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Society and it’s Views on Adoption

19 April 2008 34 views 7 Comments

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the comments and advice given concerning our daughter at the residential center. It really did tick me off that they considered our not even wanting to discuss terminating our parental rights as being selfish but I think what really bothers me is how flippant they are to adopted children. I’m beginning to think that it’s really a much larger societal problem in that society feels adopted children are somehow less than a birth child.

I think of the many run ins over the years with people who are just plain uneducated on adoption and what it means and in those cases if it’s that they are uneducated about adoption then I can have a little more understanding and patience. Who I don’t expect it from are doctors, lawyers, police officers and therapists.

“Terminate your parental rights”, a common phrase that one hears ONLY if your child is adopted. I have never met anybody who received this advice for their troubled birth children. No , instead it’s as if these children somehow mean less to you than your birth children. Unless of course cps is involved and they are the ones doing the termination of parental rights. Which then brings me to wonder why it is that when cps does get involved in families with birth and adopted children , why is it that they so easily remove the adopted children? Also , why is it that in some cases they return the birth children and terminate the parental rights on the adopted children ? Is it possible that the state themselves feel the same way ? I know there are many variables in the above mentioned scenario but I’m really beginning to feel that maybe there in lies the whole “adopted child syndrome” , as long as society doesn’t feel that adopted and birth children are equivalent then these children can never heal. They will always be one step away from feeling “different” from feeling they are somehow less important because they are the “adopted child.”

Perhaps this is why years ago it was quite normal for families to never tell anybody that their child was adopted. In doing so the child never had to go through and experience the “adopted child syndrome”. Maybe that generation was onto something…..just maybe they had it right ?

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  • Marisol said:

    I am so sorry to hear what they are doing to you and Ebony. Unfortunately, social workers do push biological parents with mentally ill children to terminate their rights to the state as well. If parents don’t have unlimited resources (cash) to pay for care social workers sometimes offer this “solution.” Private adoption agencies are seeing more and more biological parents placing their older children with special needs. It speaks more to our terribly underfunded mental health care system and lack of support for parents than anything else I think.

  • Lisa said:

    That was very insightful. I think that maybe the previous generation was right in some cases. Obviously if the child is of another race than you and your husband, it’ll be easier for others to tell your child is adopted, but that aside, most people don’t need to know this information. The doctors, lawyers, cops, therapists, etc. are just people. We hold them to a higher standard because they are well-educated and should have different life experiences that would give them the insight to understand and help, but in the end, they are another person who is affected by society and the views that are most prevalent at the moment. You’re absolutely right, no one would be asked to terminate the rights on their bio child just because they’re having emotional, mental or behavioral problems. The fact that they mentioned this at all is appalling. It seems to me that it’s a convenience thing anyway. If you had a child who was threatening to dismember you all your children, you’d be told that YOU are his parent and there’s nothing you can do to terminate parental rights voluntarily. He/she is YOUR problem, but in this case they probably have the paperwork waiting for you to sign – amazing.

    Hang in there. Your feelings on this are completely understandable. You are an awesome Mom to stick by Ebony and all the rest of your blessings like you have.

  • AdoptTalk said:


    I have lived with, researched, studied, written and lectured about adoption for nearly 40 years. I think I qualify as “educated” on the issues.

    I do agree that there is a quicker tendency to suggest terminated rights of an adopted child. but from my research it is not just coming from the outside, but among those who adopt as well.

    First, the term adoption covers many different situations from in-family and step-parent adoption to international; infant to older child etc. The vast majority of infant adoptions are engaged in by the infertile. They go into the process often without processing their loss of ability to have their own child. Because of the mass privatization of US infant adoption, they get little counseling. As long as they have the $$ – they get a child!

    Many are ill-prepared for the child not meeting their hopes and dreams of a replacement for their own. Especially with so many adopting internationally today because of the reduced number of American women needing to relinquish. The vast majority of children I have seen abused, institutionalized, terminated, or even killed are internationally adopted children. The parents were just not prepared for the immense difficulties they were facing. 14-16 children from Russia have been killed by US adopters in the past decade.

    People like yourself, obviously are prepared for troubled chidlren and that’s very different. You are far more rare breed in adoption, as you are well aware.

    It is the others – that are looking for a child to fill their needs and their emptiness…rather than looking it as a way to help a child who needs them…that are giving adoption a black eye. It is those who make a livelihood supplying people like that with little concern for the best interest of the chidlren being placed as long as their fees are paid. Even pedophiles have bee able to adopt (i.e.the case of Masha Allen).

    Adoption – infant adoption, that is – is BIG BIG business worldwide ($6.3B annually) and in the US ($2.3B annually)! It is a corrupt and unregulated industry that TRAFFICS children, often stealing and kidnapping them and taking them to orphanages where they are then SOLD to Westerners while their parents are desperately trying to find the,

    80% of the children worldwide in orphanages have family who visit and intend to regain custody when they are able. Such was th ecase with David Banda who Madonna adopted.

    Mirah Riben author :THE STORK MARKET: America’s Multi Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry

  • AdoptTalk said:

    I would also like to add that there is an expectation form those who adopt children of any age. Adoption is supposed to provide chidlren with a “better life.” Those who adopt are supposed to be screened, and highly motivated – not just having a child by accident.

    It is thus logical to be more horrified when one fails at it. When an adoption is terminated or a child needs to be sent to residential treatment.

    I know nothing of your situation, but perhaps this child would have been better served in a smaller family with more personal attention, perhaps not. Perhaps he just got you too late…

    But when we hear of a failed adoption, we cannot help have a heaviness in our hearts knowing that a child is suffering YET ANOTHER loss, another rejection,another abandonment…piled on top of so many previous similar situations. How much can one soul handle?

    Perhaps you and your husband have reached your limit? Perhaps it’s time to rethink trying to save every child?

    Time to retire??? Enjoy the grandkids???

  • Lisa said:

    Wow, Adopttalk – what a condescending attitude! I won’t dispute whether you are “educated” about adoption in general or not, only you know what you believe to be true. The question is: “Are you educated about the realities of parenting a mentally ill child?” No one said that this family has failed in any capacity, could you have done better? Could you have ensured that her diagnosis wouldn’t change? Could you (having her as your only child of course) have managed to keep her home and deal with her homicidal tendancies? I know LOTS about adoption, enough to know that no one knows everything – especially the professionals.

  • QueenB said:

    Amen, Lisa. Once again, blame being placed at the feet of the adopted family, always trying to find a reason why the family failed the child. The problem isn’t the size of the adopted family. The problem is the adopted family is the only one who truly cares about this child, knows her better than anybody else, is diligently seeking appropriate, effective care, and has been patronized, dismissed, and condescendly treated by the people in the system who really cannot offer any solutions to the child’s problem. I see the problem being in the system, with failing to address the enormity and complexity of the mental health issues facing these extremely damaged and disturbed children, and the utter lack of appropriate facilities, and mental health care workers who can effectively treat and manage in such a way to keep both the child, and the public, safe, while working to control, if not always heal, the child. Sharon, you keep on plugging, you are doing a wonderful work and I for one thank God for your perserverance and unconditional love for your children. Nancy

  • Story of our Life said:

    Amen to Lisa and QueenB!!
    I’m new to this blog. Only read a few posts here and there over the last few weeks.

    When I look at our situation I see so many others that are very similiar. As our “story” unfolds in me writing it I’ve had several people contact me privately stating “this sounds so familiar” ect ect.

    The problem with our family was clearly a lack of preparation, lack of knowledge, and lackk of the system who placed this child with my dh and I. Had we been told the truth – things would have been much different.

    In the end…we lost. We lost our son. The state terminated our parental rights because we fought for him. Because we said “THIS IS NOT in his best interest to come back home.” The system agreed and in return told us “you take him back into your home…if he hurts your other 2 children you risk abuse charges and could potentially loose all THREE of your children”. SO..they terminated our rights. Because of their “2 yr statuate.”

    Sharon, you are doing an awesome job. I admire you so very much from what I’ve read about your family from your blog.

    God Bless You and Your Family. Gala

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