Adoption

Family Tree

Rick and I had started doing our family trees back in 2004 which is how I found my son without actively searching for him.  It immediately gave us something to talk about but it also was the start of finding out some of my relatives names had been shortened or middle names used intead of first names.  This was quite challenging and interesting at the same time.

Being on Genes Reunited proved to be handy in other ways including getting back in touch with one of my cousins.  The last time I had spoken to him had been nine years previously at our Nanna’s funeral.  Contact has been sporadic since then but of course it’s easier through Facebook.  We met up again at my sister’s 60th birthday four years ago along with another of our cousins and one of his brothers whom I hadn’t seen since our Nanna’s funeral.  Sadly that cousin passed on last year aged 59 years and almost 2 months younger than me.  At least my last memory of him was being hugged so tightly I could hardly breath at my sister’s birthday party.

During the early months of contact with my son was a bit up and down as he was charming one minute then nasty whenever he was in a bad mood.  It was quite stressful at times and sometimes I wonder how I coped.

 

Adoption Paperwork

I remember when I first received a copy of the adoption papers which I should have received when my son was adopted. On reading them it was no surprise to realize that I had a ‘hole’ in my memory I hadn’t given information on them. It was still a bit irritating to read half-truths and lies though, the only absolute truth was descriptions of myself and my ex. The only other bit of truth was about my mum being asthmatic and that she had been in contact with Rubella so I’m partially deaf and a hardly noticeable speech defect. The only thing that really disappointed me was that I thought there would be a copy of the consent to relinquish form and nobody told me that it wouldn’t be included even though I had mentioned not remembering signing the form so wanted to see a copy.

When I saw my counsellor, from After Adoption, for the last time which was the same day as I got the copy of the adoption paperwork I mentioned this. All she could do was mumble was something about the consent to relinquish form being at the court that dealt with the adoption. I left it that as she had never been very helpful about explaining my rights so just didn’t know what to say but it has been on my mind since then.

The subject was brought up in another online group I belonged to specifically for women who have had a child adopted but haven’t had any more children. Some of the others said they have copies of the consent form so it has got the rest of us thinking about this so we are going to try and get copies as well. Yesterday I emailed my contact at the Adoption Resource Centre thanking her again for being so helpful before over the other paperwork then went on to explain what I was after this time.

I hated this feeling of having holes in my memory from that time and I couldn’t ask my parents as it had never been open to debate to discuss Anthony’s adoption.  The only person I discussed Anthony with was my dad, post reunion, and then it was stilted, he only mentioned Anthony when they had spoken to each other – I hated that so much. I got more support from my in-laws and they openly admitted they didn’t understand what I have been through. Rick’s eldest sister and brother in law were fine about meeting Anthony the last time we saw him and they often asked after him. One thing that cheered me up is that Rick had second thoughts about viewing the flat of the lady who wanted to do a mutual exchange with us. I wanted to get back down south but I didn’t really want to give up a house for a flat as we had dogs and it wouldn’t be fair on the cat even though she was a ‘house’ cat as she liked sunning herself outside.

Reminder of the need for support

Back in early 2005 Rick and I were talking about starting up an adoption support group for adopters, adoptees, formerly fostered adults and foster carers as well as natural mothers.  We had been talking to someone who would become a friend but at the time he thought it a terrible idea.   Unfortunately, like most people who don’t have have ad adoption connection, he believed that all adoptions are necessary, the natural mothers are terrible people and it’s always best for the babies.  It caused a lot of stress for me as he didn’t know much about my adoption connection and it left me very upset.

We managed to get talking about the realities af babies being adopted and it’s not that uncommon for babies to be adopted unnecessarily.    He realized then that he had been wrong to assume mothers were drug users/and or prostitutes as the history of forced adoption still isn’t all that well known.  Back then I was finding the courage to be more vocal about the subject and knew I was rubbing some people up the wrong way (generally) but I wanted to get the truth out.

I found attitudes were, on the whole, positive towards me when friends found out about my son.  Occasionally there were awkward moments which I learned to deal with even if it meant changing the subject.  There were also the well intentioned comments about how ‘wonderful’ it was that we had reunited.  I would take a deep breath, smile and just nod my head.  At times I wanted to scream at them that no it wasn’t wonderful and my son should never have been adopted.  People meant well and I knew that I had two choices; either watch what I said or be honest.  With time I learnt to say it how it was in a calm way.

Journaling

I first started a journal back in September 2004 and several weeks after finding my son.  I had stated posting on an adoption forums and someone suggested doing so as a way to help myself cope.  Up until I found my son I had been silent, not even talking to my husband about him.  It had been a family member who had told my husband about my son about six months after we had married.

My adoption journey had started back in 1981 when my son was born on the 3rd August.  I had split from his father soon after I fell pregnant and didn’t tell him when I found out.  It was wrong not to.  I was angry and didn’t want him to have anything to do with my baby nor did I think he would believe that the baby was his.  However I wanted to raise my son so kept quiet long enough not to be pressured into aborting by my parents.

When my parents found out they were so angry and decided my baby was to be adopted.  My mother arranged everything despite me not agreeing to it and refusing to talk about it.  The first time I saw a social worker from the adoption agency was after my son was born.  I told her how I felt and she told me she would put a halt to the adoption.  This didn’t happen and between her and my mother they constantly lied to me.  I believed the lies, didn’t know my rights, didn’t see any paperwork and it is questionable I signed anything so I was a complete walkover.

I was expected to get on with my life, never talk about my son and to forget about him.  I got on with my life, didn’t talk about my son but I never forgot about him.  Subsequently I suffer with depression to the point of being suicidal at times and self harmed.

It was a shock when I found my son in 2004 days after his 23rd birthday on Genes Reunited.  It turned out he had been searching for me for five years and had found my family quite quickly.  They never told me nor did they ever tell him where I was.  I was so angry at the time although I didn’t let him know that.  It was a few weeks before I let my parents know I had found my son.  Their excuse for not telling me about contact was that they didn’t know if my husband knew about him.  All I could assume was either they were telling the truth or they did know what a family member had done.  I didn’t want this to get the better of me so left it at that.

However with reunion my emotions exploded to the surface and I found it hard to cope.  So when the suggestion of keeping a journal was given I jumped at it.  I had been silent for 23 years and now it was my time to talk even if it was by the written word.  I started a journal on the forums I belonged to at that time as I wanted to share my feelings.

Reflecting

I had very good intentions of getting my story written here but life has a habit of getting in the way.  Different projects/hobbies have started up again such as writing knitting and having pets who are life savers.

My first 18 years on this planet were very average and I was very good girl not getting into trouble apart from the usual of maybe getting home late, fighting with my sister and so on.  This changed after getting into a relationship then splitting up around my 19th birthday.  It devastated me at the time as the  lad believed a lie told by his cousin and refused to listen to the truth.

Eventually I knew I was pregnant but didn’t tell the father as I was angry and hurting.  I kept quiet long enough not to be pressured into having an abortion although certain people who can’t defend themselves now would have disputed that.  My mother was furious, my father didn’t say much, and she was determined my baby would be adopted.  I refused to agree to that and wouldn’t discuss it.  My baby needed me not strangers, I already loved my unborn baby.

I still have moments when memories creep up on me suddenly that I force myself not to cry over.  My mother was so cruel yet I couldn’t talk to anybody as I didn’t think they would believe me.  Fear of my mother finding out scared me too much to talk to anybody as she would make me suffer emotionally and verbally behind closed doors.  I loved her but we just seemed to bring out the worst of each other yet in public it was the opposite.  It’s sad as we did have so much in common such as reading the same types of book, knitting, music, films, television and so on.  I lived for the happy times when we were all happy.

Mother Denied Justice Campaigns to Transform the Family Courts

https://filia.org.uk/latest-news/2021/12/22/mother-denied-justice-campaigns-to-transform-the-family-courts

Mother Denied Justice Campaigns to Transform the Family Courts

By Victoria Hudson, Founder of #JusticeForFCchildren #GetMHome and campaigner for the Redress/Justice For Family Court Children.

Victoria Hudson has been campaigning for several years to increase the protection of domestic abuse survivors and children who become entangled in the family court system. Tragically, Victoria and her daughter have themselves experienced untold suffering, trauma, and harm at the hands of the family courts.

Victoria, who campaigns under the banner #JusticeforFCchildren, worked alongside other campaigners to successfully lobby the Government to review unsafe contact orders and the removal of children by the family courts. A report, published by the Ministry of Justice in June 2020 laid bare many hard truths about long-standing failings, including harming children by placing them in danger by “enabling the continued control of children and adult victims of domestic abuse by alleged abusers, as well as the continued abuse of victims and children.”[1]

Victoria is now passionately driven to bring about the radical changes necessary to protect domestic abuse survivors and their children from harmful and unjust state systems and structures, by making the family courts and their proceedings more transparent.

Like too many other women experiencing domestic violence and abuse, instead of protecting them, the state colluded with Victoria’s abuser in the most punishing way possible by severing mother and child. In September 2018, Victoria’s daughter (then aged 2) was physically and forcibly removed from her family home and placed under a Care Order with her ex-partner, who is not biologically related to her. Many other children in domestic abuse cases are severed from their mothers by adoption; the mother being blamed for the abuse rather than protected, and their right to family life permanently erased.

For Victoria and other mothers in her position, it is ironic that the Joint Committee on Human Rights, is conducting an inquiry into hundreds of forced adoptions that severed babies from unmarried mothers during the 1950s to 1970s, when mothers experiencing domestic abuse are currently facing similar infringements of human rights in the family courts.

Victoria is requesting the Ministry of Justice immediately review of her case in the family courts and is requesting the Joint Committee on Human Rights conduct an inquiry into whether family court decisions are breaching rights to family life.

[1] “Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases” (Ministry of Justice, June 2020)

If you want to support Victoria’s campaign, you can do three things:

  1. First and foremost, email a letter to Lord David Wolfson MP, Minister for Family Courts to request that he instigates an immediate review of Victoria’s own case in the family courts. If successful, this will provide a test case for the campaign and lead to further reviews. Use this letter to draft your own. His email is wolfsond@parliament.uk

  2. You can also email a letter to Ms Harriet Harman MP, Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, requesting that alongside the current review into historic forced adoptions, she also orchestrates a review of family court decisions in relation to their impact upon the rights of children and birth mothers to family life. Use this letter to draft your own. Her email is harriet.harman.mp@parliament.uk

  3. Help Victoria to get more supporters and allies by following and sharing #JusticeforFCchildren on Twitter @Victoria_Hudson and Facebook facebook.com/getmhome

[1] “Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases” (Ministry of Justice, June 2020)

Talking

Recently I made a new friend connection on Facebook who is an adoptee and has written Your Secret My Story.  I do want to get the book as from the little I know about it has helped me to talk a bit more to my sister.

Back in September we went down south to see family and give one of my sister’s granddaughters, our great niece, her birthday present.  Before we came back my sister and I went through some crates that had come from our Dad’s home after he passed on.  We came home with two crates of photographs and a few pieces of paperwork as my sister knows we are into family history/genealogy.  Anything we didn’t want she said to chuck.

While we were going through the paperwork there were a couple of photographs of my son there so we talked about him.  She feels bad because she feels she should love him as he is her nephew but doesn’t like him.  I can understand where my sister is coming from as he can be very charming one minute then be angry when he doesn’t hear what he wants to hear.  I told her not to feel bad about it as we had the same attitude and whilst I love him because he is my son and always will, I struggle to like him at times.  We are so much alike with likes and dislike, even mannersisms, but adoption wrecked any chance of a happy reunion.

When we went back down south in November for my birthday the subject came up again.  This time my sister mentioned that she and my parents refused to give my son any information as I was the one whom he needed to talk to.  At the time when my son found my family I wasn’t talking to them due to an argument but two years of not talking to my parents I got back in touch with them.  Instead of being honest with my son they continued to tell him they didn’t know where I was.  My sister didn’t know where I was so she was honest.  She told me that our parents told him the same and if they found out where I was they would let me know he wanted contact.  I told my sister they never said a word to me so delayed contact for three years.  It would have continued if I hadn’t found him.

I also told my sister of a conversation I had with our Mum over the phone back in 2006.  She was visibly upset when I told her our Mum had said she couldn’t understand why my son wanted to know me as I was nothing to him and his only family was his adoptive one.  My sister said it was cruel of our Mum to say that.  I haven’t told her of the letter our Mum wrote to my son telling him to accept that I didn’t want to be found.

My sister needed to be told of both as she believed our parents would be honest with me about what actually happened.  She has a better idea why I was so angry at that period in my life.

What did you give us? Fears over drug given to young Scots mothers forced into adoption

https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/forced-adoption-drug/

What did you give us? Fears over drug given to young Scots mothers forced into adoption

By Marion Scott
July 25, 2021, 2:05 pm

Unmarried mothers who were forced to give up their babies were given a controversial drug now linked to cancers and life-changing conditions passed on to future generations.  A synthetic hormone, developed to mimic oestrogen, was given to young mothers to dry up their breast milk after their babies were taken for adoption, leaving them at increased risk of developing rare cancers of the reproductive system.  Even now, few know the powerful drug Diethylstilbestrol (DES) has been linked to a number of breast and vaginal cancers. And it has been shown to cause gynaecological abnormalities and infertility in the children and grandchildren of women given the pills.  A major US study found that the daughters of women who took the drug were 40 times more at risk of the rare vaginal cancer adenocarcinoma, eight times more likely to suffer neonatal death, and almost five times more likely to have a premature baby. The study also highlighted increased risks with early menopause, infertility and ectopic pregnancies.  The sons of mothers who had taken the drug, which was marketed under the names Stilbestrol, Stilboestrol and Desplex, were also at increased risk of infertility and testicular cancer.  The drug, often referred to as just DES, was widely used and marketed throughout the world for a variety of uses, including preventing miscarriage, until 1971 when a Boston scientist first confirmed the deadly links after finding a cluster of young women developing rare vaginal cancers.  The drug was sold by a number of manufacturers who have since settled US litigation cases for billions of dollars but little or nothing has been done to highlight concerns across the UK.

Calls for inquiry

Forced adoption campaigners are now demanding a public inquiry and investigation into the health of women given the drug as well as their children exposed to its wide-ranging effects while still in the womb.  Marion McMillan, 73, from Paisley, who was forced to give up her baby boy in 1966 simply because she was unmarried, said she was ordered to take 16 tablets a day for almost a week after she gave birth in a mother and baby home.  Now dying with cancer, she said: “I’ve met many forced adoption victims over the years who were all given the same drug to dry up their breast milk as quickly as possible after they’d given birth.  It was seen as an inconvenience once we’d given birth so we were told to take the tablets, which were handed out like sweets.  I was given four, four times a day until my breast milk dried up and I was sent home. Looking back, I fear I was given an overdose of very powerful hormones. Nobody ever explained what they were or whether there were any side effects.  I was just ordered to take them, and as a very vulnerable, frightened teenager on my own and disowned by my horrified parents, I had nobody to ask and nobody to protect my best interests.  Like the thousands of other forced adoption victims, I simply did what I was told.”

McMillan claims like many other victims she was denied painkillers, there was no stitching after the traumatic birth of her son, and she says she has been plagued by gynaecological problems ever since. More than two years ago she was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, which has spread from her lungs to her liver.   She has so far defied the terminal diagnosis she was given following aggressive chemotherapy.  It took 40 years before she was eventually reunited with the son taken from her, unaware that as she searched for him, he was looking for her. She met husband George after returning from the mother and baby home, and the couple went on to have a family together.  The campaigner, whose heartbreaking story brought tears to politicians in the Scottish Parliament last month, has spent decades terrified that the drugs given to her had affected any of her three children.  She said: “I was horrified to learn those drugs can cause increased risks of cancer and a number of other serious health issues in the children I had after my firstborn, and I’ve agonised over that and warned them to be vigilant.  But it terrifies me that so little has been made public about this medical scandal, and I fear most of the women given this drug will have no inkling of the consequences.  I was diagnosed with terminal cancer just over two years ago and I’d like to know whether the drugs I was given played any part in what’s happened to me, and the very least all those other mums and their children deserve is to know the truth about the risks they were exposed to and a check done to see how their health is.”

McMillan, who is due to meet Children’s Minister Clare Haughey along with other campaigners, is calling for a public inquiry so all the health risks and human rights abuses they suffered can no longer be “swept under the carpet”.  She said: “For almost 60 years the 60,000 women who were forced adoption victims have been treated as if we are Scotland’s dirty little secret when our only ‘crime’ was that we were not married when we became pregnant.  But this is no longer just about challenging the morality of society at that time. There are extremely serious health implications that must be addressed for the women who were given this drug and the generations of their children who may be suffering the lasting effects.  The health time bomb is ticking and the government cannot continue ignoring what was a truly dreadful part of Scotland’s history.  Very few women given those drugs will even know the danger we were exposed to, or the effect on our children and grandchildren.”

Civil law expert George Clark of Quantum Claims said the government had a duty to investigate: “The government must find a way to fully assess just how widely these drugs were administered, and health authorities must be able to follow-up with health checks.  Everyone affected must be given the full information available on all the known side effects so they can be vigilant and seek treatment if necessary.”

MSP Monica Lennon, who has led Holyrood’s Cross Party Committee on Women’s Health said: “It’s bad enough that SNP ministers have tried to sweep the mental health impact of forced adoption under the carpet.  The physical impacts must be brought into the light too, including the potential link between cancer and drugs women were made to take to stop their breast milk.  A formal apology from the Scottish Government would finally acknowledge all of the damage inflicted on the mothers and their babies, and unlock a full investigation into these cruel and sinister practices.”

The drug

DES was developed by British biochemist Edward Charles Dodds in 1938.  Dodds never intended it to be used as a drug and didn’t patent it, allowing more than 200 drug companies around the world to manufacture DES.  Increasingly concerned over the many uses DES was being prescribed for, Dodds spoke out fiercely about the use of synthetic hormones due to the unknown effect they can have on the body and future generations.  Diethylstilbestrol, known as Stilbestrol in the UK, was initially thought to prevent miscarriage and help with period pain. It was also used for a number of other issues, including preventing women growing too tall.  It was even used as chemical castration, administered to Enigma hero Alan Turing to “treat” his homosexuality as an alternative to prison. The side effects were awful and Turing would later take his own life.  In 1970, a Boston doctor identified links between the drug and rare vaginal cancers in young women and after a Food & Drug Administration alert, it was gradually withdrawn except for small doses used to treat prostate cancer in men.  Despite huge settlements in the US to victims, very little is publicly available in the UK. Australia’s forced adoption victims asked their government to act during the country’s official apology in 2013, but are still waiting.

The film

Hollywood writer Caitlin McCarthy is about to cast her film Wonder Drug which will tell the story of how DES was given to millions of unsuspecting women with devastating consequences for generations of children.

McCarthy, 50, said: “I only discovered when I was 35 that I was a victim of this drug. It was given to my mother before I was born and of course she, like so many other women around the world, had no idea she’d been given it or what the consequences would be.  I’m what is known as a DES Daughter, although the effect of the drug continues down through generations, too. I have structural differences in my cervix, and need regular check-ups as I’m at increased risk of breast and vaginal cancers.  I was extremely lucky to be diagnosed when I was, during a routine operation, simply because the doctor I had was experienced in recognising the effects of the drug. It was devastating, not just for me but also for my poor mother Ann who immediately felt terribly guilty even though she had no idea she had even been given DES in a prenatal vitamin treatment.  After the shock of what I’d been exposed to subsided, I began researching how this happened and discovered DES was given to millions around the world. My film exposes the fortunes made by the drug companies, and those who turned a blind eye and did little to warn victims even when the cancer links became clear in 1971.  For over 40 years this scandal has been shrouded in silence even though so many people and at least three generations are affected. Everybody has heard about Thalidomide. But hardly anyone has heard about DES. I aim to change that.”

McCarthy is calling on governments around the world to alert women who were given the drug and for health checks for them and any children they have since had.

She said: “It’s desperately sad DES was given to victims of forced adoption who not only suffered by losing their babies, but their health and the health of their other children has been put at dreadful risk because of this drug.  It’s a tragedy that this happened at all. But the resounding silence that surrounds it is one of the biggest medical scandals of all time.  The silence cannot be allowed to continue. People deserve the truth. They need help and support. Governments cannot continue ignoring this issue.  It saddens me and angers me that in all these years there has been no proper apology from either the drug companies or the watchdogs who were supposed to prevent any of this happening.  When the first links with cancer were first identified in 1971, the Food & Drug Administration could have issued a ban and taken action so the rest of the world would sit up and react.  Instead all it did was issue an alert and little notice was taken. That was shameful. In 2011, the FDA finally admitted DES was a ‘tragedy’. But they still did not apologise.”

Oscar-nominated director Matia Karrell aims to premiere Wonder Drug next year.  McCarthy said: “I hope the film will get people talking. The silence has already damaged millions of lives. It has to end.”

Ministers urged to apologise to victims

Clare Haughey

Marion McMillan will urge the Scottish Government to give a formal apology to the victims of Scotland’s forced adoption scandal when she meets a minister this week.  She will see Clare Haughey on Thursday when she will ask the minister for children and young people to encourage the Scottish Government to apologise.  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she felt “deep sadness” over the issue and would consider an apology after Labour MSP Neil Bibby raised the cases of Marion and 60,000 other Scottish mothers.  Meanwhile, MP Lisa Cameron, who sits on Westminster’s all-party Health Committee, said the revelations about the drugs given to victims were deeply concerning: “This is yet another disturbing, hidden aspect to the forced adoption scandal. I’m raising questions in the House of Commons and have written to the Scottish health secretary.”

The Scottish Government said: “We have enormous sympathy for the women and families who have been harmed by Stilbestrol.”

It will “highlight this issue” with UK drug watchdog the Medicines Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which said in 1973 the Committee on Safety of Medicines wrote to doctors to advise against using the drug to treat pregnant women.  In 2002, the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology reported 14 cases of cancer linked to the drug. It said: “Women who believe they may have been exposed to DES in utero and are concerned about the risks of vaginal and cervical cancer should be offered careful monitoring by annual colposcopic examinations.”

But I adopted my child at birth. What do you mean trauma?

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/i-adopted-my-child-birth-what-do-you-mean-trauma-alex-stavros/

But I adopted my child at birth. What do you mean trauma?

Published on June 10, 2015

Alex Stavros
CEO, Embark Behavioral Health // Creating Joy // Business As a Force for Good

BY: ALEX STAVROS, President and CEO, Calo Family of Programs

It is not uncommon for adoptive parents to come to us feeling out of options for their difficult child and overwhelmed about what could have created all of these DSM diagnoses and intense feelings and behaviors.  Especially if the child was adopted at or near birth.  “We adopted our son at birth. We brought him home from the hospital ourselves and have done nothing but love him.”

Does this sound too familiar?

If so, then why are you now being told that all of that had something to do with the issues today?

First and foremost, it is important not to be too hard on ourselves or even our child’s birth parents. At this time, it is most important to find our child the help that they need. Understanding the diagnosis and its origins may help one decide on the most appropriate course of treatment.  Quality and traditional parenting techniques may no longer be a solution our child’s condition will likely require trauma sensitive interventions to heal.

Fetal Trauma

First we need to understand there are many developmental milestones for your child that occur prior to birth.  Your child began feeling and learning in the womb. According to Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D., your baby learned to be comforted by the voice and heartbeat of his mother well before birth[1] a voice that was not yours. In the case of adoption this connective disruption has an impact on the brain and body.

Paula Thomson writes for Birth Psychology, “Early pre- and post-natal experiences, including early trauma, are encoded in the implicit memory of the fetus, located in the subcortical and deep limbic regions of the maturing brain. These memories will travel with us into our early days of infancy and beyond and more importantly, these early experiences set our ongoing physiological and psychological regulatory baselines.”[2]

Clearly, chaos outside of the womb, for example, may affect children in utero. This includes arguments, a chaotic home environment or an abusive spouse, and other rambunctious noise that may seem harmless to the fetus.  If the mother drinks or smokes, or is generally unhealthy, this also impacts in-utero development, including the sense of safety and self-worth for the child.  Critical brain development is also stunted.   Mothers that end up placing their child with adoptive parents are also likely to feel increased stress during their pregnancies.  Many are very young, have many other children or are emotionally or financially unable to support a child.  Each of these stressors could expose unborn babies to cortisol, making them also stressed.  The baby is then born anxious.  Surprisingly, babies are also able to sense a disconnection or lack of acceptance from their mother while in the womb leading to attachment issues and developmental trauma down the road.

Genetic Memory

Beyond these connection concerns, trauma can also be an inherited condition.  Recent studies indicate that trauma resides in the DNA, allowing mental disease and behavioral disorders to be passed down for generations.  In the end, adoption itself is a form of trauma.  Without the biological connection to their mother, even newborns can feel that something is wrong and be difficult to sooth as a result. This effect has the potential to grow over time even in the most loving and supportive adoptive homes.

Summary: Humans, and the brain, develop through experience.  Adverse experiences stunt this development.  And development starts way before birth even before conception.

[1] http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/06/29/emotional-trauma-in-the-womb/

[2] https://birthpsychology.com/journals/volume-19-issue-1/impact-trauma-embryo-and-fetus-application-diathesis-stress-model-and-neu

BY: ALEX STAVROS, President and CEO, Calo Family of Programs

About Calo

Calo (“kay-low”) is a behavioral and mental health provider that specializes in healing the effects of complex developmental trauma. Calo is comprised of Calo Teens (www.caloteens.com), Calo Preteens (www.calopreteens.com) both residential programs predominately serving adoptive families – and New Vision Wilderness (www.newvisionwilderness.com “NVW”).

NVW is a wilderness therapy program based in the North Woods of Wisconsin and the Mountain Desert of Oregon. NVW offers one of the most clinically intensive models in the country specializing in a Trauma Informed model.

The Calo programs implement a unique and truly relational treatment model based on evidence-based attachment treatment research. Calo’s proprietary treatment model is pervasive throughout the programs. The unique model facilitates establishing, deepening and maintaining healthy and safe relationships that ultimately lead to co-regulation and Joy.

The clinical modalities across the programs include, but are not limited to, Brainspotting, HeartMath, EMDR, Neurofeedback, Trauma Sensitive Yoga, Transferable Attachment Canine Therapy, Adventure Therapy, Play and Sand Therapy, and Sensory/Occupational Therapies.
Published on June 10, 2015

Alex Stavros
CEO, Embark Behavioral Health // Creating Joy // Business As a Force for Good

BY: ALEX STAVROS, President and CEO, Calo Family of Programs

IBY: ALEX STAVROS, President and CEO, Calo Family of Programs

It is not uncommon for adoptive parents to come to us feeling out of options for their difficult child and overwhelmed about what could have created all of these DSM diagnoses and intense feelings and behaviors.  Especially if the child was adopted at or near birth.  “We adopted our son at birth. We brought him home from the hospital ourselves and have done nothing but love him.”

Does this sound too familiar?

If so, then why are you now being told that all of that had something to do with the issues today?

First and foremost, it is important not to be too hard on ourselves or even our child’s birth parents. At this time, it is most important to find our child the help that they need. Understanding the diagnosis and its origins may help one decide on the most appropriate course of treatment.  Quality and traditional parenting techniques may no longer be a solution our child’s condition will likely require trauma sensitive interventions to heal.

Fetal Trauma

First we need to understand there are many developmental milestones for your child that occur prior to birth.  Your child began feeling and learning in the womb. According to Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D., your baby learned to be comforted by the voice and heartbeat of his mother well before birth[1] a voice that was not yours. In the case of adoption this connective disruption has an impact on the brain and body.

Paula Thomson writes for Birth Psychology, “Early pre- and post-natal experiences, including early trauma, are encoded in the implicit memory of the fetus, located in the subcortical and deep limbic regions of the maturing brain. These memories will travel with us into our early days of infancy and beyond and more importantly, these early experiences set our ongoing physiological and psychological regulatory baselines.”[2]

Clearly, chaos outside of the womb, for example, may affect children in utero. This includes arguments, a chaotic home environment or an abusive spouse, and other rambunctious noise that may seem harmless to the fetus.  If the mother drinks or smokes, or is generally unhealthy, this also impacts in-utero development, including the sense of safety and self-worth for the child.  Critical brain development is also stunted.   Mothers that end up placing their child with adoptive parents are also likely to feel increased stress during their pregnancies.  Many are very young, have many other children or are emotionally or financially unable to support a child.  Each of these stressors could expose unborn babies to cortisol, making them also stressed.  The baby is then born anxious.  Surprisingly, babies are also able to sense a disconnection or lack of acceptance from their mother while in the womb leading to attachment issues and developmental trauma down the road.

Genetic Memory

Beyond these connection concerns, trauma can also be an inherited condition.  Recent studies indicate that trauma resides in the DNA, allowing mental disease and behavioral disorders to be passed down for generations.  In the end, adoption itself is a form of trauma.  Without the biological connection to their mother, even newborns can feel that something is wrong and be difficult to sooth as a result. This effect has the potential to grow over time even in the most loving and supportive adoptive homes.

Summary: Humans, and the brain, develop through experience.  Adverse experiences stunt this development.  And development starts way before birth even before conception.

[1] http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/06/29/emotional-trauma-in-the-womb/

[2] https://birthpsychology.com/journals/volume-19-issue-1/impact-trauma-embryo-and-fetus-application-diathesis-stress-model-and-neu

BY: ALEX STAVROS, President and CEO, Calo Family of Programs

About Calo

Calo (“kay-low”) is a behavioral and mental health provider that specializes in healing the effects of complex developmental trauma. Calo is comprised of Calo Teens (www.caloteens.com), Calo Preteens (www.calopreteens.com) both residential programs predominately serving adoptive families – and New Vision Wilderness (www.newvisionwilderness.com “NVW”).

NVW is a wilderness therapy program based in the North Woods of Wisconsin and the Mountain Desert of Oregon. NVW offers one of the most clinically intensive models in the country specializing in a Trauma Informed model.

The Calo programs implement a unique and truly relational treatment model based on evidence-based attachment treatment research. Calo’s proprietary treatment model is pervasive throughout the programs. The unique model facilitates establishing, deepening and maintaining healthy and safe relationships that ultimately lead to co-regulation and Joy.

The clinical modalities across the programs include, but are not limited to, Brainspotting, HeartMath, EMDR, Neurofeedback, Trauma Sensitive Yoga, Transferable Attachment Canine Therapy, Adventure Therapy, Play and Sand Therapy, and Sensory/Occupational Therapies.

Nanny still looking after couple’s surrogate baby 10 months after birth

https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/family/nanny-still-looking-after-couples-24341494?utm_source=mirror_newsletter&utm_campaign=daily_evening_newsletter2&utm_medium=email

Nanny still looking after couple’s surrogate baby 10 months after birth

Kristie Baysinger, a nanny from Texas, took to TikTok to share the heartbreaking story of 10-month-old surrogate baby Alexander in a video that has been viewed almost one million times

By Paige Holland Showbiz Audience Writer

17:14, 17 JUN 2021Updated17:18, 17 JUN 2021

A nanny who was hired to look after a couple’s baby has revealed how she ended up raising him for the first 10 months of his life.  Kristie Baysinger, a nanny from Texas, collected baby Alexander from his surrogate in Oklahoma after his parents were unable to fly from the UK to pick him up due to coronavirus restrictions.  But little did she know she’d still be caring for him almost a year down the line.  She shared the heartbreaking story of how rewarding, yet challenging it has been in a TikTok video that has racked up almost one million views.  In the clip, she explained: “My agency called me and said: ‘Hey, can you come pick up this new surrogate baby from this surrogate who does not want to take him home?’  So, we went to Oklahoma to pick him up.”

However, the process of getting a social security number has been “a struggle,” she admitted.  We’ve been getting no feedback. We’ve called social security administration and they say we’re in the loop just like everybody else is.  We’re just doing our best over here and just raising this little boy and just being as sweet as we can until he can return home to his parents.”

She went on to say how they’re waiting to see whether his parents can get their passports sorted so they can come and pick him up, if not she’ll be travelling to Scotland with Alexander and her family to “help with the transition.”  “They miss him terribly and want to see him, and they talk to him daily,” she said.

“Hopefully his social security gets here soon so that I can apply for his passport and we can get him back home.”

In another video, the nanny, who is a mum of three children, said that she treats Alexander like one of her own kids.  She explained: “We give him all the hugs and love and attention and everything that he needs so that he can grow.  We don’t hold back, he’s spoiled, he’s loved, and played with, and sang to. Just like he was my own kid.”

Since being posted, the original video has racked up more than 113,000 likes and hundreds of comments from people who were heartbroken by the situation.  One person said: “This is the saddest situation ever. Poor baby when he has to go to strangers who are his actual family by no fault of their own.”

Another added: “Poor baby. The trauma he is going to go through once he’s away from you. Breaks my heart just thinking about it.”

While another wrote: “So sad his parents are missing his first year of life.”

August 2022
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