon in existence.”

  3. I just get so angry with all this. Adoption agencies are always so busy making international adoption look all rosy because they are making so much money off it. I am an abused adoptee that was stolen from my family and I am still searching for them. You can see my story and interview at http://www.missingindiankids.com/searching/vanessa/index.htm
    There is also a site http://www.adopted-abused.com

    I am glad that there are many adoptees now working together to end the myth that adoption always leads to a better life.
    Vanessa

  4. Adoption so rarely leads to a better life just adifferent life and sadly sometimes one of abuse.The loss of attachment in itself is abusive.

  5. people don’t belive adopters can abuse the kids they adopted this sets adoptees to get all kinds of abuse and stuck in the abuse

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