Friday, November 20, 2009

Anita Tedaldi Goes Global

Lovely. Anita Tedaldi, who disrupted the adoption of her son, and publicized it on the New York Times Motherlode blog and the Today Show, has now publicized it in the Guardian, a UK paper.

It's the same as published in the New York Times, except that Matteo/D. is now Dan, and he's still from South America rather than Ethiopia. One positive -- the Guardian tries to put disruption in some context, offering some information and statistics about disruption:

The British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) estimates that one in five adoptions break down, although children who are "handed back" are usually older. The younger the child, the lower the chance of the placement breaking down. A study by the Maudsley Hospital in London found a breakdown rate of 8% after one year and 29% six years later. On average, adoptions that broke down did so 34 months after placement.

Despite the negative publicity that overseas adoption has attracted in recent years, there is no evidence that they are more likely to break down than domestic placements. Many studies have concluded that international adoption has, for the most part, been very successful, including for children who have spent their early years in institutions.

Children placed in stable, loving families, show a great capacity for catch-up – although a great deal depends on support from the wider family and adoption specialists, and the extent to which the adopters mix with other people from the country they adopted from.

The sad fact is that in many states of America, where Dan was adopted, this combination is less likely to be recognised as essential, despite the fact that overseas adoption tends to be far easier than it is here. Also undoubtedly contributing to Dan's adoption breakdown is the fact that for a minority of the most deprived children, major problems – especially in the area of attachment – do not go away, regardless of how much help, support, stability and indeed love, is provided.
Is the British paper right? Is the required support "less likely to be recognised as essential" in America? Do the Brits do it better?

As a follow-up, Tedaldi writes about the reaction to her writing about the disruption, and offers the same reason for why she wrote about the disruption:
This account first appeared on a blog several months ago. Since then my family has come under intense public scrutiny in the US, where we live. I knew there would be a lot of criticism, but my intention was to share a very personal experience. I don't mind the criticism, but I have been surprised by the degree of hatred displayed towards me and my family. Some readers have made fun of my children's looks.

There have been many positive comments, too, and I'm thankful to the many families who shared their own painful stories with me.

I do not regret writing about Dan. I shared this experience because when I saw my own shortcomings, I was humbled. We all struggle with our weaknesses, too often alone.
For what it's worth, my problem isn't that she wrote about disruption -- it's how she wrote about it. And, for what it's worth, I've never made fun of her kids, just of the fact that Tedaldi is writing a parenting manual!

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