Monday, April 12, 2010

My thoughts on the Russian child abandoned by his mother.

I, like everyone else, was shocked to hear of the 7 year old boy that arrived back in Moscow last week with little other than a note from his adoptive mother in Tennessee saying she couldn't handle him any longer. 

The story saddens me on many levels, as Sara and I have a fairly unique perspective having both adopted from Russia and adopted an older child that we had a very difficult time adjusting with over the first few months home. 

I grieve mostly for the boy.  What could he be thinking right now?  He may have behavioral issues.  He may be unstable, but that shouldn't sentence him to a life without a family to love him and help him deal with and cope with whatever issues he may be facing.  I hope that his story can somehow have a happy ending, but at the same time I have my doubts that will happen. 

On some level, I feel for the adoptive mother.  By no means do I condone what she did, I think it is entirely wrong.  But I can sympathize with her to a certain extent, knowing that she must have felt she had no other option (she had plenty of other options, but her mind to think of those other options must have been completely absent of rational thought).  We had a very difficult time dealing with Parker's behavioral issues after arriving home with him.  It was nothing short of the most challenging, frustrating, maddening, and difficult time in my life.  I am certain she had gone through the same emotions, seemingly to a much greater extent.  

Adopting from Russia is no simple task.  Each parent that goes through it has to be 100% committed to it just to get through the paperwork, only then to be greeted by 100 different hoops you must jump through before being able to bring your child home.  I can imagine the mother was just as excited as we were when we went to visit Lleyton in Russia for the first time.  She had completed the tough part and was ready to start enjoying the fruits of all of time, effort, and money she had put into the process.   The joy that she had anticipated obviously never came to fruition, and for that I feel for her.  That being said, every adoptive parent, especially one adopting an older child, along with being excited about the future needs to be educated and prepared for the perils that possibly lie ahead after bringing your child home.  She clearly wasn't prepared, which led to doing the unthinkable last week and sending the child unaccompanied back to Russia. 

It's easy to judge from afar, as I am casting judgement over this woman for what she did and I also think it is shameful that the boy's grandmother didn't help her daughter find another option.  Both of their actions were wrong (understatement).

Last and not least, I feel for those going through the process to adopt from Russia right now and in the future (especially good friends of ours that have been waiting for far too long to bring home a little girl from Russia).  These are the people that could feel the ramifications of this one woman's selfish actions.  As I said before, Russia is a difficult place to adopt from, and after an incident like this it may only become more difficult.  There has been talk of a freeze on Russian adoptions to Americans, but I hope/think that talk may be cooling down for the time being. 

The actions of this one woman could cast a dark shadow over Americans adopting internationally in the eyes of many overseas, but that is something that adoptive parents like us have the ability to deal with.  I'm not too worried about that.  I am worried about how this young boy's future will be affected by the actions of this woman.  I will hold out hope that someday I will read an article about how this story led him to be introduced to a family that loved him and accepted him for who he was.

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