Sunday, April 11, 2010

Adoption Failure

A story about adoption failure began to surface this week all over the world. Like most adoption stories, it started with the simplest of parent a child. A single woman, a nurse, adopted a 7 year old boy from Russia. She and her mother travelled in September to bring him home to the US. The mother and grandmother were prepared to love this boy. What they didn't know is that adopting an older child, especially one from the orphanage system, can (not always!) mean the child has suffered many traumas. Neglect, abandonment, abuse, hunger, and many more unimaginable things.

The boy, who they renamed Justin, began exhibiting behavioral issues in January (according to the articles I have seen). Hitting, spitting, screaming, threats. Violence sparked by trying to correct him or tell him no. The family felt unable to handle this child, so they made arrangements to return him to Russia. They put him on a plane along with a letter, and had a man pick him up at the airport and drop him off at the offices that oversee adoptions.

I am still trying to process this. There is no way we are getting all the information in these news stories. Did they seek help? Was there even time in that Jan-April time frame to get help? Did they contact their agency, home study social worker or even the local DFCS offices? Were they turned away? Did the judge in Russia tell the family that if they didn't want him they had to return him to Russia?

The Russian government is using this story to it's fullest to crucify the US. They want to shut down all US adoptions, blame US families for all the problems, etc etc. No part of the blame is theirs....and yet. Who runs these orphanages that care so poorly for the children that they end up horribly traumatized? Who sets the rules as to what info the adoptive families can receive? Who fails to educate the adoptive families on what issues the children might have? Who should be there to provide support when the families are struggling to parent these traumatized children????

There is so much blame, plenty to go around. The truth is that everyone failed this child. Everyone.

As the new parent to a child that came from an adoption disruption, I know what help his old family sought. I know how hard they worked and all the resources they sought out. In the end, although it was a horrifically difficult thing to do, they came to the decision that finding a different home for him was the best thing. The best for him. (Thank goodness they cared enough to do this instead of putting him on a plane) They carefully researched and sought help to find a new family. We are so blessed they chose us. Little S is a true joy. Yes he has issues. But they are issues we are well aware of and prepared to handle. Issues we have experience with. We know how to take advantage of resources, where to turn for assistance, who to call to talk us off the ledge at times.

When we filed to adopt internationally, we had to sign government paperwork that swore that we would love, care for and treat the adopted child just as we would any biological child. That the child would be afforded every right and privilege of a US citizen. That we, his adoptive family, would assume all responsibility for this child FOREVER. We took that pledge very seriously. All parenting should be taken very seriously, but when you choose to parent a child that has already suffered at least one loss (birth family), then your responsibility is even greater.

So in the end, I do blame the adoptive family for the ending of the story (only the ending). I blame them for not caring enough to find him a suitable home. For not trying for more than 2 months to identify and seek help for him. I blame them for not educating themselves before they brought him home on what issues he might have. Did they really think if they put him on that plane that the problems would all just go away for them? What about him? Did they ever consider what this act would do to him, his future, his fragile emotional state? No, I don't think they did. I think this was a terribly selfish act on their part. And we all know that true parenting cannot be selfish. Ever.


Diana said...

Amen, Sister! Well said!

I've tried to write a post on this topic myself, but there are so many other great ones out there, I don't know if I'll ever get it done.

Reba said...

Very well said. All of it. Everyone failed this child. :( I have read that the mother did seek counselors' help...for herself and the issues. She never actually took the child to a counselor. It is hard. We adopted a toddler from an orphanage, and there are still some battles we face daily. They can make you really tired sometimes; you feel defeated and like a failure. After all, love conquers all, right? Not really. It does help but other things are needed. We are learning that daily too. :) I won't judge the family; it isn't my place. I can understand some of what they must feel, especially if they were not prepared for the issues they are facing. I don't understand at all their solution. And sadly, I am afraid a lot of other children are going to pay for that when adoptions slow or stop. :(

Princess D said...

I couldn't have said it better! You really gave a good perspective to the situation especially for those not involved in the adoption world and who read this article or heard about it.

WTH said...

Thank you!