Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative
Adoption and Loss - Hidden Grief
Is the U.S. Promoting Pain
Why I'm Not Giving Up MY Baby
America's Secret Crime
Not By Choice
Suicide and Adoption
Mothers Without Their Children
Things I wish I had known
Setting the Record Straight
What they knew and didn't tell us
Seven Core Issues in Adoption
An Open Letter for
Open Adoption Records
by John C. Sonne, M.D.
Mother Research Article
by Judy Kelly
Statistics on the
Affects of Adoption
by Ginni D. Snodgrass
Heard: Impact of the
Birthmother's Experience, Then and Now
by Donna Portuesi
The following was printed in the APPPAH
(Association for Prenatal and
Perinatal Psychology and Health) Newsletter (firstname.lastname@example.org):
"At a conference, organized by the Institute of Gynecology and Obstetrics of the Catholic University of Rome, Professor Salvatore Mancuso (Head of gynecology) presented research stating that beginning in the fifth week of gestation, an infinite number of messages pass from the embryo to the mother, through chemical substances like hormones, neurotransmitters, etc.
Such information serves to adapt the mother's organism to the presence of the new being. Moreover, it has also been discovered that the embryo sends stem cells that, thanks to the mother's immune system tolerance, colonize the maternal medulla (stem of the brain), and adhere to it and remain with the woman the rest of her life. The child's stem cells pass to the mother in great quantity at the moment of birth, whether spontaneous or Caesarian. These cells are implanted in the mother's medulla and produce lymphocytes, which have a common origin with the cells of the central nervous system; they have receptors for the neurotransmitters and can make messages pass that the maternal nervous system understands.
Stem cells have been found in the mother
30 years after the birth. It is somewhat as though the
'thoughts' of the child pass to the mother, even many
years after his birth."
Trauma of Separation, by Michael J. Burlingham, New York Times, December 12, 1994
To the Editor:
With respect to the fate of children of
young single mothers on welfare, legislators should consider
the Hampstead Nurseries in London.
Between 1940 and 1945, 80 children between 10 days and 10 years old, made homeless by reasons of war, were placed in three residential nurseries supervised by the child psychologist Anna Freud, and by my grandmother, Dorothy Burlingham.
After 56 months of continuous observation, the first and foremost concclusion the women reached was that, for a child, the horror of war pales besides the horror of separation from mother. They discovered that the war itself was only a precipitating and aggravating agent. From this perspective, enlightened day care would be preferable to orphanages.
Hugging is healthy: It helps our body's immune system, it keeps you healthier, it cures depression, it reduces stress, it induces sleep, it's invigorating, it's rejuvenating, it has no unpleasant side effects, and hugging is nothing less than a miracle drug.
Hugging is all natural: It is organic, naturally sweet, no pesticides, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients and 100 percent wholesome.
Hugging is practically perfect: There are no movable
parts, no batteries to wear out, no periodic check-ups, low
energy consumption, high energy yield, inflatioin-proof,
non-fatening, no monthly payments, no insurance requirements,
theft-proof, non-taxable, non-polluting, and of course, fully
In 1943, Florence Clothier (The Psychology of the Adopted
"The child separated from his/her mother at or soon after birth misses the mutual and deeply satisfying mother-child relationship, the roots of which lie in that deep area of personality where the physiological and psychological are merged. This is part of a biological sequence... It is doubtful whether the relationship of the child to its post-partum mother, in its subtler effects, can be replaced by even the best of substitute mothers." "The infant is traumatixzed by its separation from the mother at birth"
DW Winnicott in 1965 said there is no such thing
as an infant, only the mother-infant system. (The theory of
"It is dreadful to not know whether something is fact, or mystery or fantasy."
John Bowlby in 1973 documented the anxiety infants feel when separated from their mothers (Separation: Anxiety and Anger)
Erik Erikson believes that not knowing who your genetic relatives are causes a lack of what he called actuality, not feeling connected to people and events in a real way.
Nancy Verrier in the Primal Wound, 1993, states that the
separation of mother and child causes psychic shock and should
never occur unless there is no other choice. The wound
makes the infant feel that part of itself has disappeared,
leaving it with a feeling of incompleteness or lack of
THE RIGHTS OF ADULT ADOPTED PERSONS
ADOPTED APRIL 21, 1987
This chapter agrees with the policy statement accepted by the Oakland County Chapter (Michigan Affiliate) and hereby accepts their policy which has been adapted to conform to Florida.
In recent years the issue of adoption has increased in complexity and has involved the interest and efforts of the courts, social agencies, and media. A person adopted in infancy unfortunately continues to be referred to as an "adopted child" even after reaching adulthood. If this person chooses (or in some cases needs) to discover his or her birthparents or birth records, they find such records are sealed by the courts and are inaccessible.
Historically this was considered to be for the protection of the privacy and maintenance of secrecy and was ostensibly for the good of all involved. However, careful scrutiny of adoption statutes and practices has indicated that legal changes are necessary, and that civil liberties of adopted adults are being violated. In the absence of any state or national policy on this matter, and with the belief that adopted persons sould be treated no differently than any other citizen, the Southwest Florida Chapter Board has voted to endorse the following policy:
"Numerous states have laws or procedures which impede the ability of adopted adults, their birthparents, and other relatives to ascertain each others' identities. The ACLU believes that so long as state and/or local governments choose to maintain birth records, such records must be maintained and accessible without discrimination by virtue of adopted or non-adopted status."
Toward this end, the ACLU believes that laws suppressing information about adoptees and/or their birthparents, and laws allowing access to such information only upon consent or registration, or laws allowing access to such information only upon court order, deny adopted persons, their birthparents, and their relatives the equal protection of the law and constitutes unwarranted interference by the government with the right of [people to choose whether to associate.
The political debate on the adoption issue has tended to be framed in terms of psychological issues, emotional issues, medical issues and sociological issues. The above policy confines itself to a civil liberties analysis.
The Southwest Florida Chapter of the ACLU recommends that this policy be adopted by the ACLU of Florida, and that the ACLU of Florida in turn recommend adoption of this policy by the National ACLU.
Nancy Stone Farley
BENEFITS OF BREAST FEEDING
by Liz Grapentine
There are other benefits that accrue to the breastfeeding
mother. Women who have breastfed their
babies have lower rates of breast, uterine, endometrial and ovarian cancers. Breastfeeding mothers
reduce their chances of osteoporosis. And they lose weight more quickly in the early post-partum
months. The breastfeeding mother is empowered by her decision to breastfeed, as she realizes that
she alone is capable of providing the best food for her baby.
here for Links to Liz's Breast feeding propaganda Page.
Click here for link to other articles and resources
Click here to find out how breastfeeding protects newborns
Moms Urged to Nurse for Full-Year
By The Associated Press, December 2, 1997
(AP) -- Mothers should breast-feed their babies for at least
a year, according to a pediatric group's recommendation
that replaces a 15-year-old statement suggesting six to 12
months of nursing.
Feedings should begin within an hour of birth and continue eight to 12 times every 24 hours, with each feeding lasting 20 to 30 minutes, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday. And breast-feeding should continue past the child's first birthday ``for as long as mutually desired,'' said the nation's largest group of children's doctors.
Almost all babies, including those born sick or prematurely, should be breast-fed, according to the new recommendation. The only exceptions should be for mothers who use illegal drugs or have tuberculosis or the AIDS virus, the academy said.
Critics said the new recommendations and the huge commitment they require -- up to 6 hours a day -- may be out of touch with reality.
``I think these guidelines will present a problem for new mothers who have no choice but to go back into the work force quickly,'' said Janice Rocco of the National Organization for Women. ``They might already feel guilty about working, and this might add even more to that.''
Companies can help by providing private rooms where nursing mothers can pump their breasts so their milk can be bottled, refrigerated and fed to their babies later, said the academy, based in the Chicago area.
Research has shown that breast-fed babies are less likely to get such ailments as diarrhea, ear infections and bacterial meningitis than babies who are fed infant formula. Some studies suggest nursing also may protect against such diseases as diabetes, lymphoma and allergies.
Also, mothers who breast-feed reduce their risk of ovarian and premenopausal breast cancer, and they return to their pre-pregnancy weight more quickly than mothers who use bottles, studies show.
A Mother's Love, Brain Linked
By ROBERT LEE HOTZ
Los Angeles Times News Service
Deprivation called harmful to growth
NEW ORLEANS - Exploring the biology of mother love, researchers
reported that parental care makes such a lasting impression on
an infant that maternal separation or neglect can profoundly
affect the brain's biochemistry, with lifelong consequences for
growth and mental ability.
Children raised without being regularly hugged, caressed, or stroked - deprived of the physical reassurance of normal family attention - have abnormally high levels of stress hormones, according to new research on Roumanian orphans raised in state-run wards.
Moreover, new animal research reveals that without the attention of a loving care-giver early in life, some of an infant's brain cell's simply commit suicide. While the growing brain naturally prunes cells during development - losing up to half by adulthood - the neurons in the neglected animals died at twice the rate as those animals kept with their mothers.
"What we found shocked us." psychologist Mark Smith at the Du Pont Merck Research Labs in Wilmington, Del., said Monday. Smith analyzed the effects of maternal deprivation in laboratory animals. "Maternal separation caused these cells in the brain to die."
"The effects of maternal deprivation may be much more profound than we had imagined.", he said. "Does this have implications for humans? Frankly, I hope not, but I suspect there may be."
Scientists have known for decades that maternal deprivation can mark children for life with serious behavioral problems, leaving them withdrawn, apathetic, slow to learn, and prone to chronic illness. But a range of new research, presented in New Orleans at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, reveals for the first time the biochemical consequences of emotional neglect on the developing brain.
It has been known for a long time that early experience is able to shape the brain and behavior," said Ron de Kloet, an expert on stress and endocrine system at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. "Only recently have we been able to go into:> the brain and measure what is actually happening in early experience."
It is the relationship between parental care, the neurobiology of touch, and the chemistry of stress that lies at the heart of the new insights in how a newborn brain takes shape.
Researchers said that neglect can warp the brain's developing neural circuits so that they produce too much or too little of the hormones that control responses to stress, causing permanent changes in the way an organism behaves and responds to the world around it. In infants, high levels of stress can impair growth and development of the brain and body.
In animal studies, "the presence of the mother ensures these stress hormones remain at a nice low level," said Michael Meaney at the Douglas Hospital Research Center in Montreal.
New laboratory research by Meaney and other neuroscientists highlights the long-range biochemical consequences of neglect and the effect of maternal care on the development of brain regions that control responses to stress.
Studies with laboratory animals show that the simple act of a mother licking her pup triggers a surprisingly subtle chain of biochemical events inside the infant's brain. As the mother physically comforts her newborn, it stimulates the production of key biochemicals that inhibit production of a master stress hormone called CRH.
ROCKLAND COUNTY JOURNAL NEWS, Tuesday September 10, 1996
Remnants of babies stay with mothers for years - By Karl Leif Bates Gannott News Service
Mothers and children have a special bond, and it is deeper than you might imagine.
It turns out a mother carries in her bloodstream, for decades after they are born, a little piece of every baby she has had.
A research team that includes a Wayne State University (Detroit) professor stumbled across the discovery while trying to develop a noninvasive test for detecting birth defects.
The finding raises a host of interesting questions, not the least of which is how the obviously alien cells manage to eke out a living for decades without attracting attention from the mother's immune system.
"Everybody's curious about this' said Dr. Mark Evans, a medical professor and member of the team. But the goal of the study is to develop a reliable test for birth defects, a task that may take several more years.
As part of its research, the team drew the blood of pregnant women and screened the blood for fetal cells.
In the blood samples from women who ended up having female children they found Y chromosomes, the genetic marker of a male baby. We knew that didn't belong to the mom, and it didn't seem to belong to the current fetus." said Dr. Diana W. Bianchi, chief of perinatal genetics at Boston's New England Medical Center.
Thinking it could be a lab mistake, the researchers looked again, this time drawing blood from women who previously.had carried boys but who now were pregnant with girls.
All four women carried fetal cells with Y chromosomes.
Then they looked at eight mothers who were not pregnant but who had given birth to a son in the past three decades. Six of the eight carried fetal cells with a Y chromosome. One of the women had delivered her last boy 27 years ago.
"As a working mother who travels quite a bit it's comforting to me to know that I carry my children with me," Bianchi said with a laugh.
The cells they found are immature white blood cells of the male babies, though Bianchi is sure the cells of female babies also are left behind.
"It's just much easier~to track the Y chromosomes she said
Female cells occur in very small numbers in the mother's bloodstream and must be sorted with with several techniques to be isolated for study.
"It's literally like looking for needle in a haystack," Evans
If the proposed blood test for fetal genetic defects can be perfected, the technique would I'd safer than amniocentesis which involves piercing the uterus with a large needle. Amniocentesis can cause miscarriages about once in very 200 tests.
"If we can get this to work, you could get the same answers that we get with an invasive test," Evans said.
THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIALS/LETTERS WEDNESDAY AUGUST 11, 1993
Impact of Separation-
To the Editor:
I am concerned about the lack of knowledge about the effects of separation of mother and child immediately after birth ("Cutting the Baby in Half.") editorial Aug. 1). Your statement that a child will suffer injury if separated from its psychological --as opposed to biological--family is not entirely accurate.
What we now know about the separation of the neonate from its mother indicates a lifelong impact on both mother and child. The neonate has already bonded with its mother. In the last trimester the fetus knows the sounds and rhythms of its mothers heartbeat and respiration, knows mother's voice and immediately after birth "memorizes" her smell.
The separation from everything safe is a psychic shock to the neonate, a trauma that leads to enduring psychological issues, including identity and relationship problems and low self-esteem. ( (Incubator babies exhibit some of the same effects later in life.) Mothers who have surrendered children will have similar difficulties.
We should follow the Australian example: A mother may not surrender a child to adoption until it is two months old; after surrender, the mother has two months to change her mind, and if she does so, the child is immediately returned to her. In addition, pregnant women need to be given nonjudgmental about the ramifications of their choices. The psychological needs of babies must be understood so that decisions are truly in the child's best interest. JOSEPH M. SOLL
THE NEW YORK TIMES SCIENCE WATCH APRIL 30, 1991
The Key Role of Smell in an Infant's Bonding
For a newborn infant, whose fuzzy vision registers only the most obtuse rendering of its mother it is not love at first sight but love at first scent.
Furthermore as documented m the April Issue of Pediatrics, overzealous application of perfume during the first few days after birth can mislead the baby and block bonding.
Newborns learn to prefer the odor of their mother and this preference allows them to maintain contact and to find the mother's nipple for the purpose of nursing," said Dr. Michael Leon, professor of psychology at the University of California at Irvine. "A new mother wearing very heavy perfume may overwhelm her actual odor and make it difficult for natural bonding to occur."
Research on rats and other mammals had revealed similar patterns. Dr. Leon and his colleagues discovered that the "primary olfactory memory" is established in as little as 10 minutes for humans. However there must be supplemental tactile stimulation or this special memory will not become permanently enmeshed in the brain's processes. This insures that infants do not attach themselves to other airborne odors.
New York Newsday, LETTERS, December 1990
Past the Age of Consent
If I as an adult want to get married, do I need my parents permission? Do I need their permission to get a divorce? Why, then, does Ann Landers in her advice column of Dec 12 tell the "Interim Parent" from Salem, Ore. that she thinks adopted children should get permission from their adoptive parents to have a reunion with their birth families? And why is an adult who was adopted as a child referred to as an "adopted child"?
As a psychotherapist, and an adoptee and a supposedly free human being, I take issue with having to ask permission from my parents to do anything. That's infantilizing and demeaning.
I have helped thousands of adoptees and birth parents reunite—without the adoptive parents' permission—and not once in eight years have I seen an adopted person rejected by his or her natural parents; most adoptees get closer to their adoptive parents after tbe reunion.
Adoptees did not ask to be surrendered to adoption. They should certainly have the right of every other human being on this planet to know who brought them into this world and know their heritage. They have the right to be equal and not eternally thought of as children. Adults negotiate their relationships without having to ask permission from anyone.
Joe Soll, Manhattan Editors note: The writer,
an MSW, is director of Adoption Crossroads, a non-profit
organization that helps people separated by adoption search
for one another.