“Adoption—I pity the babies in the back row”

Judith Land | Adoption Detective

I feel sad when I visualize the least fortunate children in an orphanage—the babies haplessly isolated in the back row who have a distinct disadvantage over the more favored ones in the front row. Nurses and caregivers naturally tend to make more eye contact with the infants in the front row because it is impossible to walk past them without being responsive to their cooing sounds, facial expressions and baby talk. Babies in the front row are much more likely to be tickled under their chin, be allowed to grasp the fingers and hair of others with their tiny hands, to be held and swayed, to have more frequent eye contact with caregivers, and have their pillows and blankets fluffed up more often than the babies in the back row.

I pity the infants in group homes, hospitals, orphanages and wards haplessly placed in the back row who have a distinct disadvantage over the babies in the front row who naturally receive more attention. The separation of a defenseless baby from their mother’s breast is a distressingly traumatic event that traumatizes the child. The devastating effects of maternal deprivation and social isolation on infants is staggering. For as long as they have existed, orphanages have had alarmingly high death rates. Fearing contagious disease, attempts to keep orphanages sterile often involves isolating children from each other by doing things like placing sheets and glass panels between their cribs. Yet, children raised in orphanages continue to contract all types of illnesses and remain scrawny and show obvious psychological, cognitive and behavioral problems, and tend to be less curious, less playful, and more subject to infections.

Psychologists have long known that separation from their mothers in the first six months of life can produce severe deficits in virtually every aspect of behavior from which the child may never recover. Scientists have described the tender intimacy of the attachment between mother and child as a sacred mystical instinct essential for the normal growth and survival of the child. They have provided conclusive evidence that love is vital for normal childhood development and revealed the long-term devastation caused by deprivation, leading to profound psychological and emotional distress. The catastrophic effects of sensory and social deprivation at certain critical periods in early childhood can have on children’s subsequent development can be devastating. Experiments have shown beyond any doubt that social interactions with other humans are essential. When this experience is lacking in infancy deep psychological primal wounds may develop and be exhibited as freezing in fear, blank staring, crouching down, repetitive physical motions, selective mutism and thumb sucking. Psychologists have repeatedly demonstrated the importance of companionship in the early stages of development for normal social and cognitive development.

Psychoanalysts, physicians and scientists have offered irrefutable proof that infants in institutions suffer from a lack of love–that they were missing important parental relationships, which in turn was hurting or even killing them. Research has added scientific legitimacy in favor of psychological parenthood. The permanence associated with adoption has been shown to be far superior to other arrangements when it comes to safeguarding the future mental and emotional well-being of children in need of parents.


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Mi-e milă de orfanii nefericite din rândul din spate | 可惜我在後排的不幸孤兒


About Judith Land

Judith Land lives in Colorado and Arizona with husband and coauthor Martin Land. Judith is a former nurse, retail shop owner, college instructor and avid outdoor person. Her book "Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child" is a true story detailing the journey of Judith Romano, foster child and adoptee, as she discovers fragments of her background, and then sets out to solve the mystery as an adult. She has reached readers in 192 countries. "Mothers and fathers everywhere in the world need to understand that children are forever and always." --Judith Land
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4 Responses to “Adoption—I pity the babies in the back row”

  1. gooddaytotry says:

    97.7 percent of first moms asked to keep. Mistreating children is exactly what the sellers want you to see so you get in the mood to buy. The time to feel bad is while the moms are being tortured in the hosp and told not to tell anyone to protect their ‘honor’. Yes moms are promised their baby will get better care and the the babies are handed off to workers and told these babies are unwanted dysfunctional second class babies

    Sent from my iPad


    • Judith Land says:

      Denise. Separation from the mother traumatizes the child and creates problems from which they may never recover. Child trafficking nefariously motivated by profit is an international concern; so much so, that the United Nations established regulations to protect the rights of children in 1990. The severe effects of social isolation and maternal deprivation on infants are well documented. There is conclusive evidence to prove that children who remain with their mothers have the best chance of being healthy. Research has shown that infants allowed to stay with their mothers in prison are healthier than those raised in orphanages. Unfortunately, much of this knowledge is not shared, and those who don’t read have no advantage over those who can’t. Judith

  2. Pingback: “Adoption—ancient yearnings for a true sense of belonging” | Adoption Detective | A True Story by Judith Land

  3. Pingback: Adoption and Conventional Wisdom | Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child

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