This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Books and Methods Review - 99 Ways to Drive Your Child Sane

99 Ways to Drive Your Child Sane by Brita St. Clair 

This little book is full of wild ideas and hysterical humor to bring the laughter back into a home with an emotionally disturbed child. Need a good laugh? This book will do it! It includes lots of "one liners" and silly, fun ways to help parents avoid anger around tough topics. Written by a very experienced and loving Therapeutic Mom with years of success helping tough kids heal.


A few examples:

1. APPEASE THEM
For kids that pee in their rooms - Sprinkle peas around the room at night or while the child is gone. When the child is awake or at home, you discover the peas, get a bowl to collect them and show your delight over the child growing peas by peeing. "I knew this would happen someday if you just peed enough peas were sure to grow." Make sure you have peas (clean ones please) that night for dinner. Those of us from the south especially like to use black-eyed peas.

7. BUMMER
One liner: "Bummer"

This is commonly used by therapeutic parents working with unattached children and was not invented by me.

Something fun to do with it though is to keep a tally sheet or put a sticker on your arm every time you say "Bummer." See how many times you can use this one liner in one day instead of getting into an argument. Don't explain what you are doing either. Your child will have to wonder why you are putting stickers on yourself.

This reminds me of Behavior Bingo - 
Behavior Bingo is something I heard about from somewhere on the web. As a way to cope with her children's behaviors, this mom started pretending that whenever her child did something annoying (like pitch a fit, or paint with poo, or call her a $%#*... she would sometimes act really excited like she'd gotten to put a marker on her imaginary bingo board. She didn't tell her kids what she was doing or why. Every now and then she would yell out Bingo! She usually thanked the child for the behavior (again without telling the child why), and rewarded herself in some way (got an ice cream or a margarita or whatever). She said it made her feel better, and confused the heck out of the child(ren).

37. STUPID MOM
When the child is acting like you are dumb or asking head hassling questions he knows the answers to, point at your forehead and say,"Does it say stupid here?" If he says yes, then say, "Well erase it quick, you don't want people thinking you have a stupid mom," or "Erase it, that's supposed to be our secret"

Marythemom:  *****Quick, fun read.  I highly recommend it to help with the stress. 

Here's some fun one-liners to help with your stress!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Addictive Brain

Finally an article that puts in to better words why my son has an "addictive brain." We've seen evidence of it for years, and knew it wasn't the drugs themselves, because the addiction shifted often and he could stop seemingly cold turkey (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, but also sugar, sex, adrenaline, chaos...).

These addictions continued despite the fact that my son had a much better "cage." I believe this is for several reasons. One, he is missing the ability to make the "connection" mentioned in this article.

"Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It's how we get our satisfaction. If we can't connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find -- the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about 'addiction' altogether, and instead call it 'bonding.' A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn't bond as fully with anything else.
So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection."

So my son remains "addicted." In part because his attachment issues - the (in)ability to make human connections - haven't really healed, but also because his Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder means he is stuck living in a "war zone" 24/7. He carries his old "cage" with him wherever he goes.

The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and 

It Is Not What You Think

by Johann Hari - Author of 'Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs'

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned -- and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments. This story is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we take it for granted. It seems obvious. It seems manifestly true. Until I set off three and a half years ago on a 30,000-mile journey for my new book, Chasing The Scream: The First And Last Days of the War on Drugs, to figure out what is really driving the drug war, I believed it too. But what I learned on the road is that almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong -- and there is a very different story waiting for us, if only we are ready to hear it.
If we truly absorb this new story, we will have to change a lot more than the drug war. We will have to change ourselves.
I learned it from an extraordinary mixture of people I met on my travels. From the surviving friends of Billie Holiday, who helped me to learn how the founder of the war on drugs stalked and helped to kill her. From a Jewish doctor who was smuggled out of the Budapest ghetto as a baby, only to unlock the secrets of addiction as a grown man. From a transsexual crack dealer in Brooklyn who was conceived when his mother, a crack-addict, was raped by his father, an NYPD officer. From a man who was kept at the bottom of a well for two years by a torturing dictatorship, only to emerge to be elected President of Uruguay and to begin the last days of the war on drugs.
I had a quite personal reason to set out for these answers. One of my earliest memories as a kid is trying to wake up one of my relatives, and not being able to. Ever since then, I have been turning over the essential mystery of addiction in my mind -- what causes some people to become fixated on a drug or a behavior until they can't stop? How do we help those people to come back to us? As I got older, another of my close relatives developed a cocaine addiction, and I fell into a relationship with a heroin addict. I guess addiction felt like home to me.
If you had asked me what causes drug addiction at the start, I would have looked at you as if you were an idiot, and said: "Drugs. Duh." It's not difficult to grasp. I thought I had seen it in my own life. We can all explain it. Imagine if you and I and the next twenty people to pass us on the street take a really potent drug for twenty days. There are strong chemical hooks in these drugs, so if we stopped on day twenty-one, our bodies would need the chemical. We would have a ferocious craving. We would be addicted. That's what addiction means.
One of the ways this theory was first established is through rat experiments -- ones that were injected into the American psyche in the 1980s, in a famous advert by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. You may remember it. The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.
The advert explains: "Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It's called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you."
But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?
In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn't know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.
The rats with good lives didn't like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.
At first, I thought this was merely a quirk of rats, until I discovered that there was -- at the same time as the Rat Park experiment -- a helpful human equivalent taking place. It was called the Vietnam War. Time magazine reported using heroin was "as common as chewing gum" among U.S. soldiers, and there is solid evidence to back this up: some 20 percent of U.S. soldiers had become addicted to heroin there, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Many people were understandably terrified; they believed a huge number of addicts were about to head home when the war ended.
But in fact some 95 percent of the addicted soldiers -- according to the same study -- simply stopped. Very few had rehab. They shifted from a terrifying cage back to a pleasant one, so didn't want the drug any more.
Professor Alexander argues this discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It's not you. It's your cage.
After the first phase of Rat Park, Professor Alexander then took this test further. He reran the early experiments, where the rats were left alone, and became compulsive users of the drug. He let them use for fifty-seven days -- if anything can hook you, it's that. Then he took them out of isolation, and placed them in Rat Park. He wanted to know, if you fall into that state of addiction, is your brain hijacked, so you can't recover? Do the drugs take you over? What happened is -- again -- striking. The rats seemed to have a few twitches of withdrawal, but they soon stopped their heavy use, and went back to having a normal life. The good cage saved them. (The full references to all the studies I am discussing are in the book.)
When I first learned about this, I was puzzled. How can this be? This new theory is such a radical assault on what we have been told that it felt like it could not be true. But the more scientists I interviewed, and the more I looked at their studies, the more I discovered things that don't seem to make sense -- unless you take account of this new approach.
Here's one example of an experiment that is happening all around you, and may well happen to you one day. If you get run over today and you break your hip, you will probably be given diamorphine, the medical name for heroin. In the hospital around you, there will be plenty of people also given heroin for long periods, for pain relief. The heroin you will get from the doctor will have a much higher purity and potency than the heroin being used by street-addicts, who have to buy from criminals who adulterate it. So if the old theory of addiction is right -- it's the drugs that cause it; they make your body need them -- then it's obvious what should happen. Loads of people should leave the hospital and try to score smack on the streets to meet their habit.
But here's the strange thing: It virtually never happens. As the Canadian doctor Gabor Mate was the first to explain to me, medical users just stop, despite months of use. The same drug, used for the same length of time, turns street-users into desperate addicts and leaves medical patients unaffected.
If you still believe -- as I used to -- that addiction is caused by chemical hooks, this makes no sense. But if you believe Bruce Alexander's theory, the picture falls into place. The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to. The medical patient is like the rats in the second cage. She is going home to a life where she is surrounded by the people she loves. The drug is the same, but the environment is different.
This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts. Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It's how we get our satisfaction. If we can't connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find -- the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about 'addiction' altogether, and instead call it 'bonding.' A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn't bond as fully with anything else.
So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.
When I learned all this, I found it slowly persuading me, but I still couldn't shake off a nagging doubt. Are these scientists saying chemical hooks make no difference? It was explained to me -- you can become addicted to gambling, and nobody thinks you inject a pack of cards into your veins. You can have all the addiction, and none of the chemical hooks. I went to a Gamblers' Anonymous meeting in Las Vegas (with the permission of everyone present, who knew I was there to observe) and they were as plainly addicted as the cocaine and heroin addicts I have known in my life. Yet there are no chemical hooks on a craps table.
But still, surely, I asked, there is some role for the chemicals? It turns out there is an experiment which gives us the answer to this in quite precise terms, which I learned about in Richard DeGrandpre's book The Cult of Pharmacology.
Everyone agrees cigarette smoking is one of the most addictive processes around. The chemical hooks in tobacco come from a drug inside it called nicotine. So when nicotine patches were developed in the early 1990s, there was a huge surge of optimism -- cigarette smokers could get all of their chemical hooks, without the other filthy (and deadly) effects of cigarette smoking. They would be freed.
But the Office of the Surgeon General has found that just 17.7 percent of cigarette smokers are able to stop using nicotine patches. That's not nothing. If the chemicals drive 17.7 percent of addiction, as this shows, that's still millions of lives ruined globally. But what it reveals again is that the story we have been taught about The Cause of Addiction lying with chemical hooks is, in fact, real, but only a minor part of a much bigger picture.
This has huge implications for the one-hundred-year-old war on drugs. This massive war -- which, as I saw, kills people from the malls of Mexico to the streets of Liverpool -- is based on the claim that we need to physically eradicate a whole array of chemicals because they hijack people's brains and cause addiction. But if drugs aren't the driver of addiction -- if, in fact, it is disconnection that drives addiction -- then this makes no sense.
Ironically, the war on drugs actually increases all those larger drivers of addiction. For example, I went to a prison in Arizona -- 'Tent City' -- where inmates are detained in tiny stone isolation cages ('The Hole') for weeks and weeks on end to punish them for drug use. It is as close to a human recreation of the cages that guaranteed deadly addiction in rats as I can imagine. And when those prisoners get out, they will be unemployable because of their criminal record -- guaranteeing they with be cut off even more. I watched this playing out in the human stories I met across the world.
There is an alternative. You can build a system that is designed to help drug addicts to reconnect with the world -- and so leave behind their addictions.
This isn't theoretical. It is happening. I have seen it. Nearly fifteen years ago, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe, with 1 percent of the population addicted to heroin. They had tried a drug war, and the problem just kept getting worse. So they decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs, and transfer all the money they used to spend on arresting and jailing drug addicts, and spend it instead on reconnecting them -- to their own feelings, and to the wider society. The most crucial step is to get them secure housing, and subsidized jobs so they have a purpose in life, and something to get out of bed for. I watched as they are helped, in warm and welcoming clinics, to learn how to reconnect with their feelings, after years of trauma and stunning them into silence with drugs.
One example I learned about was a group of addicts who were given a loan to set up a removals firm. Suddenly, they were a group, all bonded to each other, and to the society, and responsible for each other's care.
The results of all this are now in. An independent study by the British Journal of Criminology found that since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. I'll repeat that: injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. Decriminalization has been such a manifest success that very few people in Portugal want to go back to the old system. The main campaigner against the decriminalization back in 2000 was Joao Figueira, the country's top drug cop. He offered all the dire warnings that we would expect from the Daily Mail or Fox News. But when we sat together in Lisbon, he told me that everything he predicted had not come to pass -- and he now hopes the whole world will follow Portugal's example.
This isn't only relevant to the addicts I love. It is relevant to all of us, because it forces us to think differently about ourselves. Human beings are bonding animals. We need to connect and love. The wisest sentence of the twentieth century was E.M. Forster's -- "only connect." But we have created an environment and a culture that cut us off from connection, or offer only the parody of it offered by the Internet. The rise of addiction is a symptom of a deeper sickness in the way we live -- constantly directing our gaze towards the next shiny object we should buy, rather than the human beings all around us.
The writer George Monbiot has called this "the age of loneliness." We have created human societies where it is easier for people to become cut off from all human connections than ever before. Bruce Alexander -- the creator of Rat Park -- told me that for too long, we have talked exclusively about individual recovery from addiction. We need now to talk about social recovery -- how we all recover, together, from the sickness of isolation that is sinking on us like a thick fog.
But this new evidence isn't just a challenge to us politically. It doesn't just force us to change our minds. It forces us to change our hearts.
Loving an addict is really hard. When I looked at the addicts I love, it was always tempting to follow the tough love advice doled out by reality shows like Intervention -- tell the addict to shape up, or cut them off. Their message is that an addict who won't stop should be shunned. It's the logic of the drug war, imported into our private lives. But in fact, I learned, that will only deepen their addiction -- and you may lose them altogether. I came home determined to tie the addicts in my life closer to me than ever -- to let them know I love them unconditionally, whether they stop, or whether they can't.
When I returned from my long journey, I looked at my ex-boyfriend, in withdrawal, trembling on my spare bed, and I thought about him differently. For a century now, we have been singing war songs about addicts. It occurred to me as I wiped his brow, we should have been singing love songs to them all along.

  • The full story of Johann Hari's journey -- told through the stories of the people he met -- can be read in Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, published by Bloomsbury. The book has been praised by everyone from Elton John to Glenn Greenwald to Naomi Klein. You can buy it at all good bookstores and read more at www.chasingthescream.com.
  • Johann Hari will be talking about his book at 7pm at Politics and Prose in Washington DC on the 29th of January, 2015, at lunchtime at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on the 30th January, and in the evening at Red Emma's in Baltimore on the 4th February, 2015.
  • The full references and sources for all the information cited in this article can be found in the book's extensive end-notes.
  • If you would like more updates on the book and this issue, you can like the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/chasingthescream

Monday, January 12, 2015

Five Hard Truths About Adoption Adoptive Parents don't want to Hear - A Response

Five Hard Truths About Adoption Adoptive Parents don't want to Hear by 

Adoptees. We're allegedly 16% of America's estimated 500 serial killers whilst we represent only 2-3% of the population. We're also the heroes of pop culture from Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins, to Superman and Luke Skywalker. In real life we're Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, Marilyn Monroe...and Ted Bundy. We're overrepresented in mental health settings, often at two-and-a-half to six times the rate of non-adopted children. Why can we fly so high and fall so hard?
Most of the analysis disregards the truths about adoption, swept under the carpet along with our origins by a society who prefers to ignore them. So it's time for adoptees to step up and tell the world those truths. None of the 'a mom is a mom, it doesn't matter who gave birth' shit. Because it does matter. The truth matters. 
1.  There is not one 'real' mother.
Real is one of those words that denotes authenticity. Superiority. Only one according to King Solomon, can be the 'real mother'. And I know you want to be the only 'real' mother. You may be a great caregiver. I know you changed my nappies and stayed up countless nights with me, attended the parent-teacher evenings and all that good stuff. I know you 'mother' me - often to the best of your ability and always with the resources within you.
But the relegation of my first real mother to the function of incubator by using the terms 'birth or biological mother' objectifies her, and diminishes her role and her importance in my heritage. She is also my 'real' mother plain and simple... I bonded with her before I was born during my very formation, she is and forever will be a part of me and I of her. And you - adopter - you are my parent. Maybe you are my 'real mother' too. After all, it's just a label. Two women played a part in making me who I am. My mother doesn't parent me. You do. Does this mean that either one of you is less important than the other? No.
Without my mother I would not be alive. Without you I would not survive to see adulthood. I would not be able to survive without either of you. Don't think that I cannot appreciate life and our relationship. I can... if we both acknowledge the truth. You and I have a unique bond without you pretending it's something that it can never be and trying to force others to do the same. Otherwise all we are taught is that lying is the best way to handle life - as if living under an assumed name wasn't already enough to teach us that.

2.  No matter how good our childhoods are, most of us fantasize about our origins.
In my childhood daydreams, I was the daughter of a nobleman and a beggar girl, the ugly duckling who turned out to be a swan or even a lost princess. Surely my fairy godmother would soon rescue me. When you are ignorant of your parentage such fantasies are beautiful to dwell upon. Even though my adoptive mother wasn't an evil queen, nor my father an abusive woodcutter, the fairy tales I read kept me dreaming. One day I would be reunited with my natural family and ascend my true power. Power that had been taken from me when I was adopted.
It is the sad truth that all adoptions start out of loss no matter how you try to frame it. I may be your gift. I may be your chosen one although the reality is that usually you were chosen to be my parents by a team of so-called experts....whilst for you, any child would do. And saying otherwise is a lie. But I am a child who's lost her mother without her conscious knowledge or consent. I have learnt by my formative experiences that my consent is not important. It has unsurprisingly left me far more open to abusive situations later on in life.
That I dream of my reunion with my natural parents has little to do with your ability to parent me, although it may be enhanced by it. If you tell me that happy children do not find their natural parents, you invalidate my very natural need to repair the bond that was once broken. You might use manipulation and indirect blackmail to stay my hand by putting me into the position of telling you that I do not appreciate your parenting and if so, I will learn by your example. I will also use manipulation and emotional blackmail. You might force me to commit sacrilege by contradicting the universally acknowledged ideal of motherhood. Because you know full well that I will hesitate from further rejection and keep me bound to you by fear. Fear leads to pain. Pain leads to destruction. Is that what you want?

3. I am not the answer to your prayers.
...even if you think I am. You may have had hopes and fantasies about your natural child and when you realized you couldn't have one, they were transferred to me. This is normal, but when those hopes and dreams turn into expectations it creates a box that I feel I must fill or risk rejection a second time. If you objectify me, you deny me my humanity and create a permanent sense of failure.
For that reason, I would ask you to ditch your hopes and dreams and look at who I really am. Whilst hopes and dreams may be resisted more easily by your biological child, an adopted child will subconsciously perceive that she must match up to the child you could have had and end up second best. We are after all, more often than not, your second option and worse told to feel happy about this. Grieve your unborn child and don't fill that hole with us. Because whilst we won't fit, we will still kill ourselves trying.


4. My reunion will most likely be disappointing because reality never lives up to dreams. This does not mean it isn't needed.
When I grew up and found my natural parents, there was of course no gold crown waiting for me. Just a realization that I was the rather ordinary product of a tawdry affair where responsibility for my presence was passed off to a childless married couple desperate for a child of 'their own'. I was a possession. My mother had become pregnant, victim of the wiles of a married and - as it turned out - immoral man. Not only was I not special, I was worse than others... born a bastard child, a second class citizen denied her birthright and a reject. And yet my reunion with my mother, a wonderful woman, was by all accounts successful even though it initially left me empty inside. My reunion with my father was an unmitigated disaster colored by [his] genetic sexual attraction.
Does this mean I should never have found them?
Until 19, I was effectively in limbo living the life of someone I didn't even know. Meeting my mother and father didn't teach me who I was, it taught me that I had the ability to choose who I was, for myself. But without that realization, I would have been forever stuck a victim of my circumstance not able to assume responsibility for my life or my actions. Feeling that you are a victim of life doesn't lead to anything good; so let us pursue our own journey and help us recover from the trauma - in part - by finding our natural parents. The outcome of the reunion could be good or bad... but in either way it will help shape how we manage our future and maybe give us the wings we need to fly. If we don't have that reunion, the realisation might never come and we will try to create meaning in our lives by pushing the boundaries. Sometimes quietly. Most times not.


5. I have no idea who I am. This can be good. But first it could be very, very bad.
Adoptees have gone through a trauma and a loss of their mother.  It doesn't matter whether or not they are conscious of it. Losing a baby is like an amputee having a phantom leg... for the mother. It should be there. It hurts that it is not. But it's not debilitating. If the mother is the amputee, the adopted child is like the phantom leg. Cut adrift, the connections which are supposed to be there, that the brain expects to be there... gone. We look like the other children, but we operate under different schematics because our brains have undergone stress at a formative stage.
For a time after birth until the age of around 2-3, the child is not fully aware of its own independence. Until the natural development and physiological separation of the child from the mother at this point, any enforced separation like adoption will result in a different kind of growth pattern. We are, like all children, naturally equipped with the resources to survive. We find the workarounds. But we do so differently, with strangers instead of with the people the brain is hardwired to expect.
We are not taught how to deal with this. We are told that our adoption is good, that our new caregiver for everything that matters, is our mother. But we know instinctively she isn't even before our cognitive brain kicks in. We have a fear of rejection which the mind has created as a survival mechanism from its first experience. We cannot trust those around us... so the best way of surviving is to trust no one. We are insecure, and are more likely to suffer low self esteem because we were already discarded as not worthy. It doesn't matter what you say. In most cases we will not be able to understand this until we are much much older and by then it is often too late.
Your adopted child will be more susceptible to bullying or to bully, more likely to become a rebel (after the initial attempt to be the perfect child), and in later life if this trauma remains unacknowledged and untreated, more susceptible to addiction, abuse and self-harm.
If your child gets through this, (s)he will start to realize that the ability to define themselves and create their own meaning free of lineage and free of definition is one of the most stunning gifts in this world. We, like the superheroes, are truly able to follow our call to adventure. But not before the shit has hit the fan, leaving everyone wondering what is 'wrong' with us.
The answer is nothing. We're following our own blue print designed to protect us in the best way it knows how. But it may not fit with your ideas. You may have to adapt them to help us counteract those parts with prove to be at odds with the healthiest way of living. If you do, then thank you. But you may also try and ignore, disparage or otherwise suppress what is widely researched and supported by the brightest minds working in clinical psychology and neuroscience.
And if you do, the question is not what is wrong with us, but why you put your own need to be parents before the needs of the child that you once said you loved... as if they were your very own.

MY RESPONSE:

I don't believe these actually are "Truths," but I think most adoptive parents do want to hear them.

This article was obviously written regarding the generally outmoded practice of the secretive, closed private adoption, and the current adoption system is much more complex than that, but it's still a good reminder to avoid falling in the trap of trying to mold our children into what we want them to be and believe. We do need to acknowledge the fact that it's hard for us to give up our expectations, hopes and dreams for our children and focus on the realities of who our child is... and who they're becoming.  If we haven't already, we need to stop and mourn who this child could have been if their lives had gone a little differently, and the hopes we had for them.

I wonder about this women's family and if they were really as harsh as she implies or if her perception of their motives and actions is as twisted as my children's often are?

1.  There is not one 'real' mother. 
I totally agree with this one. Both biomom and I are my children's "real parents." This generally isn't an issue in our house unless my child is mad at me, at which point I may hear, "You're not my Real mom." I try to take this in the spirit it was intended (a way to strike out because my child is feeling upset).
"You're not my real mom."
"That's funny, I
feel real. Honey, do I look plastic to you? Believe me baby, this is not a Barbie body!"
2.  No matter how good our childhoods are, most of us fantasize about our origins.
I think EVERY child fantasizes about their origins. I remember wondering if I was adopted or really an android or an alien... and wishing it were true!  This is a hard line to walk with my kids though. I firmly believe that it is vitally important not to hit my kids over the head with the realities (or suspected realities) of their family of origin (or allow them to vilify them either - which Bear liked to do), but at the same time we need to keep it real so that they don't focus all their energies on the dream and miss out on being a part of our family. This is especially hard with their black and white thinking.
I recognize that adoption is a major loss, and this is one reason we've never made a huge fuss or had big "Gotcha day" (a term that really bothers me!) and Adoption Day parties. Yes, they are an important part of our family history, but we try to remember that they are a day of loss as well.

3. I am not the answer to your prayers.
Gonna have to disagree with this one. While I did not know the names and details about my children beyond a picture and a brief description (which we all know are incomplete and inaccurate), and yes, we were chosen by a team for our children, I do believe that God chose these children for me (the series of Godincidences that led to them becoming a part of our family can be explained in no other way) and therefore they are an answer to my prayers. I do believe the children are filling a "hole in my heart," but it is a Bear- and Kitty- shaped hole.

4. My reunion will most likely be disappointing because reality never lives up to dreams. This does not mean it isn't needed.

I firmly believe that whenever possible kids should have a reunion with their birthfamily, but when they're adults --> a chance to explore their origins and imagine what their life might have been like, when they are hopefully emotionally stable, and secure in the knowledge that they have a loving family which they are very much a part of and that any relationship with this other family is a "bonus." Especially with social media, more and more kids are being reunited with birth families when they are not emotionally ready, often causing additional trauma.  The waters got "muddied" in our case, because the children had sisters that stayed behind with biomom, and we wanted to keep that door open so they could maintain that relationship.

Because of their black and white thinking, my kids felt torn by massive loyalty issues -- that if they allowed themselves to be a part of our family then they were betraying their birth family. Bear always had one foot out the door anyway, to avoid being abandoned again. It wasn't rational, but he felt that if we weren't forcing him to stay (which we would never do!), then we were kicking him out. He never allowed himself to come all the way in to try and see if he wanted to become part of our family, because that other door (with the tempting fantasy that everything would be perfect if) was always dangling just outside his reach. I think that "escape hatch," especially during those volatile teen years, kept him feeling abandoned  over and over again - constantly picking at a raw, open wound and preventing any healing.

5. I have no idea who I am. This can be good. But first it could be very, very bad.

The author describes the adopted child as being like a severed limb, lost and hurting without an attachment to the body from which it came. I think a better analogy is seeing the child as like the limb of a tree rather than a body part. Yes, if grafted to a new family tree, that limb will always look and feel different from the new tree, but it will grow and gain vital nutrients from the new tree and often the tree as a whole will be stronger for the graft, and everyone benefits from the beautiful variety.
I do agree with most of this, but definitely not the summary.
"what is 'wrong' with us.The answer is nothing. We're following our own blue print designed to protect us in the best way it knows how. But it may not fit with your ideas. You may have to adapt them to help us counteract those parts with prove to be at odds with the healthiest way of living. If you do, then thank you. But you may also try and ignore, disparage or otherwise suppress what is widely researched and supported by the brightest minds working in clinical psychology and neuroscience.And if you do, the question is not what is wrong with us, but why you put your own need to be parents before the needs of the child that you once said you loved... as if they were your very own."
Yes, our kids are operating in ways designed to protect them the best way they know how, but I do not think the majority of this is a "biological blue print." Instead, I think a lot of it is adaptations and defense mechanisms that were designed to protect the young child, but are no longer needed. I believe it is our job as parents to help them determine which of these are biological and a beautiful part of our child's personality, and which they need help overcoming to be the happy, healthy adults God intended them to be. I do not have a crystal ball to know exactly how best to help my child and/or when to back off, but as an involved, loving parent with the closest viewpoint, and the responsibility to help pick up the pieces if things fall apart, I will continue to try to help my child prepare for the future and put together the pieces of this identity puzzle.

I believe that this is putting my child's needs before my own needs, because it would certainly be easier to throw my hands up and say, "I can't wait until (s)he is 18 and goes to live with his/her biofamily!" (...and believe me, now that my kids are legally adults, there are definitely days when that is super tempting!)

 I hope my children will always know I'm here to love, cheer, support, and challenge them in their quest--whatever form that does, or does not take.