|Subject: Adoptive mother ponders attachment
We have two adopted children, one that we adopted
at 10½ months old was a "failure to thrive" baby, neglected
and probably drug exposed (no birth record; birth mom has a long history
of drug abuse). He is now 12 and has had many difficulties and physical
Our other adopted child is my son's half-sister
who was born addicted to crack, then was neglected and put into a
long-term foster home. She suffered nine years of sexual, physical, and
emotional abuse from her foster mom, dad, and brother. The foster
brother has been prosecuted for his abuse and the parents are also being
prosecuted as well. She is now 14 years old.
We also have a 6-year-old biological child and
another one on the way. We see the attachment difficulties in so many
ways. Is there ever hope for these kids? Do you see sexual abuse as part
of the attachment disorders? Do you see sexual acting-out as part of the
abuse or the attachment disorder? Any suggestions that you can give me
would be greatly appreciated!
You certainly have given much to your children,
and to many others indirectly. All I can say is that if anything can
help, it is the kind of love, understanding, and generosity that you and
others like you are giving. It is my belief that consistent love, trust
and respect can make a real difference.
While prevention is the most critical and
efficient use of our time and energy, this should not mean that those
children who so desperately need our help should be denied it. Somehow
we need to approach the problem from both ends. Sadly, our society has
chosen to put far more attention on rehabilitation and punishment than
on prevention through parenting education.
Re sexual acting-out, I see it as relating to
both. It repeats the abuse - somehow we all need to repeat and
"explore" trauma in an attempt to gain an understanding, in
much the same way that a child who has been frightened will explore the
frightening circumstances by repeating them with other children or in
doll play. It is also an attempt to find the love and closeness missing
from the attachment that never developed when it should have, in the
early years. These are complex situations, difficult to sort out
Thank you for your caring and your questioning.
You probably have no idea how many people you are helping along the way
through your love and energy.