Feelings about adoption etc.

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by toughlovin, May 28, 2012.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    OK I changed threads because I thought Nancys post about adoption was great, and I wanted to discuss it but didnt want to side track the post about anger either.

    Nancy I think you described the feelings around adoption, and the heartache that our difficult children brought into our lives so well. Gosh I wanted a child so much when we adopted our difficult child. That phone call that we got saying we had a baby boy was so thrilling... and then the reality of bringing up a child began. In those early years I really thought the difficulties had to do with my parenting. And man I did have some heartache as some friends were not at all understanding about his challenging little personality. Things would have been so different if he had been an easier child....I recently asked my husband if we knew what we did now would we have adopted him and he looked at me and kind of shook his head.

    And yet I really cannot imagine not having him for my son. He is my son and I love him and I really cant imagine it any other way and really dont regret adopting him. I feel like in the process of being a mother I learned a lot about myself and in many ways my life would not be as rich and I would not be the person I am now. And having a challenging child has taught me a great deal about myself as well.

    But I think part of it for me is also my easy child daughter. I have a wonderful relationship with her and she is a major joy in my life (and now and then she drives me nuts with her 17 year old ways). I am thrilled she is my daughter... and fact is if we had not adopted my son we probably would not have adopted at all, and then I would not have my daughter either. So if I think about living a life with no children, or living a life with the two children I have, I would take the life i have with my two kids. I am very glad I am a mother and would not want to have missed out on having that experience.

    However I might feel very differently if I already had bio children and then adopted my difficult child... I think in some ways that would be harder to reconcile because then I would already be a mother. So Nancy I totally understood your feelings in your post. And I can also understand the feelings of wishing to having never adopted a child.

  2. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    I agree that Nancy expressed herself brilliantly about all the emotions that go along with adoption and parenting. I'm sure that most of us can relate to what Nancy wrote about the entire adoption process.

    Part of what upsets my h so much now is that he could probably have been perfectly fine without a child in his life at all. More than 20 years ago I told my h that it was very important for me to become a parent and have a child in our lives. My h and I went through several years of infertility and then we started on the adoption path. I was the one who made all the phone calls and arrangements for our adoption, and my h really followed my lead in all of this. When we finally brought home our son, my h was so happy to have a son. I have always thought that we were lucky to have adopted a son, because it is probably easier for my h to bond with a son than a little girl.

    I agree with you TL, that even with all the problems of our difficult child, I do not regret bringing this child into our lives. I really can't imagine how empty my life would be if we had never adopted our son. I feel that i am a much better person because of becoming a parent.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a different perspective because I did have a biological child first and he is very challenging even now and NOTHING like me and then we adopted abroad, out of foster care and then privately. Because we didn't care about race and were open to older kids, the adoption process was fast. Three of my adopted children are lovers. I am closer to PastryChef, Sonic and Jumper than to SportsFan. I am more like Jumper than any of my children. I am glad I adopted them...I can not imagine my life without them most of the time...haha.

    My older child adoptions were nightmares. There was Scott who left us and R. who sexually abused the younger children as well as doing other damage too.

    Although adoption IS an issue with the girls and Sonic (plus his autism), it is not enough to stop them from being loving, caring, sweet people. I think PastryChef's drug use was due more to her shyness and need to be popular than being adopted. If asked, that's the reasons she will give. And she did stop rather young (used drugs from 12-19). Although it is never forgotten, adoption has not gotten in the way of these three kids basically being wonderful. That includes Sonic with his challenges...he has a great heart and really does want to be good. Most of the time he is good and very loving.

    I think the adoption experience is different for everyone and has a lot to do with the child. I would NEVER NEVER NEVER adopt an older child again. And I tell anyone who asks me not to adopt an older child. The bonding is not there if the child has been in foster care (and probably getting abused) for too long. I do not believe that you can conquer all problems with love. That's very sad...that you adopt and love a child who doesn't want your love and, in fact, may hurt you and your other children and your beloved pets.

    I do not love or relate to my bio. son more than to my adopted kids. In fact, it is probably the other way around. SportsFan is really a very selfish person. I love him and my grandson bunches, but the other three kids have much kinder souls (if that makes any sense). There are a lot of very selfish people in my family (my father is another one) and I guess he inherited some of that.

    This is an interesting topic to talk about. Thanks for bringing it up :)
  4. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I just posted on Nancy's thread and addressed CJane's comments about adopted kids and the dynamics of extended family life. I won't repeat myself here, but I will say that it never occured to me during the adoption process, that my daughter would be "different" in any way from her cousins. Boy was I ever wrong!

    Nancy and I have discssed our difficult child's adoption issues extensively. They have never met, but the similarities are striking. They are about 3 weeks apart in age, and they both showed their nurture/over/nature tendancies from the very beginning. The big difference in our stories is that Nancy saw things way sooner and much more clearly than I did. Nancy's difficult child is about two laps ahead of mine on the hamster wheel, but I can see the writing on the wall now.

    I have no idea what the distant future holds for my daughter. Some people hit bottom, rise up, and change. Some people hit bottom, drag themselves up for a bit and crash again. What I do know is that my life and hers are not Hallmark TV specials that will play out in a predictable way. I worry about her like crazy, but I remind myself on a regular basis that I simply must "love what is". Some days this is easier than others.

    Whenver my difficult child brings a new guy home to meet me, at some point (early on) she subjects the poor fellow to the "journey through the scrapbooks". Un until high school, she did not behave like a difficult child, and it breaks my heart sometimes to listen to her wistful narrative: "This is when my mom took me to the Teddy Bear Picnic at the library". "This is my birthday party." "This is my dad and me reading in the hammock". It's like she has to prove - to herself and to others - that she had a good childhood. And that's my point. She did. Would she be where she is today had she been raised by her bio mom (a teenager in the foster system)? Yes. She would most likely be doing exactly what she's doing now. My nurture didn't trump her nature in the end....but it did for awhile, and that is what matters to both of us.

    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Dash... Your story isn't done yet. If your signature is correct, she's "only" 20... and for a LOT of difficult child kids - adopted or not! - there's often some magic wand that gets waved at about the age of 25 (my bio-bro, 100% difficult child, made us wait until he was a year or two beyond that...) The fact that she still wants to "hang onto" those kinds of memories... maybe, in time.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    In general... I'm not an adoptive parent. But I do have an older-when-adopted sibling... a slightly different perspective. And having lived through that as a child? Had I not been able to have my own bio-children, I would NOT have adopted. Not that my sibling turned out terrible... he didn't. But it's not a straight-forward situation, even in the midst of his "success". There are just SO many complications.
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    "Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and should not be construed to be a political or religious opinion. The are based solely on the author's personal experiences and not meant to offend or otherwise convince anyone of it's merit."

    If anyone asked myself or husband if we would ever adopt again we would both say a resounding no. If someone asks our opinion on adoption we would politely ask them if they want our truth or what they want to hear. Often we refrain from such discussions.

    Given that fact, we also love our difficult child without question and unconditionally. I never understood unconditional love until this year. Knowing what we know now about the problems associated with adoption I would never put my easy child or my relationship with husband or our health and well being and economic future in jeopardy again. Almost 21 years ago husband and I were taking a walk around the block. We had just met difficult child's birthmother in a prearranged meeting with the social worked. I had second thoughts and told husband maybe we should go ahead with it. He told me we should see it through and if it was meant to be it would happen. I will never believe that statement again.

    Over the past 21 years there were many times when husband and I would look at each other and say "this was your idea" a private joke between the two of us that only we could understand or appreciate.

    difficult child's bm never had any more children, she said by choice. Thank goodness. In all honestly (and this is where you have to promise not to take this politically or religiously) she should never have had difficult child and should have terminated the pregnancy. I get very upset with the current political climate of some folks who want to stop all abortions or make them almost impossible to get. I want to have each one of those self-righteous people adopt a difficult child a raise him/her to adulthood and come back in 21 years and tell me what their feelings are now, and do it with the horrible health care system that we have that is bankrupting many families and not providing for the care of these children. I want them to take my difficult child, drug addicted and alcoholic and living on the edge and tell her she could not have the abortion that was the only choice that made any sense. I want them to figure out what to do with a child that would have been born to an addict who has no ability to support herself and engages in risky behavior.

    I also get very upset with my own church's view on abortion and it has caused me great pain and I have become distanced from them. husband is even more vocal about this that I am. I haven't seen my church lift a finger to help the families who are raising children with the scars of their birthparents. And I haven't seen anyone in my church step up to agree to adopt the unborn child of a drug addict.

    Yesterday we had a woman in our city arrested for being drunk and sitting on her the week old infants head and crushing her. That baby is now in intensive care and they do not know if she will make it. The woman is in jail. That could be my difficult child. It makes no sense to make her have a child. Some women should never have children.

    Getting back to adoption. I also cannot imagine difficult child not being in our life. I genuinely miss her and wake in the middle of the night worrying about her. I can't imagine how she is going to survive when we are gone. I worry about the impact she will have on easy child's life. But I don;t think they should allow adoptions in families with birth children and they should be brutally honest with in the background special training should be required. In some ways I think they should bring back orphanages. I know that sounds archaic but it's something husband and I have discussed for a while now.

    So here you have it, my views are pretty extreme and I hope this does not turn into a debate or causes anyone to be offended. If that happens I will delete my post because that is not at all what I want. But I do think this is the one place where we can honestly share our feelings, no matter how difficult they may be to hear.

    I love my difficult child with all my heart. I will walk through water or fire for her. Nothing can ever change that.

    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Nancy... I hear your feelings, and I don't believe you're "wrong".

    Same caveat as Nancy... this is not intended to be a political fight, but exploring an issue...

    The hardest part is... there IS no "right" answer. It doesn't matter WHAT approach is taken in dealing with these extreme kids, some will end up as... extreme kids, or worse (psycho/sociopathic).

    If we assume that a certain set of conditions will produce these extreme kids, we could "divert" them from family-adoption, and the result will be?? Fewer broken hearts like yours, but probably a multiplication of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and other issues being fed back into the community. I'm not saying one side or the other is right or wrong, just that there are unintended consequences, either way. And IF we assume that particular set of conditions to be "universal", then every kid coming out of that situation will be assumed to be a problem, right or wrong... which would mean that some kids who should get a chance, would not even be considered for adoption.

    The reality is, we will never know with 100% certainty which kids are "salvageable" and which are not. In my mind, there are two definite exceptions to that: older adoptees, and foreign adoptions in general. There ARE some cases that work, but the number that fail are far higher.

    If the world were fair, we'd be able to stamp out substance abuse and poverty, and have appropriate ways of dealing with those who have mental illnesses. There would be no abusive spouses, no deadbeat parents, no abandoned kids, no abused kids. If the world were fair, every family would have "enough", including access to medical care. (And yes, even in Canada, this can be an issue, because poverty and substance abuse and remote locations get in the way.) If the world were fair... but it isn't, and we can't make it become that way.

    I just wish there were answers that worked.
  9. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Agreed with Nancy and Insane. I would be brutally honest with anyone that wanted to adopt. That said, stable homes are probably the only shot these kids have of turning out to be productive citizens, whatever the probability of that is. It is too bad that adoptive parents don't know what they are getting into and society doesn't do a better job of getting those parents more support. And I would like to see everyone who believes every child has a right to life step up and adopt a mentally ill drug or alcohol damaged kid.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think you understand a broader picture than many.
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    TL I want to make clear that it's not that I wish I had never adopted a child at all. Just like you I cannot imagine my life without difficult child in it. One of the things that is hardest for me to imagine is her not having any contact with us or living in such desperate conditions that we cannot reach her. It would break my heart and I cannot imagine coming to the end of my life not knowing she will be ok. I'm not sure I can say she has made me a better person because when I think back over some of the really horrible times we have been through I don't think I did very well. I cried way too much and threatened and yelled and tried to make deals and sometimes just broke down in anger. I can say she has taught me the real meaning of unconditional love.

    Am I sorry that difficult child came into my life? Absolutely not. I cannot imagine loving her any more than I do and I can say with all honestly that having both a biological and adopted child, the love is no different.

  12. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Nancy....i know. I think we all have a range of emotions...i think we feel very similarly but may explain it differently.

  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Because... these are very complicated situations, and it's impossible to really explain... and nobody understands. NOBODY. Unless... you've walked a mile in those same moccosins...
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Amen Insane. And that is why this group is so important, because we listen without judgement.

  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Yes Amen. I have a group of adoptive moms who have been getting together for years. The thing is all of their kids are doing well... a couple have had a few issues over the years but nothing like my difficult child.... and so I am not sure I could have this brutally honest discussion and sharing about adoption with them. Although I don't regreat adopting my son I do sometimes wonder what it would have been like if we had been given a different child... and that kind of feels awful too.... then I sometimes think well he was given to us because we could handle him... ha but then I think of all the mistakes we made, or wonder about the mistakes we made.... Anyay that is all to say i am really gald to have this group who really understands and is willing to share. Thank you all.

  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, three of my kids are doing well so I don't totally share Nancy's view, although mostly I do. I am going to focus on children in the foster care system for a second and go a step beyond w hat Nancy has said. This is so not easy child, yet so thought about in the foster/adoption community, that I'm going to share it with all of you just because I know you will understand (or I hope you will).

    To me, if a birthmother has one drug addicted/alcohol affected child, whose life is ruined due to her choices, she should do jail time. If she does it a second time, she should be sterilized. Period. I don't care about the "rights" of a woman who can't keep her legs shut and can't lay off the drugs and booze. I care about the poor child who will forever struggle with damaging challenges because his own biological mother didn't care enough about him to keep him safe.

    Sonic was the fifth child of his BM. All of the other children were drug exposed/affected. All were in Grandma's care. She didn't want them. Grandma decided after #4, who was not that much older than Sonic, that she could not do any more children and did not even want to see Sonic because she did not want to bond. BM pranced into the hospital high as a kite, gave birth to him, and left him. He needed open heart surgery at five weeks old and, as everyone knows here, has Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and possibly other affects from her drug and alcohol use and lack of prenatal care.

    Should she have been allowed to give birth to FIVE children? Who knows how many she gave birth to in the end? She also gave Sonic syphilis and we all assume she was prostituting for drug money. Is it wrong that I think she should have been sterilized after child #2?

    Don't get me wrong for a momment. I love Sonic with all my heart. He is a terribly sweet young adult with a loving soul that is hard to explain. But he won't be living a normal life because of her choices. Why are her civil rights more important than the lives of these children?

    I don't think BM even thought about abortion. She just spit out the kids and gave them to somebody else.

    Sonic had crack in his system when he was born.

    Anyhow, this is my opinion.

    Also...if I were still young and could adopt again, I think I would, but it would have to be a very young infant. Older kids just don't seem to make it very often. I agree with orphanages coming back. Foster care is HORRIBLE. many of the foster parents are just as or more abusive than the birth homes and orphanages are at least a form of consistency.

    We also need to get a lot more info on our adopted children than we do right now so we can decide what we can handle and what we can't. They hold back on us A LOT to place children, which isn't fair to the familly or the child.

  17. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    MWM the great thing about it is you don't have to share my view and we can still be OK. Although I have to admit there is not much with what you said that I disagree with except the adopting again part, but that's just a personal choice.

    There is much that is wrong with the foster care system. My easy child and I have had long talks about this and think children born to drug/alcohol addicts should be removed from the home and we agree that they should not have any more children. And of course in our fantasy world we think they should be sterilzed but we know that cannot happen in a free country and so it's just a vent. But if they were taken away and placed in orphanages where the state had to raise them, perhaps some of the views on birth control would change. Or we could require all those who are against birth control to adopt one.

    The shame in all of this is that it is innocent children that suffer because of the stupidity of adults.

    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  18. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Thing I love about opinion threads is no one has right to dispute another persons personal thoughts... ya all those disclaimers Nancy said insert here...

    Don't know if I'm qualified to participate in this thread all my kids being bio kids; closest I came to adoption was temporary custody of a 16yo crack head who I took to the ER and dumped because couldn't get her to quit hitting the pipe while pregnant.

    Any way it's got my vote for in some cases court ordered sterilization - my kids Xdad at last count 10 years ago had 6 kids between 4 moms, it's like cats at that rate in 20 years the whole planet could be insane!!! Someone neuter him please.

    As far as adoption I think full disclosure to adoptive parents and also an escape clause if get into situation my friend did they adopted a foster child they got at 4yo, when she was 13yo on advise of the psychiatrist they declared her incorrigible this was suppose to get the child Residential Treatment Center (RTC) services paid for by the state. Here you can do that with a bio kid but not an adopted one the parents were charged with abandonment etc. the child was still in their home.

    The girls blowouts were so intense the father died of a heart attack during one of them. When whole thing was done mother was charged with several felonies for allegedly trying to drown her 8-10 times when mom was washing her hair in reality, her adopted son spent age 15-21yo incarcerated in the state juvi system for allegedly touching this girl thru her clothing 8-10 times. Court even charged the father for abuse he supposedly did at a time he was dead???

    Both kids college money (over $100,000) all the life insurance, savings, vacation property all gone into legal fees...
    That girl was the 13th child of that mother of 17 kids - ya there are times when someone should be sterilized. JMHO
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, Nancy, I don't disagree with you much...lol.

    I know forced sterilization can not be enforced, but it is really frustrating when one woman can bring fifteen damaged forever children into the world with no consequences. Yet the child will face serious consequences his/her entire life.

    This is a good place to vent :)
  20. buddy

    buddy New Member

    It's such a hard subject. I mean, I think there are plenty of bio parents who if asked, would you do it again??? Might say no way. But sometimes I feel like my relatives even say things that make it seem like Q is more disposable (for lack of a better word), maybe more readily pushed on someone else or some other system...afterall, he should be grateful to have been adopted when no one wanted him, right (please be clear this IS NOT MY VIEW of it....I think he didn't ask for this and owes me no more than any child owes a parent).

    Am I glad I said no to any other placements, yes I am. For me I wish I could have. But for us I am glad Ididn't. Q's bio family: Dad and Mom were married when he was born. They had one other child together, a girl. They were being monitored by social services to be allowed to keep her because mom had five older kids all placed with family except one who like Q is autistic and was adopted through social services. They lost custody of both Q and the little girl (who went with family). Dad on his own had something like 10 or 11 kids with a variety of bio moms. The oldest was murdered at age 18. (I think in prison). What can I say to all of that? I dont knowabout the bio moms to those kids and some may be lovely moms with great kids. Q's bio mom has a really good family and they are raising those they took in well from what the social worker (who also goes to the same church as these people and knew them personally) said. They just could NOT handle special needs, it was too much for them, understandably. Q's bio mom actually decided when she was in the hospital giving birth to have her tubes tied. She was desperate to keep him and the sister. Had been in treatment since before he was born and tested clean the whole time. I feel awful for her. BUT they made the decision to go back to selling (and using I assume) drugs. They crashed the car and could have all died. Q was not even in a car seat. No one was hurt but the car was totaled. The kids were never returned. They were given over a year to pull it together and they didn't. She did not even go to the hospital when Q had his brain surgery, I have a note for Q from her and I believe itwas because she was devastated. Couldn't stand to see him, just too broken at that point. It is so hard and I am glad she had no more kids. They divorced though, and he spent the last three years in jail again for crimes involving drugs. I can imagine there are more little Q's out there.

    I go from being so mad at them when Q is having his harder days/times to feeling awful for them. And in terms of forced sterilization, even beyond people like that, I know we got away from the terrible situation where all people with disabilities were being forcefully sterilized for good reason. I met a woman they thought was cognitively impaired and as a very young child was sterilized. She had been misdiagnosed with a genetic condition, was small and had motor issues but is cognitively very well. They became foster and adoptive parents themselves. But should Q be allowed to make babies? Sorry, I'd have to say no. He is NOT going to ever have the skills or judgement to care for a baby, child, teenager of his own. No bc pill for boys, so I wish there was a way to do this responsibly. Can only hope he will make the decision himself, because even if we can convince him to use condoms sometimes he wont always. Well, I guess it is hard to imagine a time when he wont be supervised 100% anyway to go on a date, but still....some point someone can drop the ball and then what?

    I have no answers, but I am glad I adopted. Even when life seems too much, I like you all have said, can't imagine not taking the journey. I love my son deeply.

    There is a facebook page that is so sad but very real. It is full of people who are adopted and are so angry about it. And mostly searching for bio parents and feeling betrayed by the system and adoptive parents. Some seem to view it as a supply and demand for babies that caused them to be adopted. (try convincing all those kids in the foster system of that). I was heartbroken to read it but said nothing because they have a right to expression of their own truths. most felt there was never ever a reason to adopt. Very broken souls.

    Just so many sides to the whole adoption experience and yet I know of many many people, have taught many kids who are happily adopted. I have mentioned before my favorite student ever is a girl who was adopted from Russia at age 10 who is one of the sweetest kids ever. You would never know she was not born to this family. They are all super close. I taught her for four years and only saw amazing things going on. (normal kid stuff for all?? sure, but even that was low, they were a sweet family for sure). My friend who has a bio difficult child was adopted herself and is so glad she was adopted (international adoption). I get very mixed feelings when I have discussions about adoption.

    Bottom line, even more than bio parents, adoptive parents have to be open to a wide range of unknowns and issues. (true of any parent but clearly there are other factors in adoption making it amuch higher risk). Especially when adopting a toddler or older child, serious support and training needs to happen and it is often played down during the adoption process. That does no one any good. I saw a show where the families went to Russia for their first of two visits. The one family took pics etc. to send to an adoption expert, a doctor to ask if she thought the baby had FASD or other obvious issues so they could turn down the referral. I think that is smart. BUT, the mom then said she was worried, she didn't want any kid who was going to grow up and say "your not my real parents anyway" as a teen. I thought she should have just not been allowed to proceed. Her kid IS going to say that if she is a normal teen. Kids will say whatever when they are mad and they will go for the most raw nerve. I just expected it and it has happened. Another family said they wanted their child to grow up and be grateful that she didn't have to be raised in the poor south american town she was fun and to witness to others about how she was saved. I dont think any child should come into a family with a job. Just my opinion, but if this kid just grew up as grateful to her parents as any kid born to a family, that is probably good enough. What baby thinks, thank God I was born to this family and thank heaven they created me instead of some poor family in a third world country)?. (eventually many of us do show gratitude to our parents, etc. not saying that is not going to happen, but you know what I mean, I didn't adopt for my son to be in my debt. LOL thank heaven because that day is never going to happen here!)

    Clearly I am all over the place on this issue. So glad we all have the right to choices and I am grateful that many kids have the opportunity to grow up in a family, I do believe everyone deserves the chance.