Preventing Adoptee Suicide through Compassionate Community Support with Moses Farrow - Ep 119
Release Date: 11/13/2023
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"Being commodified, treated as an object, as a thing that can be returned or exchanged, deeply affects us. I am not a thing." - Moses Farrow
Did you know that adoptees are at least four times as likely to attempt suicide as their non-adopted peers? In this episode, Moses Farrow will shed light on the truth behind high suicide rates among adopted people, and will provide resources to help prevent adoptee suicide.
In this episode, you will be able to:
Gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by adoptees and how to provide meaningful support throughout their journey.
Uncover the alarming realities of high suicide rates among adoptees and discover strategies to prevent this tragedy.
Explore a wide range of mental health resources specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of adoptees.
Develop critical thinking skills to examine and question the adoption industry, promoting transparency and ethical practices for the benefit of all involved.
My special guest is Moses Farrow
Moses Farrow is an esteemed guest on Unraveling Adoption, bringing a wealth of expertise and personal insights to the discussion. As an intercountry, interracial adopted person from South Korea, Moses resides at the complex intersection of adoption, race, disability, mental health, and activism. With over two decades of experience in the mental health field, Moses has dedicated his work to serving adopted individuals and other at-risk populations. His passion for advocating a complete paradigm shift in the adoption industry is rooted in his tragic personal experiences, having lost three adopted siblings to suicide. Drawing from his extensive background and firsthand knowledge, Moses offers a unique perspective on the challenges faced by adopted people and the importance of prioritizing mental health support. We are privileged to have Moses join us on this episode as we explore the pressing issue of adoptee suicide and discuss strategies for prevention and support.
The resources mentioned in this episode are:
Explore Moses' website: https://www.transformadoption.com/
Follow Moses Farrow on social media to stay updated on his work in the mental health field.
Consider seeking therapy or counseling for yourself or your adopted family member if you are struggling with mental health or adoption-related issues. Find a list of practitioners that care for those touched by adoption here: UnravelingAdoption.com/Healing
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, reach out for help immediately. If you're in the U.S. call or text 988, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Here are other Unraveling Adoption episodes and workshops related to adoptee suicide, suicidality, and suicide prevention:
Psych Hospitals & Suicidal Ideation (with Joey): https://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/25558716
Chronic Suicidality with Frank King: https://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/25558560
Ask Us Anything: Suicide Edition: https://youtu.be/5SrnyyT9Jh4
Virtual Candlelight Vigil for Adoptee Remembrance Day 2023: https://youtu.be/uun76F2JQpE
Understanding Adoptee Challenges
In this insightful conversation, Moses Farrow shares his personal experiences as an adoptee, bringing attention to the significant difficulties often faced by individuals in the same situation. He discusses the feeling of being a "square peg in a round hole," highlighting the common struggle of adoptees navigating their cultural identity and fitting into their adoptive families. Moses' shared insights underscore the importance of providing support, understanding, and validation for the unique challenges adoptees face.
Tailored Mental Health Resources
The discussion underscores the need for comprehensive mental health support for adoptees, taking into account the specific traumas and challenges they face. Moses highlights the prevalence of adoption trauma, urging for it to be understood as a normal response to traumatic experiences rather than pathologized as a mental disorder. He advocates for integrated mental health resources that consider the adoptee's whole experience, providing essential validation and facilitating healing and well-being.
Timestamped summary of this episode:
00:01:22 - Adoptee Suicide
Beth discusses the topic of adoptee suicide and shares her personal connection to it through her son Joey. Moses, who has lost three adopted siblings to suicide, emphasizes the need for better support and understanding of adopted individuals to prevent more suicides.
00:03:19 - Moses' Origin Story
Moses shares his adoption story, being adopted from South Korea at the age of two. He reflects on his Korean identity and having cerebral palsy, which he believes was caused by a difficult birth experience.
00:06:21 - Childhood Dreams
Moses discusses his childhood dreams and aspirations, including wanting to be an astronaut, a movie director, and a musician. He reflects on how his interests and goals evolved over time.
00:08:15 - Mental Health and Therapy
Moses talks about growing up in a large adoptive family and navigating complex relationships. He reveals that he is a survivor of child abuse and highlights the lack of mental health support during his childhood, focusing more on physical health issues.
00:17:36 - Adoption as Commodification
The guest shares a story from South Korea about how he feels that adoption commodifies human beings. The term "rehomed" is discussed, highlighting the disrespectful connotation it carries. The guest expresses frustration with the language used in pet adoption and human adoption.
00:18:47 - Feeling Like a Square Peg in a Round Hole
The experience of being adopted is compared to feeling like a square peg in a round hole. The guest discusses not feeling like they fit in or belong anywhere, describing the struggle of not feeling Korean enough or American enough.
00:19:18 - Adopted People and Suicide
Adopted individuals are four times more likely to attempt suicide. The guest acknowledges the attention given to anxiety, depression, and suicide in recent years, particularly among teens. They discuss the importance of understanding suicide within its own context and the need to destigmatize and normalize conversations about it.
00:20:41 - Normalizing Mental Health and Suicide
The guest highlights the increased attention given to mental health and suicide in society, similar to the normalization of the COVID-19 pandemic. They emphasize the importance of open conversations and building support networks to validate and acknowledge individuals' struggles.
00:24:07 - Suicide Prevention as an Ongoing Journey
Suicide prevention and mental wholeness cannot be viewed as achieving a goal or reaching a finish line. It is an ongoing journey and practice of self-reflection, curiosity, and intention.
00:34:57 - The Coercion in Adoption
The conversation delves into the issue of voluntary adoption and questions whether individuals and institutions can truly make the decision without being influenced by the culture of coercion surrounding them.
00:35:29 - Preventing Adoption Trauma
The focus shifts to the high rate of suicide attempts among adopted individuals and the need for support. The conversation emphasizes the importance of checking on adopted people regularly and providing mental health support.
00:36:02 - Updating Research on Adoption
The lack of updated research on the mental health of adopted individuals is discussed, along with the need to recognize adoption trauma as a public health crisis. Mental health support and reconnecting with their pre-adoption lives are seen as crucial in addressing this issue.
00:37:23 - Overcoming Adoption Stereotypes
Adopted individuals often face societal pressure to be grateful and not speak out about their experiences. The conversation emphasizes the need to recognize and validate adoptees' experiences, elevating their voices and understanding the lifelong impact of adoption.
00:41:04 - Creating Safe Spaces
The importance of creating safe spaces for adoptees to share their experiences is highlighted. Sharing personal stories humanizes adoptees and challenges the commodification and dehumanization perpetuated by the adoption industry. The conversation emphasizes the need for a comprehensive approach to addressing adoption trauma.