Ben Harper, in Fly One Time, sings:
It’s pounding at my door
screaming for more
In a world that owes you nothing
you give everything, everything
And now I’m caught in between
What I can’t leave behind
and what I may never find
So fly one time
Fly one time
Depending on my mood, I can either hear in these lyrics a call to rise above one’s circumstance and put the pain of life behind oneself. Or else I hear something completely different, much darker.
I’ve always been troubled by the statistics and studies of adoptee morbidity, suicide, depression, substance abuse, etc.; especially for adoptees in completely homogenous environments such as the Scandinavian countries where adoptees stick out much more obviously and where entry into the national social structure is quite limited for racial and ethnic reasons.
One study I found states:
International adoptees had clearly increased risks for suicide attempt (risk ratio 4.5 [95% confidence interval 3.7–5.5]) and suicide death (3.6 [2.6–5.2]) after adjustments for sex, age and socio-economic factors. National adoptees had lower risks than international adoptees, but had increased risks compared to non-adoptees (suicide attempt, 2.8 [2.2–3.5]; suicide death, 2.5 [1.8–3.3]). Biological parents’ morbidity explained approximately one third of the increased risk for national adoptees. Female international adoptees’ risk for suicide attempt was elevated to an even greater extent than in male international adoptees, when compared to the general population.
Adoptees have an increased all-cause mortality compared to the general population. All major specific causes of death contributed, and the highest excess is seen for alcohol-related deaths.
Adoptees in Sweden have a high risk for severe mental health problems and social maladjustment in adolescence and young adulthood. We advise professionals to give appropriate consideration to the high risk of suicide in patients who are intercountry adoptees.
The adoptive culture wants us to be “grateful”; I think adopters should be grateful we don’t off ourselves in greater numbers.
How do we cope? How do we keep it together?