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Some really good conversations, Part I...

I'd like to pass on three thought-provoking series of posts/discussions from other blogs--all adoption related.  (Okay, folks not interested in adoption, you can skip this post!)

First, there's GrrlTravel's post about adoption disruptions.  An adoption disruption happens when adoptive parents decide they...um...don't want the child anymore.  Technically, there are two different scenarios:  "disruption", which happens before the adoption is finalized, and "dissolution", which happens after it's final.  But generally, when one is talking disruption, it covers both variations.

There have been some pretty well-publicized disruptions in the Chinese adoption world lately.  Some folks have disrupted in China, fearful of potential special needs which were undisclosed prior to the travel (Johnny has a story of three which happened on his adoption trip--Part I, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).  Then there's a couple who disrupted two or three months after being home; the mother had a nervous breakdown and decided that they actually weren't cut out to be parents.  The mother posted about it on her blog, but I can't locate it now.  Given her story, and the fact that the child is thriving in her new family, I can't help but feel it's better to have disrupted this adoption for this child.

Amy Eldridge, of Love Without Boundaries, wrote a letter to the Chinese adoption community addressing disruptions, most prominently noting that children who have been institutionalized quite often show developmental delays that can seem extreme, the majority of which resolve in the loving and attention-filled atmosphere of a new adoptive home--and that there are an amazing number of potential adoptive parents who show up in China for their child without any knowledge of institutionalization effects, no real preparation.

Then there's a case I know of where the parents adopted a sibling pair from the state.  The younger boy was delightful, wonderful...but his brother spiraled into threats and violence.  The night they found the older boy standing over their daughter's bed with the knife, saying he was going to kill her was the end of it all.

Amy/GrrlTravel has some very good points.  But at the same time--some disruptions are for the best.  In biological families, it doesn't happen often--what happens most often is that the parents turn to abuse of one type or another, or neglect, and the state has to step in, remove the child(ren) and place in foster homes.  Sometimes, a biological parent knows early enough, and offers the child up for formal adoption.

It's a difficult subject.  It's painful.  A lot of times, the circumstances seem to not warrant the disruption...I've heard tales of potential adoptive parents who get to China and turn down the child because she's not pretty enough...or the older child doesn't want her...or because she's "too dark".  These superficial reasons are horrific to me, and I can't help but wonder how on earth these people got through the homestudy process.  If the child were immediately placed with someone else, no harm, no foul--who would want to subject a child to living with people like that?  Unfortunately, word has it that the child is returned to the orphanage, and oftentimes doesn't get placed back into the adoption pool.  So, because someone made a snap, superficial judgment on an infant, that infant's life is confined to the orphanage from then on.

Hm.  This is getting long.  Conversation pointers will continue tomorrow!


Hah!  I almost forgot!  OmegaGranny was featured in Walktopia, a blog about walking and walking blogs.  I have some buds who tell me, "Your mom's blog rocks!"  Walktopia seems to think so, too.

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posted by Kate @ 8/24/2006 07:42:00 PM  
3 Comments:
  • At 8/25/2006 03:27:00 PM, Anonymous LizC said…

    it is such a hard topic. I agree with Johnny that I can't judge people who disrupted when I wasn't there to see it. And I dearly hope that stories of babies rejected because they aren't pretty enough are purely apocryphal. Please.

    Amy Eldridge's letter is so hard to read. It just makes me so sad. It also makes me think of our first year with E, and how we would always comment when we could see her lower lip-- because she sucked it when she was stressed out. We really felt that she was just starting to show herself at her first birthday, when she had been with us for 4 months, and by the time she had been with us a year was really truly settled. And she was one of the easier ones in China: smiled at us the second morning, ate like a champ from the first breakfast, pooped easily.... still, she was very shut down and we knew it. Part of that was her personality-- she still observes for a long time before joining groups, for example.

    Ultimately, though, I think grrl travels and Amy Eldridge are so right: people need so much mroe education. Adoptive families are no different from others, but shit, adopting a post-institutionalized child *is* different from giving birth. It just is, and people have to really believe that and understand how to overcome it. It can be overcome with most children, but the parents have to be patient and do the work-- they can't expect the baby to do the work, dammit.

    It's just very hard. And very sad.

     
  • At 8/25/2006 06:02:00 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    Liz--OmegaDotter seemed like "one of the easier ones", too. But, as I've said before, we look back and realize she was really scared and stressed.

    She was barely crawling when we met her. Very solemn. Only a very few sounds.

    We had one couple in our travel group who adopted a child who was 2.5 years old, who had been with a foster family. This child was angry, grieving, didn't want anything to do with the new parents. Our facilitator did the best he could to jolly her along, get her used to them...but even though they had known intellectually what it might be like, the reality hit them hard.

    It's a hard thing--you can push information about institutionalization, about attachment, about bonding, about racial issues, about transracial and conspicuous families at potential adoptive parents all you want, but how do you get them to really internalize it? How do you get past the red-threads-and-ladybugs images that predominate? On APC, so often when there was a thread about these issues, the newbies would all start complaining about how "gloomy" and "down" the list was getting, and how "PC" it was.

    I was of the "research it to hell and gone and be prepared" mindset. But there are lots of folks out there who sail through the wait thinking "love will conquer all", and are shocked at what the reality can be. Amy's idea of pushing the agencies to do more training, more exposure of this stuff is all well and good, but, as Lorrie said in the comments, it won't work unless it's mandatory. Why? Because if it's not mandatory, there will always be agencies that go light on that stuff, because it sells their services to go light. And even if it were mandatory, I don't think it would work, because you'll get the PAPs who show up and check out, just so they get past the required training.

     
  • At 8/27/2006 01:27:00 PM, Anonymous Johnny said…

    I was thinking the other day that the homestudy is really much more like taking your driving test. You pass the theoretical bars, but then you can go out and be an idiot or be hopelessly over your head.

     
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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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