There is a WRONG way to handle a difficult child

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    even if we warrior moms don't know the right way.
  2. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was just going to post this . The story is on MSNBC, too:

    I don't know much about adoption law, let alone international adoption law, but, it's not like a puppy you take back to the shelter where you got it if you don't want it after adopting it. If the parents legally adopted the child, and truly wanted to give him up because they couldn't handle him, couldn't they have gone through social services, and put him into foster care here in the U.S.? Or is that not how it would work?

    The story definitely made me think of so many parents here who have adopted kids who ended up having some pretty severe issues. I understand the frustration, and even the fears, of the parents in the article, but there is no excuse for how they handled this. Russia has a right to be furious, especially if this is but one of many issues with adoptions from there.

    Of course, I'm sure there is more to the story that isn't being written about yet, too.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Whatever problems the boy had, there is NO excuse for just sending the child back, alone and abandoned (that is how he must have felt at the very least), like a puppy. NO EXCUSE.

    While the reports of children adopted from overseas being killed are sad, I wonder how many US children adopted here are killed every year? I think that might help put things into some kind of perspective. NOT that it is EVER acceptable to murder a child, adopted or not.

    What is it that made these people think they could just send him back like a toaster that didn't work? It seems so ridiculous to me. Did they contact social services? What did social services tell them? Sadly, I can easily see the SW's who work in our county telling adoptive parents that since the child was not US born then the child had to go back to his country of origin rather than our social services system. I wonder if the budget crisis led anyone to tell this to the parents?

    Really, though, what kind of IDIOT does this?

    Maybe the treaty about international adoptions will be a good thing. Maybe not. I am just surprised it hasn't happened before this. Maybe with a treaty the adoptive parents will be given information into what the child has gone through as far as living conditions, etc...

    Is the US the only country that does these international adoptions? Or just the only country that publicizes them?

    Why did the airline agree to take an unaccompanied minor on an overseas flight with little info about the party on the other end? I bet they are going to take some heat also. When my folks looked into taking Wiz overseas I had to fill out a TON of info for the airline. He was a teenager and was accompanied and STILL I had to say who would be on the other end with him! How did the Gma just stick the kid on the airplane in the care of the flight attendant?

    Makes you wonder about people, doesn't this?
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Had the adoption been finalized? The article said the boy held a Russian passport. Wouldn't he be considered an American citizen?

    While I feel that woman was completely wrong to ship the boy back, I'd still like to know more details. I wonder if she tried to get any help for him, or if she got rid of him once it was beyond what she could handle, or what she expected.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    If you read the whole article it talks about a few situations where the adoptive parents actually killed a baby or young child who'd been adopted from Russia. While sending this boy back is not as bad as that, obviously, what irked me the most was that she had the money to go there, go thru the process, and bring the boy back; it might be best for him to be in his home country if she couldn't handle raising him, however, I see no excuse for putting a troubled 7 yo on a plane by himself with nothing but a note saying how bad he is to fly internationally. That action alone tellls me she was an unfit parent to begin with, whether he's a difficult child or not. If she affordered all that other stuff, she could have afforded to transition him back more appropriately and safely.

    I interpreted it to mean the adoption had been finalized but am not positive. I don't know about adoptions, but when a kid is born to parents of diferent nationalities, doesn't the kid get dual citizenship? Maybe it was something like that- or he got a passport when he came to this country at least.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I agree, KTmom. We need to know more, before we criticise. A lot of the bad things said about the adoptive mother have come from the child. A lot of the concerns from the adoptive family have been down to things the child has said or done. So where is the truth here, and why do people continue to accept the word of someone whose word they suspect? I see this all the time - a friend will say, "I can't believe a word X says to me," and then proceed to say that they haven't spoken to Y, since X said that Y said something mean about them.
    Hello? You are accepting the word of someone you don't trust? The reason this happens, is we lose trust in X at some point AFTER we have listened and believed the things X has said. But too often we don't go back and edit the information we have previously believed.

    In this case - there are two possibilities, plus the spectrum in between.

    1) The child was not a problem but the adoptive family was. Of course there will always be a settling in period especially for a child who doesn't speak the same language, or for whom the new language is not their birth language. There are also cultural differences, and a child who is 7 years old and especially a child who has spent much of his life in an institution, is going to already be very set in some ways which will, at least initially, be incompatible with the family's framework. In other words - if the family is inflexible but in a different way, there will be serious problems in integrating child and family, and these will not get better.


    2) The child really is a problem. This does seem a possibility, given the history of the child - in an institution in Russia where there are already too many children in institutions and where the past claimed standard of care hasn't been that great. The child is 7, so he's already established a lot of his own behaviour patterns, many of which will be coping strategies. He may or may not have been beaten with a broom handle - if you disbelieve the child in one area, you should be sceptical in others. If the child was a problem, this may still not have been readily apparent to the adoptive agency, especially if he was just one of many. Such a kid would have learned how to please people in order to give himself the best chance of being adopted - getting out of the institution would have been his top priority. And if the family were genuinely afraid for themselves and had really tried everything they could, and if the adoption procedure was not yet nailed in place (he still had a Russian passport - was there a probationary period about to expire?) then it's possible that they put him on the plane in a last-ditch attempt to get him off their hands while they still could legally.

    There could well be fault on both sides too, anywhere along that spectrum.

    A child who has been in an institution ANYWHERE in the world for so much of his early life, is a child who has a lot of adjusting to do when he finally is placed with a family. I also think it's likely they responded to the threats by taking them far too seriously - kids make threats, and a child who has been in the position of tis kid in an institution could well have fantasised about burning down the orphanage and releasing all those kids to live free, not fully understanding the long-term ramifications of "how do we look after ourselves now?" He may have used threats as a coping mechanism, back in the orphanage. Heck, I've had kids threaten me, or threaten others, when very young - it generally doesn't mean a thing. We've become far too touchy about this in recent years, but kids will be kids. Of course we have to teach them to not make such threats, but you teach them by giving them better ways to deal with frustration.

    As for dumping the kid on a plane - it sounds like at no time was he left unsupervised, because I know at least here in Australia, it has been possible to chaperone a kid until they are put on the plane at which time the cabin crew will look after them until they are handed over to someone organised to meet them at the other end. Maybe it doesn't happen so much now, but this is how a lot of kids in past years were sent from one place to another in school holidays.

    However - he had only been with the adoptive family since September, so there are a number of questions here. When did the problems begin? What was the agreement between the family and the agency? Was there an opt-out widow which was about to expire? What other help did the family try to get for the boy?

    Other questions arise here - if the boy still had his Russian passport, who is responsible for his health care costs? I know if this had been Australia, unless the boy was legally adopted by the family, he would not have been covered even under our generous national health scheme. And legal adoption takes time. It doesn't happen at the point the child is handed over, it takes months or even years later.

    No - we need to know more about what happened here.

    One thing really concerns me (well, one more thing) - the article talks about the thousands of adoptions to the US from Russia, but all the media in Russia seem to focus on, are the very few where something isn't working out. If you look at the average family where kids were NOT adopted, the difficult child rate is not exactly low. So why does adoption get blamed, when an adopted kid goes off the rails? Sometimes you need to look at other factors:

    1) Some kids, by law of averages, will turn out to have problems.

    2) Some kids are available for adoption because for whatever reason, their parents are unable to parent. Why are the parents unable to parent, and is the reason hereditary in any way?

    3) The time spent in an institution does harm to some kids, and makes them a more difficult prospect to manage when adopted. This means that a lot more intensive work has to be put in, with no guarantee of success. So what changes can be put in place, to how institutions manage their child-raising?

    If we can learn from this, as a world community, maybe some good can come out of it.

    We need to look on it as a learning opportunity, not an individual witch-hunt case.

  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Here's the story from the Nashville Tennessean.

    They claimed that he was dangerous and mentally unstable and that the child had been misrepresented to them by the authorities. I didn't read through the whole article yet but it sounds like it was single woman who adopted the child and then she was completely unable to handle it. Apparently it was this woman's mother who put the boy on a plane back to Russia. Even under the best of conditions an international adoption of a child this age is something that would require a tremendous amount of counseling and support, much less a child that was institutionalized most of his life and may hve mental illness on top of it all. It doesn't sound like this woman had any idea what she was getting in to. I still don't understand why they didn't try to get help for him here. There's no excuse for just putting this poor child on a plane and sending him back like a dog to the pound! Not that it's good to do with a dog either ... just saying
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't question the claim that he's a difficult child at all. But I do know someone who adopted a child from an orphanage in China, and maybe I just assumed prematurely that the process would be similar. This lady and her husband had to travel to China twice- first to do an application and "pick" a potential child to adopt. Then they had to go to some educational type counseling or something to discuss all those things- like unrealistic expectations and the other things that might stem from an international adoption from an orphanage. There were agency reps in China and here that this couple had to basicly answer to. I find it hard to believe that even though in Russia, not China, this woman wasn't given any kind of clue that the child might not be a easy child and she and the boy might need some counseling and support. They brought her (the little girl) back, after I think the third trip, then did have to take her somewhere about a year later to finalize the adoption. If this case in the paper was anything like that, I can't see where the woman wouldn't have the means to handle this better- it's not that I'm blaming her for changing her mind about it so much. And really- she's an RN and should have had access to some type of help to handle the situation better- not the situation of raising him herself necessarily, but the situaation of "what do I do now". Couldn't she have notified some authority over there att least, that she was sending the child back? A note on the kid just doesn't cut it to me.
  9. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I was shocked to see that Russia is not on the list of Hague Convention countries.

    Many other nations adopt from foreign countries.

    In 1996 we went to the Ural mountains to meet our daughter. We were supposed to stay there 10 days, according to our agency "the law says 21 days but they are letting them go after ten days". Well, this was this particular judge's first adoption and he followed the law. Thank goodness we had lived in NY long enough to believe in the belt+suspenders principle of taking enough money to survive in Russia for 21 days. The other couple was from Chicago and was unprepared. The husband had to go back to the States and I was sorry to tell his wife that "no, we can't lend you any money, we have barely enough for our own stay". That felt really bad.

    The court system could not process adoptions fast enough BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH PAPER!!! All those little kids were waiting longer than necessary because of some stupid lack of supplies. Just before we went through the courtroom door a woman asked us "so how come you didn't come last month? What happened?". We were flabbergasted. We could have brought her home when she was 8 months! One less month of her lying on her back waiting for someone to call Mama.

    We did a Russian adoption and a few months later we adopted her in the USA. If the process is still the same this 7 y.o. boy had to be a US citizen.

    The article doesn't state if he had spent his entire life in an orphanage, he might have been taken away from abusive parents. Who knows what is the truth? Look at the fact that our agency was not following procedure by telling us we could circumvent the law. The Russian court did not follow procedure by failing to tell us that we could come get her at 8 mos.

    I feel lousy and furious, once you put that child's picture up on your family fridge while you are waiting for the okay to pick her up, the dream becomes a reality. I can't imagine how all those waiting families must feel right now!
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Tourette's Syndrome- I feel for them too. I do think though, that some potential adoptive parents view things differently than others. Of course, that's looking at it from a bio-mom's perspective. It just appears to me that this lady, even though she had every reason to be at wits end probably, wasn't looking at this like she is committed to parenting and loving this child. She might have had reason to be upset with the agency - maybe they did do wrong and misrepresent things- but it was her responsibility as the adult to get an attny or whatever to deal with things and not treat this child like a product she ordered then changed her mind about because it wasn't what she expected. My son isn't what I expected either. Welcome to Holland. I think your point was the domino effect preventing potentially successful adoptions in the future and I agree, that is a shame. I hope whatever agencies and systems involved can provide more information, counseling, etc in the future to try to minimize the possibility of these bad situations occurring. But those who think adopting a child is like going out and buying a product that can be returned or that someone owes them something for raising "someone else's child" while still expecting to be treated like the "parent" or those who apparently think they can bring a child into their home and the child is going to automatically forget whatever they have left, whomever they might have bonded with, etc, and act like a easy child who adores and looks up to you without any emotional baggage really tic me off. I realize adoptive parents on this board aren't that way, and most aren't, but just like there can be bad bio-moms, there can be bad adoptive moms, too.

    (That crankiness isn't directed to you Tourette's Syndrome, it's directed at that woman. It just really blows my cork that she was so upset with someone else for any reason that she risked the safety of a 7 yo and justified by basicly saying she would have been a good parent if he'd been a good enough kid. Parenting just doesn't work that way- even if he is a difficult child, she wasn't a good parent in my book. And yes, it is a shame that apparently there have been a few cases of this and it will effect those who are trying to adopt and be good parents.)
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm not weighing in as pro or con. From experience as a child advocate and a long time CD member, adoptions are very often "rigged" even in the USA. Potential parents with the best of intentions are misled in an effort to get the kids off the government roll. Withholding information is not uncommon. Children with fetal alcohol syndrome and PTSD are presented with-o proper diagnosis and with-o supports in place to attempt to overcome the damage. It is also not uncommon for a family to be foster adopts who lovingly support "their" child only to be told later that "if" they want the adoption to be completed they need to also adopt a difficult child sibling who is still in the system.

    By the age of 7 patterns are established. Honeymoon periods are most common. Then, when all H breaks loose, the adoptive parents are on their own facing serious lifelong issues. I believe that most of the time in the USA the
    children have not been subject to abuse during the formative years...but if you read the statistics on the foster care system in our Country it indicates that many children are not nurtured. Lack of attachment and nurturing in the formative years is very difficult to overcome.

    Some years ago I watched an educational feature on the children in orphanages in Russia and neighboring countries and most were warehoused. Often they were not exposed to affection and spent most of their hours in
    beds and cribs where their basic physical needs were met...only those needs.

    It is a very sad situation all around. My heart goes out to all the children in need of help. DDD
  12. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    With the budget cuts in this nation I doubt social services was extremely helpful. Given that, Russia & Romania are known in the adoptive communities as the Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) capital of the world. AND there is a high rate of fetal alcohol effect/syndrome in many of these children.

    Adoption is not for the faint of heart. This parent was callous in her way of dealing with this child however I'd like to know all the facts. We've all been there, ladies, with our difficult children. We've all been to the point of wanting our children out of the home.
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I hate to judge the mother without more information. But even so, who would put a child alone on a plane for such a trip?? Any child, let alone a difficult child with severe issues?

    This is a problem here too though, adopting kids with mental issues only to discover them after the adoption is final. But to me, like with wanted that child, there are no guarantees anyone will have a easy child, so why wouldn't you parent them as you would had the child been born into the family?

    sister in law's Mom is a piece of work. She decided she just had to have a little girl. (she had 4 sons) So she found out that adopting here is often easier done as a foster parent. Next thing we know she has gone thru classes and starts having young girls who are either pregnant or have an infant as foster kids. One of the young girls was severely mentally ill for various reasons....genetic and much so that she will remain a ward of the state indefinately. sister in law's mother decided to adopt her 1 yr old daughter. I attempted to caution her as both the baby's parents were reported to have had schizophrenia which increases the child's odds of having it to 1 in 4. Mother and child lived with the family 3 yrs. Mother finally became such a threat the state removed her from the home and left the child behind. sister in law Mom continued with the adoption although the little girl was already showing signs of being a pretty heavy duty difficult child. (which could be from neglect/abuse from bio mom and not necessarily schizo behaviors)

    The child is now 7 yrs old. She is still a pretty major difficult child. sister in law's Mom denies she has issues and has as yet to even attempt to have her evaled, let alone treated. To make matters worse.........she was in her 40's when she adopted and was always one of those lazy type parents to begin with. So the child is not really being parented / nutured on top of it. Aggravates me every time I see the little girl. Yes, she's not in the system anymore but she still managed to get a raw deal. I dread when this child gets older.
  14. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I have read all the articles and I still don't understand it. Seems like there's plenty of blame to go around. For one thing, it sounds like this woman was totally clueless about what behaviors to expect from this child and how to help him. It was irresponsible of her get get herself in to it without doing all the research and knowing what she could be getting herself in to. I don't see anywhere in the articles that she tried to get any professional help for this child! It says she's a nurse - a nurse is not qualified to diagnose psychiatric disorders in children or anyone else for that matter, but maybe she thought she could? She lives in Shelbyville, TN and had easy access to the Vanderbilt University hospital system that is one of the best in the country at assisting families of children with psychiatric or behavioral disorders, but apparently she did not seek help, just floundered on her own for a few months. Then she decided she was in over her head and just put him on a plane and sent him back home with a note in his pocket! And the out of state agency that arranges these foreign adoptions is also at fault. Obviously the adoptive parents have no idea of the potential problems involved, then after the child is in their home they receive no counseling, no support, no followup checks, no nothing - they're just on their own!

    Adopting an older child with an unknown background from a foreign country is risky at best and will never be easy. This child could have fetal alcohol syndrome or come from an abusive or neglectful background. And after being institutionalized for most of his life, he would more than likely have attachment issues and a hard time bonding and blending in to any family. Then he was taken away from everything and everybody that he knew and found himself living with total strangers who expected too much out of him too soon and got no professinal help - then factor in the language barrier on top of it all, and it's not surprising that she had problems with this child! It would be surprising if she didn't!

    I guess this upsets me the most because we're all so familiar with the posts of Linda, the Timer Lady, who has gone through such struggles and sacrificed so much with her own adopted children and their issues and who continues to advocate so strongly and tirelessly for her kids. She has never given up on them and just keeps right on doing everything she can to help them, even when they're at their most difficult. This lady half-heartedly tried for a few months, then put her kid on a plane with a note in his pocket saying she didn't want him anymore!
  15. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Yes, I would like to honor and salute Linda for all her love and determination to do what is best for her very difficult children. Here's to you, Linda, with all my respect and admiration!
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm hearing more about it on the news today and finding out a little more about details from both sides, too. She's saying that she contacted an attny and this is how he told her to handle it- I'm not sure I buy that. There's a lot I don't buy about it, but maybe it's just that all the facts haven't come out yet. Anyway, the fact that she's an RN but had NO idea that adopting a child from a foreign orphanage but result in getting a kid who had issues, had NO idea that she and he might need some counseling, had NO idea that she might want to check out the agency or asked certain questions first, had NO idea of a better way to get him back there? So, again, that's the sort of stuff that makes me deem her incompetent as a parent- not at all because she didn't know how to deal with him being a difficult child- just that I find it difficult to believe that she really expected a easy child- similar to Lisa's story about her sister in law.
  17. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    It said in the Tennessean that the 'attorney' she supposedly got this advise from was one that she found on the internet - she communicated with this person only online. It may not have even been a real attorney that was responding to her and certainly not someone knowlegeable in foreign adoptions. And apparently, because of a quirk in the laws, the Tennessee Dept. of Childrens Services has no authority to monitor or check the progress of a child that has been adopted through an out of state agency. They didn't even know this child existed! It's debatable too how much help he could have gotten because with the financial problems the state is in now, the two departments with the most severe budget cuts were Childrens Services and Mental health!

    It's just that there were so many other options, so many resources that were available to her where this little boy could have been given a real chance at a happy life and she chose not to take advantage of them! Very, very sad!
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I'm guessing the atty told her to send the kid back asap b4 he became a U.S. citizen. with-our adoption (domestic) there was a 3 mo. interlocutory and a 6 mo. final paperwork date.
  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

  20. Star*

    Star* call 911

    When I first heard this story? I honestly have to tell you gals after raising Dude since birth and Steven and Kary (for a period of time) my first thought was "I don't blame you a bit." True, it was a selfish thought, because after all if I had this life to do over again without a single difficult child and the choice of a easy child child knowing what I know now? Hey - I'm not so sure I would pick door A with all it's 'fun' again. So I'm not in such a hurry to fault the parents for 'returning the puppy' ---which is actually a very good analogy, sorry to say. In the real world and being adopted? When you are 'selected' it feels like that. True - adoption is a crxp shoot at best of genetics you can only guess at IF you are lucky enough to know anything about the parents - but if you were told a lie about a little boy or girl and had absolutely no knowledge of raising children and then got a full blown fetal alcohol syndrome, feral, encopretic, enuresis, cursing, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), ODD, autistic, schizophrenic, head banging, screaming, non-sleeping, fully dysfunctional (or any combination of the latter) and lets just say your family had never EVER had any kind of dealings with any child that EVER had any mental illness? Would YOU seriously say "I don't care how badly this child ruins our lives I'm going to go through a life time of heart ache, sadness and be just like every Mother on the CD board and keep this child?"
    Nah - I don't think so. I mean I know that definition is a little extreme, some people who have never walked in our shoes a kid like him?

    SO then the OTHER side of this argument is....WOW what a heel she could have taken him someplace else and really dumped him in a little bit kinder fashion huh? Well.....what were her options? IF she took him to Social Services....they would take her to court and make her take him back. Wouldn't they? If she took him to a police station and turned him in? We all know what happens there with incorrigible children don't we? Yeah - take them home and deal with them we're not responsible lady - he's your responsibility and we can't take them to Department of Juvenile Justice unless you have documented blah blah blah. If she got on a plane and went back to Russia with him? So she gets off a plane and then goes to the orphanage in Russia, drops him off and then does time in a Russian prison? Yeah - I'd want that too -not. (again selfish but seriously).

    It seems to me that she did a selfish thing which maybe will be something that works out for that child in the end. With him being in the lime light? Russia will most certainly call him a son, and not shove him in an institution and forget about him - he's a pseudo-celebrity now. He's in the news, the press will follow his story, progress and if NOTHING else - WANT to make an American Mother look bad with his rehabilitation and well being. I don't think anyone is considering in 14 years when this child is a man of 21 and looks her up in the states - all better and mentally fit to ask her or thank her for returning her to Russia and he's quite well off and taken care of. I just can't see the country NOT taking care of him or using this as an advantage to one up the US. So maybe she did a good thing in that respect.

    As far as further adoption relations? I just have no answers for that other than maybe some of the children who are in orphanages here in the US will be given a chance or a look-see if Russia says - nyet to further US adoptions. It shouldn't matter where your children come from every child needs a home.

    With regards to the Mom who returned the boy like she did? IF she's they TYPE of Mother that COULD put a child on a plane without any consideration or feeling for that child and is like I said in the beginning sentence - perfect life, perfect family and this boy would have just messed it up? Then he would have had a MORE miserable existence here in HER world and he's better shed of HER. Think of it that way. If she's that callous - then they both deserve to be apart. Good riddance. BUT.....If she made the hardest decision of her life to put her long awaited son back on a plane and is in torment and agony over loosing the only child she waited so long for but did the only thing she knew and really thought this through for his sake and not her own? Then give her a little lattitude....she just lost her child, and did it for the right reasons - unselfish Mother unable to take care of a child who was so far out of her league and now her heart is shattered and her house is empty and you know she'll never get another chance at adoption again. She'll spend the rest of her life without a child. I mean she had one - but apparently she just could not take care of him, and just because we can we should not see her as weak. I keep telling you all every day - WE ARE THE TOUGHEST OF THE TOUGH. That on top of her enormous guilt would be enough hell to pay on earth. I truly feel sorry for her.

    Just my .02 cents.