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Dolber, A. (2013). The Missing Content: Reflections on the Adoption Roundtable. Psychoanal. Perspect., 10(1):114-115.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 10(1):114-115


The Missing Content: Reflections on the Adoption Roundtable

Alan Dolber, PhD

As I listened to the tape recording of our panel, I was struck as much by what was not said as by what was. Ellie's concern that her presentation on the panel gave the impression of “wearing rose-colored glasses and finding everything easy” resonated with me at the time, and I raised that concern on the panel as well.

I would like to again emphasize that I found the experience of the panel members, whether as adoptive parents or as adoptees, to have been very benign. My own experience, meeting parents both outside and in the consulting room, has been that the adopted child is usually problematic, and that the child's parents have felt great concern over his or her functioning at school, among peers, and in the family.

Perhaps it was just a random turn resulting from selection that produced this unique panel. Certainly, the expectable Sturm und Drang of living with and as an adopted child was missing from its discourse. When asked to consider that aspect of the matter, Roger cited the literature on the high incidence of alcohol and drug use and emotional issues among adopted children, while Melissa shared that she understood this to be true as well. But to my surprise, problems of this nature were not considered central to the panelists’ experiences. The themes they centered on instead were otherness, abandonment, and rejection. It has been my experience working with adoptive families that such issues are usually relegated to the background, not placed in the foreground. Parents who would be “good enough” with their own biological children find themselves struggling to cope with their adopted children on more fundamental levels.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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