Anonymous submission 8
No, it is adoptive family focused. It does not sufficiently acknowledge the life-long trauma experienced by many (if not most) intercountry adoptees. While the scripting on Annex A addresses adoptee rights and touches on ethics, the ICA website is ‘adoptive parent’ centric. These need to be in better alignment with each other. There is nowhere NEAR enough information for review by potential-adopters to drive home that LOVE is not all you need nor does it mention the ethical considerations.
In fact, this document, in conjunction with the information on the website probably influences the adopters perception that their decision is completely moral. While morality is fairly subjective, I dont believe this choice is ever completely moral or immoral. Adopters need to be made accutely aware by the bodies supporting them to adopt that their child may not approve of their choice. They need to understand that their own perspective isn’t the only one or necessarily the right/moral one.
Given that we’re looking at an aging population and that intercountry adoption may become a popular solution to middle-class white people. Some of the best support that can be offered is free… that is, change the rhetoric. Change the way we talk about adoption, particularly intercountry adoption in common language.
Do not allow people to talk about adoptees as a solution to their infertility, do not allow people to feel that they have made an inherently moral choice, do not allow those viewing them to pedestal their choice as ‘altruism’, do not ignite the saviour complex, do not allow them to believe that the care that they provide is in some way superior to the care their impoverished family could provide. The reality is, if the natural family had stability they would not choose to relinquish their child. While adopters have the best intentions, there are considerable white-supremacist undertones in these views. There are 3 sides to this triangle and effort should be made that all three are nationally acknowledged equally.
I believe that adoption CAN be a good thing, but there are no targeted services for adoptees to access. Empower adoptees to complete study to be a support for other adoptees. Unpopular opinion, but consider if adoptive parents were charged an ongoing fee until their child is 18 that goes to a national trust to allow adoptee psychological support services?
In addition, the government needs to re-establish funding for reunification and post-adoptive care for children AND adults. If they can find a billion dollars annually to support the offshore detention and torture of people who look like ICAs they can find the money to support those of us who were saved the leaky boat ride.
With 4x the national average for completing suicide and evidence that implict bias WILL play into their social, financial and psychological outcomes it is not conscionable that places like the Northern Territory don’t have targeted support services for ICA’s. Nor is it conscionable that free services like ISS were defunded.
Those providing the service need to provide trauma-informed care. Strong guidelines based on psychological principals, crisis care, rejection sensitive dysphoria and sociological factors such as the impact of social exclusion.
Those starting the reunification process need a single point of contact, an adoption-centric crisis line and people who are either adoptees themselves, people of colour, or have a strong psych/counselling background. The case worker should be made available for a period post reunification also.
They say parenting doesn’t come with a manual but perhaps it should? The adoptee experience is unique and vulnerable.
A national database which provides access to an online adoptee portal inclusive of support groups, phone counselling and video counselling services at a minimum. It would be ideal to have someone visit these remote communities biannually to create a sense of connectedness to support services.
Alternatively, funding to subsidise or part subsidise travel expenses to facilitate attendance at adoptee social events, support groups or services.
Create a government run website for adoptees only. Start a discord group/facebook page, start a youtube channel, elevate adoptee voices. Create a space where it is recognised, above all else, that their reality is valid regardless of self-administered shame/guilt about not being ‘grateful’. It should not be on the adoptee community to create their own spaces to be seen. If the government allows the practice it needs to acknowledge the darker sides of the practice.
Adoptive parents have many more resources than adoptees. The underlying issues they face revolve around cultural expectations that are already catered for. There are very little resources for adoptees stuggling with identity and body-related dysphoria. There is next to nothing on the implict impact of being raised culturally white but experiencing racism and ‘in-group’ ‘out-group’ behaviours and how that has an effect on your self-concept.
I work for the emergency services. Community organisations like this can be utilised to re-establish a sense of purpose and community. Support adoptees who are struggling with purpose and identity to join these volunteer workforces, experience comradery and establish a sense of belonging. God knows with the climate situation we need all the volunteer help we can get ESPECIALLY in remote regions.
Resources should be based on neurological development theories. Things didn’t hit home for me personally till I understood brain development, schema theory, ACE’s scoring and antenatal developmental psychology. Incorporate self-tests to identify unhelpful schema for both adoptees and prospective adopters. Are they adopting for the right reasons? Has adoption had an implicit effect on your self-concept?
– Short term – ICA’s feel recognised as people with a unique and valid reality and understand that their voices will be respected.
– Long term – The national dialogue changes. People will respect and acknowledge the struggles associated with the ICA experience and hold them at the same level as persons right to establish family.
– Knowledge/attitudes/skills – Psychological first aid, emotional self-regulation, rejection sensitivity, ADHD symptomology, dealing with guilt/shame, acknowledgement of the ICA’s feeling of being ‘otherness’, parents understand that their adoptive children in many cases REQUIRE a re-establishment of bonds with their natural families, people understand the natural families experience and where possible seek to maintain that bond/connection for their childs wellbeing.
– Performance indicators – national database, regular qualitative surveys, recording feedback from adoptees addressing national and state legislation pertaining to them (such as dual birth certificates recognising their adoption).
– Evidence/data – Annual qualitative surveying regarding adoptive community engagement and incorporation of metrics similar to the Net Promotor Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). Use of Google/Facebook analytics. Annual data analysis and hypothesis testing.
I recognise that I am an adoptee thus have a naturally strong emotional bias towards the adoptee community over and above the adopting community. While generally rational/logical this is an area I am (not surprisingly) passionate about and I admit that as someone who doesnt have nor want kids (probably in part due to my adoption) that I find it difficult to relate to adopters. I hope I have been able to contribute some insight.
Key principles for redesign
Skills for people who’ve never dealt with implicit racism to understand and dismantle white supremicist social structures. e.g. western culture/opportunity is not inherently better than the adoptees CoB. (See attached discussion)
Seek, pedestal and utilise adoptee voices/experiences.