Monday, January 31, 2011

Abandoned, Adopted, Abandoned

From the Times of India:
Manisha (name changed) is 15 and brighteyed . She might be the regular teenager . The adults in contact with her say she is polite and disciplined and is always ready to help anyone in trouble. But Manisha is not a regular teenager and hers is no ordinary story. She lives in a home run by an NGO in Gurgaon for abandoned or abused children or those with special needs. She is the helpless victim of inter-country adoption gone terribly wrong.

Six years ago, Manisha was adopted by an American family from a centre in Mumbai. But soon enough, they were unwilling to keep her, blaming Manisha's newly apparent hyperactivity, mood disorders and depression. Rejected and abandoned all over again, Manisha was sent across the seas and has been in the children's shelter from early 2010.

* * *

If Manisha is indeed fine, she is one of the luckier ones. There are no statistics of the number of Manishas all over India — abandoned children, who were adopted overseas and then turned out like a troublesome puppy.
The American family also adopted Manisha's younger sister, but kept her when they sent Manisha back.  Wonder how they explain that to her. I imagine that can be a difficult issue when there is a sibling group available for adoption, and a family is only interested in adopting one of the children.  But it must be even more difficult to explain when you've adopted two, and sent one back . . . .


O Solo Mama said...

Right now there's somebody on a list complaining about not being able to do this. How come you can dump the kid in-country, she asks of the process, but they won't *take them back once* you've left? Complaints about return policy. Adoption at its finest.

Reena said...

Hmmm. A young girl moves from living in a country that opresses women and young girls-- espcecially ones that are abandoned because then nothing is known about ther ancestral caste-- to living in a country where girls have so many freedoms.

Da ya think she'd be a little hyper?

Clearly, social workers need to do a better job during the homestudy process. This is really sick and disturbing on several levels.

I wonder what would happen if some countries decided to halt the adoption process when the PAP were in country? "Oh sorry-- you are not the kind of parents we expected-- so just go back home."

Sister Carrie said...

Breaks my heart.

Wendy said...

I wonder what would happen if some countries decided to halt the adoption process when the PAP were in country? "Oh sorry-- you are not the kind of parents we expected-- so just go back home."

You are right on here Reena. Instead it seems they throw their weight and priveledge around to demand another "better" child--I have seen this more than once in China adoption.

Sharon said...

This is a horrible story, but I'm wondering what the Times of India left out. The full article says Manisha was placed with a second adoptive family in the US before being repatriated to India. It's possible that given her age, she expressed the desire to return to India that isn't included in the article. As the parent of an Indian child, I was REQUIRED to pay a bond to the Indian court that would cover expenses of repatriation should this be deemed necessary. I don't know if other countries do such a thing. Again, we have to wonder about screening and education of adoptive parents, but we also don't know if this child was in some way endangering the younger sister/acting out a history of trauma. I am in no way blaming Manisha. I have spent considerable time in Indian orphanages though, as well as in homes for street children there. Kids come into care at all ages with all backgrounds, and these institutions throw together hurt and tramatized children with relatively little supervision. For example, I visited the Missionaries of Charity Home in Hyderabad: 100 children in the care of 4 nuns and rotating volunteers who held the infants but nothing for the older ones. My own daughter was almost 6 at adoption with a complicated life history similar to Manisha's, and came from a "good" orphanage that had about 100 children, about 6 nuns and a support staff of 2-3. No doubt Manisha was/is a highly traumatized child in need of intensive support that I wish she had been given by those who promised to care for her.

LisaLew said...

Sharon - Thank you for sharing your story.

It is shocking there are people out there who think adoption should be banned. I can fully understand "preventing" adoption where possible. However, your post speaks the message very clearly. There will always be abandoned children in the world, and people who are ready to parent them.

(Disclaimer: I am not advocating the "saving mentality...," just stating the facts as I see them.)

Reena said...

Thanks Sharon, I am not very familar with Indian Adoptions. I did not know the country required a bond for repatriation-- kind of nice that they do.

The staffing of the orphanages sounds completely absymal. So sad.

Sharon said...

I just want to add something to the picture I painted of Indian adoption that is more positive. Unlike what I've heard of many Eastern European orphanages, many of the Indian facilities I've visited allowed great freedom of movement for the older kids ie not opportunities to go outside and play exactly, but free access to fresh air etc. Many homes will send older kids to an outside school and the children walk there together. Unfortunately, the relative freedom coupled with low supervision levels gives traumatized kids more opportunities to act out against each other violently, sexually etc. Adult attention may be divided/overwhelmed but generally what I've seen has been friendly and pleasant, except for government run orphanages where I observed some staff that were nice enough and some that seemed almost hostile to the kids.

Sorry -- this turned not so positive.

One of my daughter's favorite stories is about the time she had a bug crawl into her ear in the night. She was very upset and so the young female caretaker allowed my daughter to sleep in bed next to her. I think this stands out in her mind because it was a time she really needed personal comforting and actually got individualized care. I do think the staff of her home was truly caring and doing their very best with resources available.

Anonymous said...

"Unlike what I've heard of many Eastern European orphanages.."

Are you talking about Romanian orphanages? From my understanding the horror stories that one heard of coming out of Romanian orphanages are over and Romania has completely overhauled their facilities. They now even have some places where moms can stay with their babies until they find an apartment of their own.

Hope we in the adoption community can share updated info with each other, and not fall back on old info to paint the picture.

Anonymous said...

Im adopted but as for lookin for family and everything who knows where to start. Kinda leave you feeling like you have a whole in your heart. Lol if only like so many others i knew where to start