"There is no clear cut answer to this problem."

I disagree, I think there are very clear cut answers to this problem.

Some of them being that average, everyday people should not be allowed to adopt older children unless they (the adopters) have been thoroughly assessed psychologically and educated on what can happen and how to deal with it.

That if they do adopt, they will be financially responsible for the child until he or she is of age, whether or not they end up having to institutionalize or re-adopt them out.

That if a person is deemed capable of dealing with the likely struggles of an older child there should be no other (biological or adopted) children residing in the home until it has been established that the adoptee is not suffering from any conditions that affect his or her ability to learn and function safely in society.

There should be no profiting financially from adoption. This in itself would go a very long way in eliminating corruption and serve to protect children from being stolen, bought, and or placed in inappropriate or dangerous homes.

Nobody held a gun to this woman's head to adopt. She's just as responsible as everyone else who failed this child and how she chose to handle it is criminal. If anyone put a biological child on a plane to nowhere with only having arranged to have a stranger meet him and deliver him to a government agency unexpected, there wouldn't be any question.

I find it hard to believe that a person wouldn't realize that a child of 7 who'd been living in an institution would very likely have some behavioral/developmental issues. I think that prospective adoptive parents do know that this is likely but choose to either ignore the facts or to believe that it will be different for them.


  1. Campbell - The thing about adopting any child is simple. Truly it is. When a person has a baby of their own, they have 9 months to adjust to the idea and to bond with the child they carry. When a person adopts a baby or older child, they have thought about it, talked about it, gone to all the classes and jumped through the hoops - but that final and most important thing is missing.

    Adoptive Parents do not bond with the child prior to adoption. It is boom, here it is! You the mom, you the dad!

    I know this from watching adoptive parents for a long time. I watched because I wanted to know that my child was really ok. But the fact is anyone who adopts should have to go through a psychological testing and therapy. Not because they are unfit, but because they do not have the option of bonding from the moment of conception. They do not have the realistic viewpoint that this is a person, not a little mini-me.

    I remember your very first post...and I remember you talking about your parents reaction to your asis looking for her biological parents.

    My parents never had that issue - and I had my mother and father and a stepfather and a couple of stepmothers. Many grandparents and cousins coming out of the walls. But the facts were the facts. My mother was always my mother and my father was always my father.

    The only person who had issues with calling anyone mom but my mother, was me.

    Adoption is not a lottery, it is not a pick of the month club. It is the fundamental change of the natural environment of a child.

    Maybe if people considered that they would have to adjust their lives, as natural parents do, to their adopted children, then maybe adoption would not be the first choice.

  2. It is definitely true that adoptive parents do not bond with their adopted child prior to adoption. During our adoption process we had pictures part of the time but it is not the same thing as carrying a child inside your body for 9 months. It just isn't. Having both biological children and an adopted child, I can say, FOR ME, that there was a difference.

    I loved my boys instantly - because I loved them before they were born. I had them with me 24/7 for 9 months and I bonded with them prior to ever seeing or holding them.

    My daughter was just handed to us in a cold, institutional Russian orphanage. She was 14 months old and crying. She was a stranger and we were strangers to her. I would be lying if I said I loved her. I didn't have any negative feelings; the feelings I had were positive, but it was surreal. It wasn't love. We were able to spend one afternoon with her. She was very charming and I remember laughing a lot. She was obviously thrilled to be getting attention and basked in it. I felt intense feelings of affection for her but not the love I had felt for my bio kids. Not the "I would step in front of a train for you" kind of love.

    We brought her home and she was violent at first. She banged her head against the floor and the wall. She pulled her hair out, she bit my (then) 2 year old son and me almost hourly. I know she was grieving and terrified but it didn't make it easier to love her. I felt so bad for her and wanted desperately to make her feel better but I didn't know how. I went to a therapist and got some advice on how to deal with the violence. It worked. We also found a Russian news station that would calm her down instantly - just the sound of the language. We had that on a lot until we didn't need it anymore.

    And all this time I was bonding with her and so was the rest of the family. NOw I can honestly say I do love her with the "I would step in front of a train for you" intensity once reserved for my bio kids. We got to the same place, it was just a different way. It was like the difference between falling head over heels in love with someone and gradually falling in love with a friend. The same end result.

    But it didn't happen instantly and no one prepares you for that. I felt like I was babysitting at first. I think some APs are full of shit when they say they fell in love instantly - or maybe it is just different for different people. I wonder if it is experienced differently for APs who have bio kids vs those who do not?

    Rest assured, some of us APs actually do love our adopted kids as much as bio kids even though we don't share DNA and even though we did not give birth to them.

  3. Kris, amazing comment. Thank you. Wow.

    "I felt like I was babysitting at first"

    I know EXACTLY what you mean when you use this comparison, and it makes sense!

    "We got to the same place, it was just a different way. It was like the difference between falling head over heels in love with someone and gradually falling in love with a friend. The same end result."

    This makes a ton of of sense to me too. And, my guess is it would be different if you had bio kids first. If one didn't, they'd have nothing to compare it to. Age must make a difference also. I mean, a newborn and an 14 month old are entirely different beings, there is so much change and development between certain years for children.

    And Kris, believe me, I know we couldn't have been loved anymore than my dad loved us. He was completely dedicated to all three of us kids, heart and soul.

    APs absolutely can love adopted kids just as much as bio kids, I know it : )

  4. In fact, the following is exactly what I said Lori, "So interesting to observe the different reactions of our mom and dad, how my mom was threatened and my dad, well, not threatened in the slightest. "Hell, it's been our kid for all this time so if this changes anything, so be it".He was right. Nothing changed."

    See, it wasn't both parents. My dad never had an issue with being insecure or jealous because he parented without ego. I've never had any jealousy problems with my son's dad's girlfriends. They would never be my son's mom or replace me. It's not possible. In fact, my hope is that he DOES like them, that they are good to him and treat him as he should be treated. Even if he called them mom (he never has and is like you in that way, I'm the only mom), I'd still be mom.

    Some parents are insecure, some step parents are insecure and some adoptive parents are insecure and it doesn't sit pretty on any of them. It forces deceptive behavior and unfounded guilt on behalf of their kids, even adult "kids". Needy parents, just what every kid wants!

    Hell, some parents are even jealous of each other, eh? And they don't even have to be separated or divorced for that to be!

  5. this is a great post Campbell!
    I have the opportunity to speak to a group of prospective adoptive parents at an information night at our adoption agency, very much looking forward to this as is an opportunity to hopefully educate them about the reality of adoption and the process you go through.

    My son has only been home a short time (less than a year) but I can absolutely say that for the first couple weeks we definitely felt like we were babysitting our son.

  6. Just a thought on the "needy parent" syndrome. When it comes to women it is taught to us at such an early age to be good mothers (think baby dolls), when the time comes and we can't reproduce there is the underlying pressure to be an even better AP, this is where the insecurity comes into play. Men aren't raised with the same attitude towards parenting that women are.

    Coming terms with infertility is a constant process. Most people have the attitude of "You can just adopt", like that will make the feelings of defectiveness go away.

    When infertility is the reason PAPs are looking to adoption, counseling should be part of the process before they are handed a child.

  7. Hey Cheryl, wow, good luck to you on your "speaking engagement". Very cool!

    I really think you're right about seriously dealing with infertility issues prior to adopting and I myself am guilty of having said, "well, you could adopt" as words of consolation. I'd never considered that people could feel "defective" if they were unable to have kids.

    I think us female types (not just APs) sometimes have a natural tendency to be "needy" or "clingy" and it's something we have to consciously address and pay attention to when it comes to our kids. We need to enjoy them while they're young and then let them grow up!

    I wrote a post about my son turning 20 and I included this excerpt below from his baby book that I'd written when he was just about 3 years old.

    "Right now you're very close to me and miss me quite a bit when I'm gone. It won't be very many years till you won't so I'll enjoy it until then. My plan is to enjoy you now so when you start to break away it will be o.k.."


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