By Trace Hentz (American Indian Adoptees editor)
I freely admit I am an adoptee with trauma, a trauma that happened when I was a tiny baby (pre-language). Doctors might classify this as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Today there are many other terms: Reactive Attachment Disorder, Severe Narcissistic Injury, the Primal Wound, or perhaps the Adoptee Syndrome.
Today I was explaining to a friend on the phone I was trying to find an analogy for her high stress (distress). I told her: Imagine you are a rabbit raised in a den of snakes. That rabbit would never feel comfortable and you'd be on high alert, as in adrenal overload - "fight or flight." That stress on you the rabbit would not go away: You are not home. The mother snake is not your mother. You want your own mother. You don't feel safe. These snakes are not your people. They literally scare you.
The trauma can add up: being abandoned-relinquished-separated from your source/mother, foster care before adoption, or an orphanage, not bonding to anyone: all these add up to more trauma and being afraid.
Now I know this will upset people who adopted a baby. Some are very nice people. They don't want to be called snakes or scary.
But the bottom line for the adoptee: The strangers are not your parents. They adopted you. They are substitutes. What happened as a baby affects us as adults.
And as this short video (above) by Paul Sunderland suggests: it's not adoption, it's adaptation. We adoptees do adapt. Some of us go insane. And we get scarred. And the stress of that is not good for any child. And it follows you into adulthood. (And as the video suggests, some of us fall into addictions and self-medicating behavior and suicide.) Some of us get very sick. Full Video
No matter how well meaning our adoptive parents are, they must understand how we view this situation, what we take from it and understand, and what we feel deeply in our soul.
This loss we experience is a soul injury. And it lasts our entire life.