Unlocking Potential

The Role of Early Childhood Education in Redefining Empowerment and Inclusion

Shane Bouel
Thoughtless Delineation
11 min readMar 19, 2024

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Unlocking Potential The Role of Early Childhood Education in Redefining Empowerment and Inclusion
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The passing of laws in Queensland to criminalize coercive control marks a significant step in addressing domestic and family violence (DFV) and has implications for how we understand and respond to adoption-related issues. Coercive control, as defined in the legislation, involves patterns of abusive behaviours that create fear, deny liberty, and erode autonomy over time. This type of behaviour is not limited to intimate partner relationships but can also manifest in familial and adoptive contexts.

The new legislation signifies a shift towards recognizing and addressing the harmful patterns of controlling and coercive behaviours that are often part of DFV, including within adoptive families. By criminalizing coercive control, Queensland aims to provide increased protection for individuals who may be vulnerable to such abuse, including adoptees and those within adoptive families.

One of the key advantages of creating an offence of coercive control is the increased protection it offers against under-recognized yet core elements of family and domestic abuse. Adoptees, like all individuals, have the right to live free from fear and coercion within their adoptive families. This legislation helps prevent the escalation of violence and abuse, including situations that could lead to severe harm or even murder.

Furthermore, the new laws fill critical gaps in existing legislation by acknowledging the specific dynamics of coercive control and providing a legal framework to address these behaviours. This is particularly important in adoptive families, where power dynamics and familial relationships can be complex and may contribute to patterns of coercive control.

Additionally, by criminalizing coercive control, the legislation aims to reduce misidentification and overcriminalization of women, recognizing that victims of coercive control can be of any gender and any age, young or old. This inclusive approach is essential in ensuring that all individuals, regardless of gender or other factors, receive the protection and support they need.

Finally, the legislation contributes to transforming community norms by promoting the importance of healthy, safe relationships and challenging the acceptance of coercive and controlling behaviours. As healthcare workers, including those involved in adoption-related services, it is crucial to understand and be aware of these legislative changes to provide the best support to patients, including adoptees, who may be affected by coercive control within their families. Training opportunities and information sessions can further enhance our understanding and response to these critical issues.

Shane Bouel

“The dominant narrative of adoption allows others to not only withhold the key to happiness within the adoptee but also tries to change the locks!”

The dominant narrative of adoption often perpetuates a harmful dynamic where adoptees are denied access to essential aspects of their identity, including their origins, heritage, and sense of belonging. This narrative not only withholds the key to happiness within the adoptee but also actively tries to change the locks, symbolizing attempts to control and manipulate the adoptee’s narrative and sense of self. This can have profound emotional, psychological, and even existential consequences for adoptees, as it denies them the right to know and understand their own history and roots.

The metaphor of changing the locks represents the systemic barriers and challenges that adoptees face in accessing information, building connections with their birth families, and navigating their identity journeys. It reflects a power imbalance where adoptees are often at the mercy of external forces that dictate what information they are allowed to know and how they should navigate their identities.

By controlling access to essential aspects of identity and happiness, the dominant narrative of adoption reinforces a sense of disempowerment and alienation among adoptees. It denies them the agency to explore and embrace their authentic selves, perpetuating a cycle of secrecy, shame, and unfulfilled curiosity.

Addressing this dominant narrative requires challenging societal norms and advocating for adoptee rights, including the right to access birth records, information about their origins, and support for identity exploration. It involves shifting the narrative to one that promotes transparency, honesty, and respect for adoptees’ autonomy and dignity. Adoptees should be empowered to unlock the doors to their own happiness and well-being, free from the constraints imposed by outdated and restrictive adoption practices and policies.

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Self-awareness

Self-awareness is indeed a complex journey for adoptees, particularly within the dominant narrative of adoption, which strips away their power of discernment and distorts their understanding of themselves and their relationships. The experience of adoption, marked by its extreme nature and the coercive practices of the past, creates a perpetual cycle where adoptees struggle to validate their own thoughts and emotions amidst external expectations and influences.

The dominant narrative of adoption, with its emphasis on secrecy, shame, and control, can deeply impact how adoptees perceive themselves and their place in the world. It instills a sense of invalidation, making adoptees doubt the legitimacy of their own experiences and feelings. This constant questioning of one’s thoughts and emotions stems from the coercive nature of past adoption practices, where adoptees were often subjected to decisions made on their behalf without regard for their autonomy or well-being.

Furthermore, the trauma of infant separation, a fundamental aspect of many adoption experiences, adds another layer of complexity to adoptees’ self-awareness journey. The profound loss and disconnection from their biological roots can lead to a fragmented sense of identity and difficulty in understanding and processing their own emotions.

In this scenario, adoptees are caught in a cycle where the dominant narrative of adoption perpetuates self-doubt and invalidation. They struggle to discern their strengths and weaknesses amidst the confusion and distortion created by external influences. The coercive practices of the past continue to cast a shadow, making it challenging for adoptees to trust their own perceptions and navigate their self-awareness journey.

Addressing these challenges requires a shift in the adoption narrative towards transparency, empowerment, and validation of adoptees’ experiences. Adoptees need spaces where they can explore and validate their thoughts and emotions, free from the constraints of societal expectations and past coercive practices. Providing support, validation, and opportunities for self-expression can help adoptees break free from the perpetual cycle of self-doubt and confusion, fostering a deeper sense of self-awareness and empowerment.

Morals

Here is a full list of morals derived from the discussions above:

  1. Self-Reflection and Identity Exploration: Embrace and understand your unique identity, navigating the complexities of adoption with authenticity and resilience.
  2. Ethical Advocacy and Transparency: Advocate for honesty, integrity, and accountability within the adoption system, striving for fair treatment and the protection of adoptee rights.
  3. Empathy and Solidarity: Cultivate empathy for your experiences and extend compassion to fellow adoptees, adoptive families, birth families, and allies, fostering understanding and collective healing.
  4. Justice and Human Rights: Pursue justice and protect human rights, including the right to know origins, access adoption education, and receive support for emotional well-being.
  5. Education and Lifelong Learning: Commit to education and continuous learning, empowering yourself with knowledge to navigate systems, challenge misconceptions, and make informed decisions.
  6. Inclusivity and Diversity: Celebrate diversity as a strength, creating inclusive spaces that honour all voices, perspectives, and contributions while dismantling stereotypes and biases.
  7. Empowerment and Self-Determination: Affirm inherent worth and agency, assert autonomy, make choices aligned with values, and advocate for needs and rights within adoption systems.
  8. Support and Solidarity: Provide support and solidarity to adoptees and individuals of forced adoption, recognizing their unique journeys and advocating for their well-being and rights.
  9. Integrity and Transparency: Act with integrity and transparency in all interactions, fostering trust, honesty, and accountability within personal and professional relationships.
  10. Respect and Dignity: Treat others with respect and dignity, acknowledging their experiences, perspectives, and identities and fostering a culture of mutual understanding and acceptance.
  11. Collaboration and Community: Foster collaboration and community among adoptees, allies, professionals, and advocates, working together to create positive change and support networks.
  12. Compassion and Empowerment: Approach discussions and actions with compassion, empowering individuals to share their stories, seek support, and advocate for meaningful change.
  13. Cultural Heritage and Inclusivity: Honor cultural heritage and promote inclusivity, recognizing the importance of cultural identity in shaping individual experiences and fostering a sense of belonging.
  14. Advocacy for Sovereignty: Advocate for adoptees’ sovereignty over their lives, identities, and experiences, respecting their autonomy and right to self-determination.
  15. Ethical Responsibility: Take ethical responsibility for actions and decisions, considering the impact on oneself and others and striving to uphold principles of fairness, justice, and compassion.
  16. Upholding Divine Laws: Embrace the timeless wisdom of divine laws, which call for justice, compassion, integrity, and respect for human dignity in all aspects of life and relationships.

Values

The values of the adoptee movement are deeply rooted in principles of empowerment, advocacy, authenticity, and social justice. Here are the core values that define the adoptee movement:

1. Empowerment: The adoptee movement values empowering individuals to assert control over their lives, identities, and narratives. It advocates for adoptees’ right to self-determination and autonomy in decisions related to adoption, identity exploration, and access to information.

2. Advocacy: Central to the adoptee movement is advocacy for adoptee rights, including the right to know one’s origins, access to correct and factual birth records, and support for emotional well-being. It strives to create systemic change by challenging discriminatory practices and advocating for fair and ethical treatment within adoption systems, including national policy change to allow no-fault, no-fee discharges.

3. Authenticity: Embracing authenticity is a core value of the adoptee movement, encouraging adoptees to embrace their unique identities, experiences, and stories. It values honesty, transparency, and the sharing of diverse adoptee perspectives to foster understanding and connection.

4. Social Justice: The adoptee movement is deeply committed to social justice, seeking equity, fairness, and equal rights for all individuals impacted by adoption. It addresses systemic inequalities, advocates for legislative reforms, and works towards creating a more just and inclusive society for adoptees and their families.

5. Community and Support: The adoptee movement values building a supportive and inclusive community for adoptees, birth families, adoptive families, and allies. It recognizes the importance of solidarity, mutual support, and shared experiences in navigating the complexities of adoption and advocating for collective well-being.

6. Education and Awareness: Education and awareness are key values of the adoptee movement, emphasizing the importance of knowledge, education, and informed decision-making. It promotes adoption education, challenges stereotypes and misconceptions, and fosters critical thinking about adoption practices and policies.

7. Cultural Heritage and Identity: The adoptee movement values honouring cultural heritage and finding lost cultural identity for adoptees. It advocates for cultural inclusivity, celebrates diversity, and recognizes the significance of cultural connections in shaping individual identities and experiences.

8. Ethical Responsibility: The adoptee movement values ethical responsibility in all aspects of adoption, including ethical adoption practices, transparency, honesty, and accountability. It promotes ethical decision-making, integrity, and respect for adoptees’ rights and dignity.

These morals & values collectively guide the adoptee movement’s efforts to empower adoptees, advocate for their rights, promote authenticity and inclusivity, and work towards a more equitable and just adoption system that respects the inherent worth and dignity of every individual involved throughout the entirety of life.

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The recent legislative advancements in Queensland, criminalizing coercive control and emphasizing the need for a holistic approach to domestic and family violence, mark a significant step towards creating safer and more supportive environments for individuals and families. As healthcare workers and educators, it is crucial for us to build our understanding of domestic and family violence, including coercive control, so that we can provide the best support to all parties affected by adoption.

The article “Architecting ECEC Career Structures: Aligning Intrinsic and Extrinsic Drivers for Long-Term Adoption Inclusion,” authored by Shane Bouel and published in Thoughtless Delineation, sheds light on critical gaps in adoption support and education within the ECEC system. By advocating for adoption inclusion and aligning intrinsic and extrinsic drivers, this initiative aims to create a more inclusive and empathetic environment for adoptees and their families.

How You Can Support

You can support this initiative by sharing the article “Architecting ECEC Career Structures: Aligning Intrinsic and Extrinsic Drivers for Long-Term Adoption Inclusion” with your colleagues, networks, and communities. By raising awareness about the importance of adoption inclusion in ECEC and promoting discussions on how to align intrinsic and extrinsic drivers for long-term support, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for adoptees.

The Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Capacity Study, led by JSA (Jobs and Skills Australia) in partnership with HumanAbility, reflects a growing recognition of the need for comprehensive understanding and support within the sector.

As the government commissions JSA and HumanAbility to undertake this study, it aims to provide critical evidence and recommendations to support workforce planning in ECEC, encompassing a detailed examination of current and future needs. This initiative aligns with the broader objectives of promoting inclusive environments and addressing the diverse needs of children and families.

An important aspect of this support is recognizing and addressing the unique challenges still faced by adoptees and mothers affected by the oncoing coersive existance of forced adoption.

The 11th anniversary of the apology for forced adoption will be on the 21st of March, 2024.

It’s also extremely important to acknowledge that almost 0/20 recommendations from the 2012 Senate inquiry into former forced adoption policies and practices still remain unactioned.

The question remains: Why are we currently three years past the last five-year scheduled review date for the Adoption Act? This delay underscores the importance of timely and regular evaluations of adoption laws to ensure they remain relevant, effective, and aligned with evolving societal needs and standards.

Let’s come together and support adoption inclusion in early childhood education and care, individual support, and aged care in vocational education to create a brighter and more inclusive future for all individuals and families.

For more information, please visit my website:

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Shane Bouel
Thoughtless Delineation

Using creativity to lift standards of ethics & morality by questioning half-truths and denouncing the conservancy of inhumane ideologies.