Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Important Stuff...

I borrowed this from another blog I read every now and then. I thought it was important, something every adoptive parent should read. It is a good thing to be prepared. Had I not read a million different books before adopting Hope and Grace, I would have been terrified. They were both grieving so much and did not respond to us for days. Anyone planning on adopting should be well educated.

Letter posted by Amy E. of Love Without Boundaries


"I most definitely wish there was a way to educate ALL adoptive parents about the truths of institutional care, however I have come to realize in my daily work that just as many parents are not online reading everything they can find on adoption as are reading.There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parents out there who have no idea what life is like for a child in an orphanage, and who head overseas to pick up their "China doll" only to be handed a baby who is unresponsive, thin, unable to eat...and on and on and on.While adopting my son last month, I walked several times over to the White Swan (Hotel where parents stay in China) to talk to parents, and over and over I spoke with moms and dads who had no clue whatsoever about the issues their kids were having.I heard so many times things like, "she won't eat solid foods" (oral aversion), "she has no muscle tone" (muscle atrophy from lying in a crib all day), "she won't smile" (pure grieving from being taken from her foster mom).I guess since I live China 24/7, I assume everyone adopting does, too, which is not the case.I was trying to process how many parents get all the way to China without ever reading about post-institutional issues.It was sobering to me.Babies in the NSN (non-special needs) as well as the SN (special needs) path can have issues with attachment, motor skills, emotional issues and more.Again, I am often surprised to talk to parents leaving soon and to realize they are not prepared. One family was adopting from our foster care program, and when I told them that the child was DEEPLY attached to the mom,the father said, "guess she might cry for an hour or so then?"An hour or so? She had been in foster care for over a year!I tried to explain that this little girl was about ready to lose everything she had ever known, and that they should not expect her to be sunny, happy, and full of personality after an hour.I told them to please remember the 72 hour rule.......that after 72 hours they would probably see her spark, but that she would probably grieve for a long time after that as well.I think for many adoptive parents, they just don't want to read the "bad stuff", and so I do think that ultimately it is the parents who are at fault for not doing more to educate themselves.There certainly are books galore out there about post-institutional issues.I think adoption from China is very similar to giving birth.. it is much more rosy to only read the happy stories on APC (another website for adoptive parents), but I now encourage every family I meet to read the harder ones as well.It is always a very sad day for the orphanage and everyone involved when a child that they know is absolutely fine, but perhaps thin and grieving, is returned by their new parents for being "delayed".I think far too many people believe their child's life is going to begin the moment they meet them.The truth is, and everyone must realize it...a child's life is going on RIGHT NOW in China, and all of their experiences are shaping who they are.The one thing I have learned over and over again about the kids in China is that they are fighters and survivors.But for some reason, people seem to want to ignore these issues in public forums.Recently, one of our medical babies that we had met several times in person was adopted, and we all knew that this child was a "spitfire".When the family arrived and spent a few days with her, they decided she was too much of a handful for them and they wanted to disrupt.She absolutely was not what they expected.I think all of us, who do realize that delays occur and that babies can usually overcome them, should be these children's advocates by continually trying to educate new parents on what to expect in China.By helping them be better prepared, we just might help stop a disruption in the future.I love Chinese adoption with my whole heart, and it is my life's work…but I also want every family who goes to get their baby to go with their eyes open and to be as emotionally prepared as possible, for the child's sake."

Amy E-Love Without Boundaries"

2 comments:

Steve and Jan said...

I love everything I have ever read by Amy E. Some things I have read and re-read many times. Even after being home for a long time with my kids, occasionally, I need reminding what they have been through. It's easy to forget they had a life before us.

Thanks for the post.

Hope all is well and you're getting settled.

Love,
Jan

JeanneC said...

AMEN, SISTER!!!!!!!!!I'M TOTALLY WITH YOU ON THIS ONE. Abigail's RAD and PTSD are STILL totally disqualified by so many people who "ought" to know better (like family and some mental health professionals). I am so grateful for support from those who truly understand and for the adoption and attachment therapist we are seeing. Thanks.
I think about you stuck in that apartment with 5 little ones. I hope you get someplace soon.