Terminating an adoption

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Anonymous said…
A lot of the things that bother you also bother me. I think overall, I am bothered by the fact that while Anita takes a serious and sad tone in her piece, she never actually considers what she and her family might have done differently. She does not seem to reflect on any of the issues you brought up. She does not wonder whether she and her family should have prepared differently. She does not question her own motives for adopting. She seems to feel that reading books and consulting experts was the most she could have done to handle this situation.

Obviously, she regrets that things turned out the way they did, but she separates herself (and by extension her family) from any real responsibility for the outcome.
Yondalla said…
I had all the same thoughts, and at least one more.

What I have noticed about the "learning curve" or "experience curve" of new foster parents is that they intellectually know what they are going to have to face, but they can't imagine what it is going to feel like.

They tell you that your child will say mean things. Okay, you can handle that. Then one day your child says something really, really mean and it makes you feel awful. It hurts. You deal with it, but emotionally energy went into it. And stuff like that happens over and over and over. When you deal with a child who doesn't attach you may get nothing back. And so day after day you spend your emotional energy and nothing happens to replenish that energy.

and the placement gets disrupted and the child gets hurt the worst.

There just doesn't seem to be any good way to figure out in advance whether someone is going to have the resources. Some of us learn to let things bounce off. I went to a therapist for one year when one of my teens was doing stuff, reasonable, understandable stuff, that I was having trouble not responding to. I needed help figuring out where my emotions were coming from.

These stories are one of the reasons I am very uncomfortable with international adoption. Based upon my unscientific sampling of People I Know, it doesn't seem like the agencies are really giving solid training or even hooking up parents with other parents who've traveled the same road. In the cases where it doesn't work, and the child is moved, they are far from everything they know. It is heartbreaking.
Cori said…
I felt very ill at ease while reading this article and agree that the biggest misstep was on the part of the agency for placing this child with a family with their emotional resources already spread thin. I know that the reasons for expanding your family are your own, but I would have liked to have heard some commentary from the author on why she thought adding a 6th child to her family with their current situation was a good idea. She calls D.'s adoption an "older child adoption," but D. was just under one-year-old when he joined their family. I think a vast majority of children who are adopted internationally are around that age and are not considered "older adoptions" with the special concerns that come with that.

The line about the daughters nonchalantly waving goodbye to the brother who had lived with them for 18 months took my breath away. While the author mentioned that she went to attachment therapy, I have to wonder if perhaps the entire family should have done therapy. After 18 months, the children should have bonded to their brother. It seems so very odd to me that five little girls wouldn't be immediately fawning over a little baby boy, unless they were subconsciously picking up on the vibes of their mother. Maybe D. did have attachment issues, but it sounds like the rest of the family did as well. How was D. to be able to overcome his attachment issues if the family he was expected to attach to wasn't attempting to attach themselves? My heart breaks for him during those 18 months.

My son, who was internationally adopted at 10 month almost exactly a year ago, had some unexpected special needs, and I will admit, they inhibited my attachment in the beginning. Parenting a child with special needs is hard enough, let alone to thrown in attachment issues, and general issues that inherently come when one's life is completely changed, as happens when a child joins your family. I recognized that I wasn't attaching with my son like I should and worked hard to foster a stronger attachment--it wasn't always easy, but I'm now fully attached to my wonderful child. I have to wonder if D.'s special needs shattered the author's expectations, and she wasn't able to accept a future unlike what she had envisioned on that car ride down to pick him up, either consciously or unconsciously.

It's hard for me to say that she should have tried harder (although based on what little information she provided, I think she should have perhaps tried some different things and included the entire family), but if D. is thriving in his new home, then I feel like the right decision was made for everyone. I certainly hope, however, that the author has enough wherewithal to acknowledge that this situation was probably more to do with her and less to do with D. It's harsh to say, but I hope she doesn't attempt to adopt again.
patti said…
I'm torn too. I don't think disruption should be a first (or second or third) option. But if she is able to admit that there is no attachment (and it is about her, not the baby, whether she acknowledges that or not), isn't it probably better that disruption happen to save him from a lifetime of being shoved to the back of the pile of kids as the "least loved" or "most difficult?" One more separation might be easier to recover from than a lifetime of lukewarm or hostile feelings from a parent (and apparently siblings too.)
Adoption agencies are in business to make adoptions happen. Period. They don't care if there are issues or if it is a "successful" adoption. Once they collect the fees, it is over. Homestudies are cursory and any halfway intelligent person can say and do the things they know they should to be able to "pass" it.
The basic problem is, as Yondalla says, that we are dealing with human beings. You don't know you can't deal with what you're taking on until AFTER you do it. Anita obviously didn't know her limit of children that she can deal with is 5 until after she added the sixth and there is no way to know that before the deed is done.

I think the best solution is for there to be LOTS of help available post-adoption. Maybe even REQUIRING post adoption therapy? Breaking down the expectation that, "Since I didn't birth this child, I must be a perfect parent and may not admit to needing help." I see that attitude a lot among adoptive parents. And honestly all parenting is hard plus no one is perfect - add a couple of unmet expections and/or difficult issues and it is mind-blowingly hard.

So I think we have to try not to be judgemental of the a parent, while offering all the support we can to the parents and kids, and trying to keep in mind what's in the best interest of the child should take precedence over all.

Not an easy issue...
blackbelt said…
No, it wasn't easy for her, I'm sure. Just because something's hard doesn't make you a hero or a saint of even a decent person. She is a selfish, weak human being that doesn't have a clue what motherhood is about. Having sex and feeling the primal bond with the baby that was made in your body?? that defines love for her?? How about the nurturing, raising, suffering, protecting, fighting part? I'm not sure that such an uncommitted human being could even parent their own birthed children very well. Case in point: her daughters' nonchalant wave. She share that as if that's a sign of her justification for disrupting and traumatizing even further, this poor little child. Did she ever TALK to her daughters? Help/teach them to love this baby? Those girls will never forget how their mother responded to this situation. I can only hope they LEARN from it and not emulate it.

I can't blame the agency, though they should have thought twice. I blame her.

I feel sick to my stomach.
Juliette said…
This is devastating for this little boy. I really hope he can find the love and care he deserves.

First I thought who would let a woman almost alone all the time adopt a child when she has already 5 children. But I gave the benefit of the doubt because maybe she has an amazing network of friends and family to help her take care and spend time with ALL her kids.

Then I thought I am not sure I could terminate an adoption but I gave her the benefit of the doubt again because she tried more than a year and maybe there was really no improvements in the attachment so she made a wise decision.

But then I was reading the comments of the article and I saw hers explaining she had in fact only 3 children at the time of the adoption and got 2 new daughters after. And here I can only see a selfish woman who instead of focusing on trying to build a bound with her son and working hard on building strong relationships in her family, decided to have 2 more kids to the family. Maybe I am mean but I can only think: did she knew already she would give up little D and was trying to replace him? It makes me sick. And the fact that they erased him completely sadly confirm to me they never loved him despite what she said.

I am deeply sadden. I hope little D's family is focused and patient. I wish them 4 all the best.
AdoptAuthor said…
I get ill every time I read about a terminated adoption....especially when it comes so soon after placement.

I commented at the site...all of my feelings are with that poor child...and Anita's other children.

I agree with *everything* you said!

But I also have mixed feelings because perhaps it sooner is better than later? of course, an ounce of prevention would have been the best route.

Marge - PLEASE buy a copy (you can get it used) of The Brotherhood of Joseph. Would lOVE your opin on this book by an adoptive father. Would also really like some adoptees to do likewise.
malinda said…
There is something very peculiar here -- this "oh so honest" writer failed to mention that she wrote an article in 2008, actually entitled "You Can't Trade In Your Children or Your Husband," claiming she couldn't imagine doing what another disrupting adoptive family had done. . . . Sheesh!

I've got a link up to that 2008 piece at my blog.
kyungmee said…
Thank you so much for posting this! It made me think..think about Little D's voice and what he night have to say..I know he cannot so I thought I would write out my voice and experience to share too. It deserved more than a comment..I felt. I linke the article and your post to my post on this issue..a great article for us to all really think about!!! KyungMee.
J said…
Since they deleted the post from the military website here is a copy from google cache. No sympathy from me for Anita Tedaldi. What a hypocrite!

---------------------------------
We Can't Trade In Our Children or Husbands

Anita Tedaldi | January 04, 2008
Bookmark and Share

Hard to believe, but a Dutch couple returned their adopted Korean daughter after seven years. The parents adopted the little girl from South Korea when she was 4 months old. Reports of how the situation unfolded were contradictory but it appears that the girl was given over to the care of the Social Welfare Department in Hong Kong, where the man is a diplomat, because they could no longer care for her. The couple explained that the girl was emotionally unresponsive and all attempts at therapy failed.

As an adoptive parent, really as just a parent, I can't justify this couple's behavior under any circumstance. I don't think these people are monsters, though the result of their action is monstrous because they chose to follow their selfish and unloving side instead of choosing to tough it out and love their daughter no matter what. Sadly, the impact on this child will be devastating.

Perhaps they had good intentions when they adopted, most likely they did, but something went wrong along the way. These parents were probably unprepared to deal with some difficult aspects of adoption. It's easy to imagine only the best of a new family member, just as we do with our biological children. No one envisions mediocrity, let alone problems. I have imagined perfect things in the past only to discover the road to family or marital bliss requires lots of hard work and an effort to practice unconditional love.

Anyone can have unrealistic expectation not just parents. It's easier to envision perfect little kids who excel in everything, or a flawless husband, an exciting job, but most of the times these things require hard work.

From personal experience I can say that adoption can be challenging. But so can a biological child who has issues, or problems in marriage, or work-related difficulties. When our adopted son Matteo started having health issues we had to consult several specialist and it was hard for him to be around his sisters, it became challenging. This doesn't mean that my husband or I ever had any second thoughts about adopting Matteo, or that we considered him any different than our biological children. My husband's intense deployments have been difficult for our family, but my husband never wanted to leave the military, and I never wanted to "exchange" him after many years of marriage.

Adoptions, friendships, marriages, even the military lifestyle, are easy when things are going well. But it's much harder when the going gets rough. There's a reason we say that character is revealed by trying times.

I hope this girl can find a loving family who can help her overcome her traumatic loss and that all of us no matter in what area of life we are struggling can continue to renew our love for children and families even when it's tough.
Peach said…
Until adoption agencies are required to truly educate their paps about the life-long issues in adoption, and also restore the rights of adult adoptees to their obc's, adoption continues to be an abuse in itself to the very children it claims to save.
malinda said…
OK, am I the only one who finds it a bit freaky that the article was scrubbed from military.com? I'm not a conspiracy buff. . . but remember me fondly when I'm "disappeared!"
Anonymous said…
If D was her bio kid, and she struggled with the same list of challenges, would the outcome have been the same? Shame on Jennifer and the agency for not fully vetting the family in the first place, nor in providing a splash of cold reality water to the situation and helping them with the counseling, resources, therapy required to do the right thing. Yuck.
Hee Jung said…
I'm convinced that failed adoptions are just a by-product of APs taking the easy way out. Like the PP said, what if this was their biological child? Then what would she have done? Put it in foster care? Or kept on fighting?

Are "attachment issues" real, or is it a name for something that can occur between biologically related people as well? (You know, the one child that is totally different from the rest of the family and doesn't fit in, etc). Did D. possibly have a mild form of autism, which made his ability to get used to his surroundings more difficult? Or was it that Anita simply couldn't bond with a child that she hadn't given birth to, and therefore blamed it on"attachment issues" to make it "easier" on or "excusable" for everyone involved?

As angry as this article makes me (AND Anita's other article...), I'm happy that D. is now in a home where he (hopefully) experiences unconditional love. That, he deserves.
maryanne said…
I just read her earlier article condemning adoption disruption that Malinda found, and also find it so interesting that it has vanished. Reading it makes it clear that Anita is pretty unstable, and portrays the way she wants things to be in her writing rather than being too concerned with truth and real insight.

Her complete lack of any sense of responsibility for her adopted son is chilling. Adoption should be "for better or for worse"; not entered into lightly and not terminated because your new toy isn't fun any more. Clearly Anita is the one with the problem, an inability to love a helpless baby without constant positive strokes to her ego from the child.

She seems to me to be all the negative things young single mothers are accused of if they are so "selfish" as to want to raise their own child. You know, "shallow, immature, self-centered, only wanting a baby to have someone to love you, no sense of responsibility for actions, easily bored with child care, not realizing crying babies are no fun......"

What kind of money-grubbing agency gave this woman a child???She sounds like she would not even be a responsible pet owner!
J. Pannell said…
I'm with blackbelt. And I think I'm going to throw up.
Yoli said…
Margie, I see a trend with a lot of disrupted adoptions now that you have helped illuminate it. The child's feelings are always secondary to the AP's pain. This woman had no business adopting. She was trying to fulfill a fantasy she had in her head. All that talk about being prepared are hypocritical at best and a blantant lie at worst. It chills me that she had to include in her story her daughters's dismissal wave. Like this little child was such an aberration that not even children could bond to him. I am glad he is with a family who will love him and help him get through this pain.
Anonymous said…
This mother did the best she could, which is far better than keeping him, and not feeling able to parent him.

The hardest part about reading this story and the comments regarding it, is that it could have been me. Yet, I didn't have what it took to let her go, to let her go to a mother who might have been able to provide what I could not, did not.

Why is there this idea that the agency will advise? My experience is that they do not. I was a verbal bright parent, well read about the possible outcomes of adoption, and no one within the agency challenged me, or questioned me. I wish they had.

T.T.
Anonymous said…
Thing is, we all have said or done things, and then with actual experience as a teacher have learned we did not know what the hell we were talking about.
I would have been quick to throw stones years ago, that is until I found myself in a situation, with a child who was traumatized and systematically destroying the entire family. I don't blame the child, but sadly sometimes it is impossible to get through the pain to the real person underneath. So what does one do? Do you allow the rest of the family to disintegrate? Do you keep on keeping on when you know that no matter what you do you aren't helping the child? Do you admit you can't do what is needed...but you can find someone who might be able to? It is a horrible place to be in, and one nobody ever imagines they will be, but it happens.
Our family keeps trying because for us the prospect of adding additional pain to this child (we love) is something we never want do. Can I swear never, I wish I could, but I can only say I will keep trying until I am no longer able. Part of knowing with certainty would be knowing if this child will ever let down the defenses and learn to let love past the loss. Only the individual can choose to do that.

If you have had the honor of loving a child not born to you, and they were able to accept your love above their own losses and pain, then you simply won the roll of the lucky dice IMO.
Anonymous said…
I forgot to mention that breaks in attachment occur in bio families as well. Those families also struggle at what is best for the child, and some do find that kinship placements, residential treatment centers, or theraputic foster family care is their last option. Most go thru hell before they arrive at such a decision.

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