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Schuker, E. (2013). Comments on Reading the Adoption Roundtable. Psychoanal. Perspect., 10(1):136-138.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 10(1):136-138

Comments on Reading the Adoption Roundtable

Eleanor Schuker, MD

In reviewing the taped record of the panel, I am struck by how each of our stories is very moving and personal. One cannot be an adoptive parent or an adoptee without this being a complex and challenging psychological experience. For my family, while our experience of parenting and being in an adoptive family went very well for us, perhaps my panel presentation oversimplified and gave an incorrect impression of wearing rose-colored glasses and finding everything easy. The lived ambivalent process in our family was not simply joyous or conflict-free—for my husband, my daughter, myself, or our birthmother. There were many experiences where my husband and I had much to discuss and debate to try to help each other, as well as many times where we were challenged about how best to help our daughter to grow and understand this part of herself. In a given moment, intuition is all you have as a parent!

Some examples: While “Kaye” had chosen us from 100 families, we only found out that fact from her a few years later. At the time of adopting, it was a scary adventure. We had had some prior disappointments with trying to adopt, so we were very hopeful but didn't know the outcome. As we met with Kaye twice weekly for the two months before the birth, our primary, overt task was to take her to her obstetrical appointments. This provided opportunities for us to get to know one another that stirred feelings in all of us. At one point she reminded us that she could always change her mind. At another point she had a stubborn allergic reaction that, fortunately, we helped figure out, and at yet another point she had a serious fall… .

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