Monday, April 12, 2010

Not Judging

So the lady from Tennessee sent her Russian adopted son back to Russia.  Sad.  Tragic.  Absolutely horrible all around.  I'm not defending this woman nor condemning her.  I simply want to ask a question:

What would we have done in her place?

We would all like to say that we would have been committed to this boy for life.  That we would have helped him find help for his problems.  That we would have treated him just as if he were our biological son.

The fact is that adoption is not always easy.  The bonding process is vital.  It's not just important for parents to bond with a child and for a child to bond with parents- IT IS ESSENTIAL.  Just so very essential.  And attachment is not a given.  Not even with babies and especially not with older children.  It has to be worked on.  A lot.  Sometimes for a very, very long time.  

I'm about to tell the truth, but it's going to open the door for you to judge me.  Feel free, just don't do it in my comments box.  The truth is that as wonderful as Lilah is and as easy as we have had it so far, it still doesn't feel the same as my maternal feelings for Jack and Ben.  Does this make me a bad person?  No.  I think it makes me normal.  I have total faith that it eventually WILL feel the same, and very soon. She is wonderful and amazing and adorable... AND she loves us which makes it very easy to love and care for her.  But even if it was hard and she didn't bond with us right away we told ourselves we were committed to be her parents.  We tried to be prepared to walk any road she needed us to walk.  Counseling, therapy, whatever she needed- for a lifetime if need be!!!  We read all the books and tried to know what we should be prepared for.  We educated ourselves about what can happen to institutionalized kids.  Our agency did their best to help us look ahead and prepare for any possible problems.  But what if our agency had lied to us about who she really was?  What if she had mental problems we were never told about?  What if as soon as she got home she was threatening to kill us and burn down our house?  All this...AND WE WERE NOT YET BONDED NOR ATTACHED???!!!  So hard.  I cannot even imagine.

This lady tried for a year.  And we have no way of knowing the anguish she went through in making this decision.  But the woman who writes this blog does know something about it.  She lived through it.  And the bottom line is, we-  thank God, haven't walked in those shoes.  So we just shouldn't judge.


Deena / TEAM MARQUIS said...

Beautifully said! I appreciate you honesty so much - it is wonderful that fellow bloggers have the heart to write openly as you do, because it helps those of us that are still going through the process and can learn from you. Thanks so much!

ashley said...

The bonding will come in time! It takes a little bit. I dont have any bio children but I love my little gal and you just have that adjustment period.
I feel bad for the lady. It sounds like she may have had a agency that did not prepare her and have things set in place to help her to work through the bonding and attachment. I do think she could have done things differently. Her actions can cost a lot of families in many countries to not have the opportunity to adopt due to the way she handled things.
I will tell you-it takes a good 6 months for real personalties to come out and a good year to really settle in. She hardly gave the boy a chance.

Gayla said...

So interesting to hear that it takes 6 months for the real personality to come through and a year to really settle in, Ashley! I really appreciate knowing that. We are bonding with LIlah so well, but I have wondered how much of what we are seeing is the "real" her. Thanks for that tidbit of info!

but still... i just think it would be almost impossible to bond and attach w/a child who was threatening to kill you and saying that he was going to burn down your house with you inside... that would be so tough...

Robyn said...

Thank you for sharing your heart on this! I thought we would have an instant bond to our baby and it shocked me when we didn't (although it shouldn't have). Even with a baby, it's going to be a process--I couldn't imagine how much work it would require for an older child with issues.

markbtulsa said...
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anymommy said...

What a beautiful, honest, compassionate look at a very difficult, for some families heartbreaking subject. Thank you.

Sohailah said...


Claire said...

Gayla - thanks for posting this - I have definitely been too judgmental of this woman, and the other blog you linked was a great reminder that we haven't walked in anyone else's shoes, even if we think we may have. It's harder than you imagine, yet also better than you thought it would be.

Selam! G'day! Hello!