Adopted Child Syndrome (ACS)

Discussion in 'General Information & Discussion' started by PSUfan, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. PSUfan

    PSUfan New Member

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    I didnt want the original thread to be threadjacked. If it belongs in the former thread, or somewhere else, mods will move it, Im sure. Thanks!

    Calikid posted:
    The reason this subject is near and dear to my heart, is because my eldest sister was an unwed birthmom, who made the right decision to give her baby boy a stable family, with a mother and a father. While we never again met her baby, after seeing him in the hospital, prior to the transition, we did find out that he had a good stable home life, and is now an attorney.

    Another reason this subject is near and dear to me, is that my youngest sister is the adoptive mother of 2 little girls. Both from birth.
     
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  3. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    Great topic and it will be interesting to look into this more closely. I have no experience and would like to hear more form those of you that do.
     
  4. PSUfan

    PSUfan New Member

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    In my google to learn about Keith Weaver (the 14 year old from my area who simply 'snapped'), I ran across this. It really is chilling.

    http://www.amfor.net/killers/


     
  5. csds703

    csds703 Former Member

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    Adopted Child Syndrome (ACS)

    IT'S HISTORY & RELEVANCE TODAY

    Adoption secrecy is credited with fueling several types of negative outcome issues for adoptees, including the statistical possibility that siblings separated by adoption, unaware of their biological relationship, have engaged in incestuous relationships (see the story of Joel Domingues at AdoptedPrisoners.com , under GEORGIA, and "Keeping it in the Family: Incest and Inbreeding," at http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/3436 . But it's the apparently higher probability of criminal and sociopathic behaviors by adoptees that has been the most documented -- and most disputed by pro-adoption groups and supporters of "tough on crime" legislation.
    Reuben Pannor, former Director and now Consultant to California's Vista del Mar residential center for emotionally disturbed children is quoted by Los Angeles Times writer Beverly Beyette: "I started working in adoption at Vista del Mar 30 years ago...There, I was surprised to note that every 3rd child had been adopted and had problems." The Adopted Prisoner and Adopted Killer pages, as well as the free download for the e-book, Chosen Children, not only documents the existence of the link between adoption and emotionally disturbed to sociopathic behaviors, but also explains WHY.

    http://www.amfor.net/acs/


    In the 1980s, adoptees who exhibited "Attachment Disorder" were further categorized as a "sub-set spectrum" of adoptees who, to varying degrees, exhibit eight specific antisocial Adopted Child Syndrome (ACS) behaviors -- according to noted psychologists, Kirschner, Sorosky, Schecter, Carlson, Simmons, Work, Goodman, Silverstein, Mandell, Menlove, Simon, Senturia, Offord, Aponti, Cross and others. However the "spectrum" is never defined, so it is argued that all adoptees are at risk due to the complexities of adoptees' dual identities and secret pasts. Although Brazelton referred to ACS as "malarkey" in the press, psychiatrist David Cooke said "Adopted Child Syndrome is simply a new name for a phenomenon that has been observed since the 1950's" (by Paton). The ACS behaviors most commonly referred to are:
    • conflict with authority (for example truancy);
    • preoccupation with excessive fantasy;
    • pathological lying;
    • stealing;
    • running away (from home, school, group homes, situations);
    • learning difficulties, under-achievement, over-achievement;
    • lack of impulse control (acting out, promiscuity, sex crimes);
    • fascination with fire, fire-setting
    The behaviors listed above describe my ex husband :eek:
     
  6. Lola

    Lola New Member

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    Yes, me too, JBean.
    Let's not forget to add Edwin Hall to this list.
     
  7. Lisahas2cats

    Lisahas2cats New Member

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    My DS's birth father, as well. He (DS's birth father) was adopted at about 9 weeks old from an orphanage in Memphis, and raised by the most loving, wonderful people I've ever known. He, however, hit every one of the above behaviors to a tee.
     
  8. txsvicki

    txsvicki New Member

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    All those behaviors couldn't come just from the impact of being adopted. There's got to be either mental illness or traits of a psychopath from the beginning.
     
  9. CaliKid

    CaliKid Former Member

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    Of my 6 adopted children, two are now adults and have been in various degrees of criminal trouble.

    Oldest daughter, now almost 24, was a habitual drug-using, promiscuous runaway as a teenager, and eventually we had to send her away to a residential treatment center until her high school graduation in order to get her treated for her issues which included violence against us (her parents). Upon release she relapsed back into drug use, and she has had several arrests for vagrancy, DUI, driving on a suspended license and grand theft. In the past 18 months she's managed to straighten up her life.

    Her biological brother, now 22, has OCD and is schizophrenic, an alcoholic and a drug addict. He was also violent towards us and stole around $2000 from me. Unfortunately, I didn't realize at the time what he did, and by the time I did I couldn't have him prosecuted, but he has been in minor trouble with the law. Currently, he has no contact with us because he's paranoid and thinks we're trying to get him incarcerated or locked up in a mental hospital. I worry that one day I'm going to read in the paper that he's murdered someone.
     
  10. CaliKid

    CaliKid Former Member

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  11. Julessleuther

    Julessleuther New Member

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    Ok--saw this topic and wanted to make a few comments.

    Not every child that is adopted is a "problem child". Many that grow up in a loving family, with good family values, grow up to lead wonderful lives. If I may be so bold, I am one of those. I was adopted at age 5. Life with my natural family was at best chaotic, and at worst traumatic. Before age 5, myself and my siblings were sexually, mentally, and physically abused, and I used to watch my natural mother get high and hallucinate on a regular basis. For the last year of my life with my natural family we lived in a truck and traveled from place to place, begging for food. At five I was separated from my mother and three siblings, and went to live with a "new" family (my siblings were all adopted out around the country).

    Was I messed up when I came to live with my family? Yes. But I was SO happy to be part of a "real" family, that I did not want to mess it up and be asked to leave. I was scared to death that they would send me back. I was so appreciative of having someone who loved and took care of me. And guess what, the adoption agency never told my parents that I had been physically and sexually abused, so they never got me professional help as a child (I got it as an adult, as I had intense fears of being like my natural mother). They knew the conditions were bad, but had not been given any details. It was not untl I was older that we got court papers stating the abuse that my siblings and I received. It was never discussed that I was adopted. My younger sister was 12 yrs old before she found out I was adopted. I was just part of the family, and everything expected of the others was expected of me. I was not violent or destructive. As a matter of fact, I was so gentle with my adopted little brother that I would let him bite me until I bled (he went through a wierd biting phase when he was 2.) My parents were a good christian family, who were strict, and had a high set of moral values. If it wasn't for those values, I KNOW my life would have turned out much different. I was a typical teenager, but I did not drink, smoke, do drugs, or sleep around because I did not want to screw up my "good family". The worst I did as a teenager is get C's instead of A's. I knew my family expected more from me, and for the most part I tried my best. As an adult I have found my natural siblings, and for the most part they grew up to have "normal" lifes too--primarily because they also were adopted into good families. I still carry scars from my childhood trauma, but they manifest themselves in protective ways--still being afraid of the dark, being alittle over-protective of my kids, having a harder time trusting people. I do not think about hurting my family, and I do not think about murdering someone.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not pointing fingers at those families that have had problem kids by saying it is all the parents fault. I do think values do play a huge part, but I really think more than some kind of "adoption" syndrome, it is because the kids lacked moral reasoning. At may have come from birth and never instilled later on, or it may have been "too late" by the time these kids came to live with their adoptive families.

    My point is this--all people can have problems with their families, natural and adoptive. While I do see that there are problems with adoptees having traumatic events happen, not every adoptee will turn out bad BECAUSE they have had trauma. I had a traumatic childhood and could not kill or hurt a fly (ok, maybe a fly, but not a human being). Many families with natural kids can have problems too--there is just something missing for the type of person who could kill, some kind of moral compass to teach them right from wrong.

    I admit that I find this line of thought alittle offensive. It is quick and easy to blame the kids, but I know of at least one case where a girl that was adopted and grew up to have problems, did so because her adopted family never fully accepted her as one of their children. They let her know every chance that she was "adopted". If a child grows up feeling that they never "belong" anywhere, they will be more likely to have problems valuing life. It would not matter if a child was adopted or natural, if they are abused or treated badly, they are more likely to perpetuate the cycle. I think the bigger issue is not whether a child is adopted, but whether a person was abused when they were younger. I think if statistics were done, the number of people who are natural children with their families, who grow up to kill are much higher than adoptees. Being an adoptee is an irrelevant statistic.
     
  12. PSUfan

    PSUfan New Member

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    This is all very scary to me. My sister has 2 adopted daughters, ages 6 and 8. They were both 'semi open' adoptions, from different situations. She and her husband were selected by the birth mothers, during their pregnancies, so these were newborn adoptions.

    They are both beautiful girls, in a stable home and family. We are a bit worried about the younger one though. She is very smart.. but VERY headstrong, and has verbalized some scary, extremely hurtful things. Even though she is so young, my sister is aware of the 'adopted child syndrome', and while we pray that my niece settles down, we all think that sis and family may need therapy at some point. Every single day with her has struggles beyond what I ever went through with my children, and far beyond what she goes through with the older daughter.

    On edit, Calikid, since the two that you had so many problems with were biological siblings, were you able to determine that this was a genetic issue? Did you get a complete mental health history? Problems or drug use during pregnancy?

    My sisters youngest came to her with slight traces of cocaine in her bloodstream, at birth.
     
  13. PSUfan

    PSUfan New Member

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    Thank you for sharing this. God bless your adoptive parents for rescuing you from your birth parents, and the foster care cycle. It is heartwarming to see that a child who comes from such horror, as you have, with love and guidance, can grow up to be a normal, productive adult.
     
  14. SewingDeb

    SewingDeb "Sorry, I'm not qualified to land the plane."

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    Julessleuther,
    You have overcome so much in your life and I believe you and your biological siblings were able to do that with much love from the adoptive family. Please don't be offended by this topic. I think that when adoption is a factor with killers it is because they have not bonded with their new family and Attachment Disorder is at the root of their problems.

    I adopted my youngest child who is actually my grandson. We have not had those kinds of problems mainly because we bonded with him at birth (adoption didn't become final until he was 4 and we had already had him since he was 9 months old).

    I'm not sure if Attachment Disorder only occurs with adoptees or if some children have this problem when raised in their natural family. Maybe someone on this forum knows the answer to this question.
     
  15. SewingDeb

    SewingDeb "Sorry, I'm not qualified to land the plane."

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    My heart goes out to you CaliKid. I'm also wondering about a genetic component or drug use during pregnancy for those two of your adopted six children.


    PSUfan, I hope your sister is seeking therapy for her youngest. Family therapy would be best.
     
  16. Lola

    Lola New Member

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    Me too, SewingDeb. In this case though we have a guy who was not just "troubled"..it goes way beyond this.

    http://http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/hc-petit.artjul29,0,6083534.story

    What an agonizing oversight that three board members who paroled a burglar in April after a truncated review didn't ask for his 2002 sentencing reports, missing from his file. They would have read alarming details about the predator - the military backpack, the night-vision goggles, the knife. Said Superior Court Judge James Bentivegna: "You don't seem to me to be an addict trying to feed a quick fix. They were very calculated crimes."

    Prosecutor Ronald Dearstyne's prescient comment: "I cannot remember in my 15 years, a person who has laid out such a plan to this degree, where he would use night goggles. If we can't go home and feel safe at night, where can we feel safe?"
     
  17. SewingDeb

    SewingDeb "Sorry, I'm not qualified to land the plane."

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    It definitely goes beyond troubled in this case and in cases of serial killers who were adopted.

    It is criminal, imo, that the parole was done without all the facts. I hope this case brings big changes in the way parole decisions are made in that state.
     
  18. csds703

    csds703 Former Member

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    Hi Js

    I can understand how you might get offended and defensive even. I get the same way when I see studies about children of divorce. I think there are many factors that come into play when it comes to mental illness.
    Being adopted all by itself will never make somebody a future serial killer.
    It is interesting to understand how an adoption along with a certain personality type might lead to anti-social behavior.
    I know dysfunctional adoptees and people who were raised in their biological homes. They are equally nuts. LOL.
     
  19. Linda7NJ

    Linda7NJ New Member

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    RAD can occur within biological families too.
     
  20. SewingDeb

    SewingDeb "Sorry, I'm not qualified to land the plane."

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    Thanks Linda. I have often wondered if that was so.

    I hate to see adopted children all painted with the same brush because most will not grow up to be serial killers. Of those who do, I think there may be a genetic predisposition to mental illness, brain damage from the bio mother's drug or alcohol use during pregnancy and/or RAD.
     
  21. CaliKid

    CaliKid Former Member

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    Julessleuther, I am so happy for you that you landed into a good family and are doing well. Your birthmom sounds very much like the birthmothers of some of my children. Mine have always known they were adopted, even the ones who were placed with us as babies.

    That you located your siblings and are able to maintain contact is also a huge positive. My 17-year-old adopted daughter has three older half-siblings and at least 2 younger ones, and she has no idea where any of them are.

    The adoptions of my children were nowhere near open because every one of them came to us through the foster care system. Birth and adoption records were sealed so the birthparents couldn't locate them. With foster care you get the usual scourges of maternal drug use, mental illness, etc.

    The birthmom of the oldest two had, herself, been in foster care most of her life and was physically abusive towards anyone who crossed her. She has a horrible temper and has used drugs since she was 14, so who knows if it's a genetic issue or not. The last we heard of her, she was in prison for murdering a cop.

    The birthmothers of my middle children, a girl age 17 and our 15-year-old son, both have mental problems. The son's mother is in a mental institution due to retardation from drug use at an early age. He also has some defiance and impulse control issues that might get him in trouble with the law later, but we have him in therapy and behavior-modification programs.

    I would tell you to urge your sister to get the younger girl help now. Don't wait. The earlier you start, the better their chances of finding answers before she becomes an out-of-control teenager who is unwilling to listen to anyone. Been there, done that, and frankly, it sucks. Our oldest daughter put us through hell and was probably a major catalyst in the break-up of our marriage.
     

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