Posted by: perchancetodream | April 15, 2010

Weighing In

Because I know that a number of my “real life” readers have no experience with adoption and are coming on this journey alongside us and learning as we all go, I feel like I need to weigh in on the recent disrupted adoption of a little boy from Russia.  (If you’ve somehow missed this story, you can find more information here).

Adoption is not for the feint of heart.  It is a long, draining, expensive process that entails jumping through hoops without any certainty of what will happen.  I first have to say that I find it highly unlikely that anyone would put themselves through this unless they were serious about parenting a child.

I’m also certain that it is highly overwhelming for parents who have no experience parenting to suddenly try to parent a child who has spent their life in an institution – even more so than an infant and my new parent friends say THAT is surprisingly overwhelming to them even with 9 months of preparation.

THAT fear hits close to home.  I’m SURE that hubby and I, neither of who have parented or really even spent great deals of time with kids anytime in recent memory, will have our worlds turned completely upside down once we bring a child home.  And we’re all going to have to adjust to that.

But while I’ve read of parents suffering depression on par with the worst of postpartum  after bringing an adopted child home, and I’ve read of parents thinking of and fantasizing about disrupting their adoptions, I’ve never read of parents disrupting just because they felt overwhelmed by the act of parenting.

The adoptions I’ve read about that have been disrupted have been completely different.  You can get a feel for it in Welcome to My Brain’s post here. Even more so by reading the comments.  I’ve been lurking on a number of adoption listservs mostly because I have nothing to say at this point and everything to learn.  I’ve heard stories that made me feel sick and terrified – stories of children going after their adoptive parents with knives, torturing pets, sexually abusing their siblings.  And these are, in many cases, children way younger than you would think would be capable of these things.

I don’t understand what drove the woman in TN to put her adoptive son on a plane instead of going through channels with her agency (although current statistics say that 1% of adoptions are disrupted, I’ve yet to hear of an agency who have never had to disrupt one).  Perhaps we’ll never know the full story.  But instead of thinking of how awful it would be to give up your mouthy teen, or your 2 year old whose favorite word is “no”, think about how it would feel to fear for your life on a regular basis when all you wanted to do was to share your home and your life and your love with a child.

I’m not going into adoption thinking “well, if we get a kid with attitude, we’ll give it back” (in fact, given my personality and hubby’s, a little attitude would probably be a good thing!).  But neither do I have a saint complex (okay, not completely true but I HAVE learned that there are some problems you can’t solve regardless of how hard you try or what you do).  I don’t think any of us can judge in this case until we’ve been there.  And hopefully none of us will experience the fear and the pain that these parents have gone through before making what has to be one of the hardest decisions of their lives.

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