On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Friday, April 9, 2010

thoughts on the Terminated Russian Adoption

I keep a private blog with screened posting. IntegritySinger is my pseudonym. I've blogged there since 2003.

On April 3rd, I wrote a private post, my thoughts about the difficulties of raising traumatized kids. I keep these types of posts private because many of these thoughts are fleeting emotions that don't propel me toward a choice or a positive direction. But sometimes I just need to pen the crushing emotions, even when I know those words can be hurtful. But this time, in light of the recent travesty about the terminated Russian adoption and the number of times it's been blogged about today with fellow adoptive mom/RAD mom bloggers, I felt the words from my other blog would be poignant. But please do not judge me by these words. Do keep in mind that when I wrote these thoughts, I was attempting to expel a particular emotion in a healthy way.

For the record, as it pertains to the terminated adoption, I do not agree with the way in which the adoptive family handled the crisis they believed they were in as parents of the child. That said, I can empathize with the anguish and fear that may have led them to make the choice of terminating in such an egregious way.

My thoughts from April 3rd on my other blog:
In an adult relationship, if the other partner is abusive, argumentative, derisive, accusatory, non reciprocating, combative, violent, unyielding, oppositional, and then, announces his/her allegiance of love and commitment to another party, then you face the inevitable conclusion, the relationship is dead, it must be terminated. Point of fact, the offending party has terminated the relationship by the very nature of his/her actions and language.

But when the other member in that relationship is a child, it becomes criminal, ethically questionable, amoral and socially viewed as despicable and unconscionable to terminate the relationship. After all, the adult member of the relationship should rise to the occasion and be able to teach the child appropriate relationship behaviors.

Except when they can't, when it becomes impossible to retrain a diseased mind, to correct malformed neural synapses that began in the imprinting stage of infancy or when the mental health professionals themselves all but admit that they are grasping at straws too when they offer their "professional" advice as to how to reteach correct relationship with an damaged child.

Then the new game becomes either dealing with the ignorance of society that doesn't believe a child could be so irreparably damaged or making the conscious effort to toughen one's skin and ignore the anger and jeering from adult peers and consequently, terminate those relationships too.

The alternative solution is to stay in the relationship with the abusive partner which only seems to eliminate one problem, the negative reverberations one receives from other adults and from some professionals that believe it is possible to heal these children. There is never a discussion from those professionals, however, as to the negative impact the traumatized child has on the adult parent, an impact that mars the adult's life forever and often times, mars the lives of the traumatized siblings as well. Neither are the adult peers willing to invest time in discussing and comprehending the pain of a raising a damaged child.

There is no "win". Terminating a challenging adult relationship is never easy but often leads the abused partner to a place of healing and peace. Terminating a challenging child relationship leads no one to peace neither does maintaining the relationship. The bottom line is, unless individuals have lived this hell for themselves, they will never fully understand the damage and impact a traumatized child can have on a family.

One of the readers from my other blog posted the following comment which I thought was equally poignant:
"sixty years ago, those same adults who are willing to villify [parents] now would have villified [them] for the choice NOT to permanently institutionalize a child. They're going with common wisdom, which has changed within a couple of generations."

All told, I'm a "what's the bigger picture?" kind of gal before I hang a verdict on something. There is always more to a story than what we see at face value. What do I know? Maybe this American adoptive mom was horrible right back to this child? Maybe the Russian orphanage was brutally honest and she ignored their wisdom because she thought she could beat the odds? Maybe it's all too big a stretch for humanity and the only answer to everything, is the quote I wrote at the heading of this blog: "life and our faith isn't about "handling" it, it's about clinging to the one hope that is secure, our freedom from sin and death"?

There, by the grace of God, go I. Every single second of every single minute of every single day. If His mercies weren't new for me every morning, how on earth could my mercies be new for Sissy every morning? Simply put, they wouldn't be. And that alone may be the difference, the defining line between my choice and the choice this adoptive mom made the day she put her son on a plane back to Russia.


GB's Mom said...

I am sure the full story hasn't come close to daylight yet. I am sure mistakes were made by multiple parties in the course of that adoption.

waldenbunch said...

You know I understand all this. There but for the grace of God....our adoption with B was never terminated but she long ago terminated her relationship with us. Different situation, would never have abandoned her. But it was necessary to release her for the safety of our family. To all those who can not imagine it, don't judge until you've been there. And yes, without God's immeasurable grace there is no hope.

Cyndi said...

Each one of these kids who have experienced trauma in there lives leaves their families exhausted and society totally bliss, as if they do not see the problem then there is none to deal with. Sometimes there are no good choices to be made and even though I can not condone the manner in which this situation was handled I truly do understand why it happened.

Little Wonder said...

Great post. Hubby and I talked at length about this case last night. Of course, not one of us know any details. But both he and I concluded that, while completely wrong to abandon the child in this way, despair takes over when resources, education and faith are lacking.

Jeri said...

You know, I've always viewed women who stayed with their abusers as stupid. weak. That is until I was the one who was punched, who was choked with a seatbelt and kicked in the face. By my son. By my twelve year old. While I still believe and hope that if I were ever in an abusive marriage (ain't going to happen....happily married to Captain Wonderful for 33 years now) I would do what I needed to do if not for my sake, for my kid's sake....now, I have a clue. And this is not someone I depend on for financial support. This is my child and maybe it's because of that fact...he is my kid, not my spouse. I did press charges against him...for his sake and my sake. And honestly, if he had been drawing threatening pictures and saying he would kill me within six months of having him, no I wouldn't have sent him back, but I would have disrupted. Or at least gotten him somewhere else to work on helping him. ah, I'm rambling...I do view abuse victims in a different light now and while I think we don't have all of the story, I can understand her feelings of fear. It's just sad and it sucks.

MomInTheTrench said...

Very well said. I can't add anything but "Amen" to you and waldenbunch.