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1 elizajane  Sun, Sep 15, 2013 5:14:14pm

The root of the problem here is that too many parents are too easily allowed to adopt older children because these are the kids who nobody wants. Yet they are also the ones who really do have the most problems, having often spent many years in terrible situations. Parents should have extra training and study before being allowed to adopt them; and moreover, they should have extra support afterwards.

The American foster care system provides all of these things. The International system provides none of them. Parents with the best of hearts, who think (foolishly) that they will “rescue” a needy child, are overwhelmed, not to mention bankrupted. Some of these children need incredibly costly medical, educational, and psychological intervention — and we are talking special schools that cost $10,000 a MONTH. Yet I was always seeing posts from idealistic couples who were literally having bakesales to raise money to adopt a needy 10-year-old from some god-foresaken orphanage. I wanted to say, “STOP! You have no idea what you are doing!”

The family described here were idiots on every level. There should clearly be safeguards to prevent them 1) adopting a teen to begin with, and 2) disrupting in such a terrible way. But I’ve seem parents struggle for years and years with kids who were actually just beyond saving. Parents who eventually have had to place their children in psychiatric facilities — again, at their own expense, because the foster care system pays for such things but International Adoption does not. I’ve seen families really destroyed, the lives of parents and siblings just wrecked. I remember a family who had adopted five siblings from India who turned out to be much older than they were told and had all been severely abused and had serious cognitive deficits. I know parents of children adopted from Russian orphanages who have basically no conscience and will do anything — lying, stealing, prostitution — to manipulate those around them and get what they want. What are these parents supposed to do?

I’m sorry, but I get cross when people who have no experience in this field clutch their pearls in horror at the cries for help posted on Adoption Disruption web groups that are supposed to be confidential. I agree that they are liable to abuse. Yet there is NO OPTION for some families in crisis. I’ve also met people who have adopted kids whose first families disrupted, and who were absolutely great parents and completely able to handle the kids’ problems. That’s how these groups are supposed to work and sometimes they do.

Background: I adopted 3 older children internationally with only the most minimal background check. I was told by my SW that I was doing a wonderful thing because nobody wanted these children. I don’t think I’m a perfect parent but I knew how to find help (from online support groups, and also from therapists and educators, ongoing until today) when I needed it. I had enough money to pay for expensive treatments. None of my children was so damaged that they could not be helped. I was LUCKY. I would never have the temerity to criticize people who are desperate, whose kids cannot be helped, or who cannot manage those children and need to disrupt. Disrupting and re-homing should probably be easier, not harder, and should have less stigma attached; but they should also be closely monitored, like foster care situations are.

Sorry for the long post, obviously I feel strongly about this!

2 aagcobb  Sun, Sep 15, 2013 6:16:51pm

Terrible situations. My wife and I adopted two children from China, but they were both young, 11 months and 2 years old. Our boy was malnourished when we got him, but he is a happy, active seven year old now. I wouldn’t even try to adopt a troubled teenager because I know I would be overwhelmed. Its tragic so many children have to suffer.

3 FemNaziBitch  Sun, Sep 15, 2013 8:01:04pm

Perhaps it just my personal observation. I would think ANY teenager needed a new home, for whatever reason, from whatever country WOULD BE A TROUBLED INDIVIDUAL.

Teenagers in the best of circumstances are troubled individuals. It’s biology.

The idea that any transition would go smoothly without some sort of counseling is insane to me.

4 wheat-dogghazi  Sun, Sep 15, 2013 9:27:49pm

I have visited two orphanages in China, but not for the purpose of adopting anyone. Those were government-run and as far as I could tell the kids were all well-cared for. But most are special-needs kids. While it is true that some Chinese families would abandon girl babies, because of the one-child policy, that is not as common as before. Now, girls and boys are abandoned or given for adoption because their needs exceed what their birth families can handle. Few Chinese families adopt children, so for these kids their only likely adoptive parents would be foreigners. Government-run child welfare homes are very careful in placing their charges with adoptive families. The process can take at least six months, and it is quite expensive. (More about that later.) My friends in the USA who have adopted Chinese babies have told me the process is grueling and exhausting.

Americans, especially those who are devout Christians, seem especially keen on adopting Chinese kids. The children’s homes know there is a demand in the States for Chinese adoptions, and less scrupulous homes will go out to the countryside offering to educate and raise children of impoverished families for a small sum. Then these homes will put the children up for adoption, and send them to the USA without the birth parents’ knowledge. Needless to say, these kids do not have special needs. The homes are using the adoption fees, which are several thousand dollars for each child, as a source of income.

If you want more details, visit my blog, Wheat-dogg’s World. I wrote a long post back in February and have included links to other sources in my post.

5 theye1  Sun, Sep 15, 2013 10:02:00pm

If you can’t handle a child, don’t adopt. I have no sympathy for the adoptive parents. The child exchange website sounds like a pedophile ring.

6 wheat-dogghazi  Mon, Sep 16, 2013 4:04:53am

re: #5 theye1

If you can’t handle a child, don’t adopt. I have no sympathy for the adoptive parents. The child exchange website sounds like a pedophile ring.

I have sympathy for naive, idealistic couples who want to do right, but end up getting over their heads with adopted children whose needs outstrip the parents’ abilities and resources to address them. It’s not just a matter of not being able to handle a child. It’s being able to raise a child whose medical, psychological, developmental and/or behavioral issues are beyond what the typical person can handle. The parents “disrupting” their adoptions, as cited in the Reuters report, say they were not aware before the adoptions of how severe the children’s issues were. This is especially true for international adoptions.

But there is right way to handle an adoption gone bad, and a wrong way. Pawning off your child to a stranger you meet on the Internet is so indescribably stupid and irresponsible that words fail me. I know people who would take more care of their dogs’ puppies’ adoptions than these people did with their adopted kids.

As for the adoption disruption Internet groups, it seems the people starting them were also naive and idealistic, blissfully unaware of the scum that lurk the Internet looking for children to abuse or neglect. Moreover, they were completely ignorant of the relevant laws. Or rather clueless. A reasonable person might at least suspect that handing your adopted child over to another family “under the table” might just maybe be illegal.

7 aagcobb  Mon, Sep 16, 2013 4:54:22am

re: #4 wheat-dogghazi

I have visited two orphanages in China, but not for the purpose of adopting anyone. Those were government-run and as far as I could tell the kids were all well-cared for. But most are special-needs kids. While it is true that some Chinese families would abandon girl babies, because of the one-child policy, that is not as common as before. Now, girls and boys are abandoned or given for adoption because their needs exceed what their birth families can handle. Few Chinese families adopt children, so for these kids their only likely adoptive parents would be foreigners. Government-run child welfare homes are very careful in placing their charges with adoptive families. The process can take at least six months, and it is quite expensive. (More about that later.) My friends in the USA who have adopted Chinese babies have told me the process is grueling and exhausting.

Americans, especially those who are devout Christians, seem especially keen on adopting Chinese kids. The children’s homes know there is a demand in the States for Chinese adoptions, and less scrupulous homes will go out to the countryside offering to educate and raise children of impoverished families for a small sum. Then these homes will put the children up for adoption, and send them to the USA without the birth parents’ knowledge. Needless to say, these kids do not have special needs. The homes are using the adoption fees, which are several thousand dollars for each child, as a source of income.

If you want more details, visit my blog, Wheat-dogg’s World. I wrote a long post back in February and have included links to other sources in my post.

A decade ago there were a lot of healthy baby girls available in China, and that is when we adopted our daughter, in 2004, and it only took a few months. Then the wait times started getting longer and longer, becoming years, and the emphasis shifted to special needs adoption, so in 2008 we adopted our boy who had a cleft palate, easily fixed with surgery. International adoption has been a blessing for many families and children, like ours.

8 elizajane  Mon, Sep 16, 2013 7:56:18am

re: #4 wheat-dogghazi

I’ve visited one of the “good” Chinese orphanages too. The whole set-up was excellent: it was in a well-designed complex along with an Old Peoples’ home so that the children interacted with the elderly. The place was obviously extremely well supported (in the richest part of China); the farewell meal they gave for my daughter consisted of 30 different dishes, brought out one at a time, and lasted most of the afternoon. All the kids there, including my daughter, were indeed Special Needs; healthy children were adopted locally. This was in 2005. My daughter did not live at this orphanage — she had been fostered out to an adoring older couple — but she visited it regularly and knew the kids there.

Those of us who adopt older kids know more about the system than people who adopt infants because our children tell us things. From people who have adopted older kids from China, I know of some pretty frightful stories, like children adopted out to foreign couples as punishment to their parents. I also know of appalling physical and sexual abuse, although this was not in China (this includes my older daughters’ orphanage, but I know of others too). People in America used to think, somehow, that older kids from abroad would not be as damaged as kids from American foster care. The problem actually was that in foster care, somebody gives you a full report on all the horrible things that have happened to your child and the emotional and cognitive damage they have. In International Adoption, you have no idea. Especially if you do not learn to speak their language or have interpreters they trust, you may never actually learn their story.

To theye1 above, “handling a child” is not at all the same as handling a child who has been severely abused, neglected, and tormented by his/her caregivers for the first three, six, ten, twelve years of life. Don’t be so arrogant until you have tried to handle this. One of my best friends is a doctor in a hospital residential treatment facility for severely disturbed adolescents. There are always a few internationally adopted kids in residence, more than their representation in the general population. She sees the parents’ despair and the hopelessness of their situations. This is not about not being able to “handle” a child. It’s about not being a qualified psychiatrist with a back-up staff.

“Disrupting” is considered a shameful thing in the adoption community. That is why people are driven to groups like the Yahoo one mentioned in the article. I would hear about that group on the support groups I was on, some of which also contained very desperate families. Honestly, you just have no idea what this world is like until you’ve been a part of it. If there was less shame, and more transparency, then evil criminals like the ones described in this article would not be able to take advantage of the tragedy of others. I do know of re-adoptions that have been completely successful. Not everybody who disrupts is an idiot, and not everybody who readopts from disruption is a criminal, not by any means. They may be heroes.


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