Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Adopted Child Syndrome

When you work in a library, you tend to see really interesting books cross your desk. Today, I couldn't help flipping through a book that contains different viewpoints on adoption.

I am adopted. (and an only child to boot!) I was adopted when I was about three months old. I have never had any desire to find my birth parents. A few of my adopted friend found their birth mothers and it was not a good experience for them. I feel that I already have parents so I don't need to go looking for others.


This book talks about a term coined in the 1980's called "Adopted Child Syndrome." Apparently, a "noted" psychologist saw in "case after case" common behaviors in adopted children. He created a term for these behaviors called "Adopted Child Syndrome." The ACS behaviors most commonly referred to include:
-conflict with authority
-pathological lying
-running away
-learning difficulties, under-achievement, over-achievement
-lack of impulse control
-fascination with fire, fire-setting
-shallowness of attachment
-serious antisocial behavior
-an extremely negative or grandiose self-image
-low frustration tolerance
-an absence of normal guilt or anxiety

Now, this troubles me. Mostly because it makes all adopted children sound like they are on the road to becoming serial killer psychopaths. Of that list, I have had learning difficulties, lack of impulse control and perhaps low frustration tolerance. But none of the other items apply to me or to other adopted children I know. Quite frankly, I have seen non-adopted children with the same qualities. I'd say the most you could attribute to adopted children as opposed to birth children is a fear of abandonment. Something I definitely have sometimes. I get tired of psychological labels sometimes because I don't feel they reveal the big picture or take into account all circumstances.

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

that is silly, honestly. I think adopted children are just like birth children in terms of things like that.

The only thing I've seen in adopted children I know is sometimes, if they were adopted from China or Korea into a white American family, for example, when they reach high school age they might be interested in learning more about their birth family's culture & heritage. but sometimes not.