A lot of criticism has been floating my way in relation to the statistics compiled by the AIFS into the past adoption era. Some have said they refuse to accept them based on anecdotal evidence , other just plain do not like the facts being presented. Other say there are obvious flaws in the study because it was opt in study done on the internet (mainly)
any empirical study has some flaws because they are voluntary studies. but when they are all you have of valued , it is the only study that you can rely on. Previous studies have mainly concentrated upon mothers with a few adoptees. a list of those studies and number of are as follows:
Berry & Cowman 1998 52 respondents
Condon 1986 20 respondents (mothers only)_
De Simone 1996 264 respondents(mothers only)
Field 1992 238 respondents(mothers only)
Gair 2008 20 respondents
Goodwatch 2001 8 respondents(mothers only)
Grafen & lawson 1996 No numbers but was for mothers only
Logan 1996 101 respondents(mothers only)
McPhee & Webster 1993 249 respondents
Swain.P 1992 340 respondents (mothers only)
Winkler & Van Keppell 1984 213 respondents (mothers only)
Of the above empirical studies only 3 had adoptees represented. Also there has only been 2 this century. Thats is why the AIFS study is so important.
The AIFS study had 1528 respondents. the breakdown was 505 mothers , 12 fathers, 823 adoptees, 94 adoptive parents and 94 other family members. How they found out about the study is also interesting and shows that many foud out about the study other than Adoption support services. total breakdown is
Adoption support services 345
AIFS website 202
websites including social networks 137
other TV/health professional 178
so it can be seen that it was comprehensively put out to the public and the responses came from all walks of life
I will now deal exclusively with adoptees and their responses. it found that 74 percent of adoptees had a diploma/ trade qualification or higher, the last census had put the nations figure at 56 percent
This then flows into the degree of of life satisfaction that adoptees currently have. Those with a high life satisfaction was found to be 50 percent. when compared with the wave 8 of the HILDA longitudinal study this was lower than that found by that study which showed 61 percent of adopted people had a high life satisfaction. The HILDA study showed the overall high life satisfaction rating for the country was 67 percent. This tells us that many adoptees whilst satisfied do have some unresolved issues.
The next figure which has proved to be contentious to those who wish to push one particular line. 56 percent of the adoptee respondents described their relationship with their adoptive parents when growing up as good to very good. This indicated that the majority of adoptive parents were supportive in their formative years. The high post high school education qualifications of adoptees may indicate this also. that is not to say abuses did not occur. But as with society in general there will always be abusive parents. but those abuses on adoptees are a direct result of intervention at birth with their removal.
The study shows that the adoptees adoptive parents were in the forefront of of delivering very helpful and somewhat helpful support 474 received such support. Whilst adoptees did seek support elsewhere the study shows by far the adoptive family provided the key support.
There are many other statistics there which cover the needed for support for all adoptees on a needs basis as anecdotally we know that as one moves through their life cycles there will always come a times when extra support is needed,and those who have been abused need access to a great deal of treatment , not including hypnotherapy, re birthing and all the other unproven techniques that can damage or worse place false memories into people which has been a major problem over decades where innocent parents of all persuasions have been falsely charged with abuse crimes.
The need for adoptee support is quite apparent but to make anecdotal statement that paint us as abused people without the empirical evidence to back it up is doing the reputation of many adoptive parents a great disservice. it is painting a picture that all adoptive parents were evil. Sure i can understand the mothers making such claims but for adoptees to stereotype when we have been already stereotyped just just plain wrong and mischievous. and to call the statistics wrong based upon nothing but their own gut feeling is also doing the vast majority of adoptees a great disservice. and when you consider 559 of the 804 are working (79) percent the disservice is even greater. Sadly it does not breakdown the non working which would include house parents, retired and those who are unable to work because of their trauma etc. The life satisfaction of the employed is also high with 57.8 %of full-time employed and 52.9%part time giving life satisfaction on employment as 8 to 10 the higher scale.
Adoptees can take a black armband and say woe is me. but compared to our mothers we have broadly had a reasonable life. issue are there some are permanently damaged, but to try to drag fellow adoptees down because it is believed that a/parents are sub human is wrong plain wrong and needs to be challenged at every chance, which this person will. we have all been affected by adoption is so many ways it is impossible to stereotype. my parents accidentally abused me by failing to tell me the truth. but it was done with no malice and no hatred in their hearts. when you realise that so many adoptive parents also were thrown in the deep end without a manual overall you may have some sympathy for them handling children with unremembered trauma. How the system gave us to them by abusing our mothers is so wrong and will always be a blight on society. How the public chose to ignore what was going on and stigmatise mothers and adoptees is unforgivable.
but just as the mothers have been a truthful as they can ,given the time lapses since the abuse, we also owe it to them to tell the full story about is. And the last thing they need to hear is tales of continual abuse when in fact that did not occur in the majority of cases.
Murray Legro Born Kerry Clark