Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Did Not Love My Adopted Child

An interesting article in Slate, with an adoptive mom (China) exploring Artyom's story and comparing it to her own struggles to love her adopted child. Among the many interesting points made:

The stories adoption agencies include in their material, the books, the blogs—even the very signatures of the parents on adoption forums ("mom to DD Mei Mei, joyfully home since 2007") all speak of an experience that's supposed to be wonderful. Your child is "home," his or her orphaned life has ended, your respective travels are over, and you have been united into one big forever-family. Even the politically correct terminology surrounding adoption insists that once it's legal, it's a done deal—your child "was" adopted (not "is"), and now you are its mother, amen. We do not want adoption to be a process; we want it to be a destination—and that makes us even angrier when it doesn't work out that way. Torry Hansen betrayed her son, and she betrayed our belief system. We were willing to accept him as her son, and she wasn't, which makes her the villain.

This is not really anyone's fault. Humans seem to have an overwhelming need for a tidy narrative, which in adoption almost always butts up against the uglier reality. The law understands that, which is why, however wrong Hansen's actions seem to us, putting her adopted son on a plane back to Russia does not appear to have been illegal. Rash, yes, and ugly, but not against the law—because the law still recognizes that adoptive parenting of older children is different than parenting from birth. What's next is for the rest of us—jaded but experienced adoptive parents and the adoptive professionals who surround us (often adoptive parents themselves) to stop relying on adoption education and social workers to convey the darker realities of attachment disorders, institutional delays, and post-adoption depression and start talking about them ourselves.


Dawn said...

Ugh -- the issue is not that she didn't bond with said child (because adopting IS different than giving birth and acknowledging that is the first step to needed reform from open records to open adoptions to post-adoption services to pre-adoption services, etc. etc.) the issue is HOW she handled her decision to end the adoption. The issue is when this happens (and it will continue to happen) how do we best serve the kids??? Certainly not by sticking them on a plane. The woman's feelings are defensible but her actions are NOT.

Anonymous said...

It isn't illegal because relinquished children (bastards) are treated with 2nd class citizenship. We have no rights for representation in court (like CASA) and are striped of our identities when adopted. We are treated as property instead of human beings with equal rights as non-adopted persons enjoy.

Adoption is a warm and fuzzy term for human trafficking. We are the goods, nothing more in the eyes of the law.

Von said...

Have to agree with Anon.If Hansen was approved whose responsibility is that?Adoption is unknown in Scandinavia, why not in other countries, the support is in the wrong place.In the meantime more children suffer from removal from their country, families, culture and language.This child came out with his life, unlike some, but what a sentence.

Anonymous said...

The woman's feelings are defensible but her actions are NOT.


Judy said...

I think Dawn said it beautifully. I have issues with adoption disruption, but I find it far more understandable than putting a 7 year old child on a plane by himself to go back overseas. Let's say her reports are true and he was RAD. How much MORE damage has been done to him by what she did?

Anonymous said...

Our politically correct society continues to insist that adoption is the only thing that anyone should do. People are often discouraged from wanting to have their own biological children; instead, they are told to go to Ethiopia or China or Russia, and get a child there. Why? Shouldn't these people in these countries be practicing birth control if they can't afford any more kids? Why is it other people's responsibility to take their children in?

Anne Marie Buch said...


"Adoption is unknown in Scandinavia"

No it isn't. Adoption is very well known in Scandinavia. There are few scandinavian children available for adoption, but international adoption is quite common here.
I live in Denmark and have 2 adopted children.