Monday, August 17, 2009

Defense Mechanisms -- Coping with Abandonment

A heart-wrenching post from Gershom at Anti-Adoption, Separation and Abandonment is a Bitch:
I watched a video today of this girl in China who believed her new adoptive parents were coming to take her home. She had TB and it ends up that she can’t go home with them. The video is the future adoptive mother taping the goodbye. All screams of “put the camera down” aside… I want to talk about this moment in the little girls life and what it feels like to go through that.

I think its the core of my adoptee-ness. I have been there so many times. At her age sheis probably so scared to hold onto someone, to love them, to open up to them and
in the video it seems like she has established some amount of trust in the man, her future adoptive father.

Then it happens, 3/4 of the way into the video she “gets” it. They’re leaving and she’s not going with them. The screams, the pleads for them to not leave without her. The cries, pulling for them to stay, pushing those trying to keep her away….oh how I have been there.

The rage will follow, hatred, detachment and finally…the life saving umbness that will stay with her forever. By the time she’s my age she’ll be able to turn it on and off if she’s aware of it like I am. Use it as a body guard, shield,warrior of self. Detach, numb, forget, protect and move on. Survival mechanisms are beautiful things.

This isn't posted to judge the Scruggs family; it really isn't about the Scruggses at all. It's about reactions to abandonment, real or perceived. Recall, also, the system in Russia and Khazak adoption -- one visit, parents leave, six weeks later another visit to finalize the adoption. And all of our children have abandonment in their history; being aware of the possible effects is a good idea.


RamblingMother said...

It is so sad and admittedly the family knows the devestation. The situation in Kazak or Russia is the main reason I didn't go there to adopt because I wouldn't have been able to deal with the leaving behind. Of course my reason for going to China was def changed in remorse after meeting my daughter. What a silly idea I had at one time about the family coming back for her. At this point I would love to meet the family.

Antinette said...

Actually, it is my understanding, from following the Scrugg's family blog and reading the news stories that have been written around this, that their daughter, Harper, is being cared for by another family until the Scruggs are given the ok to return for Harper. They have completed her adoption and she is their child. They were FORCED to leave her and have been fighting non-stop to bring her home. I know this isn't your mistake, it's the original blogger's, however, since you are sharing it on your blog, thought you might want to point out the incorrect aspects of the original post.

I don't want to take away from what the original blogger said or felt, her feelings should be validated and respected. My husband and I were deeply affected when watching the parting of this family. Those screams were all too familiar, as our daughter, age three when we adopted her, cried like that in her sleep on and off the first year she came home. I don't know what the future will hold for her, but for now, she is secure in the fact that mama and baba always come back and she is happy and loved and finally sleeps peacefully.

Thank you for your thought-provoking posts, we enjoy following your blog.

malinda said...

I posted that in the comments to Gershom's blog; and I've commented here that I think it is incorrect to say that the family abandoned their child.

But I also think it is incorrect to say they were FORCED to leave her. She was forced to remain in China, but nothing in the CDC ruling compelled them to leave China. They chose to do so. The choice might not have been free from constraints, but it was still their choice.

Thanks for reading!

Antinette said...

You're right, technically, they weren't FORCED to leave, and technically, they CHOSE to leave, but are we really talking about technicalities here?

I've struggled to put my feelings about the Scruggs' situation into words, but then came across a comment to one of your earlier posts by RamblingMother-I hope she forgives me for using it here, but she articulated just what I was thinking.

She said, "...Just like the Scruggs family. They have been accused of abandoning their child again over finances and harming this adopted child because of a ridiculous CDC policy. Where is the same anger for the bio parents who abandoned the child in the first place due to finances (need a son to care in old age-financial, can't pay the fine the government institutes-financial, child is too sick can't afford the medical care-financial)? Or the anger at the foster family that turned this particular child back in because she caught TB, probably from an orphanage caregiver?"

Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this discussion.

Dee said...

Malinda, thanks for making the point that nothing in the CDC ruling compelled the Scruggs family to leave China.

Gershom Kaligawa said...

Its so weird to me how so many people want to defend the parents, argue over what technically is abandonment, deny its existance because she's still being cared for etc. etc. etc.

When in reality... children don't know definitions of abandonment, it is if it feels that way. Saying it isn't, doesn't take those feelings away, and this is something all of us as adoptees have gone through.

How people deny its existence to argue the validation of it or not in technical terms is beyond me.