The story in the news about the boy adopted from Russia makes me sick to my stomach. My husband and I look at our son, Igor, adopted from Russia and wonder how you can give up on a child after 6 months.
I am heart broken for the adoptive mom, I am heart broken for the little boy and I am left wondering how the system failed for this family.
If you have never adopted from Russia, let me tell you, it's not easy. You must provide mountains of paperwork- everything about you is scrutinized. A home study is completed by a social worker which includes everything from your relationship with your family growing up, discipline style, your marriage and so on. You must attend parenting classes, complete Hague training for international adoptions, have criminal background searches done at state and federal levels. You need references from friends and family members, all your finances are reviewed, and of course you are required to have a medical exam in the USA and Russia. You may have to go to Russia 2 or 3 times in order to pick up your child. We have adopted from Russia and Ethiopia. When we received the package outlining what we needed for Ethiopia I called our agency to confirm that was all we needed. It felt like the paperwork for Russia was much more extensive. No one chooses to adopt from Russia because it is easy or inexpensive- it is neither.
For days I have sat here wondering what happened to the family that is on the news. No one has an unplanned adoption. This family prepared for this little boy. I'm sure they were excited when they saw his face for the first time, aren't we all? Not only is adoption an emotional commitment, it can be a financial burden.
My husband and I talk about it and think how did the system fail? Obviously, this family's social worker felt they were qualified to adopt, a judge in Russia agreed. Where was this family's social worker when they came home from Russia? What did the family's agency do for follow up? Where was the adoption community? Did anyone see any warning signs or reach out to this family? What were the adopted child's issues and were they evaluated by a International Adoption Doctor when the family returned home?
What the adoptive mother did was wrong. There is no question about it.
Like the adoptive mom in the article, I know what it is like to adopt a child who is hurting, full of anger and rage. We too adopted a child where the full range of medical issues and delays were not fully disclosed. I know what it feels like when you don't know what to do or how to handle your child. I know what it's like for some people, teachers, professionals- including family members to say I'm exaggerating our son's issues. But then, finally, they see what we are going through and they too are overwhelmed by our situation. Yes, I've been the mom at nursery school, you know the one... The one who has over heard parents saying, "I cannot imagine.... I'm glad I'm not her..."
If you are reading this blog and you have felt some of the things I have shared- DO NOT GIVE UP! You can do it with help!
The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family
Help for the Hopeless Child: A Guide for Families (With Special Discussion for Assessing and Treating the Post-Institutionalized Child), Second Edition (Paperback)
When Love Is Not Enough
Have your child evaluated by an international adoption doctor ASAP - click here for a listing
And then DO what the doctors tell you to do!
Talk to someone- a counselor, your social worker, a therapist, clergy- find someone who will listen to your concerns, your hurt, your anger and disappointment. Allow yourself to grieve what you thought your family would be like but move forward. Call your agency, find out if there is an adoption support group or if there is another family on the other side of what you are going through.
Don't be afraid to ask friends for help around the house. Sometimes having someone help with meals, laundry, errands, or cleaning can help with some of the pressure/stress at home.
We have two beautiful boys who are adopted. Our adoption journey has not always been easy but it has come with some of the greatest rewards I can think of: