Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Judge Not... Part I

If you have read or listened to the news at all in the last couple of weeks, there was a story recently about a single woman who had adopted a young boy from an orphanage in Russia last year. Apparently life with this child was a bit more than she had anticipated; she finally put him on an airplane with a note pinned to him saying she could not be his mother anymore.

I am guessing that the first time you read this story, you looked similar to me. My mouth was hung open in awe and shock. Can you just put a 7 year old on a plane to another country like that? Did she really do that? What was she thinking?

Since that story broke, the adoption boards I read (yes, I still read them) have been full of comments, opinions, but most of all, judgments. Very few have been in support of this lady. Many have accused her of treating the little boy like he was a dog or just easily discarded. If it were a jury trial, the mother would have been tried and convicted at this point.

You might think, being the mother of two adopted children myself, that I am ready to join the bashing bandwagon.

Think again.

First of all, I don't feel like I have enough information to judge anyone (as if it is my place TO judge). I know what the media has presented, but I have been around long enough now to know that the media, no matter how hard they try not to, can and will be biased in what and how it presents the "facts" of a story. The media gives part of the story. Ask anyone who has been interviewed for a news story. They will talk and talk to the reporter then only see a few things they actually said reported, and that is out of context more often than not. I am not saying I have no use for the media. I do. I read the paper nearly daily and often browse the news online. I just have learned to take what I read with a grain of salt!

Second of all, like some others I have read, I am not going to say there is one person at fault here. So many factors were in play, from the parents who were alcoholics, the orphanage workers who didn't disclose difficult behavior issues, the adoption system that encourages us to adopt but doesn't truly train is in how to handle adoption and the children we bring home, the agencies eager to take money for adoptions who do not follow up with post adoption advice, consultations, etc., our society that doesn't support adoptions or behavior issues...I believe we would have to line up several people if we were going to start playing the blame game.

I am going to take a guess about this lady. I don't know her. I don't know her thoughts. I can only guess by my own experiences and what I have read in the paper. She decides she wants to be a mother. She will be a single mother but will have support through family. She adopts a child, a little boy. She thinks, like we all do, that love will conquer all. If you love your child, he/she will feel loved and act loved. However, there is a reality. Children coming from a background that this little boy likely came from, have some issues, whether they are the kind that are out there in the open or under the surface. Most children who have been relinquished or taken away from a parent will suffer some trauma. It is invariable. Life in an orphanage, no matter how "nice" or "good" it is, is still life in an orphanage. It is an institution. There is not one set caregiver, but several around the clock. It is so hard to establish any kind of relationship or bond when your caregivers change every few hours. Suddenly this little boy is on a plane to live in a foreign land where a foreign language is spoken. Quite possibly, there was a honeymoon period. The young boy was in shock or trying to be good for his new mother. Unfortunately there was that dam of emotions from the many traumas of his life...and eventually the dam just breaks. New Mom is trying her best to keep him on track. However, the more she tries to establish that relationship, the more difficult he becomes. And unfortunately, in the midst of those moments (which I will not judge since I have been there in some senses of the word) this momma did NOT think clearly. She just knew something had to give. So she wrote a note, bought a plane ticket, and sent him away.

It is so easy to condemn someone, especially if you have not been in their shoes. Am I saying what she did was right? Would I have done the same thing? I would like to think not. I would hope not. But I was not in her shoes.

Adoption under the best circumstances is a transition no matter how you slice it. It is a major life changing event for both you and your child. Throw in some other factors, such as a very traumatized little boy, and the story becomes more complex. What looks like a clear picture suddenly becomes very murky.

I have more to say but will save it for another day (maybe later), another part. Right now, I have to go face the day.

More later,


  1. I have found the adoption community to be either very supportive or highly condemning based on the situation.

    The situation with this mother and her Russian born son is, simply put, 'sad.'


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