Destroyed Adoption, how can good go so bad?

The morning news reported that an adoptive mother of an 8 year old Russian boy, sent him back to Russia with a one-way ticket and a note claiming that he is mentally unstable! This is shocking, not to mention heartbreaking, yet I am struggling to find where to place the blame.  Does fault lie with the mother? How about the agency? Russia?  Could we even venture….the little boy? Or dare I say it….us, the adoptive community?!!

There is no doubt that the mother in this case was desperate.  Her pain real and raw.  No one, whether demented or evil or even psychotic, would choose to see their hopes and dreams end in this horrific manner.  She obviously did not spend months, even years hoping and planning for her little boy to come home, only to send him back again.  I just cant see it. But what did go wrong? I dont  think we will ever know.  We can imagine that she saw no other way out.  Possibly she was under-educated about the potential challenges that she would face in adopting an older child-yes, 8 years old is “older”.  Its unimaginable what a child of eight has seen and endured.  They are often battling the scars and memories that could fill a lifetime.  It is conceivable that this information fell through the cracks and was never absorbed into her reality until it was too late.  Parents are required to take many hours of educational classes in preparation but as they say, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you cant make it drink’.

Oh, how we would love to blame the agency!  Big business, trying to make a buck off the backs of the poor and innocent. In more than just a few cases, our blame would seem justified.  No one can deny that there have been too many agencies with immoral practices and policies, the result of which has been a marred reputation for the industry as a whole.  Not to mention immeasurable pain for many families.  And we haven’t even touched on the money lost.  But is that what we are dealing with here?  Are we talking about an agency that has delivered poor or unethical services to an unsuspecting family?  I really dont think so.  WACAP (World Association for Parents and Children) is one of the larger, more established agencies in the country.  Although we have never adopted through them personally, I know that they are an agency with an good reputation.  One look at their website and you will see that they offer lots of wonderful services and support to families that adopt through them.  I would be surprised if someone in a stressful situation would be unable to find the needed support within their organization.  If nothing else, it would seem that an agency that large would be sure to have other families that you could contact for support.  Other families that have struggled with their children from Russia, it is not uncommon.

So, can we place the blame on Russia?  They are appalled by the actions that this adoptive mother took, finding it unthinkable, even abusive.  But what led her to it?  A child that is acting out destructively, even to the point that she feels comfortable labeling him as mentally deranged.  Likely his behavioral isn’t isolated to the time he has spent in the U.S.  Behavior of that extreme has an origin somewhere else. Logic would lead us to conclude that he was probably abused in some way prior to placement.  But, its a system that has carried a heavy reputation of abuse and neglect.  We can hardly place blame where a knowledge of a pre-existing condition was common place.

Where then, does that leave us?  Here I find a home for my blame.  If a child is orphaned they, by default, become the heir of society.  We can try to argue the truth of that statement, but I hold my ground ethically, socially and spiritually.  But I will reserve a further analysis of that to another blog.  For now we will leave it as a challenge for someone to dispute the fact that society and the world (at the very least) benefit from the proper care of our future generations.  Sadly, there are merely a few brave souls who feel called to bring a hurting child into their heart and home.  Only a few who know without a doubt that a child grows stronger emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically within the perimeters of a loving, supportive family and are willing to make it personal.  Why do I refer to these families as “brave”?  Again, probably a explanation that warrants another blog.  Simply put, children who suffer trauma struggle to overcome it and when you make the choice to walk alongside them in that journey, you willingly share in it.  So, where does the blame land?  With those of us who know full well the challenges that the mother faced and didn’t stand with her to make her placement a successful one.  There are far too many of us battling our demons in secret. And again, far too many who have tasted victory and turned aside from those that could use someone to stand beside them in theirs.  Its not that adoption is a battle front but rather, its a fight for the life and survival of the child you love to overcome the ever-present wounds that threaten to consume them.  This mother needed to know that there are people to help her, that she is not a failure for struggling, that there are other options besides sending her little one on a plane back to loneliness!