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Her Absence filled the world   Adoption Awareness - Articles on Adoption, Adoptees, Social Policies

Waging Wars While Healing Wounds click

                                            Adoption and Loss - Hidden Grief

Happy Adoptees

Promoting Adoption - Is the U.S. Promoting Pain

Why I'm Not Giving Up MY Baby

Adoption: America's Secret Crime

Adoption: Not By Choice

Suicide and Adoption

Mothers Without Their Children

Adoption History - Setting the Record Straight

Infant Adoption - What they knew and didn't tell us

Seven Core Issues in Adoptionblink

An Open Letter for Open Adoption Records
by John C. Sonne, M.D.

Statistics on the Affects of Adoption
by Ginni D. Snodgrass

Silent Voices Heard: Impact of the
Natural mother's Experience, Then and Now
by Donna Portuesi


The following was printed in the APPPAH (Association for Prenatal and
Perinatal Psychology and Health) Newsletter (

"At a conference, organized by the Institute of Gynecology and Obstetrics of the Catholic University of Rome, Professor Salvatore Mancuso (Head of gynecology) presented research stating that beginning in the fifth week of gestation, an infinite number of messages pass from the embryo to the mother, through chemical substances like hormones, neurotransmitters, etc.

Such information serves to adapt the mother's organism to the presence of the new being. Moreover, it has also been discovered that the embryo sends stem cells that, thanks to the mother's immune system tolerance, colonize the maternal medulla (stem of the brain), and adhere to it and remain with the woman the rest of her life. The child's stem cells pass to the mother in great quantity at the moment of birth, whether spontaneous or Caesarian. These cells are implanted in the mother's medulla and produce lymphocytes, which have a common origin with the cells of the central nervous system; they have receptors for the neurotransmitters and can make messages pass that the maternal nervous system understands.

Stem cells have been found in the mother 30 years after the birth. It is somewhat as though the 'thoughts' of the child pass to the mother, even many years after his birth."

Trauma of Separation, by Michael J. Burlingham, New York Times, December 12, 1994

To the Editor:

With respect to the fate of children of young single mothers on welfare, legislators should consider the Hampstead Nurseries in London.
Between 1940 and 1945, 80 children between 10 days and 10 years old, made homeless by reasons of war, were placed in three residential nurseries supervised by the child psychologist Anna Freud, and by my grandmother, Dorothy Burlingham.
After 56 months of continuous observation, the first and foremost conclusion the women reached was that, for a child, the horror of war pales besides the horror of separation from mother. They discovered that the war itself was only a precipitating and aggravating agent. From this perspective, enlightened day care would be preferable to orphanages.


Hugging is healthy: It helps our body's immune system, it keeps you healthier, it cures depression, it reduces stress, it induces sleep, it's invigorating, it's rejuvenating, it has no unpleasant side effects, and hugging is nothing less than a miracle drug.

Hugging is all natural: It is organic, naturally sweet, no pesticides, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients and 100 percent wholesome.

Hugging is practically perfect: There are no movable parts, no batteries to wear out, no periodic check-ups, low energy consumption, high energy yield, inflation-proof, non-fatening, no monthly payments, no insurance requirements, theft-proof, non-taxable, non-polluting, and of course, fully returnable.

Breastfeeding also nourishes a baby's heart and soul. Snuggled warm in mother's arms, hearing
the heartbeat she heard in the womb for 9 months, drinking in her mother's warm, sweet milk, baby is drinking in her mother's love, as well. Breastfeeding, of physical necessity, involves intimate physical and emotional bonding between mother and baby. Baby is held at just the right distance from mother's face to be able to really see her, and only her. Because breastmilk digests so quickly (every 1.5-3 hours), baby is held most of the time. When a mother must devote that much time to her baby, it certainly enhances the probability that she and her baby will truly emotionally connect with one another.

Mother will be with baby enough to get acquainted with her baby's needs, and know how best to respond to them. When a baby's mother is able to do this, her baby will learn to trust her mother, thus forming a healthy base for her relationships with all others she will encounter throughout her lifetime. A breastfed baby knows that her needs will be met with love and concern, that she is valuable enough to come first to others who love her, and that she can trust others in the future to meet her needs, and she theirs. A breastfed baby knows how to find home
At the same time, the breastfeeding relationship nourishes and grows mother, as well. She learns to mother by looking to the needs of her child, initially while breastfeeding. Then, she can apply that model of need parenting to the rest of her mothering experiences. In a very real sense, baby is growing the very mother she needs this process. This kind of child-led mothering--mothering through following the needs of the individual child--is often called attachment parenting.

There are other benefits that accrue to the breastfeeding mother. Women who have breastfed their babies have lower rates of breast, uterine, endometrial and ovarian cancers. Breastfeeding mothers reduce their chances of osteoporosis. And they lose weight more quickly in the early post-partum months. The breastfeeding mother is empowered by her decision to breastfeed, as she realizes that she alone is capable of providing the best food for her baby.

Click here for Links to Liz's Breast feeding propaganda Page.

Click here for link to other articles and resources

Click here to find out how breastfeeding protects newborns

Moms Urged to Nurse for Full-Year

By The Associated Press, December 2, 1997

CHICAGO (AP) -- Mothers should breast-feed their babies for at least a year, according to a pediatric group's recommendation that replaces a 15-year-old statement suggesting six to 12 months of nursing.

Feedings should begin within an hour of birth and continue eight to 12 times every 24 hours, with each feeding lasting 20 to 30 minutes, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday. And breast-feeding should continue past the child's first birthday ``for as long as mutually desired,'' said the nation's largest group of children's doctors.

Almost all babies, including those born sick or prematurely, should be breast-fed, according to the new recommendation. The only exceptions should be for mothers who use illegal drugs or have tuberculosis or the AIDS virus, the academy said.
Critics said the new recommendations and the huge commitment they require -- up to 6 hours a day -- may be out of touch with reality.

``I think these guidelines will present a problem for new mothers who have no choice but to go back into the work force quickly,'' said Janice Rocco of the National Organization for Women. ``They might already feel guilty about working, and this might add even more to that.''
Companies can help by providing private rooms where nursing mothers can pump their breasts so their milk can be bottled, refrigerated and fed to their babies later, said the academy, based in the Chicago area.

Research has shown that breast-fed babies are less likely to get such ailments as diarrhea, ear infections and bacterial meningitis than babies who are fed infant formula. Some studies suggest nursing also may protect against such diseases as diabetes, lymphoma and allergies.
Also, mothers who breast-feed reduce their risk of ovarian and premenopausal breast cancer, and they return to their pre-pregnancy weight more quickly than mothers who use bottles, studies show.

A Mother's Love, Brain Linked


Los Angeles Times News Service

Deprivation called harmful to growth

NEW ORLEANS - Exploring the biology of mother love, researchers reported that parental care makes such a lasting impression on an infant that maternal separation or neglect can profoundly affect the brain's biochemistry, with lifelong consequences for growth and mental ability.

Children raised without being regularly hugged, caressed, or stroked - deprived of the physical reassurance of normal family attention - have abnormally high levels of stress hormones, according to new research on Roumanian orphans raised in state-run wards.

Moreover, new animal research reveals that without the attention of a loving care-giver early in life, some of an infant's brain cell's simply commit suicide. While the growing brain naturally prunes cells during development - losing up to half by adulthood - the neurons in the neglected animals died at twice the rate as those animals kept with their mothers.

"What we found shocked us." psychologist Mark Smith at the Du Pont Merck Research Labs in Wilmington, Del., said Monday. Smith analyzed the effects of maternal deprivation in laboratory animals. "Maternal separation caused these cells in the brain to die."

"The effects of maternal deprivation may be much more profound than we had imagined.", he said. "Does this have implications for humans? Frankly, I hope not, but I suspect there may be."

Scientists have known for decades that maternal deprivation can mark children for life with serious behavioral problems, leaving them withdrawn, apathetic, slow to learn, and prone to chronic illness. But a range of new research, presented in New Orleans at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, reveals for the first time the biochemical consequences of emotional neglect on the developing brain.

It has been known for a long time that early experience is able to shape the brain and behavior," said Ron de Kloet, an expert on stress and endocrine system at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. "Only recently have we been able to go into:> the brain and measure what is actually happening in early experience."

It is the relationship between parental care, the neurobiology of touch, and the chemistry of stress that lies at the heart of the new insights in how a newborn brain takes shape.

Researchers said that neglect can warp the brain's developing neural circuits so that they produce too much or too little of the hormones that control responses to stress, causing permanent changes in the way an organism behaves and responds to the world around it. In infants, high levels of stress can impair growth and development of the brain and body.

In animal studies, "the presence of the mother ensures these stress hormones remain at a nice low level," said Michael Meaney at the Douglas Hospital Research Center in Montreal.

New laboratory research by Meaney and other neuroscientists highlights the long-range biochemical consequences of neglect and the effect of maternal care on the development of brain regions that control responses to stress.

Studies with laboratory animals show that the simple act of a mother licking her pup triggers a surprisingly subtle chain of biochemical events inside the infant's brain. As the mother physically comforts her newborn, it stimulates the production of key biochemicals that inhibit production of a master stress hormone called CRH.

To determine whether these new laboratory insights apply to human child rearing, researchers are now assessing the changing brain chemistry of children and the attention then receive from their primary care giver, be it mother, father, or day-care worker

ROCKLAND COUNTY JOURNAL NEWS, Tuesday September 10, 1996
Remnants of babies stay with mothers for years
- By Karl Leif Bates Gannott News Service

Mothers and children have a special bond, and it is deeper than you might imagine.

It turns out a mother carries in her bloodstream, for decades after they are born, a little piece of every baby she has had.

A research team that includes a Wayne State University (Detroit) professor stumbled across the discovery while trying to develop a noninvasive test for detecting birth defects.

The finding raises a host of interesting questions, not the least of which is how the obviously alien cells manage to eke out a living for decades without attracting attention from the mother's immune system.

"Everybody's curious about this' said Dr. Mark Evans, a medical professor and member of the team. But the goal of the study is to develop a reliable test for birth defects, a task that may take several more years.

As part of its research, the team drew the blood of pregnant women and screened the blood for fetal cells.

In the blood samples from women who ended up having female children they found Y chromosomes, the genetic marker of a male baby. We knew that didn't belong to the mom, and it didn't seem to belong to the current fetus." said Dr. Diana W. Bianchi, chief of perinatal genetics at Boston's New England Medical Center.

Thinking it could be a lab mistake, the researchers looked again, this time drawing blood from women who previously.had carried boys but who now were pregnant with girls.

All four women carried fetal cells with Y chromosomes.

Then they looked at eight mothers who were not pregnant but who had given birth to a son in the past three decades. Six of the eight carried fetal cells with a Y chromosome. One of the women had delivered her last boy 27 years ago.

"As a working mother who travels quite a bit it's comforting to me to know that I carry my children with me," Bianchi said with a laugh.

The cells they found are immature white blood cells of the male babies, though Bianchi is sure the cells of female babies also are left behind.

"It's just much easier~to track the Y chromosomes she said

Female cells occur in very small numbers in the mother's bloodstream and must be sorted with with several techniques to be isolated for study.

"It's literally like looking for needle in a haystack," Evans said.
If the proposed blood test for fetal genetic defects can be perfected, the technique would I'd safer than amniocentesis which involves piercing the uterus with a large needle. Amniocentesis can cause miscarriages about once in very 200 tests.

"If we can get this to work, you could get the same answers that we get with an invasive test," Evans said.


Impact of Separation-

To the Editor:

I am concerned about the lack of knowledge about the effects of separation of mother and child immediately after birth ("Cutting the Baby in Half.") editorial Aug. 1). Your statement that a child will suffer injury if separated from its psychological --as opposed to biological--family is not entirely accurate.

What we now know about the separation of the neonate from its mother indicates a lifelong impact on both mother and child. The neonate has already bonded with its mother. In the last trimester the fetus knows the sounds and rhythms of its mothers heartbeat and respiration, knows mother's voice and immediately after birth "memorizes" her smell.

The separation from everything safe is a psychic shock to the neonate, a trauma that leads to enduring psychological issues, including identity and relationship problems and low self-esteem. ( (Incubator babies exhibit some of the same effects later in life.) Mothers who have surrendered children will have similar difficulties.

We should follow the Australian example: A mother may not surrender a child to adoption until it is two months old; after surrender, the mother has two months to change her mind, and if she does so, the child is immediately returned to her. In addition, pregnant women need to be given nonjudgmental about the ramifications of their choices.

The psychological needs of babies must be understood so that decisions are truly in the child's best interest. JOSEPH M. SOLL

New York, August 3, 1993 The writer is a psychotherapist.


The Key Role of Smell in an Infant's Bonding

For a newborn infant, whose fuzzy vision registers only the most obtuse rendering of its mother it is not love at first sight but love at first scent.

Furthermore as documented m the April Issue of Pediatrics, overzealous application of perfume during the first few days after birth can mislead the baby and block bonding.

Newborns learn to prefer the odor of their mother and this preference allows them to maintain contact and to find the mother's nipple for the purpose of nursing," said Dr. Michael Leon, professor of psychology at the University of California at Irvine. "A new mother wearing very heavy perfume may overwhelm her actual odor and make it difficult for natural bonding to occur."

Research on rats and other mammals had revealed similar patterns. Dr. Leon and his colleagues discovered that the "primary olfactory memory" is established in as little as 10 minutes for humans. However there must be supplemental tactile stimulation or this special memory will not become permanently enmeshed in the brain's processes. This insures that infants do not attach themselves to other airborne odors.

"We took babies, with their mothers' permission and placed them on a bassinet where they were exposed to a citrus odor while we stroked them lightly on the torso for 10 minutes," said Dr. Leon. "The next day they again placed in a bassinet and allowed to turn toward the citrus odor.

Almost invariably they expressed a preference by turning toward that odor."
Besides helping relieve nursing deficiencies these experiments could "expedite the diagnosis" and early treatment of cognitive disorders in newborns, the researchers wrote.

New York Newsday, LETTERS, December 1990

Past the Age of Consent

If I as an adult want to get married, do I need my parents permission? Do I need their permission to get a divorce? Why, then, does Ann Landers in her advice column of Dec 12 tell the "Interim Parent" from Salem, Ore. that she thinks adopted children should get permission from their adoptive parents to have a reunion with their birth families? And why is an adult who was adopted as a child referred to as an "adopted child"?

As a psychotherapist, and an adoptee and a supposedly free human being, I take issue with having to ask permission from my parents to do anything. That's infantilizing and demeaning.

I have helped thousands of adoptees and birth parents reunite—without the adoptive parents' permission—and not once in eight years have I seen an adopted person rejected by his or her natural parents; most adoptees get closer to their adoptive parents after tbe reunion.

Adoptees did not ask to be surrendered to adoption. They should certainly have the right of every other human being on this planet to know who brought them into this world and know their heritage. They have the right to be equal and not eternally thought of as children. Adults negotiate their relationships without having to ask permission from anyone.

Joe Soll, Manhattan Editors note: The writer, an MSW, is director of Adoption Crossroads, a non-profit organization that helps people separated by adoption search for one another.