Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Question of Intent

I had lunch yesterday with a woman, B~, who adopted two older children from Ecuador last year. She used the same agency that I am using, and we happened to “meet” on our agency’s message board, and it turns out that we work less than five blocks from each other. So, we decided to meet for lunch and discuss adoption type things, and parenting in general, and working motherhood, etc.

We had a very nice lunch, and we were discussing an adoption workshop that B~ and her husband had attended in Cleveland called “Abroad and Back”. She felt it was very helpful information and I am thinking about attending the seminar that will be held in September. B~ expressed some shock and dismay regarding the attitude of a (very) few parents at the seminar, which seemed to be, “the impact of the first 14 to 16 months of my child’s life in an orphanage will be completely ‘wiped out’ within a few days of being in a new family” and “when they get older the child will be so grateful to have been adopted,” and “what lucky lucky children we will have.”

I have not encountered these perceptions among adopted families that I know personally, but, it disturbed me to think this attitude could exist.

I think this goes back to the root question, “why adopt a child from overseas?” Is one adopting to “save” a child, or is one adopting because one WANTS a child. Does it matter? (Because, in the long run, the result is a child coming home to family, a child who, in some cases, wouldn’t have a family.)

Should we expect our adopted children to be any more “grateful” to be a part of our families than our biological children? Is it the child who is lucky to have a family, or the family who is lucky to have a child? And again, does it matter?

Just a thought to chew on,


Blogger Christina said...

good question(s)! I think intent does matter, but it's also possible that people will change their attitudes after their child is home. But in general I think the whole "saving" a child viewpoint is dangerous because what kid wants to grow up feeling like a charity case? Honestly, our daughter has been such a huge blessing to our family I would laugh at anyone who said we "saved" her.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 2:17:00 PM  
Blogger LawMommy said...

I feel the same way - what happens to a family who wanted to "save" a child? Does that child feel less "wanted" than other children in the family (assuming there are other children)? While I do not doubt that Lana will have a different life, and hopefully a much 'better' life, being adopted my family than if she remained an orphan in Vietnam, our motivation for adopting her is simply a desire to have another child, period.


Thursday, July 20, 2006 2:34:00 PM  
Anonymous JDEgirl said...

Certainly don't want to scare anyone here, but I feel like I must share what happened to some friends of ours. They adopted a son at 4 months of age. The dad told me they held that kid day and night and "loved the hell out of him" but in his opinion, those first 4 months of having no loves at all turned out to be insurmountable - he felt like they never really connected with that boy. Love him, yes, but connected, no. And that boy is grown and has a child of his own now. Some of that could be chalked up to the fact that each person is unique and this might just be the way this kid was, but I have to beieve that if the dad was sensing this disconnect it must be on track.

G - Delete if this is not appropriate please.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 5:16:00 PM  
Blogger -Jenny said...

Family who is lucky to have the child.

Saving a child is not a means to a family. I really hate that term and we do NOT use it in our home. Other tells us we are but we always save no She will be saving US.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 7:29:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

It is possible that a child who was given *no* attention in his/her first months of life will have a problem attaching to parents later... but there has been a lot of research in attachment theory in the last 10 years and I would think in many cases a child as young as 4 months could be helped a great deal with good therapy.
Also, if a child has appropriately attached (to birthparents, caregivers or foster parents) they are much more likely to attach well to their adoptive family.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 8:10:00 PM  
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