Thursday, November 10, 2011

Disrupted Adoption - Infant Adoption

I have felt the urge to write about this a few times now... and have always decided not to - in a conscience effort to not judge others. Especially considering I am not even an adoptive parent. (yet!) However, after receiving 3 notices from a waiting child site about 3 separate instances of disrupted adoptions in the last 3 weeks... my tongue no longer has any fiber left to bite.

Below, is one of the listings that was sent to me. I don't know any details other than those provided in this excerpt.

* "Mark" is a 4 yr. old boy who was adopted in the U.S. at age 3 weeks. His adoption is disrupting and a new home must be found.  "Mark" was born drug and alcohol exposed and currently has some delays especially in expressive language.

A home is being sought for "Mark" where he is the youngest child.  'Mark''s adoptive parents gave birth to a son after they adopted "Mark", and "Mark" is too controlling and tends to bully his brother.  "Mark" is good with animals, likes water sports and picture books. Maybe you can be that family who can give "Mark" the home he needs.

One of the reasons I have to comment, is this is not an isolated incident. I have heard the exact same story happen to a little boy in Canada... and I'm sure there are many more out there.

Goodness gracious... this poor, poor child!!

Here is what I don't understand. How do you adopt an itty bitty little baby... feed, clothe, bathe, love, and parent a child for 4 yrs and then decide that it's not working out for you? How does this work...? I'm trying really hard to be understanding and consider there may have been many other issues going on.... But still, I come up empty handed with a reason of how on earth this is acceptable in the regards to a newborn adoption! In both the newborn adoption disruption cases I heard of, the adoption was followed by a pregnancy.

I understand that in the case of older adoptions, attachments aren't as easy and the bonding takes a very long time. But in the case of a 3 week old baby!? A baby that you spent endless nights rocking, while holding him close to your heart. A baby who's first smile made your day. The baby you read to and played endless games of 'smell the stinky feet' because it made him giggle so. The baby you celebrated the first steps of, the first birthday, first tooth and the first "Mama"! The toddler who's pitter patter footsteps filled your home with laughter. The toddler who cried on Santa's lap and sobbed for an hour while you consoled him with a candy cane. The toddler who gave you the mushiest, wettest kisses. The toddler who loved to curl up on your lap and fall asleep with his blanket, while sucking his thumb. The child you taught to ride a tricycle, and put on his own socks! The child who made you a homemade Mother's day card embossed with a stamp of his tiny hand print. The child you took to his first day of preschool... and he was so happy to see you and excited to take you by the hand and show you all the wonderful things he learned. HOW? How do you throw that all way and give him up?

I'm having a really tough time here, and I have revised this 5 times now. I don't want to come off as harsh... but honestly, this really upsets me. I feel as though this child's fate was sealed the minute his parents discovered they were pregnant. Perhaps they never thought they could ever get pregnant - and viewed adoption as a second choice instead of the best choice - I don't know. But somehow, somewhere... along the line, this poor baby became second best to a infant born from his Mother's womb. She didn't love him the same that the she loved her biological son. I don't know how or why... but it happened. If he had been born from her womb, he would have stood a chance. When he became jealous, bossy or aggressive with his younger sibling... she would have worked it out. After all, most all biological siblings go through this anyway! But for some reason, she always had the thought in the back of her mind that this child did not have a permanent place within the family... and was not as valued, therefore - he could be let go. Given up, so they could live in harmony with their biological baby without being overshadowed by a troubled child who required a little more love and attention.

I can't help but think what damage this is doing to this little boy.

I know there are certain extreme cases involving RAD, where parents don't have a choice and are forced to disrupt the adoption. These cases are fortunately rare. 

What we as adoptive parents have to understand is that it isn't going to be easy. The road is rocky and you will hit some serious ruts.  There is risk. Guaranteed, their ages will not be right. (The latest disrupted adoption was partially due to miscalculated ages.) And guaranteed - it is not going to be a walk in the park!

The wrong type of adoptive parent is the one who reads adoption fluff and has envisioned their adoption to be a little boy sliding down a rainbow with doves singing softly in the background. These are the parents that are completely caught off guard when in walks a troubled child with horns growing out of his head. A child who intentionally pees on the Persian rug, soils his pants, scribbles on your new duvet with your Dior lipstick, spits on you, steals food and splits his brother's lip open with his head because he took his toy. A boy who, suffering from trauma, is just trying to cope the best way he knows how. A boy who needs to be coaxed with lots of love and perseverance to break down his he can learn to trust again.

This is exactly why I advocate for more truth on adoption blogs! Surprisingly, many people don't read books... and I have come across many adoptive parents who haven't read any adoption or attachment books. Most adoptive parents scour the internet however and read blogs. If more adoptive parents were bold, and honest... and spelled out the good with the bad, then more adoptive parents would be aware. The more aware they were of the potential problems, the better prepared they would be to handle it. The better prepared they would be, the less chance of their adoption failing. Don't you agree?

*(The name of the adoptive child has been changed. If you are interested in more information on this little boy, please email me on the right and I will steer you in the right direction!)


Candice said...

Well said Jo!! Thanks for being honest. Glitter and fluff does not help anyone make an educated choice, and it can only make adoptive parents who are struggling with their little one feel isolated.

Unknown said...

I agree. It is so sad for little "Mark". Adoption is not easy and being a parent is not easy. Parents need to be prepared for that and be ready to take the good and the bad.

BCMommy said...

Wow, that is awful! I don't want to judge, because I don't know the whole story from their side, but I also don't understand it at all, as a mom and future-adoptive mom... My oldest bio son has autism, but was not diagnosed until a few months before our 2nd bio son was born. His autism caused him major sensory issues, and he would have melt-downs whenever his new brother cried. I could not get my 2nd to nurse from me, so I had rented a breast pump to try and pump and bottle feed. I had to stop because my oldest son could not even handle the sound of the pump working. I could not be more than a foot away from the baby because if he fussed, Nick would try to whack him to get him to stop, which would lead to more crying and a massive meltdown. BUT -how could I ever, EVER think to say, well, Nick, you just are making life so hard for your new brother and for me, so I think I'm going to send you away. Are you kidding????
We sank massive amounts of time and money into therapies and sensory aids and I am happy to say that at 8 and 6 years old, my boys are typical siblings. They love each other immensely, but can often push each others buttons. Jackson knows that he can't be too noisy near his brother, and while the occasional yell might occur when that happens, they sort it out without much intervention from us. Nick is actually very protective of his little brother.
I could not imagine the thought of sending him away. They must have known that FAS and Drug-babies are like to parent. Did they not go into it knowing? A hospital would have told them. That's not an easy road, and they accepted that child, I assume, knowing his issues. We had NO IDEA our child would have autism when he was born, It was not our choice to parent a special needs child, but it was what it was, and we took on the challenge because he is our and we love him no matter what forever. When they signed those papers, they made that same promise. They should have invested, like we did, in a lot of time, therapy and support. Poor Mark.

'Jo' said...

There absolutely is no guarantee, adopted or biological (and your right - they would have had some indication!. When you decide to become a parent - you agree to a lifelong commitment. They absolutely should have invested everything they had. As a parent - you make it work, someway, somehow... just as you did!

Thank you so much for sharing your story... !