Entry #12B   Set and Setting

Entry #12B   Set and Setting

Most parents start out with a child with no words but we started out with a child whose words we couldn’t find in the dictionary, and even if we found them, we couldn’t figure out how to use the dictionary’s definition to our advantage. When we said ‘Nyet’ to Yasik we had little idea what that communicated.

What books might we have read at the time or what concepts might we have picked up from other parents or from the media of the nineties to guide us? That was a time of concern over ‘helicopter’ parenting. And I, back in my religious years, had read James Dobson’s Dare to Discipline (1977) and some other book about a couple who followed his ideas and ‘transformed’ their lives which may have held some residue neuronal territory in my brain. (I will bet that sentence could knit some eyebrows into a furrow or raise them heavenward.) But for the most part we neither thought we needed to bother to read in this area or were too busy to try.

But now as I seek to understand the ‘setting’ for Yasik’s mindset, some obsessive-compulsive habit of mine exerts itself for I have long felt like a subject was not adequately addressed until I have checked off the 7Ws or as many states of human experience as Yasik might have had interactions with which could possibly offer insight.  If I, however, need backing for my obsession I will generalize from a point being made by Siddhartha Mukherjee in The Gene: an intimate history which makes roughly the same point, while making a point of the interconnectedness of genes and environment.

Identity, we are told now, is determined by nature and nurture, genes and environment, intrinsic and extrinsic inputs. But this too is nonsense – an armistice between fools …. whether nature predominates or nurture is not absolute, but depends quite acutely on the level of organization one chooses to examine.… in the estuarine plains of crisscrossing information, history, society, and culture collide and intersect with genetics, like tides.  Some waves cancel each other, while others reinforce each other.  No force is particularly strong – but their combined effect produces the unique and rippled landscape that we call an individual’s identity.[xv]

Mukherjee comes back at the end of the book to “recall the scientific, philosophical, and moral lesson of [the] history [of the gene]” in 13 points. In point #6, he offers a good example of how Nature and Nurture are seen as working together.

#6. It is nonsense to speak about “nature” or “nurture” in absolutes or abstracts.  Whether nature – i.e., the gene- or nurture – i.e., the environment – dominates in the development of a feature or function depends, acutely, on the individual feature and the context.  The SRY gene determines sexual anatomy and physiology in a strikingly autonomous manner; it is all nature.  Gender identity, sexual preference, and the choice of sexual roles are determined by intersections of genes and environments – i.e., nature plus nurture. The manner in which “masculinity” versus “femininity” is enacted or perceived in a society, in contrast, is largely determined by an environment, social memory, history, and culture; this is all nurture.[xvi]

I happened to read both The Gene and The Myth of Normal at the same time.  The Gene gave me some understanding of Nature and The Myth of Normal focused on Nurture. In The Myth of Normal, Gabor Mate, warns against diagnosis for those elements of our humanity that are not “all nature” as Mukherjee says above.

Diagnoses are abstractions, or summaries: sometimes helpful, always incomplete. They are professional shorthand for describing constellations of symptoms a person may report, or of other people’s observations of someone’s behavior patterns, thoughts, and emotions…. [D]iagnoses reveal nothing about the underlying events and dynamics that animate the perceptions and experiences in question …. A … study looked at the prescription records of almost one million B.C. schoolchildren over an eleven-year period and found that kids born in December were 39 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than classmates born the previous January. The reason? December kids entered the same grade nearly a year younger than their January counterparts – they were eleven months behind in brain development. They were being medicated not for a “genetic brain disorder” but for naturally delayed maturation of the brain circuits of attention and self-regulation.[xvii]

Caveat here: Of course, I will not be covering everything related to Nature and Nurture, but hopefully will cover aspects I see as related to Yasik.  As well, I am trying to stretch Nature and Nurture to accommodate my metaphor of ‘setting’ or environment for Yasik’s perception or mindset of adoption as family.

Historical/Political/ Economic:

Parenting an Adopted Child reminds us “that children’s lives do not begin the day they are adopted.  Regardless of the type of adoption, children have biological relatives and genetic histories of their own”.[xviii]

History is the narrative of human experience in time and place.  I think you would have to read historical examinations of human experience like Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature or Hans Rosling’s Factfulness or Jennifer Traig’s Act Natural to appreciate what Dave and my human experience was/is in relation to our forebears’ human experience.  We lived on the edge of a metropolis both in New Westminster and then in Maple Ridge which meant job, mortgage, commute, local schooling, weekend social events like family picnics and soccer games within the context of a government that legislated in respect of BCers’ vote, tipping a bit to the left of center. Canada, or BC for that matter, were not remotely turning toward an authoritarian regime that was Russia during Yeltsin’s time, the place of Yasik’s first four years.

We have, as I have mentioned often, only a bare history of his life in Russia, things adoptors are now heartily encouraged to check out, but we do know that his Russian environment was like that experienced by many of the worlds’ poorer, less developed countries. Russia’s reputation as a poor country is such a given assumption in the pool of common knowledge that even Jennifer Traig, in her book on hypochondria, Well Enough Alone, uses Russia as an example of somewhere you might expect to find people with bad teeth. She is writing of her own gray coloured tooth, and wonders how the tooth turned on her. “I’d known other people with discolored teeth, but they’d always had a story. They’d fallen face-first into a tree, or grown up in Russia”.[xix]

But on balance, this note from Marion Crook in Thicker Than Blood: adoptive parenting in the modern world:

Once I was dealing with quite a stupid prank one of my sons had managed to engineer, and my neighbour sympathized, “Well, it’s not your fault; he’s adopted.” 

I snapped, “And all four parents are thoroughly ashamed of him at the moment!”  How dare he imply my son’s heritage was inferior![xx]

While not denying the rich culture of Russia, a quickie googling will corroborate that ‘growing up in Russia’ is growing up in a country that slipped from super power in the early 90s, just as Yasik was being born, to the designation ‘developing country’ which by a Google definition means ‘low living standards, low per capita income, widespread poverty, and having underdeveloped industry and outdated infrastructure’. I will add a comment from Born For Love which is focusing on the conditions in Russia as they impact children raised in orphanages in Russia. Examining the period of Russian history from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries, Richard Hellie, a professor of history, ties that period of darkness to the present day as having “replicated itself as each generation continued to traumatize the next and build brains for reaction, not thought”.[xxi] Offering us some cultural preparation for our trip to Russia, our adoption facilitator, shrugged while warning us against smiling in public for “We [Russians] have unsolvable problems”.  Then again, Susan Wheeler says the non-smiling face is a mask, a street face.[xxii]

Coming into the world with a ‘traumatized brain’ is an existential concern for an orphanage-nurtured child and his or her adoptive parents. If a sense of hopelessness in the face of difficulty saturates a society, that hopelessness like smoke from a fire will find its way through the cracks in a child’s life, covering the child’s outlook on life in soot-black.  If the perception of life is based on insecurity and fear rather than love and hope, care-givers are not equipped to nurture in love, leaving the child with emotions regulated by fear, which continues the cycle begun so many centuries before.[xxiii]  We know that one care-giver at the orphanage shed tears as staff and children stood on the porch waving good-bye to Yasik.  Perhaps she gave him some consistent nurture. But was there enough consistent love to produce the oxytocin needed to develop a strong sense of safety and security in Yasik’s being?  Was he able to know a sense of calm when in a stressful situation? Time, with consistent care, is needed to build a strong awareness that is all is well in his world.  Studies have shown that even after three years in the adoptive home, children do not always show sufficient calmness via oxytocin and vasopressin to give them an adequate sense of security, even though the need for a consistent caregiver is by then being met.  And to repeat, the need is for consistent nurture, not, as studies have shown, necessarily only from the bio-mom. The infant only asks for consistency in nurture. When a baby cries and then cries some more but does not get a helpful response, the child, the baby becomes, simply shuts down.[xxiv]

Referencing Bruce Perry in What Happened to You: “… early in life, the brain needs consistent, patterned experience to develop some key systems.”  Perry uses the example of exposing an infant to a language for 6 weeks, then changing the exposure to another language for six weeks and then on to another.  Then he says

This poor child will not speak any language at all…. [for] there were never sufficient repetitions with anyone language to properly organize the child’s full speech and language capability…. It’s the same with relationships.  [If the infant’s caregivers change often the] infant brain hasn’t sufficient repetitions with any single person to create the architecture that allows [the infant] to develop healthy relational neurobiology.

The key to having many healthy relationships [in a person’s] life is having only a few safe, stable, and nurturing relationships in [the person’s] first year.[xxv]

Perry also makes the following point: Even if it’s a really nice, respectful person entering the child’s life, it takes a long time for the child to make sense of the shift and get back to a calm, regulated state.[xxvi]

Considering that Yasik was given over to us with not one item he might have called his own, we can assume that he was living below the poverty line.  His parents had left him nothing; the orphanage would not let him take anything.  He was comfortable with that for he gave the toys we brought to the other children the night before, they said.  It is possible to wonder if Yasik was heartily encouraged to share the toys as others have noted that toys were well-monitored.  Again we also know that Yasik was a kind of ‘oldest child’, helping to dress and care for other children, particularly the little Down’s girl.

Adopting older children: a practical guide to adopting and parenting children over age four reminds adoptors:  “Remember your child has gone through many losses; the loss of their biological family, the loss of caretakers and friends, the loss of culture, foods, familiar smells, sights etc. They are sometimes overwhelmed when they come to their new family and home…”[xxvii]

We flew back to Canada, and within two weeks, Yasik began life as a member of a family in the nineties whom economists define as “…families who had at least one-third of their income left after paying for necessities such as shelter, food, and clothing. This money is called discretionary income, or money that families can choose how to spend”.[xxviii]  So we were some where on the middle-class spectrum. Whether we actually had appreciable ‘discretionary income’ or not, we had enough to be free to choose to enjoy many of life’s good things.

But did that necessarily mean that Yasik had a sense of deprivation in the orphanage? Perhaps with nothing to compare and three squares a day, he was unconcerned about his economic state.  Yet as we packed for the return trip to Canada, we found he had been hiding his toys, a kind of hoarding common among institutionalized children, and it is safe to assume that he was not the only ‘social orphan’ (children placed in orphanages who are not orphans) in his orphanage. From time to time, Yasik may have witnessed children with material goods or some connection to money he may have understood was outside his hopes.  Could this also be some of why he was so willing to join himself to two strangers after less than 24 hours acquaintance? We do know this. As Daniel Gilbert reminds his readers in Stumbling On Happiness that while moving farther up the money scale doesn’t make a lot of happiness difference, coming out of desperate poverty increases a sense of happiness.[xxix]

Yasik defined his economic state this way: he said he got all he wanted one Christmas and then wished we were rich so he could get everything he wanted. What was that about I thought at the time.

And yeah, yeah, I know, all the adoption guides say don’t swamp him with stuff.

*End Notes at the bottom of Entry 12D

Entry #12C   Set and Setting

Entry #12C   Set and Setting

The Physical Environment: Yasik began life in an apartment in a small village, moving to a hospital around his first birthday.

By the time he was two he was living in an orphanage for young children.  Yaroslavl is an ancient town with a beautiful river running through, paved streets, and wonderful old buildings though the shops looked a bit like they were part of the scenery for an old time Western.  The orphanage seemed to be off a dirt road, back a bit of beyond. There was a piece at the side of the house that looked worn enough to likely have been a playground, reminding me of how Tony describes the playground of his orphanage in 1930s Saskatoon (A Canadian Story of Adoption in the 1930s).

A plane ride and he entered our 50s era home with a backyard smaller and not yet particularly kid enticing given that neither Dave nor I had yet given much thought to the yard.  But now we had Yasik; we had a yard; we need to see what we could do.  Or Yasik very quickly, very naturally rearranged our thinking and awareness of what might please him.  Or we fell back on what our parents did with us. Whatever… the environment our house and yard offered became kid oriented.  We attempted some gardening, built igloos the odd year we had sufficient snowfall and played itsy-bitsy soccer. The house was tucked in among a string of streets trying to be a suburb but so infused with businesses and institutions that there was little point in denying it was part of a much larger urban setting, with cars everywhere. Nonetheless Yasik learned to ride a bike in the alley between our house and the Chevron station and biked on sidewalks running alongside a street that boasted 40,000 cars a day.

At the bottom of our little tree-lined street, on the other side of the river of traffic, the elementary school had the word ‘Community’ in its title and across from the school was a park with baseball diamonds, a swimming pool and even a creek bordered by trees and picnic tables. An hour or two out of town our bodies and minds could ‘heed the call of the wild’ with hiking or swimming in rain forested provincial parks.

When the city began to feel just that, a city, we moved ‘out to the country’, the bedroom city of Maple Ridge, settling into a half-acre piece bordered by muskeg, bush, trees that fringed the coastal range circling the Fraser Valley.

The physical body Yasik inhabited: This is where it gets tricky between mindset and setting.  Yasik‘s genes are part of his mindset. They also contribute to his setting.

As our doctor surmised, Yasik came into our family physically fit, perhaps, the doctor suggested, because he’d built up a strong immunity to childhood diseases in his orphanage. Yasik was growing, pink cheeked and fortunately or unfortunately, depending on which member of the family you asked, unable to miss much school time due to illness.  Yasik, with his button nose and soft blond hair, also came into the family with personal cuteness and physical and spatial skills – prowess in sports.

Both Yasik’s cuteness and physical skill are shared by his sister, giving us some sense of the genetic offering of his Slavic parents and grandparents.  Whatever the combination is for cuteness, it can come in handy.

Cuteness is the signal nature sends to us that says that a creature is young, vulnerable and needs nurturing.  Seeing cuteness is usually pleasurable and cues us to interact positively with children and young animals.  Because cuteness can be such a great source of pleasure – hence the popularity of internet kittens and puppies – it can be used to help children (and adults) manage stress and soothe themselves.[xxx]

Yasik was cute enough that on a pumpkin patch trip he so mesmerized the staff they end up leaving another child in the field, but they certainly had lots of pictures of Yasik and the pumpkins which in this case did not ‘manage stress’ or ‘soothe’ the other child’s mother.

Maurice Mierau and his wife were told something similar by one of the women at the boys’ Ukrainian nursery: “Your boys are so good-looking, and that’s an asset in life, you know”.[xxxi] Mierau felt encouraged by the comment.  It seems we adoptors also feel some comfort when it is suggested that our adopted child bears some resemblance to us.  John Brooks and his wife wanted their girl to think she looked like Brook’s mother as a young girl.[xxxii] Dave and I preened a bit too when our adoption facilitator noted that Yasik looked him and that Yasik had my eyes.  Did she really see resemblance or was that a tool in an adoption facilitator’s kit?  One of the tools to help normalize adoption as family.

But put bluntly, for Yasik, cuteness was not enough to draw his biological father and mother to dote on him. Nor was the fact that he had been put together with genes from their parents’ and themselves.  Much of the recipe that produced his genes will likely never be known, but from the bit of report we have had access to and the way his face is mirrored in his siblings, there can be no doubt he was their biological child. Yet we know that he was found in a bed, unattended as an infant. Our child carried their genes and experienced their lack of nurture. The early, caring nurture that helps a child develop resistance to stress and encouragement of the growth hormone was lacking for Yasik. We would be parenting a child bearing the expression of genes that were developed over generations of oppression and whose infancy was soaking in that atmosphere.

I see no reason to do other than leave this section with the following two paragraphs.

…[I]f stressful events occurred during certain trigger periods in a child’s life, they would leave an epigenetic imprint on that child’s genes.  These trigger periods, though consistent, were not cut and dried across the entire population of the study.  Rather, they were highly dependent on the gender of both the affect child and his or her parent.  The parent’s gender determined the time at which their stressful experience had the most bearing on the methylation patterns present in their children.  For mothers, the period was during their child’ infancy.  Mothers who reported experiencing a great deal of stress when their children were just babies – be it from losing a job, relationship trouble, or grieving the loss of a loved one – had children who displayed a distinct and unconventional pattern of methylation in certain target genes.  Fathers produced a different but no less distinct methylation pattern, but only when stress during their children’s preschool years, and only in their daughters. Sons showed no abnormal patterns of methylation regardless of their father’s stress patterns.  Mothers, on the other hand, impacted the methyl patterns of their sons and daughter equally.[xxxiii]

…For instance, early brain growth depends in part on diet, with the consumption of high-quality proteins having a significant effect.  Brain growth slows and complexity advances less if an infant or toddler is deprived of protein. The poorly nourished child’s head circumference is abnormally small, compared with other, better-fed children of the same chronological age. During the first three years or so, the problematic development of the malnourished child can be corrected to some extent if the child is given a better diet, with milk, meat, eggs, or other good protein sources included. Catch-up growth can then help bring the brain closer to normal size, although the child’s stature may always be short. However, delaying the improved diet until the child is 6 years old will not have the same effect.  Although formerly malnourished child will have better general health with more protein in the diet, brain size will remain small, and poor intellectual functions will be apparent.[xxxiv]

Cultural: Culture is about social organization: our language, symbols or codes and behaviours and institutions, values, ideas or beliefs and artifacts demonstrated by religion, food, clothing, marriage arrangements, music, literature and art, customs, ceremonies or rituals we choose to incorporate into our lives for cohesion in a group.

We never gave it any conscious thought, but we were going to be actively turning Yasik into a little Canadian.  If you had asked us point blank, we would have assured you that we were going to honour Yasik’s Russian culture, I guess by going to Russian meet-ups and by eating piroshkies, but in reality – likely again because we gave no conscious thought to what retaining Russian culture might mean – we were going to be turning Yasik into a Canadian with little pretense of retaining his Russian culture.

Language: adopting older children: a practical guide to adopting and parenting children over age four may be practical in its advice on many issues relating to adopting older children, but slipping in a little suggestion like “Also, perhaps learn his native language before you bring him home…[xxxv] might be a bit over the top. To learn the child’s native language requires some serious investment preparatory to getting an invitation that may only arrive 6 weeks before the adoptors are expected to fly over to another country to adopt a child. Yasik, thanks to Forest Gump (and yes, other sources), was operating in English within months.  Dave and I, with at best 10 Russian words between us, only remember having fun with his renditions of words, ‘sillyphone’ for telephone.  We did not look for a school offering weekend lessons in Russian.   And yes, long term and for that matter even short term, that was/is a loss for Yasik.  If at some point in his life he has the opportunity to spend time with his half-brother and half-sister in Russia, any connection of depth will be hampered by the need for a translator.

Much adoption literature, perhaps more ‘practical’ in this regard, notes that most adoptees will become comfortable with the language of their adoption within months of arrival. The time also came when he was quite certain he did not remember any Russian, although my brother-in-law maintains a fantasy that he heard teenage Yasik talking up some visiting, and very pretty, Russian girls at a hockey game.

Religion:  Yasik may have had some experience with the Russian Orthodox church. Dave and I, like many Canadians of our generation, had moved away from organized religion into an undefined belief in God.  Some of this generation move back into religion for a stable social world for their children but we could not see any viable reason to make such a choice.  We played together on Sundays.

Food and Clothing: We did try here for a while, at least until macaroni and wieners and MacDonald’s got a hold of his tummy.  Our friend, Tony, directed us to some sausage shops and a store that made great piroshkies.  Clothing was pretty much jeans, T-shirts and hoodies across the globe so that was never an issue.

Music, Art, Literature: Dave worked on art with a motorcycle focus; I read where ever my current interests took me.  Neither Dave nor I have the sense of holiness that Europeans seem to have for art and literature. It should also be noted that we had no idea what stories, fairy tales had been told or read to Yasik in the orphanage though my orphanage interview notes say he liked to be read to and learned poems by heart.  Someone was taking time with him.  Yasik was given a Pushkin story before we left Russia; we were scarcely aware of who Pushkin was to Russia.  Because we had little idea of these aspects of Russian culture, beyond a beginner’s understanding of art and literature, and did not sign Yasik up for weekend classes, he had almost no exposure to things Russian. Acknowledging this, we may be coming off as intransigent boors with our lack of engagement in Yasik’s culture. Still with maybe a slight shrug, I can comfortably note that soon Yasik was collecting Pokemon cards, not more Pushkin.  Besides which Attaching in Adoption: practical tools for today’s parents[xxxvi] notes that Russian children have been told things like: ‘Close your eyes at night or the witches will come to peck them out’.  Not so different from our ‘the boogie man will get you’.

We were told he was attuned to music, but the orphanage staff did not elaborate other than to encourage us to put him in music classes.  We did that.  As these classes advanced, they were more and more directed to classical piano.  By the age of 12, Yasik was pleading to be freed of them although it could be argued that he started to give strong hints almost from the start as he flopped his head down on the piano keys and moaned.  He wanted music but whatever the radio gave him of top 40 to bounce and chant along in sounds perhaps between Russian and English. Maurice Mierau’s youngest did the same, making “tuneless word-sounds that were neither English nor Ukrainian”.[xxxvii] Be that as it may, Dave and Yasik were listening to a CD while driving somewhere.  Dave noticed Yasik in tears and parked, pulling Yasik into his arms.  Yasik broke into serious sobs even though Dave assured him it was only a song.  That was the power of music for him.

Traditions, Customs, Ceremonies, Rituals: adopting older children: a practical guide to adopting and parenting children over age four[xxxviii] provides a list of suggestions for how adoptive parents might encourage a child’s cultural heritage.  I am including the list as different strokes for different folks. I know I would have loved to have been able to take Yasik to visit Russia.  And we always encouraged friendships with people from Russia whenever we encountered them.  Russian food was just fine with us but that was about the extent of our encouragement of a maintenance of Yasik’s origin culture.

The suggestions:

  • Send your child to a culture camp where he can meet other children adopted from his birth country
  • Participate in a homeland tour arranged by some adoption agencies or visit your child’s home country
  • Spend time in a part of your city where there is a large population of people who share your child’s cultural background
  • Connect your child with a friend or friend or mentor who shares his cultural heritage
  • Reserve one night of the week for cooking and ordering ethnic food your child enjoys
  • Learn your child’s language while he learns yours
  • Decorate your room child’s room with items, designs and pictures from his native country
  • Do cultural arts and crafts projects
  • Go to museums that feature art or artifacts from your child’s native country or that focus on your child’s ethnic or cultural history
  • Attend cultural parades or events
  • Listen to culturally relevant music
  • Celebrate holidays native to your child’s culture or that focus on a historical event important to his community of origin
  • Buy him culturally relevant toys, story books, music, cookbooks, clothes, literature and other age-appropriate items
  • Attend salons or barbershops that cater to your child’s race or culture of origin
  • Expose your child to different faiths or attend religious services at a house of worship with which your child is comfortable
  • Speak frankly about historical and present discrimination and prejudice
  • Create a cultural life book with your child that explores his cultural and family history

We celebrated Christmas on December 25, not January 7, the Russian Christmas, and had fun or slept in on most of the rest of Canada’s statutory holidays. We did not at the time go out of our way to learn about the cultural world we had taken Yasik from.  The organization we adopted with offered continued Russian connection, but other than one or two visits, we did not maintain this connection.  Yasik showed little interest and Dave and I are not extroverted enough to seek out those kinds of social events.

And we were not particularly unusual in our casual attitude to Yasik’s heritage.  John Brooks in The Girl Behind the Door:

Casey never showed much curiosity during [conversations about her origin story].  She never asked about her birth mother, whether she had siblings or who her birth father could have -been.  Much to [her Polish-origin adoptive mother’s] dismay, she had little interest in Polish culture, never watched the hours of video [her adoptive parents] shot during [their] trip [to adopt her in Poland], and when asked if she wanted to meet her birth mother someday waved [them] off, annoyed…. As time passed, the orphanage became a distant memory.  [The adoptive father] hoped it had been completely erased from Casey’s consciousness.  She was a member of [their] family now – no different from a biological child in [their] minds …. [They] even tried to convince her she looked just like [the adoptive father’s] mother as a young girl…. But in truth, [they] had no idea how [their] words resonated in her sharp little mind.[xxxix]

We cannot be certain we are making the best long-term decisions when we don’t offer more access to our child’s first culture. Maurice Mierau, in Detachment: an adoption memoir writes that he and his wife enrolled their children in a Ukrainian language nursery school for a few of months and took them to a Ukrainian store for goodies.[xl] But quickly the couple were introducing birthday parties, celebrated with their Ukrainian speaking babysitter and several Ukrainian friends and buying goofy outfits for Halloween.[xli]   “The only religion in [their] house since the boys arrived was Star Wars”.[xlii]  Within a year of their adoption, the younger son thought of Ukraine as part of a long distant babyhood and the older son said he wanted to be a Canadian.[xliii]

Nonetheless Mierau’s older son, who was adopted at 5, had no memories from before his life in an orphanage yet “he’d told [his adoptive parents] about a dream that seemed to go further back”.[xliv] In the dream an image approaches the child whom he believes is his mother but this image vanishes when the child tries to come closer to it. Would more connection to the culture of origin have helped the boy gain a sense of contact with the past?

End Notes at the bottom of Entry #12D

 

Entry #12D  Set and Setting

Entry #12D   Set and Setting

Social: If this refers to our community or relationships with others, Yasik as a school-aged child, led us into most of our social engagement outside of family. We three were Caucasian, each with at least some eastern European genes; Dave and Yasik are males and I am a female; Dave and I are Canadian born and Yasik is naturalized.  Yasik and I have a large age difference but Dave and Yasik are fairly appropriately spaced.   Dave and I, with some post-secondary education, were working to hold on to a yet tenuous grasp of the middle class. These parts of each of us fit us into certain societal slots. We would want to find a social setting that would accommodate our comfort levels. Or so you would think.  Yet we were almost irrevocably part of a community based mostly on the decision to buy a house within our means found for us by a realtor who was the son of a friend of our friend. He showed us two houses: this one looked cuter than the other. Decision made.  Let the impacts of social interaction begin.

Yasik’s community school was a block away and most of his classmates lived within walking distance of the school.  Day upon day, walking him to school we came to know the other mothers, fathers and caregivers walking his classmates to school.  First a tentative nod, then a ‘Hi.” And then “Hey, can Yasik come over to play?” and the doors were swung wide open to our little community. We signed him up for the T-ball and soccer clubs.  Some of his classmates were on his team. Quite naturally, these kids became his playmates and standing on the sidelines or waiting for the kids after school, the kids’ parents became our playmates.  The thing about these social relationships is that they are most often ad hoc.  There is little to no opportunity to review resumes, ensure that we are leaving our child in the best of hands, filtering out characters or the impacts of characters who may not share all of our values.

Relationships: Dave and I thought of ourselves as partners, rather than in a hierarchical relationship, forming a nuclear family which Google calls ‘a group of people who are united by ties of partnership and parenthood and consisting of a pair of adults and their socially (not sure what that means) recognized children’.  Yasik chinked into that assumption when almost from Day 2, he assigned us the traditional roles, taking ‘Nyet’ from Dave, cuddling into me.  We wondered if such a role assignment was wise – but for whatever reason, in the journal – as a 3rd day parent- I write “we want to argue roles but they are still there; why did he assign roles that way? We may believe we have a more liberal or sophisticated view of Ma and Pa in parenting but it would appear we are building on ancient structures that remain part of our thinking”. Did Yasik want us to maintain some image he had of a papa and mama? Or maybe it is simply some personality vibe we gave off and he responded to for, though I cannot be certain, from two years old to life with us, his caregivers were likely all female, allowing for little opportunity to see how the male role played out.  What does this mean for single parents or same sex parents? Do they too have to work through some pre-conceived image the child has of parental roles? (I have just begun to read Lesbian and Gay Foster Care and Adoption 2nd ed. by Stephen Hicks and Janet McDermott which almost from the start begins to consider this question).

Via school and neighbourhood, Yasik made buddies. For parents this can be a two-edged sword.   Yasik loved to play with the kids, free time for us. I suppose a ‘Yipppee!’ here and ‘Goodie!’ as friends begin to tip the scale in their favour over time with parents. One year in a DIY bid, Dave bought a pair of clippers and gave Yasik a buzz cut – I think the one and only, but visions of dollars saved were dancing in Dave’s head. Yasik looked like a miniature Dave, but big whoop.  After the cut, Dave told Yasik to go look in the mirror.  Yasik looked and let out a mighty wail.  “Dad, nobody will know my name”. Sooner than an adoptor of an older child might want, attachments were expanding and shifting.

Meaning there are negotiations to be made.  It could be said interacting in your community is learning to swim in life’s community pool.  Mostly it was fun to be with the kids, but it meant struggles too.  Each of us parents benefit by the de facto babysitting but we are uncomfortable with our child being watched over in play over by another parent who may have no problem with yelling at the kid or smoking around them, or with seeing our child bested by another.  We may want to helicopter parent when letting well enough alone leads to growth in confidence.  It is a gamble between stepping in to fight our children’s battles or holding our breath and allowing them to work it out on their own.   For the most part we let Yasik work it out, checking on him after the fact.

At Yasik’s eighth birthday I noticed him laughing that covering, defensive, too loud laugh he used when his two main buddies bugged him and he got upset and rightly so.  One of the two would needle just to get a rise (in fairness the little needler was dealing with family issues too). I asked Yasik how he felt about it and he said it got him, so I said, “Just laugh.” (Duh, that is what he was doing) and he said, “It gets in my head” – meaning it made him angry before he could stop it.  I was impressed with his self-awareness.

And while these encounters may have started a learning process in relationships, I do think for Yasik, already aware as an adoptee that he perceived himself and was perceived by those around him as different, a kind of lessness was also being developed.  (I am currently reading Hidden Daughter-Secret Sister by Kim Mooney -see P.23., Bitterroot: a Salish memoir of transracial adoption by Susan Devan Harness and Monstrous: a transracial adoption story by Sarah Myer, all of which speak to the sense of differentness and lessness.  If that is not enough, then my page on Books I have read will offer a good number more books with this message).

I took Yasik and his buddies to Lazer Tag one evening and Yasik – though no one expected it when they should have as he often did so – got the highest scores. He shot people well. In a group including adults he came in second and the young braggarts in his group came quite last.  He was that way in baseball too – consistently doing well – not in fits and spurts of glory. At the end of one season in soccer Yasik got carried off the field like a somewhat shocked but very happy hero.   Yet the myth of his lessness persisted.

While playing lacrosse after school with The Two, Yasik’s primary buddies, the ‘who-gets-to-be-on-which-team’, a learning hurdle so many children have to face, became the lesson of the day. Number One as usual took the lead in choosing whom he saw as the better players, first inserting himself in the important position. Yasik would not contend the setup, slipping immediately into second place but mentally focusing on his anger or hurt or revenge and seeking to get even.  In this case, checking in frustration, not Number One, but Number Two in an unfair way. I made Yasik stop immediately and took them all home. Number One ran to tell his dad with Number Two following.  I assured the father I was dealing with it but before I had begun meting out punishment, Yasik stepped forward to apologize to Number Two of his own volition. Number Two, always a peace maker, returned the apology, maybe realizing that because Number One had to head to hockey practice now, they would only have each other to play with.

The ‘who-gets-to-be-on-which-team’ lesson surfaced again for Yasik the next week at school.  Yasik was faced with the ignominy of once again not being chosen for the favoured team.  Whatever revenge Yasik sought to enact, when Dave came to pick him up at school, he was told Yasik had been made to ‘stay after school’.  We all know what that phrase means. Dave went to the classroom to get Yasik. Upon seeing him, Yasik started crying hysterically. The school authorities figured he had been punished enough. Talking it over later that evening, Dave and I decided he had too much competitive tension and wanted the school to redirect him from Mr. Number One, Mr. Number Two and Mr. Number Three triangles.  He was handling his pressures with explosions, and we were hoping to show him alternatives. In a social circle of great importance to a school-aged child, one that encompasses after-school playtime, soccer teams and social interaction between the adults attached, it is difficult to find other options, factoring in that these kids see each other as each other’s best options for great times together.

The idea of lessness (it is tempting to suggest the term ‘marginalized’) was also fertilized by adult opinion.  Yasik had listened in on enough conversations to know he was different in his birth narrative, in his shortness, in his struggles with learning.  And at times it got capped off by adults like his soccer coach who, Yasik’s skill to the side, wouldn’t let him be goalie because of his height, again letting him know he was coming up short (I couldn’t let that one go).

Again the question: Is it such a big deal?  Jennifer Traig cites a study that found that siblings argue 3.5 times per hour, 80% of the time over toys.  (Incidentally, and likely part of being in Phase VI – joining in and finding my place- see my psych section) on child development registers, parents get to be the issue only 9% of the time).[xlv] But then, if it becomes a worm embedding in a child’s already weak sense of self?  

I am going to look at the adoption narrative more specifically here as a mindset or perception factor. My earliest journal entries note that Yasik’s explanation of his story showed that almost from the beginning he was working on his story. He told us that there are kids who come from mom’s tummy and kids who are picked kids. But at the same time, because he knew I could not have any more kids and we have to assume he was hoping for a sibling, he suggested that maybe Dad could have a girl. At other times he said he liked being an only child.   The one certainty is that we cannot deny he had family narratives for relationships on his mind from almost the beginning.

Being four and half at the time of his adoption, he knew he was different, that parts of him belonged to someplace else.  The other kids in his class had narratives of life with their parents before kindergarten.  No surprise then when that one question belonging only to non-biological families, the “real” parent issue, came up rather early as well, so we talked.

One day he made it clear that he was aware of his differences from his buddies with the blunt and direct, “You aren’t my real parents.” Another time he asked where some part of his being (whatever it was, I didn’t record) came from in him and then said, in a tentative manner as though uncertain whether to say it or not, that whatever it was must have come from his real parents.

There were no blatant physical differences between Yasik, Dave and I as Susanne Antonetta has experienced with her Korean born son, but the baseline experiences of the “real” parent issue are the same. Because it appears I will encounter copyright issues I will paraphrase some of her experience with ‘The Question’ and then encourage you to read make me a mother.[xlvi]

Around the same age that Yasik was beginning to piece a narrative of his story together, Antonetta’s son, Jin, was also working out how he came to be. It was hard for Jin to accept the story, though true, but given to him in an age-appropriate narrative: “For him, it’s hard to understand being flown somewhere to be given to two strangers, however good everyone’s intentions.” But for the most part Jin did not seem to be giving too much thought to his adoption says Antonetta although she wondered if he “struggled with something I could not put my hands on to fix.”

Antonetta and her husband did follow one of the top ten guidelines for adoptors: Be open about the adoption; answer your child’s questions. She adds something interesting to this advice: Because her son had heard that babies come from mommies’ tummies, she thought her son likely “heard the story with the coda of the tummy belonging to another woman”. When Jin was eight, he began to ask about his bio-mom, telling Antonetta that thinking of her made him feel sad. He told her he thought it was unfair that he didn’t even know what she looked like.

Antonetta’s response was likely the response of most caring adoptors: “I hadn’t expected it all to be so hopelessly confusing”. She sought to draw him closer but sensed his uncertainty, however vague.

One particular instance of the awareness of difference that tends to call up the sense of lessness came when she and Jin were playing together at a park. Antonetta had gone for her bag and returned to where Jin was playing to find him being questioned and taunted by some young boys.  Seeing her ‘Caucasianness’ and his ‘Asianness’ they asked why Jin was with her and then asked if he was an orphan, following the question by then throwing the word “Orphan!” at him. She says of the experience:

I’d always imagined a moment like this and understood it would be painful, but I pictured us talking about it, Jin accepting my comfort, as he could at that age, perhaps even appreciating my care for him. I turned to find Jin huddled over, sobbing.

“Get away from me!” he screamed. His face scrunched; lower lip folded in half. “Get away! If they didn’t see you they wouldn’t have said anything.

He was in a rage at me.  He couldn’t forgive me for having been with him, for being who I was. He cried and repeated that I should have just stayed away from him, all the way home. I hurt for him. I hurt in a way that ripped me apart….

Dave told Yasik of his own adoption and then told Yasik he has a bio-brother, bio-sisters and a bio-parent set. Dave explained that probably money problems are why his bio-mother left him in the orphanage. Dave then reaffirmed that Yasik was all ours and we were his now. We also talked about the orphanage, telling him all of the scant story as we knew it then. About all we could do at the time was to be sure that the questions were answered as satisfactorily as possible hoping that he still felt secure.  At the time I wrote: “some [of that sense of security] can’t happen – he is divided but may it never destroy his spirit”.  And when you think of what I have just recorded from Susanne Antonetta’s book, you have to wonder how Yasik was receiving the narrative we were presenting to him.

Of course, being a kid, he used the narrative too at times.  Dave had a shift and was juggling, just once I might add, getting a babysitter for Yasik. He responded by becoming frustrated and obstinate, saying to me, “Why is it parents are meaner to kids who have a different beginning and come from a different place?” Attaching in Adoption: practical tools for today’s parents suggests feelings like this may come from the fear of losing another parent and advises against too much daycare until the child has a sense of security within the family.[xlvii]   So let me repeat in our defense, our memory is that we called in a babysitter once for our disgruntled son.

Others in the community pool of life that Yasik was learning to swim in: teachers, coaches, music teachers, parents of buddies, friend of ours, each was impacting his environment, influencing his spirit, mind and body in not only big ways, but often in almost imperceptible ways. Yasik and I were watching a video sent home with him from school about a snowman who takes a little boy and flies away with him to a snow land.  Yasik said, “Mom I didn’t know snow persons could fly”.  I almost corrected it to ‘snowman’ and then realized he’d been taught to be politically correct.

Psychological: Psychology has to do with theories about how our actions communicate with our thinking and feeling.  Very specifically, for our adoptive family, whether we were aware of it yet or not, we were living the realities of Attachment Theory (which I will save for a dedicated post).

We were doing so, not with an infant, but with a child who was chronologically at a stage of development where normally separation from caregivers is less stressful as children begin to look beyond the home to their community, school life and group activities with peers[xlviii].  Deborah Gray, a clinical social worker widely respected in adoption counselling and writer of Attaching in Adoption: practical tools for today’s parents calls this phase in childhood development, ‘Phase VI – joining in and finding my place’.[xlix] Children whose early years were well-nurtured, she says, now between the ages of six and eleven in this part of their journey toward personal identity, are interested in being part of a team or group, all the experiences Yasik, as noted in the Social section, was becoming part of.

A child raised in an orphanage, positively or otherwise, may move into this stage much earlier for the expectation of support from the child’s adult caregivers would too often have been thwarted. Peers as parents in early childhood is dealt with often in writing about institutionalized children.  Bruce Perry, in The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog provides an example in the story of Peter who spent the first three years of his life in an orphanage. The orphanage is described as a “baby warehouse”.  In eight-hour shifts children received about 15 minutes of individual care.

With no one but each other to turn to, the children would reach their tiny hands through the bars in to the next crib, holding hands, babbling and playing patty-cake.  In the absence of adults, they became parents to each other.  Their interaction, as impoverished as it was, probably helped to mitigate some of damage such severe deprivation can cause.[l]

But then again, having only minutes with adults perhaps is why Yasik, like Maurice Mierau’s children, liked taking medicine or going to the doctor the few times he needed to go.  Neither of Mierau’s children in Detachment: an adoption memoir resisted taking medications. “[Peter] and Bohdan both enjoyed taking medicine of any kind. In the orphanage, visits by the doctor had been one of the few times they got sustained individual attention from an adult. Both of them hugged and kissed me and Betsy when we administered routine cold remedies or children’s aspirin”.[li]

That little inserted bit is, of course, tongue in cheek. In harsh reality, lacking peers or unresponsive caregivers, what does the child do?  Like many, many manuals state, we all find coping strategies for homeostasis. The first I noticed Yasik using adaptations was with his school work but later I realized he had adaptations from well before he came into our family. An unnurtured child will find ways to take care of his or her own nurture.  Yasik would hum along to music or rock himself. Because he continued to rock himself for most of his first year in our family, we assume he developed rocking, as did many children in orphanage care for their early years, to self soothe.

These interactions become their expression of their understanding of parenting, developing out of whatever they can hobble together to cope with their emotions and desires.  The adults are on the periphery like overseeing, but emotionally detached butlers to their needs.

The question then is to what extent does such parenting ‘mitigate some of the damage such severe deprivation can cause’?

Yasik was denied nurturing bonding with a special and consistent someone or someones in his infancy within his biological family’s home, in the hospital, as well as, in his orphanage. It is safe to assume, that Yasik too was prematurely turning to peers in the absence of adult interaction. Deborah Gray, in Attaching in Adoption, goes on to focus on what Phase VI may also mean for adoptees given that now children in general are seeking to fit in.  In this phase they may want to separate themselves from the aspects of their person that make them different from their group. But what does that mean if a child has entered Phase VI prematurely as he or she has learned to turn for support to other children when looking to satisfy emotional needs and perceptions of the world? The child knows peer parenting or self-parenting or peripheral parenting that may have changed often as staff and children come and go from institutions. What understanding and expectations does the child now have for family and friends as he or she begins to branch out or widen his or her social circle?

Yasik, placed in kindergarten just weeks after becoming part of our family, soon made it known that he no longer wanted to look at pictures of his orphanage playmates, nor did he want to attend any more ‘Russian adoptee meet-ups’ arranged to continue contact with his first culture and identity.  He did not want to be different. He wanted to fit in with the kids in his neighbourhood, school and on his sports’ teams as would fit right in with his age on a chart of child development.

According to the chart he should be, at the age of six, more interested in his peers, authority figures at school and on his teams than he is with his parents.  Yasik seemed to be keeping in step with the stages of childhood development.  Yet there he was, turning to his dad to be lifted into his arms and cry into his shoulder when struck by a ball while up at bat in T-ball. There he was, using soothing techniques like rocking himself to self soothe, and there he was, as his teachers informed us, more often playing at recess with younger children than those of his chronological age.  Born for Love: why empathy is essential – and endangered notes, “…previously institutionalized or otherwise neglected children tend to bond better with younger boys and girls.  Even though they can catch up surprisingly quickly in loving homes, they tend to seem younger than their chronological age”.[lii]

Spiritual: Dave and I each had religious backgrounds that left us at this stage in our lives with a belief in a vaguely defined higher power.  We encouraged a firm belief in Santa and the Tooth Fairy. At five Yasik and I were out sledding and saw a man dressed as Santa sneaking around the side of a house.  We hurried home to get ready for when Santa got down to our block. But as the years went by Yasik began testing Santa’s telepathy by keeping his wants from us.  We went to great lengths to outsmart him at that point.  But the time came when magic and reality started to argue for Santa got a Gameboy mixed up.  And we forgot to replace a tooth with money.  That one last time, we put 46 cents under his pillow the next night and told him the tooth fairy went cheap because it was irritated with his lack of faith.  We prayed but we did not observe religious dictates.  We encouraged Yasik to pray to ‘Dear God’ until likely he let us know he no longer wanted to pray with us.

Thus far, it seems to me the biggest take-away is the search for homeostasis.  Yasik’s perception of his setting, with the assistance of his genetics, was directed, as is true of each human being, however positively or otherwise, toward homeostasis. Yasik’s adaptations to his environment was making use of cuteness, hoarding, peer parenting, singing, rocking, choosing the interests of his peers in his neighbourhood over those of the peers he left behind in Russia, Pokémon over Pushkin, finding both appropriate and inappropriate ways to contain his frustrations and hurts, making sure he got the right haircut, building a birth narrative, all to keep himself feeling O.K. according to the mindset he had at the time.

End Notes

[i] Traig, Jennifer. Act Natural: a cultural history of misadventures in parenting. 2019, Pxii.

[ii] “Defense.gov News Transcript: DoD News Briefing – Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers, United States Department of Defense (defense. gov). February 12, 2002. Archived from the original on March 20, 2018.

[iii] Saturday Night Live. Oct. 06, 2007 hosted by Seth Rogan. The opening skit was a spoof of Kevin Federline, a Britanny Spears’ ex after gaining custody of his kids.

[iv] Belsky, Jay, Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Richie Poulton.  The Origins of You: how childhood shapes later life. 2020, P.95.

[v] Lachman, Gary. The Return of Holy Russia: apocalyptic history, mystical awakening, and the struggle for the soul of the world. 2020.

[vi] Mate, Gabor with Daniel Mate.  The Myth of Normal: trauma, illness & healing in a toxic culture. 2022, P.164.

[vii] Perry, Bruce D. Md, PhD and Maia Szalavitz.  The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog: and other stories from a child psychiatrist’s notebook. 2017, P.89.

[viii] Hurst, Kiley, Dana Bragg, Shannon Greenwood, Chris Baronavski and Micheal Keegan.  How Today’s Parents Say Their Approach to Parenting Does – or Doesn’t- Match Their Own Upbringing https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2023/01/24/how-today’s parents-say-their-approach-to-parenting-does-or-doesn’t-match-their-own-upbringing/

[ix] Lancaster, Kathy, PhD. Parenting An Adopted Child,2nd ed. 2009, p.6

[x] Simon, Scott. Baby We Were Meant For Each Other: in praise of adoption. 2010, P.45

[xi] Peterson, Jordan B. Rules for Life: an antidote to chaos. 2018

[xii] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2050324516683325

[xiii] Letourneau, Dr. Nicole with Justin Joschko. Scientific Parenting: what science revels about parental influence. 2013, P.56,57,70,34,35.

[xiv] Heat Moon, William Least. Blue Highways. Eine Reise in Amerika. https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1383812-blue-highwasy-a-journey-into-america

[xv] Mukherjee, Siddhartha. The Gene: an intimate history. 2016, P. 368-9.

[xvi] Mukherjee, Siddhartha. The Gene: an intimate history. 2016, P. 481.

[xvii] Mate, Gabor with Daniel Mate. The Myth of Normal: trauma, illness & healing in a toxic culture. 2022, P.241-243.

[xviii] Lancaster, Kathy, PhD. Parenting an Adopted Child, 2nd ed. 2009, P.37.

[xix] Traig, Jennifer. Well Enough Alone: a cultural history of my hypochondria. 2008, P.163.

[xx] Crook, Marion. Thicker than Blood: adoptive parenting in the modern world. 2016, P.131.

[xxi] Szalavitz, Maia & Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD. Born For Love: why empathy is essential – and endangered. 2010, P. 119.

[xxii] Wheeler, Susan. Mud and Stars: travels in Russia with Pushkin, Tolstoy, and other geniuses of the Golden Age.  2019, P.59.

[xxiii] Gray, Deborah D. Attaching in Adoption: practical tools for today’s parents. 2002, P.275.

[xxiv] Szalavitz, Maia & Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD. Born For Love: why empathy is essential – and endangered. 2010, P.65-66, 127.

[xxv] Winfrey, Oprah, Bruce D. Perry. What Happened to You: conversations on trauma, resilience, and healing. 2021, P.164.

[xxvi] Winfrey, Oprah, Bruce D. Perry. What Happened to You: conversations on trauma, resilience, and healing. 2021, P.36.

[xxvii] Bosco-Ruggiero, MA, Gloria Russo Wassell, MS, LLMHC and Victor Groza, PhD. Adopting older children: a practical guide to adopting and parenting children er age four. 2014, P.65.

[xxviii] “What defines Middle Class these Days in Canada?” Published by Captain Cash/Financial/https://captaincash.ca/blog/the-canadian-middle-class-where-do-you-fit-in/

[xxix] Gilbert, Daniel. Stumbling on HAPPINESS. 2006, P.239.

[xxx] Perry, Bruce MD, PhD. and Maia Szalavitz. The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog: what traumatized children can teach us about loss, love and healing. 2017, P.369-370.

[xxxi] Mierau, Maurice. Detachment: an adoption memoir. 2014, P. 103.

[xxxii] Brooks, John. The Girl Behind the Door: a father’s quest to understand his daughter’s suicide. 2016, P.56.

[xxxiii]Letourneau, Dr. Nicole with Justin Joschko. Scientific Parenting: what science revels about parental influence. 2013, P.173.

[xxxiv] Mercer, Jean. Thinking Critically About CHILD DEVELOPMENT: examining myths & misunderstandings, 3rd ed. 2016, P.156.

[xxxv] Bosco-Ruggiero, MA, Gloria Russo Wassell, MS, LLMHC and Victor Groza, PhD. Adopting older children: a practical guide to adopting and parenting children er age four. 2014, P.64.

[xxxvi] Gray, Deborah D. Attaching in Adoption: practical tools for today’s parents. 2002, P.151.

[xxxvii] Mierau, Maurice. Detachment: an adoption memoir. 2014, P. 102,103.

[xxxviii] Bosco-Ruggiero, MA, Gloria Russo Wassell, MS, LLMHC and Victor Groza, PhD. Adopting older children: a practical guide to adopting and parenting children er age four. 2014, P.82.

[xxxix] Brooks, John. The Girl Behind the Door: a father’s quest to understand his daughter’s suicide. 2016, P.55,56.

[xl] Mierau, Maurice. Detachment: an adoption memoir. 2014, P.103.

[xli] Mierau, Maurice. Detachment: an adoption memoir. 2014, P.131.

[xlii] Mierau, Maurice. Detachment: an adoption memoir. 2014, P.161.

[xliii] Mierau, Maurice. Detachment: an adoption memoir. 2014, P.133.

[xliv] Mierau, Maurice. Detachment: an adoption memoir. 2014, P.176.

[xlv] Traig, Jennifer. Act Natural: a cultural history of misadventures in parenting. 2019, P.180.

[xlvi] Antonetta, Susanne. make me a mother: a memoir. 2014, 135-142.

[xlvii] Gray, Deborah D. Attaching in Adoption: practical tools for today’s parents. 2002, P.34.

[xlviii] Mercer, Jean. Thinking Critically About CHILD DEVELOPMENT: examining myths & misunderstandings, 3rd ed. 2016, P.170.

[xlix] Gray, Deborah D. Attaching in Adoption: practical tools for today’s parents. 2002, P.246-247.

[l] Perry, Bruce MD, PhD. and Maia Szalavitz. The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog: what traumatized children can teach us about loss, love and healing. 2017, P.244-245.

[li] Mierau, Maurice. Detachment: an adoption memoir. 2014, P. 120 – 121.

[lii] Szalavitz, Maia & Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD. Born For Love: why empathy is essential – and endangered. 2010, P. 57,70.