Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Disgusted *(Update at bottom)

Everywhere you turn people are talking about it. The Tennessee woman who put her 7 yr old adopted son on a plane back to Russia with a note basically saying she didn't want him anymore. Read the story here if you've been living under a rock.

I just don't understand what this woman was thinking. This little boy is not a pair of shoes you can just return to the store if they don't fit. He's a child. How could she possibly think this was a logical answer? To just put him on a plane with a note?? I don't get that. In fact, I'm quite disgusted by it all.

Disruption is the unpleasant truth in the world of adoption. We all know they happen. We just don't like to talk about it. While I personally could never even entertain the thought of relinquishing the child I've fought so hard to get, I can empathize with the desperation a family must feel to make that choice. I may not agree with it. But I can't pass judgement when I haven't walked in their shoes.

But this was NOT the way to disrupt your adoption. And quite frankly, I don't feel like she worked hard enough to get to the point where that was the only option left.

First of all, she only had him for 6 months. That's not enough time for either mom or the child to have properly adjusted to the changes in their lives or for this boy to have formed a healthy attachment to mom. Most importantly, everything I've read says she sought the advice of a psychologist but didn't have her son seen by one. With the behaviors she says he exhibited? Why would you not seek treatment for him?

The failings of her social worker and her agency are a whole other issue. But I blame her to a certain degree for not fully understanding what she was taking on. There's always a risk of behavior issues, attachment disorders, etc when adopting any child who has suffered neglect, abuse, trauma, early separation from a caregiver and/or institutionalized care. I'm concerned about these things even with the adoption of my infant daughter from China. But this absolutely should have been cause for concern in an older child from a Russian orphanage.

Certainly this woman should have educated herself. "Should have" are the key words in that sentence. I mean hell... just click above on the word "disruption" and you get Wikipedia's definition. Even if she'd have read that she would have been better prepared for the possibilities she faced regardless of how anyone else sugarcoated it.

I especially hate that the narrow minded people of the world are already throwing her single status out there as a reason for her failings. That because she's unmarried she didn't properly parent this child. Puh-leeze!

It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out in the end. But right now Russia is so angry they're threatening to suspend all adoptions to Americans. As a fellow waiting parent, my heart goes out to the families whose adoptions are in jeopardy because of this woman's actions. There's a letter here asking both the US and Russian presidents to ensure that intercountry adoption continues uninterrupted and to aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the abuse of children. Please consider signing it.

** Updated to add: She was apparently trying to adopt a second child soon after returning home. That story is here. This just makes me ill. The family is also trying to say their actions to send the boy back was on the advice of an attorney which according to this blog is not true at all. And this contact was made over a month ago. This just gets more and more ridiculous.


The Praying Mom said...

Since I've been living under a rock recently I had no idea this had happened. Now that I do know all I can say is WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!?!?!?! Who does that?! I mean honestly, that child is a human just like any other child. I can't imagine how that child must feel. How heartbreaking.

Kim said...

AMAZING how people act...
It truly has amazed me on this LONG process what people do..
Sooo sad.. and to stop adoptions for others is crazy..
Have a good week..

JoAnn in NJ said...

I totally agree with everything you said...I am outraged by this situation....and saddened for the child and for everything that will happen next.

Good for you for circulating the word.

Rhonda said...

Well said...

K said...

I guess I'm one of the few who is not infuriated. I suppose it's because I've known a little boy who delibrately started a housefire with the intent to burn it down and kill family members inside. He also bragged about it while the house was burning. I've also read a fearsome book called High Risk: Children Without a Conscience in which one real case, a 9 yr. old murdered his 7 yr. old neighbor and acted like it was cool and had no remorse or feeling of wrong doing at all.

When you fear for your life and the life of your child, I can understand how a woman, who is probably extremely sleep deprived from guarding her family, and at wits end, can make a decision like this that seems so wrong.

In the course of my adoption, I've read books, blogs and attended classes at my agency. I am constantly surprised at how many families do NOT know much at all about the potential attachment disorders and the effects of neglect, drugs, alcohol and abuse, not to mention the stress of disrupting a healthy child's life by taking it from everything familiar. I've seen some gotcha day videos online and have been totally shocked by how some families treat their new kids. In one case, the mother's first words to her new little one, who was about 2.5 or 3, were actually ordering the child in a scolding voice, "Look at me!" The shame was that the child had been so extremely brave to walk up to the woman on her own, without fear.

I cannot judge this woman, but I have enormous pity for the little boy because his troubles have been caused by all the adults who have come into his life.

Kristy said...

I totally agree with everything you have said...totally!! I agree with all that you said about six months not being enough time to bond and such but how awful that in six months time she did not grow anything in her heart for him!!! That is heartbreaking to me. And another thing I also agree it has NOTHING to do whether she is married , single or whatever!!

Love, Kristy

Miche said...

Oh how very sad all around-I am surprised she never tried counseling for him-surely that would have been a logical next step if she was already going herself?

How sad for that child, the mom, and all the waiting families.

Diana said...

I "personally" feel there is much more to this then we are know..he was not registered for school or homeschool. Neighbors did not see him outside..Honestly I would rather have her put him on a plane then harm him. (I am by NO means sticking up for her) My heart breaks for the little boy and if he truly has the problems she is saying he has I hope he does get help and if he does or does not have problems I hope he finds a family to LOVE HIM!!

MotherMotherOcean said...

news just gets better and better.

Tracie said...

I think the whole situation is sad.

Returning your visit from the UPB. I loved your comment on my blog! I'm your newest follower.

Kelli said...

You know, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. But when I found out she was in process again...that pretty much changed my thinking.

Michal said...

I have also tried and tried to find room in my heart to feel ....something, anything but anger towards this woman. I am failing miserably. And I think that's ok. I mean, neglect and abuse are neglect and abuse any way you slice it.
Should she have been more educated? Should she have tried option a, or b or c? yeah. But you know what? Sometimes people act without listening to their humanity. I wouldn't treat a rabid dog the way this little boy was treated. So even though I can see the potential for horrible and desperate actions, I just can't get past that lack of respect for a fellow human, let alone a small child that is dependent on you, one that you have sworn to protect and nurture.

Donna said...

If the Hansen's were accurately stating the risks they felt they faced with this child in their home, then I'm really struggling to find one single thing they could have legally done to have him removed from their care.

He looks like a sweet little boy but so do just about all of the children who have been charged with committing violent crimes.

I just read a story about two 11 year old boys adopted from Russia who raped their 7 year old sister almost immediately after joining their new family. It took MONTHS to place those boys into another home and the family had to split up to keep the other children safe during that time. Yet some would say that they'd never "give up" on a child they adopted?

How can we form such a strong opinion until we have more of the facts in this particular case?

Supposedly the attorney for the Hansens will speak on Monday. I'm all ears.

Our Blog: Double Happiness!

Special K said...

Donna - I'm certainly not saying this boy didn't have the issues the mother described. But certainly you don't think her FIRST choice should have been to disrupt? Without at least trying? Without seeking help for him? Without reaching out to her agency, her social worker, social services, mental health professionals? Really? I don't get that and I do have a very strong opinion about it.

But no matter what that child did or didn't do, nothing... NOTHING... justifies putting him on a plane back to Russia with a note pinned in his jacket saying she didn't want him anymore. What kind of person decides that's the most logical answer?

Donna said...

K, I hear ya.

I struggle constantly with how she was able to write that note and put him on that plane. I cry just thinking about it! But the note said more than what you imply.

But I can't believe that it was her first choice to send him back to Russia. In fact, I have a blog post up that I named "They don't call it a last resort because it's the first thing you do".

Her ultimate choice was so unfathomable to me that I sat down and really thought HARD about what I would do right now if I had a child in my home that made me fear for the safety of all of my other kids (and myself). What would I do RIGHT NOW to ensure our safety?

Since I have the benefit of having been a Deputy Sheriff and a Social Worker in a large California county, I created a list of options then just as quickly started crossing them all off.

Who would take this boy?

Not my agency.
Not the police.
Not social services.
Not the mental health department
Not the local fire department (where I could legally 'abandon' a newborn)
Not any of my friends.
Not any of my family.

In the end, the only way I could think of that would get this kid out of my house would be to hurt him. Of course I could never do that! Plus, I'd lose my other kids too! But losing my other kids would be better than having them killed so...

I can see how this could turn into a desperate situation. If they didn't have the money to send him back to Russia, I really worry that they might have done something very VERY regrettable. Even more regrettable than the option they ultimately chose.

Then we'd all be saying "Why didn't they just send him back to Russia!"

Our Blog: Double Happiness!

Donna said...

By the way, we don't know that she didn't contact her agency for help. I know everyone said they said she didn't and I believe it must be true but I finally went to the website myself and looked for their statement.

They talk about this incident but they DON'T say anything specific about her case at all.

And I don't think any other service agencies would be allowed, by law, to confirm or deny whether she came to them either. This is a very sensitive private issue and not something that is in the realm of the public's right to know.

Like so much of what the media has reported in this case, I think they're wrong about this too. It's possible that she did NOTHING to seek any help at all but I don't believe the media would know that at this point.

Our Blog: Double Happiness!