Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Reactive Attachment Disorder, Racism, and Resistance

I have recently felt over, so over being adopted; not that I can erase it from my identity, but that I am too busy just living to focus on anything remotely related to its thorniness or boggy idiocies. I have had nothing meaningful to say about adoption, and I haven't being reading much of interest, either. Novellas, short stories, and criticism are more up my alley at the moment.

I was moved, however, by my friend Daniel's thoughts on Reactive Attachment Disorder as he expressed them over at Transracial Eyes. I encourage you to read his post, if you haven't already.

Here are the first wonderful, challenging paragraphs:

I’d like to touch back on to two discussions we’ve had so far, one on nature vs. nurture as posited by Snow Leopard, and the other one having to do with Russian adoptions, and the idea of a second-best race-based adoption, i.e., one that does not (seemingly) require those adopting from having to mythologize their ability to raise a transracially or transculturally adopted child.
The reason I think this deserves more focus in terms of Russian adoptees is that from the web sites that I’ve seen on so-called Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), the majority of the children so diagnosed seem to come from predominantly “white-identified” countries: Russia and Eastern Europe, read: those places deemed as deserving salvation from Soviet-era “Godless Communism”.
Much of the RAD diagnosis is focused not on the adoption itself, but instead on the child as manifesting an “illness” that needs to be corrected via a variety of therapies physical and psychological that I believe would constitute torture if performed on prisoners of war, as defined by the Geneva Convention.
So much of the discussion that needs to be had here seemingly can’t be had, if only because at first glance we are not dealing with a question of “racism”. I would like to challenge this, while also pointing out that the notion of “adoption” is just as culturally specific as the psychological diagnosis of RAD, along with the racism implied.

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