Abandonment and Adoption


The multiplication of parental relations has entered the public arena and has become a complex and well-established pattern. Adoption, like any family construction, lives in step with this evolution, societal advances and the questions that arise from it. Today, more than yesterday, the desire to be a parent manifests itself in a mode that is often passionate. The “right to the child” is claimed by some, impossible demands of yesterday are possible today thanks to scientific progress but also to changes of mentality.

Abandonment and AdoptionWhat are the essential ingredients for the word “family” to keep its meaning? What clinical experiences can we have to think about these new forms of family life today and those to come? How does the adoption, by its original construction, question the foundations of filiation and offer it a magnifying glance?

We will briefly review the history of abandonment and adoption in order to take time to understand how our culture thinks, lives, imagines and legislates on parentage and adoptive parenting. We will try to remain vigilant and to approach the two complementary facets of these filiations: one that “dismisses” and the other that is constituted.

Abandonment of a child may occur early at birth, but it may also be in an abandoned situation, anywhere in the world, left to its own devices, living on the street and then collected in an institution or else Still being subjected to ill-treatment, abuse. These contexts of abandonment take a fundamental part in the adoptive prehistory of these children.We will discuss the specificity and will question, thanks to the clinic, the facilitating elements of these family meetings but also what can “fail”, causing family shipwrecks.

Filiation: co-creation of biology, legal, psychic


Filiation refers to a family relationship between generations. As such, filiation inscribes an individual into a genealogical network. We can refer filiation to three axes: biological, legal and psychic.

Biological affiliation:

It is that of procreation, by intervention of the “products of the body” of the one and the other sex leading to the birth of a child. The biological bond is not enough to “be a parent”. The transmission of the genomic products of both parents is incapable, on its own, of creating a parenthood, a psychic filiation. Maternity provides an opportunity for this feeling to develop. The birth of a child is never a sufficient condition to “birth” parent, but can make it possible. On the other hand, the other natural data (sexual reproduction, the difference of the generations, the difference between the dead and the living) will serve as a basis for the legal and psychic productions of filiation.

Legal affiliation:

It is that of the legislative framework which defines the rules of filiation.

It is covered by the Convention (designation of father, mother, child) and is always drawn up on the basis of natural data according to the cultural data of society.

The law is essential to be able to internalize the symbolic landmarks suitable for defining for the child his kinship, his filiation. The institution of the law, through the formalization of the real into a symbolic configuration, makes it possible to provide a fiction that allows us to pass from the individual to the universal, from the human being to the social being in a filiation.

Psychic affiliation:

It represents a subjective construction of one’s own truth that allows one to consider oneself as father, mother, son or daughter.

The psychic axis of filiation allows the knotting of the three elements at the base of every society: the biological, the social and the subjective, unconscious, human dimension. This filiation, unlike biological or legal filiation, is built up over time; Its value and its consistency are never established definitively in the course of life. It is the axis of temporality, of rhythmicity, of sharing, of the experience of a common experience.

The psychic solidity of this construction goes beyond the biological data of the filiation and allows to give a security to the filiation: the filiative fiction is then experienced like true because reasonable. Reasonable because the child “could” have been born from these parents.

For the child, the unconscious and conscious elaboration of the parental encounter in the construction of his identity is one of the essential components of this bonding: to be born of desire, of a psychic “birth” of a couple, a story.

Adoptive filiation:

The adoptive situation is a real challenge for the family in terms of its ability to support what is loosened, disjointed, dissociated, in this case biological bonds on the one hand and legal and psychic bonds on the other. The contained value of the law thus makes it possible to support the dissociation proper to adoptive filiation through the founding value of legal fiction. The adoptive family can not support such a dissociation with its own will, its desire or with the only conscious data of its discourse. When the biological axis is missing, the remaining two are sufficient to allow filiation. But for Guyotat, “every singularity of filiation in reality (legal or biological) exalts that of the narcissistic image and vice versa, any megalomaniac inflation of this image, as in psychoses, results in a destruction-reconstruction of the established filiation Therefore verifiable “. The other two axes will be strongly solicited by a compensation mechanism.

For example, in a adoptive family, very often children will turn to the legal axis to question it (questions of the true parent, theft of children).

On the biological level:

The absence of biological filiation can allow the couple to no longer think of themselves as the origin of the child’s arrival, and thus to promote derelict, desexualized representations of conception. The original scene proper to the child and to his birth parents should correspond to the multiple scenes of encounter, desire, and conception of a common history whose future child would be one of the outcomes.

In the absence of such a correspondence, the child will not be able to originate in the imagination of his family, running the risk of being always considered a child for that matter, just accepted, hardly accepted.

From a legal point of view:

The law, through the legal fiction that it establishes, makes it possible to define the place of each member in a coherent symbolic scenario. In adoption, the creative value of legal fiction is even more necessary: ​​it allows the establishment of parents in the absence of a biological link.

It is because of this that any child, whether adopted or not, can call himself either “son or daughter” of both sexes, to use the ancient formula. Before this, the law, by framing the act of abandonment by the parents of birth, defining its legal adoptability, gives a specific and specific status to the child awaiting adoption. The law makes it possible to recognize the filiative interruption, proper to abandonment, to give full place to the filiative creation, proper to adoption.

“This filiation does not give rise to any problem of proof since it is based on pre-constituted evidence by the adoption judgment. It is a legal link, “it is a legal garment” that covers an individual and social reality and that differs according to the respective situation of the two parents. 

On a psychic level:

Through the internalization of this filiative security, parents and children will experience all the violence of their feelings, thus giving consistency and truth to the psychic filiation.

Adoptive filiation is a vulnerable filiation, because of the psychic work needed to build parenthood and parentage.Failures in adoption are dramatic and challenge us as professionals or as third parties in this adoptive space. The bankruptcy of the family to support the filiative fiction immediately appears in the clinic of adoption failures, especially at the time of adolescence. The adolescent is then notified to the juvenile judge, placed in foster care, in an institution or housed in a studio, away from his family. If a parent does not recognize himself in his child, the child will be seen as a threat, persecuting him, his couple, his family. As a teenager, the classical fantasy of this period of “stranger” to oneself and to the family takes on a particular coloring if the child considers “really” his child as a “stranger in the house”. The intensity of clinical manifestations in adolescence in the adoptive situation is partly explained by what is experienced by certain families, not as a fantasy but as a reality.

Narrativity, fiction and family romance:

The fiction of any family functions thanks to the psyche that will make it live, in the continuity that finds its place in the relationship to the ascendants and descendants.

At maternal contact, the baby, from birth, will recover heat and protection in this impossible return to fetal life.

He will grow up and respond to the signs of the one who is invested with him. Little by little to the pleasure of this merged regained will succeed the appearance of a lack of being lack. It is the appearance of the phenomena of absence and presence connected with the mother, and therefore with her own existence, separate and distinct from her, from which she suffers. To resist this suffering, the child goes in search of the other, real and hallucinated. This unique mother, by investing her in continuity, makes her aware of her existence and identity. If it happens through all these senses to make him pass a rewarding fantasy, he will then internalize a positive image of himself, narcissistic subbass, indispensable to psychic life.

Thus, by building bonds with his father and mother, he acquires a stable and clear place that distinguishes him from others.

Very soon he will wonder about this mysterious bond he is pressing between them, of which it seems a consequence.He will then question his origins, his origin. It will not escape then the brutal response, the reminiscence or the fascinating and troubling elaboration of the primitive scene. The love of this child for his parents takes two terrible faces: incest and murder.

Refoulement and condemnation will neutralize his fantasies.

Sublimation will reverse the drama. The mother is the mother and not the wife, the misleading mirror of a fusional return; The father is the father, not the rival. The child will substitute perfect parents for real parents. He invents the family novel.

Paradox of filiation: doubt and reality, guilt and love.

For this novel must be recognized for what it is: a novel, a lure, unmasked or repressed. The child returning to earth, conscious of his identity, of his family tie, will then have to restore his filial love and to develop his defenses. And his parents, much less perfect, more human, will become his parents forever.

Parents, by the affection given, by the spoken word, by the force of love and hatred, by the attachment and disappointment they arouse, by the violence of the child’s desires. Now the child is born of the desires of adults.

The child at the end of this psychic journey is born Subject, the subject of the unconscious demerged, separated but connected to those who have desired it and who have registered parents with him. All his life he will never cease to seek his truth. The truth of a subject lies neither in a body, nor in a biological truth, nor in genes, but in its psyche. Here there are states of suffering, doubt, questions for the subject who questions the ties that unite him to his own parents.The truth of filiation in a subject is singular. She talks to herself and tells herself in the light of the experience of the one who tells herself. Filiation is built in this self-restraint that seeks to connect the subject with his family. If this construction sometimes takes the form of a walk, many times, and adoptions do not escape the rule, filiation can take on the appearance of shipwreck. It is then that we must examine the singularity of the subject who comes to “tell” himself. Singularity that begins, for some children, by a history of abandonment.


Some history points:

The abandonment of a child has taken on very different forms over the centuries. O. Faron reminds us that in Greece in the fourth century BC Plato recommends abandonment in the case of malformed children or “inferior” parents, while Aristotle makes it a means of demographic control. It is true that Aristotle compares the child to the animal: “the soul of the child does not differ, so to speak, from that of the beasts.” We are at a time when the child has no rights and is considered negatively as an unfinished being. The child is only a man in power and therefore incapable of knowing happiness since it comes with maturity: “the child can not be happy because he is not capable of such actions according to His age, and the children who are called happy are only in hope, for happiness requires, as we have said, perfect virtue and a life coming to an end. “

In Rome, the paterfamilias is such that it allows the father to sell or abandon his children, especially when he wants to “adjust the size of his family to his financial means”. For in Roman law, the father is the one who gives life or death.This will to constitute the father of his child is an essential ritual. Here the biological bond is impotent to make the father. Biological paternity is only a fact and not a right. In other words, this link, if it exists, has no legal consequences.

From the point of view of history, it must be observed that the abandoned child is a poor man among the poor and that his condition first reflects the uncertain condition of childhood and it is only from the moment when, At the end of the medieval period, men and specific places began to take charge of the destiny of those babies who had been set aside as the beginning of the history of abandonment as a fact of society.

We must therefore make a leap of several centuries and stop in the 14th century to see the first drafts of taking into account the abandoned child.

As early as 1363, the legitimate children will be collected first and foremost at the Hôpital de Saint-Esprit en Greve.From the middle of the 14th century, secret maternities were possible at the Hôtel Dieu in Paris as well as in other places, particularly in asylums.

The fifteenth century is characterized by infanticides, but for a long time, the death of a child and in particular the death of a found child, did not lead to any prosecution.

The 16th century saw the birth of an edict of Henry II which obliges women to declare their pregnancy. If the law is not respected and a dead child is found, the mother can be hanged, burnt or buried alive attached to the body of the dead child.

Also a decree prohibits mothers from sleeping with their newborns in order to avoid infanticides disguised as accidents.

The period saw a decrease in infanticide in favor of abandonment … no doubt we find there a remnant of collective thought that portrayed abandoning mothers as potentially murderous.

The seventeenth century sets up the main principles of organization of a service for abandoned children. A file gathers for each child all the elements concerning him and in 1670, the king institutionalises the work of the found children.

The eighteenth century is known for the setting up of its towers, a kind of turnstile placed at the entrance of the convents which allows a parent to abandon his child in the utmost discretion.

Once the newborn has been deposited in the alcove, a bell is raised to alert the nun who comes to collect it. This system manages the child’s deposit and does not care about the parent. The baby boxes in Germany in the 2000s have taken over this deposit system, modernizing them, but concentrating mainly on the collection of the child without a welcome being offered to the parents of birth.

The nineteenth century sees the end of the tour and the creation of open offices which are also open day and night and which allow the baby’s deposit with 1 month of reflection for the mother to recover it. This century is especially marked by the appearance of the norm of maternal love which signals the existence of an indestructible bond between the woman and her child.

The lineage ideology will retreat in favor of the protection of the mother-child bond.

20th century: a new look at the family

It is a century that reflects a new perspective on the family, the place of the family in society and the place of the child in the family, in particular with what the second part of this century will Rights of the child “.

France emerged from the long war of 1914-1918, which deprived women of their husbands, the children of their fathers. The necessary repopulation favored the adoption of “public welfare” children. On July 19, 1923, the adoption of minor children was instituted and legalized. Before that date, only children of age could be adopted (Napoleonic law that Bonaparte had instituted in order to be able to adopt the children of his wife Josephine) by parents of more than 50 years and with the agreement of the major. Henceforth, the adoption of minors by adults over 40 years of age will be possible.

As we have seen, the story, after attempting to take charge of the abandoned child, more or less happy, judging by the frightening numbers of infant mortality, has leaned with the French Revolution On the management of childbirth with the possibility of respecting the secrecy of the mother’s identity. This provision, applied more or less unequally, led several decades later to the Vichy government, favorable to a natalist policy, to adopt the decree-law of 2 September 1941 on the protection of birth. The latter organizes the secret delivery and the free care of the woman 1 month before and 1 month after the birth of the child, and this in any public hospital able to give him the care necessitated by his state.

This decree-law was repealed in 1953, but the protection of the secret motherhood was not questioned. Article 42 of the Family Code, organized by the decrees of 29 November 1953 and 7 January 1959, took over with content which respects the previous one.

In this second part of the 20th century, important changes appear in the adoption. It is not really in the same movement that the taking into account of abandonment and adoption advances, but rather in parallel, responding more and more to an influential social atmosphere. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, some cases that became public testified to situations of abandoned children. Some children, entrusted to adoptive families, were suddenly taken from these families and returned to their biological families (the Novak case). The highly police-oriented methods of fetching the child from the adoptive parents were common enough to preoccupy 20th century society: what is a family, what is a father, a mother ? New definitions try to see the light of day. The place of the biological is questioned through the so-called “retraction period”, time left to the parents of birth to affirm the permanent abandonment of their child. How long does a biological link remain alive, how long should the parents be allowed to return? Can a child be built in this unlikely time: 30 years, 2 years, 1 year, 3 months … or less?

When can we say there is abandonment?

For decades, the fate of the abandoned child was compounded by the issue of deadlines, which strangely had not been addressed by politicians, allowing the old right of the “third-party” delay to allow any birth parent to survive. Claiming parenthood for 30 years.

This strangely long delay with regard to an average life span and especially with regard to childhood made the status of the child in his adoptive family too precarious.

On 14 January 1974, Article 20 of the Public Health Code specifies the procedure for the admission of mothers entrusting their child with a view to adoption: ‘if, in order to safeguard the secret of her pregnancy or birth, The applicant applies for the secrecy of admission under the conditions laid down in Article 42 of the Family and Social Welfare Code, no identification is required and no investigation is undertaken … “.

Four years later, the State thinks of protecting administrative files by its law of 17 July 1978 from possible abuses and recalls that the access to the administrative file belongs to the person of his own and that its content must be restored to that of the person concerned. At his request.

Article 42 of the Family and Social Welfare Code will be replaced on 6 January 1986 by Article 47 of the Family Code.

The latter, which is still in force, recalls that “the cost of accommodation and childbirth for women who have applied for admission to a private or publicly-accredited establishment on the occasion of their admission to the preservation of their identity , Are supported by the Child Welfare Department of the headquarters department of the institution. “For the purposes of the preceding paragraph, no identification is required and no investigation is carried out”.

“Where the name of the father and mother of the child appear in the birth certificate drawn up within a period prescribed by Article 55 et seq. Of the Civil Code, the cost of accommodation and childbirth By the service is not by right. 

The law of 8 January 1993 inscribes the woman’s request for secrecy, “childbirth under X” in the Civil Code.

The constantly conflicting atmosphere surrounding the “for or against the possibility of secrecy” led, on 5 July 1996, to a new reform of adoption, proposed by Professor Mattei, which did not call into question the possibility of Mother to give birth in secret. It is interesting to note that the desire for reform on adoption has also focused on abandonment, meaning how the conditions of abandonment and adoption must be treated in a reciprocal manner.

These new proposals include a practice that has always existed (but was ignored), namely the possibility for the mother to remove the secret of her identity. By this legal registration, the possibility for the mother to add at any time elements in her child’s file is better known and therefore better practiced. Information will always remain a fundamental point in a democracy. This is what allows each citizen to seize a legal framework to defend his interests.

Also the 1996 law mentions that women can benefit from a psychological and social accompaniment by the service of Social welfare to the childhood. These legislative changes come to an end with the creation in 2002 of the National Council for Access to Personal Origins, CNAOP, whose mission is to facilitate the search for mothers by birth, at the request of adoptees. However, this law, by not requestioning the sense of filiation, created impostures. For example, to make people who describe themselves vulnerable to believe that there is a place of origin where they will find “who they are through a biological identity” is a lure. They can identify the person responsible for the birth as part of the reunion. As for parenthood, it remains a process that is built up in a temporality and in a shared experience. To authorize the lifting of the secret of identity after the death of the birth mother, without his opinion left during his lifetime is taken into account, is another. If the State decides by amalgamating biology and personal origins, it will have to apply to all the unborn children, for the sake of equality, this biological research. We may someday see science-fiction scenarios where maternity reception will take the form of a collection of deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA) of the man and the woman presenting himself as the father and the mother Of the unborn child. We see here the drift and the danger of any biologization of the filiative origins which could cancel the intimacy and the freedom of the Subject.

Accompanying the filiation that “breaks down”: what practices?

If hope for a child who does not come and who then leads to an adoption application must be spoken to allow a psychic elaboration, the process must also be thought of in the opposite situations. Waiting for a child (without generally realizing it in the first months of pregnancy), then deciding to renounce it, asks that this act be questioned and linked to a narrative, that is to say, Originating in the history of the acting subject. It is a matter of organizing the reception of the parent (s), of offering a place of speech where the words will come to signify the impossible reception of this unborn child.

We must, however, agree that learning that a woman can be pregnant without wanting to keep this child confronts us with an intolerable act from the point of view of morality. It is therefore quite understandable to hear the rationalization of the act of abandonment as a first defense in order to support it: thus these women are often described as victims of abandonment by their spouse, very young or very disadvantaged. The reality is quite different and the women we receive at maternity have profiles as diverse as other mothers.

If the shocking dimension of this act applies to all of us, our function as a clinician requires us to look at extreme acts in order to learn from them; The abandonment of a child at birth is an incoherent and illogical act (in the conscious sense of the term). De Mijolla reminds us that “every anachronistic intrigue is a kind of echo of the past in which there is a meaning to be found, and that the” I “that is acting before us today beckons us through its incoherence. “Moreover, the term” mother “about them was regularly the source of discussions and conflicts among professionals, a sign of our uneasiness. But can a woman be named “mother” who plans to abandon her child? G. Khaïat, during a 1995 symposium in a discussion with other speakers about surrogate mothers, mentions that it is impossible for a woman to carry a child as if it were not her own. He said, “I think she has to make her own child, talk to her, wear it as if it were her own, not someone else’s. She then offers her child to someone else if she decides. “ On the subject of mothers who abandon their children at birth, we could come closer to these words, while pointing out that it is not the child she makes in the first place, but through narration it is her own Maternity it constitutes. A child can only be born of a mother who declares herself a mother. It is the narrative of the mother for the mother that will allow the narration for the child and thus will enable the act of abandonment to be passed in act of renunciation. The difference lies in the existence of the child in the psyche of his mother: it is not enough to be born alive in order to be alive (example: children abandoned in orphanages and simply fed without a word take the path of madness Leaving the world of humans).

Desire is the bearer of life, of filiation, of parenthood. C.

Flavigny reminds us very clearly by asking the question: “How does one become a relative? Basically by desire, and as in every desire (those who put our humanity on the stage), there is the conscious face and the more unconscious obscure that can delay, exclude, conscious envy or, on the contrary, precipitate it. 

Thus, for our part, we maintain that motherhood is born of a narrative process. These are the words that have the power to sustain and give life. Any break in this process leads to a flaw in the ability to think of herself as mother and mother, and each of these breaks affects the unborn baby or the baby that is born.

From this concept came a practice of consultation, of psychoanalytic inspiration. It is the psychic history, that which is constituted of unconscious, that must be revealed. For this purpose, appointments are proposed and punctuate the time. Temporality is essential; It comes to remind those women who have started a maternity outside of time that the reality of pregnancy is precisely based on a calendar. Time is of the essence and this is the particularity of this clinical practice.

The child must be born after the birth of his mother’s motherhood.

In a state of being pregnant, she must pass psychically from this state of pregnancy to waiting for a child and then waiting for a child from which she separates. In this temporality, the timeless journey, the psychic work will begin and be realized.

Being a mother to renounce being is a strange, painful, silent journey where history is whispered before being told and then revealed; Witnesses of their journeys that lead them to break with family history, we take the measure of this rescue, offering as a working space this timeless time punctuating the narration, which chants it.

The work of the psyche or the ideas are combined in a form of anarchy, a succession of enunciations linked to internal perceptions, full of representations which then function as functions “images” that take meaning and guide the Subject.

To renounce the child is to renounce a part of the accursed family history, the one that does not say, that is enkyste, that slips slyly into the head of each member of the family.

In order for the child not to be abandoned by his mother, so that his mother and father are not excluded from the world of humans, we must create psychic spaces in places of birth, so that psychic care, Is necessary, can be done as early as possible.


Some statistics:

The phenomenon of passing children from one country to another through the adoptive institution actually operates one way. The transition is always towards favored countries from countries with strong demography and weak development along a South-North axis and recently on an east-west axis. The annual number of international adoptions worldwide is currently approaching 30,000 adoptions per year.

According to figures from the International Adoption Mission (MAI) in 2005, almost 6,000 annual adoptions in France amount to almost 4,000 from abroad (compared with 1,000 in the 1980s, compared to ten in the 1970s ). If this figure is reported as the number of annual births, ie 700,000 children, there is a ratio of eight children adopted, of which five are international, per 1,000 children: a total of close to the adopted child 100 births (0.8% to be precise).

Among the top five countries of origin, there are 507 children in Haiti, 491 children from China, 445 children from Russia, 390 children from Ethiopia and 363 children from Vietnam. It is interesting and worrying to note that none of the five countries from which the majority of adopted children were born has signed the Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Adoption international.

Approval process:

This approach can be illustrated perfectly by the words of the philosopher J.-P. Pierron, author of a book on adoption: “It is by abandoning oneself that adoption gradually gives face to the desire of a child. If abandon. Abandonment is not necessarily where one believes! The denouement of the adoptive gesture tests the destitution of the initiative. Lose balance. Not to drift but to be carried away by a safer wave than our assurances, such is the adoptive experience. For her, urgency is waiting, acting is a hardship, the answer a question. 

Accreditation is a procedure which must take place over a period of 9 months from the registration of the application.

It is valid for 5 years throughout the national territory. It is carried out by professionals from the departmental services, social worker and psychologist, who are responsible for assessing the conditions of reception of the children both from a material, educational and psychological point of view. In parallel, a psychiatrist sometimes intervenes in this procedure according to the departments. Note that today this meeting is not mandatory and can be conducted by any psychiatrist. We regret that this approach is not being carried out by registered doctors and familiar with adoptive situations, in order to promote the quality of exchanges with future parents. We also support the essential aspect of this meeting.

Accreditation specifies, for each couple, the number of children desired, their age and sometimes characteristics that may be linked to the child’s culture, health and history. Indeed, some parents prefer to focus on one culture rather than another in terms of their own history, which is essential for the future quality of the child’s welcome. It is not at all a disguised racism as we can sometimes hear, but simply an element that will come to meet the adoptive family. It may be related to the language of the country that one of the parents speaks of, having friends in a chosen culture, an attraction simply for a particular country.

There are similar concerns about the choice of the first name.

It can not be held by anyone other than the parent himself.

A parent needs to name his child and put it in his or her story. This symbolic gesture does not mean that he forgets the origin of the child or that he tries to erase a past history; Adoptive families are constantly influenced in their parental choices by external thoughts that inhibit or make them feel guilty about their choices. The designation is important (the company designates the adoptive parent), the appointment is also made (the child is named by the designated parent). Thus adoptive filiation takes its place in the symbolic order of declaration.

All these elements must be heard and not judged at the time of the approval procedure.

Thus, if accreditation is an administrative procedure defined by the law, it is above all a moment of questioning, of psychic maturation. The adoptive parents talk about the journey of the combatant to evoke this period of obtaining approval and it is very regrettable that no more evoked symbolic dimension of this journey. One does not become an adoptive adoptive parent and the situations of failure and suffering of these families that we receive in our offices only confirm the very delicate dimension of these family constructions. Children who have been turned over to child welfare by overworked adoptive parents who are injured by the unexpected behavior of their child, who ultimately pushes them away, are not isolated cases. Today, adoption failures amount to 3% (child given to the child welfare) but we know that this figure is much lower than the reality.

This state of affairs demonstrates that our highly technical civilization can not solve all human problems by these techniques. Our tendency to constantly invent devices to solve questions can not be applied in the field of filiation even if we have made indisputable scientific progress. “Adoption is not a device but an availability” and it is in this that the approval in its symbolic is unavoidable … Space of thought, openness on this family construction that questions this need to reproduce outside Biological reproduction.

Through this space of anticipatory thought, we can prevent failures. Accreditation in its temporality allows a solid accompaniment of these future parents, helping them to think of becoming a parent, with the peculiarities related to the reception of a child who is born in another story.

This procedure is, from a psychological point of view, a metaphor for the expectation of the child and by its temporality, future adopters carry out work on themselves, on their lineage, on the direction of the pursuit of This transgenerational family story, by inscribing a child with a different story. It is not a matter of evaluating desire, but of supporting a narrativity that inscribes everyone in a family history that evolves and changes over generations.

Adoption Clinic:

On humanitarian motivation:

Humanitarian motivation when summarizing the adoption gesture is a risk factor in itself. It is important for couples to develop this crucial question: “Why should the child be adopted at the end of the world? “.

The shortage of children to be adopted in France can not be a sufficient answer. On the other hand, the excessive idealization of the child from elsewhere plays a large part in this response.

Many couples are at greater risk by fetching an international baby with the risk of false medical certificates, undetected diseases, early affective deficiencies, child trafficking, rather than adopting a child in France , Certainly older but whose history is well known, its psychic adoptability and its expectations. Moreover, many adopters, once in the host country, will expand their criteria of reception that they had set in France. This enlargement can include ethnicity, later age, acceptance of a sibling, presence of a disability, a more uncertain psychic state. So why not have done a work of elaboration in France that could have allowed the adoption of a ward of state?

At the time of the accreditation, it is important to investigate the representations and the emotions aroused by the history of the child to come in order to appreciate the metabolizing and elaborative capacities of the applicants. For example, the imaginary representations of the abandonment of the parents of birth are always evoked. Anxious, horrified, negative projections of the country, the child or their parents of birth may prevent any identifying movement of the parents towards the child. Thus, a couple in a pre-accreditation interview questioned “How can we abandon a child when we are not even poor, it is horrible, if it is a rape or An incest “. This couple could not consider the filial inability of some women who abandon their child outside compassionate motivations. If parents associate with abandonment something of the order of shame, rejection or disgust, it will be as many affects and representations unassimilable to them, which will remain for the child to assimilate in his history, To identify with a child who has become “horrible” because coming from a “horrible” story all the closer to him than his parents reject.

For us, it is “psychic stories” that, at a given moment, the filiation with respect to this child was impossible, very often for transgenerational reasons.

Without a voluntary interruption of filiation on one side, there would be no creation of filiation on the other.

Remote origins and biological origins:

Many adoptive parents believe that it is necessary to raise their child in a double culture, theirs and that of the country of birth of the child, whatever the age of arrival of the child. Some will learn the language of the country on this occasion, keep the local name, take a nurse from the country to raise the child, dress the child in local dress, change their eating habits, cover their house with paintings, “All these attitudes are currently rationalized by ideas about” respect for one’s origins, the importance of giving him a choice later on, the importance of reminding him of his history or of not Cutting its culture “.

These attitudes reflect a current collective discourse that aims to summarize the origin to a cultural identity. This would mean reducing adoptive parenting to its educational facet. Adoptive filiation is a filiation in its own right in which the child will be born. Without them, without their meeting, without their history they would never have had this child. A whole part of the history and culture of parents may not be transmitted if parents over-value the biological origins of the child.

Sometimes the parent feels hampered by his past infertility and dares not claim to be a parent. Everything happens as if for him infertility was mixed with impotence and fatherhood with paternity.

Considering biological origin as the only valid source of the child is one of the most destabilizing factors for adopted children. We see more and more parents starting the consultation for their child’s problems by: “You know it’s adopted, I know a child has two origins, I totally agree to take it into his Country of origin …, maybe his problems come from elsewhere, we know nothing about him before, we can not tell him much, maybe there … “.

This discourse, conveyed by the media in particular, is likely to take parents out of the parental scene and leave the child facing an agonizing void. Parents often justify their attitude by rationalizations aimed at finding reasons, again by appealing to the reality “But his parents … they come from elsewhere”.

It is the magnetization phenomenon of reality. This is a great opportunity for parents to get out of this parental scene and it is a temptation for all parents, not just adopters. All parents would like to get out of the conflicts they have with their children by finding reasons that are outside them. This tendency therefore risks to evacuate, to leave the parents of the parental scene, that is to say to recuse oneself as origin of the child therefore as parent.

Objectives of clinical practice:

The clinic of the adoptive situation shows constant entrapment, collusion, sometimes confusion of historical reality and fantasy reality as to the construction of family history in all members of the family.

Deutsch emphasizes this aspect as early as the 1940s: “The primary cause of the psychological reactions of the adopted child lies not so much in the circumstances of his birth as in the consequences of this real fact on the entourage, especially in the adoptive mother “. Education should not be different but sometimes it is, as if the adoptive situation allowed more fantasies and projections.

Thus, the “historical reality” (abandonment of the child, history of birth parents, preadoptive history of the child) will often be used in a univocal way by parents to explain the child’s disorder or misunderstanding The attitudes of the child.

The adoptive situation (the existence of birth parents projecting their shadow on the child’s room) favors difficulties which may also arise in the ordinary situation, where they take on a different form and are less immediately rationalized. Parents often think that the child’s symptom, or his attitude in general, is the direct consequence of an unknown or too-known “real” story, of which they would only be passive and helpless spectators.

This “past history” has a strong attraction on the fantasy level and risks preventing any historical perspective on the past and present stakes between the child and his parents. Any attitude of the child is observed through the prism of the adoptive situation, which then functions as a “saturating mechanism”.

We can define four objectives at different times of the accompaniment of the adoptive family.

• Restore the symptomatic polysemy of the child’s attitudes by summoning him as a child of the present couple and their past (fantastical child of the couple’s reveries) and not only as a result of an agonizing or threatening past.

• Identify parental fantasies, supported or not by historical reality (imaginary representations with defensive values).

One of the essential conditions for successful consultations is to integrate and overcome painful ideas about “reality” such as: the infertility of the couple when it is the origin of the adoption, the parents of birth (Rivals, depreciated, unknown, all-powerful, distressing) and the history of the child before adoption (preadoptive history).

• Identify the compensatory mechanisms of parents and children in response to these identifying projections. In response to the child’s monosemic attitudes, the family develops “reciprocal compensation” mechanisms to respond to one-way fantasy scenarios dominated by the ghosts of the past. The child may also shut himself up in causalist explanations about his preadoptive history. The risk for the child is then to disinvest the adoptive parental scene as a place that is insufficiently historicizing, and therefore safe for him.

• Replace in the family nucleus what was projected outside: work of historicization of the symptoms with respect to the founding imagines of the parents.

Current Issues:

At present, the questions of filiation have become considerably more complex since it is possible to manufacture children with or without sexuality, with or without a body.

We can make body, biology based on scientific advances and our ability to isolate and reproduce cells; It will then remain to allow the subject to exist, to enter into a history, to live it, to carry it and to transmit it. This is the challenge of filiation and its survival. This is the challenge of today’s new families.

Yet certain fictions belong to filiative science fiction when they no longer permit the filiative work proper to the psychic.That is to say, when fictions no longer respond to the need for each person to situate themselves in places that connect them as a parent and a child, while respecting the foundations of filiation: the difference between the sexes, Generations, life and death. Essential benchmarks to allow the child to build his family novel and live Oedipal conflictuality.

In the March 2002 issue of Libération, we could read about “Gay Desire”: “Just a jar of jam and a syringe to make a child and become a father”.

Does this assertion, which advocates the biological dimension of reproduction, lead to the path of parenthood?

The claim of a child, through adoption or medical aids to procreation by same-sex couples, has the merit of opening up the debate between parenthood, sexuality, biology, and attempts to In a conjugality which is now asserted. But if the educational question is a false debate that is claimed to be “scientifically”, the question of “homoparentality” opens a contradiction: the homo radical, “the same”, evokes a similarity where the parental bond claims The experience of difference. There is no parenthood without otherness. The reality of the sexed invariably places masculine and feminine in all parenthood.

The question is also opened up by the possible cloning and the implications of it. The subject is serious and shows how the biological axis of filiation is now manipulable and therefore manipulated. Cloning reveals the reproductive part of man but not its human dimension of transmission.

Axel Khan, a geneticist, argues for the criminalization of human reproductive cloning by recalling that the decision to clone is not an individual freedom: “It raises the question of whether one is free to create an individual who runs the risk of being Alienated, by its absolute genetic predetermination.

For me, a well-conducted democratic debate on cloning will try to pin down the purpose of democracy: on the one hand to debate, but also to find a way to protect those who do not have access to the debate, the oppressed , The weakest, the clones potentially. In any case, whether I am optimistic or not, I know that this struggle must be waged.Axel Khan points out what we call “The naked biologist.” The biological deprived of the legal and psychic axis will become what Legendre feared “the reproduction of human flesh. Only the biological invested by the legal and vivified by the psychic leads to the path of humanity. The questioning of Oedipal fiction for the benefit of a single biological or sociological vision of the family no longer allows us to provide a meaning, a narrativity, a framework capable of organizing the original fantasies at the basis of every family.


Access to the remembrance of painful representations or affects of one’s own childhood is one of the best ways to avoid the repetition of the fantasy scenarios proper to adoptive dys- parentality. Repression, isolation of affects or painful representations of one’s own history may hamper any mechanisms that identify with one’s own unsatisfactory parents. This inevitably entails the re-updating with her child of her own painful childhood without the possibility of empathic or identifying access to the conflicts of the child. The therapeutic work during the consultations allows to gradually access the painful internal representations of the parent (s). The symptom of the child then becomes useless as an external signifier of the internal representative deficiency of the parent (s).

Adoption is not based on a right to the child or on a desire based on compassion. No State, no international convention recognizes a right to adoption. Adoption does not repair an injustice, make up for a lack or authenticate a need. The adoptive situation shows the extent to which it is entangled in the established character of filiation and can not be modeled on any parental demand. It does not seem to us in the best interests of the child to have the filiative validation of all adult life situations independent of sex, age, and psychic states.

The adoptive situation must not validate a filiative adult situation but remain at the service of the child in the creation of a marital or conjugal family, in accordance with the filiative norms specific to the structures of universal kinship.