Friday, January 23, 2009

When an adoption must disrupt

I talk a lot about adoption. Because it is such a thick part of our lives, I find myself digging deeper into every corner and every avenue. Nothing is perfect, and sometimes adoptions end. I want to talk about that today.

I think that, as mothers, we tend to make quick assumptions. It's a gift of sorts. We are passionate about our children, therefore we have a deep interest in other children and families.

I have become acquainted with more and more parents who have disrupted adoptions. I'm finding two common threads: 1) the rest of the world simply does not understand and they are very judgmental of the decision to disrupt, and 2) the vast majority of disruptions only happen because someone in the home is in physical danger.

Yes, there are a handful of parents who go into adoption blindly, they sneak past their homestudy worker and bring children home actually assuming they will be grateful for their new home and family - ending in a very selfish disruption. They are there. They are so sad. It's not fair to children, and we need to tighten our system to avoid such placements.

However, the average disruption doesn't look anything like this. The average disruption comes at the culmination of horrific acts. It comes at the end of parents exhausting all of their resources (and many times, most of what they own and every drop of savings). It sometimes comes at the end of not being able to locate any type of assistance or programs that could keep the family intact (or they find resources, but it will cost tens of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket). There are children so disturbed that they try to kill or harm their parents or siblings. There are children that sexually abuse their siblings. There are children who absolutely cannot, ever, for a moment, be alone with another child ... ever. There are children who try to poison other family members. All of these kids go to bed in a room that is completely void of anything but mattresses and a few items ... with an alarm on the door that is set each and every night for the protection of the rest of the family.

Heck, even of those of us still making it work, our homes are full of baby monitors and door alarms. Put us all together, and you'll find parents that have been peed on, barfed on, screamed at, had our lives threatened, had the lives of our other children threatened, found gifts of feces left all over the house, had false accusations made against us to other adults, watched our children harm themselves, had to buy creams to help with rashes because of excessive masturbation, battled continuous attempts to divide our marriages, had to lock away our underwear so our children won't use them as a part of masturbation, we've been cursed at, we've had to put our children behind alarm-equipped doors just to spend a few minutes in the bathroom, we have children that run away all. the. time., we have children that literally refuse to go to school and then we're held liable for truancy, ... I could go on ... for days.

I want to send out a word of love and encouragement from my little corner today - to the families who have had to make the gut-wrenching decision to end an adoption placement. I also want to say, "I support you" to those of you who are still trying to finalize such a decision. I won't pretend to know your circumstances. I won't pretend to know your obstacles. I won't pretend to say I'm praying for you and not really do it - I'm spending today in a constant whisper of conversation with God, for all of you.

I acknowledge for you - to the rest of the world - that you love and adore your child. Your grief is genuine and real. You are not a bad parent. You are the best kind of parent. You are willing to sacrifice over and over and over again for the sake of your child, even if that means allowing someone else to parent them.

I pray special blessings for you today.

Your friend,
Christine





(photo by B S K)


27 comments:

Brenda said...

Amen

Hannah_Rae said...

Amen, Amen.

I need to get this to a family I know who is really struggling.

Thank you, Christine.

Hannah

Heather said...

Found your blog through the Livesay's (who I also stalk!) and am loving it. Just wanted to say a big AMEN. I hope families who are hurting will find this and read it, and families who know of those hurting will be more compassionate having read it. It needs to be said MORE OFTEN and thank you for saying it.

Kat said...

Wow - just wow. I'm not a parent, let alone an adoptive parent. I just wanted to say I hear you and I'm praying with you. A whispered prayer for the adoptions I know (2) that went horribly wrong, and a silent prayer for the families that had to give their biological children into care because they cannot cope any more: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7843200.stm

Recovering Noah said...

Perfect timing, Christine! I have a friend who is going through a difficult time right now and we just talked about this a few hours ago. I'm going to direct her to your blog.

Leslie

Gwenn Mangine said...

Thank you for this post. It really helped me to look at "another" side of disrupted adoptions. I knew this subject was filled with wrought, but there are some heartbreaking things you mentioned that I am not sure I ever thought all the way through.

I think I do tend to fall on the judgment side on this one if I am truly honest, even if only in my own mind. This post has proved to me that I am not sure I really have my head all the way around my "opinions." (I hope that makes sense.) It's definitely given me food for thought.

And I too just said some prayers for families involved in this kind of situation. It is truly a no win kind of thing.

Gwenn Mangine said...

Oh! One more thought I meant to share...

I *might* disagree with you that there are only a "handful" of parents who "slip through the system." A friend of mine who is an adoption social worker recently told me it is nearly impossible to "fail" a home study.

I personally think GOOD percent of adoptive parents go in "blindly" since there is no standard for compulsory adoption education. And really, don't we all go into parenting (be it biological or adoption) blindly? We don't know what it's really going to be like until we're in it.

I am thankful to God for his grace and mercies that are new every morning...

Kristen said...

Great post.

familygregg said...

We walked through a disruption w/friends. It was heartbreaking. And they were wrongly judged by others.

Troy & Tara Livesay said...

word.

Tamara said...

This is an amazing post. I don't pretend to know about disruption, I am just NOW learning about adoption. I appreciate this post as the more educated I become, the more educated I will be going into an adoption.


I also wanted to say I appreciate you more than I can express for being HONEST about prayer. it is so hard to be that honest and I fail miserably on a regular basis. Thank you!!!!!!

Jen said...

followed a link from Jamie Ivey over to you.

Thanks for posting this. Adoption is crazy hard even when kids are normal. We have a 2 year old foster son and I just totally identified with the not being able even go to the potty or take a shower. The aggression toward other kids is the hardest for me to deal with. I so badly want to love and protect this boy, but the motherly instinct to protect my own baby girls easily trumps that...and I feel bad about it sometimes.

It sucks that other people struggle with WAY worse circumstances, but its good to know that I am not alone in the struggle.

Sara said...

That is heart breaking in so many ways.

tracey fields said...

i found your blog through jamie ivey. i put a link to you on my blog...i hope that's ok. this is a great post! thanks.

Amy said...

Thank you for posting this. The love (the hardcore, in the trenches, dirty, difficult love) you have for these children and families is amazing and wonderful.

I used to work in a group home for teens. I know these kids, and it's so hard - for everyone.

Thank you for talking about this!

waldenbunch said...

We didn't have to disrupt our adoption but we went through many of the things you mentioned and ended up with an out of home placement. She was an older child adoption with 2 siblings at home, as well as our birth children. It destroyed many friendships but by God's grace our marriage survived. No one understands completely unless they walk this road of adoption and attachment crisis parenting. Thank you for such great insight.

rachel said...

Amen, Amen!

Story of our Life said...

Thank you so much!! You could not know how much I needed to read this tonight. How I've tried to muster the strength to carry on this evening, tmw, the next day and so on.

How much my heart is struggling tonight, yesterday and the days before that.

How much I've dug into the depths of depression because of our disruption.

Tonight, I needed to hear this support. I needed to know that even though it may feel like I'm alone, that we made the biggest mistakes of our life, that we truly screwed this child of ours up even more than he already was...that someone who doesn't even know me or my situation...cares. For right now it is what I needed to hear.

THANK YOU!

Tracey said...

As a mother of a Russian adopted 5 1/2 year-old boy whose adoption was disrupted I could not agree more with this post. You nailed so many aspects of the hell we lived with and are still living with. Thank you for your support. There are so many haters out there that to read that someone understands lifted my spirits. It has been a hellish couple of weeks and your post helped. Thank you!

Linus said...

our older son almost ended in a disruption. It was a painful time. There needs to be more support out there for families who end struggling. All the education in the world doesnt help doesnt prepare you for when the child actually comes into the home with issues. They teach this stuff, but when it finally happens, they dont know how they can help.

Wife to the Rockstar said...

AMAZING post. We just adopted two kids from a disruption. THANK YOU for this post.

I would REALLY love to use some of your writing on Adoption Connect. I need guest Bloggers. Just say the word..... I can copy what you have written on this blog..... and then link back here. Let me know!

KT said...

We adopted three girls, and sadly had to disrupt the oldest. To say it is heartbreaking is just the tip of the iceburg. Its been over two years, but I still struggle with the guilt, daily. But for the safety of our babies at the time, we needed to do it. Our marriage almost ended as well, but somehow, by the grace of God we pulled threw. We lost friendships and some family connections over it. The judgement from inside the adoption community was INSANE! Thanks for being a voice for this.

Kathy C. said...

Well said.

Helen said...

It has been ten years and until now I didn't believe that anyone, anywhere in the World, understood. It nearly killed me and destroyed my faith in myself. I got back on my feet (and so did the lttle boy) but I have never forgiven myself, despite knowing that I did everything I could. Thank you, really, thank you.

Dalyn (AKA The Queen of Quite Alot) said...

hard. hard stuff. We adopted a disrupted older girl adopted from a 3rd world country. If I said all the things I thought people would judge. She is destructive and cunning. Crafty, and downright evil sometimes. One often wonders if having the family pet poisoned is grounds for disruption. Let's just say I'd never do it again, I regret it, and my family will never be the same. I strongly caution people who are gung-ho for adoption. I too believe that at all costs the original family should be supported and kept together. Sometimes it can't happen that way, and sadly adoption is needed, but so often, woe to the one who does it. I'm exhausted.

Abbey said...

Every word I read from your blog was if you knew our story personally. It feels so reassuring to know there is someone out there that listens and has the compassion to det themselves aside, to hear the pain families such as us are going through. I only wish that all of the support there is now, would have been there for us 10 yrs ago. Although it may not have changed the direction our lives have come too in these past 10 yrs, we certainly would have felt more strong. It
s been 11 months since we made the descision to disrupt our adoption. It's still a healing process and a story that needs told!

Bri said...

Thank you so much for this post! Today we disrupted our first adopted daughter of 11 years. This was done with heavy hurting hearts. It was also done to protect our other 4 children. 2 older and biological and 2 younger and adopted. The violence and mental illness of our middle daughter was more than we could handle. We were living in fear for many years before making this heart breaking decision.