Adoption Experiment: Breaking the Spirit

The modern process of breaking the spirit of an expectant mother for the purpose of stealing her infant, reminds me of that old film taken by Hitler’s doctors of their own medical experiments, whereby they left a parent locked alone in a room with their baby, but without food or drink. They watched and filmed through a one-way mirror as the adult victim unraveled. It only took a couple of days for the adults to crack completely. In the same way a vulnerable expectant woman is easy pickings for the public and its press. The North American press behaves just like Hitler’s doctors, carrying out goulash experiments on defenseless victim mothers, who are unable to fight back or protect themselves. The North American press appears to be in love with adoption. Or maybe in love with the wash of money always associated with slavery?  -Joss Shawyer, Death by Adoption

3eee0-nurse-ocalBy Lara/Trace

I just watched a movie THE KILLING ROOM about human experimentation (torture) and how MK Ultra was a top-secret government program that manipulated and murdered unsuspecting men and women civilians who thought they’d earn a few easy bucks by being a lab rat for a few hours. Their psychological destruction reminded me of what Hitler did, mentioned above by adoption activist and author Joss Shawyer.

If governments in the world can conduct this kind of experiment, breaking the spirit of innocent unsuspecting people, they can literally do anything and get away with it. They will deny the experiment as they are trained to be cunning manipulators. Their programs are kept sealed and secret.

For me, I imagined I was so courageous to write my memoir, only to find out that something is still burning in me, so much that I needed to take a break from writing to just sit and think a spell, etc.  Ten years ago writing my memoir I actually wrote the words: “Adoption is an experiment (referring to torture).” How? Adoptees like me are forced to live an illusion our entire life and accept our new identity as truth. The Stockholm Syndrome happens when we accept our adoption (abductions) and defend the adopters and what they did.   Adoption was a cunning way to break our spirit and split us into pieces, aka Split Feathers.

It’s disturbing to read how adoptive parents are still counting on Stockholm Syndrome to keep adoptees a grateful bunch by defending adoption, even defending adoptive parents.  I cringe at the slick propaganda of the happy “well-adjusted” adoptee in the mainstream press, on adoptive parents blogs and in too many movies.  Apparently the Adoption Police silenced adoptees successfully, forcing us into that gratitude attitude and complacency expected of us, having been “saved” by adoption.

I just returned from Ontario where my co-editor and author Patricia Busbee met two contributor-adoptees who wrote in Two Worlds and we gave a panel presentation on the effects of adoption. We told our stories.  We cried openly.  Earlier in the day, we spoke to college students who read the anthology Two Worlds and heard their reactions: they had no idea this happened to First Nations and American Indian adoptees and were not taught anything about this in any school or in any history class.

One of the adoptees Michael who spoke on our panel, looked around the room, and said “I know where 5 percent of adoptees are…where are the other 95%?”  Canada’s 60s Scoop is said to have removed 20,000+ babies and children from their First Nations families.  I know that many adoptees felt alone, isolated, tortured, and some even committed suicide.

It was a secret that the US and Canadian governments used adoption as a tool of cultural genocide, to manipulate our minds as adoptees, to erase our ancestry, to ultimately destroy our connection to our tribes and relatives and remove us from tribal rolls. They sealed our files, that way we’d never know.

Researching Stockholm Syndrome, I found the website by adoption activist Joss Shawyer. She is so articulate, and passionate, I want to share some of her writing here from 2004:

We are mothers who lost our babies to the adoption industry in both closed adoptions and “open” adoptions. We were exiled from our babies NOT because we were proven unfit, but because we were vulnerable (young, single, sick, or poor), and lied-to and coerced by social workers, doctors, lawyers, maternity homes, and churches: brokers that made money from selling our babies to a market driven by “consumer” demand.  Silenced for decades by shame and guilt, we suffered alone with our grief, believing we were the only ones. Now we find we are not alone – there are many others of us who did not surrender by choice. And if there is only one option, there is not a choice. Reunited with our children, we now see first-hand the pain that adoption caused them.  They told us we’d forget. They told us to “get over it,” “put it behind us,” and “get on with our lives.” They tell our children we “gave them away.


The Truth A Customer [2004]

Finally — finally after years of seeing this book referenced I own a copy. And it was worth the search. Shawyer’s honest and compassionate look at adoption through the eyes of an astute, woman-friendly observer, is a stunner.
Social workers and doctors made a mistake when they targeted Shawyer and her twin babies for adoption fodder.  She was not frightened by these “adoption police” who have destroyed millions and millions of perfectly good real families in the last 50+ years.  Shawyer resisted their date-rape style abuse.  She describes vividly how the mother targeted for adoption keeps saying “no” to the suggestion of adoption for her child yet the social workers and doctors who have singled her out as fair game keep saying “yes.”  Ultimately, they simply whisk away the newborn for baby-crazed infertiles and tell the mother who complains that it is her fault that she didn’t stop them.  When this trickery was tried on Shawyer, she found the shaming and cult-like brainwashing tactics ludicrous, was able to fight off the attacks, and walked out of the hospital with her babies as God intended.
Ever since, she has stood up for mothers and their precious babies.  She documents well the terrible suffering of adoption’s victims, the unresolvable grief and post-truamatic stress disorder–ruined lives.  After writing Death by Adoption, Shawyer was instrumental in the dismantling of the mean and shameful practice in New Zealand.
I was shocked to look in the front of Death By Adoption and see it was written 25 years ago. One suspects that Shawyer must be dismayed that after all these years with the horrors of adoption well-documented, it seems to be business as usual in the US for these appalling human rights violations.

As someone who was rejected by my mother when I attempted reunion, I believe my mother must have suffered the same Stockholm Syndrome I had. We were supposed to forget and move forward as if nothing happened…. Adoption broke her spirit too.  Adoption really was an experiment… Lara/Trace

Published by Lara/Trace

...mosaic artist ...poet... blog consultant... content curator... news junkie (My Memoir: One Small Sacrifice will be republished)

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  1. The quote above can be found at
    Joss wrote articles for the web site as Voices From Exile
    The web site was created by a group of mothers who met on the online support group Sunflowers. That was in the late 1990’s, before Facebook. It’s nice to see that our collaboration from way back then is still being found and found worthy of sharing.


    1. I am so grateful to exiled mothers for their brave words and testimony. You are loved and appreciated from this blogger.


  2. Reading this brings tears for all the tortured souls. Breaking the spirit sums it all up. I’m going to save this piece. Thank you.


  3. I am stunned after reading your warped perception of adoption. What would you like to see happen to children whose mothers cannot adequately care for them or do not want them? Is death a better choice for these children? What about institutionalization? Your article certainly makes these seem to be better choices than adoption.

    Seek mental health therapy and attend all your appointments. You may be afflicted with Reactive Attachment Disorder.


  4. You reactionary and ill-informed comment doesn’t deserve a place here , where the truth is sought and the realities of adoption can be aired. There will always be a need for some children to be raised apart from biological parents who cannot or should not raise them. As we adult adoptees know, there are mothers who do not want us and do not again when given another chance. Those of us who suffer institutionalization will inform you in detail of the suffering and long lasting effects. Adoption into a properly selected, prepared and supported family will usually be a better option providing it is accompanied by truth, insight, education and ethics. Sadly there are too few adopters and potential adopters who are equipped to do such a difficult job well or who have the necessary skills and attributes – patience, humour, lateral-thinking, commitment, dedication, loyalty, compassion, empathy, steadfastness, endless energy, insightfulness, inventiveness and so on. Your throw-away comment on RAD and therapy is offensive and indicates a serious lack of compassion – there seems to be no cure for that.


  5. Thanks Von for replying to Pam. I have been thinking about her insulting words with great consideration and thought. I was wondering if I needed to respond to Pam at all. It appears Pam jumped in at this post rather than a beginning place which explain a sequence of events and how I came to MY own views through vast experience as an adoptee and as a voracious reader of blogs by adoptees like you Von and the dozens of first moms who blog. Pam is not aware that I have had therapy and that is a part of my education. There are many like Pam who have little regard for what really happened to adoptees so she feels she can leave a comment like this. She is not aware of who created adoption propaganda or how adoptees are writing a new script that the adoption industry is rejecting (and is probably hoping will go away). It is easier to call me warped. Her comment does point to the need that she do more reading by adoptees and not the adoption industry.
    Her comment will very likely cause me and others to write more, not less.


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