Thursday, November 01, 2012

Adoption blues

I have been following the murder case of Moses Alfredo Kamin, a 15 year old Hispanic adoptee who strangled his White adoptive parents in Oakland this past January. The reporting smelled to me of suppressed information, --no photo of the son exists anywhere online--I became curious. His lawyer is now asserting that the 5'9" 220 lb. boy with karate training  has "Adopted Child Syndrome."

One link led to another and I discovered that adopted children have a significantly higher level of criminality than biological children. Including the rates at which they kill their parents*. Apparently adopted kids are much overrepresented among serial killers, too. Ted Bundy, Son of Sam, Eileen Wuornos, Richard Speck and the Hillside Stranglers, for example. A study of foreign-born, mostly non-White, kids adopted by affluent Swedes showed them having significantly less success and more problems than biological Swede kids.

Adoption is seen by our culture as such a noble deed that it never really occurs to us to ask how the process actually turns out sometimes. It seem that telling a child that they are chosen does not deal with the internal sense of dislocation and rejection.

The closing of adoption records to adoptees is understandable in some ways, but from the viewpoint of the child, to know that strangers know who his parents are but he cannot must make for a lot of frustration, if not rage.

On the night that I graduated from 8th grade, I was shocked to learn that the man I knew as my father was not my biological dad --who had died when I was 8 weeks old--but that he had married my widowed mother when I was two. My six siblings were therefore half-siblings to me and I had a different birth name. Far from a catastrophe, to be sure, but I have to admit that this knowledge altered my relationship to my family and became a troublesome part of my identity. For some, many, all? adoptees, raised in families to whom they have no blood relation, it does not surprise me that they would have problems.

In the ongoing battle about gay marriage, I wonder if studies about the outcomes of gay-raised kids, many of whom will be adopted, and a significant number of whom will be racially different from their new parents, will be compared to other adopted kids?

BTW, in Christianity, only Christ is the natural Son of God, the eternally and only-begotten. Baptism creates a sacramental participation in this sonship and is thus an adoption ceremony. The Church (Galatians 4.4-5) is therefore composed of adoptees. No wonder it's less than perfect.

PS. I don't make this post to support the lawyer or to attack adoption. It was new information that surprised me. But I guess, if there is a thought behind this, it is that we can mistakenly assume that our good intentions can trump the ancient complexities of Nature, who is a surprisingly unempathic Mother even on the best of days. Love, despite the saying, does not conquer all.

PPS, another adoptee double murder


Leah said...

An adoptive mother once told me that in therapy they were told that in an adoption there are 3 parties that don't want to be there. Birth parents don't want child, child wants birthparents. Adoptive parents wanted birth child of thier own.
Like everything else - there are pitfalls, I'm happy to say that most of the cases I've seen have worked out fine - or at least as well as the surrounding families around them. None of us get it right all the time.

Anonymous said...

A friend who was adopted didn't have access to her parent's medical records, so it was a surprise that her child was born with profound genetic problems.

A 'her informed choice' issue I've not seen addressed among feminists, who are quite clear on other birth and not-birth issues relating to her informed choice.

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