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Old 05-19-2012, 04:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nimchimpsky View Post
I'm adopted from Russia. My orphanage completely made up a bunch of stuff on my medical records. For example they said that I have Hepatitis C and I don't. I think it has to do with some law where the Russian government only allows sick children to be adopted out of the country, and only allows healthy children to be adopted into the country. So orphanages will fail to mention or make up illnesses to get a child adopted to the desired country.
Yes, my kids had totally made up medical records as well. Perinatal encephalopathy was my favorite. Somehow that got stuck in our daughter's US medical records and while we finally got in removed, I had more than one doctor tell me that perinatal encephalopathy was "incompatible with life"
while my daughter ran around their office

I'm glad that your caregiver remembered you, it was our experience that most of the caregivers were doing the best they could with what they had. Not all of course but most. I think a lot of people in the states don't realize the kind of conditions that orphans overseas are living in. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-19-2012, 04:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hml1976 View Post
Yes, my kids had totally made up medical records as well. Perinatal encephalopathy was my favorite. Somehow that got stuck in our daughter's US medical records and while we finally got in removed, I had more than one doctor tell me that perinatal encephalopathy was "incompatible with life"
while my daughter ran around their office
LOL!

Quote:
I'm glad that your caregiver remembered you, it was our experience that most of the caregivers were doing the best they could with what they had. Not all of course but most. I think a lot of people in the states don't realize the kind of conditions that orphans overseas are living in. Thanks for sharing.
Yeah, definitely.

People often ask me if I have memories from the orphanage, not realizing how awkward of a question that is--given the answer is probably a bit more serious than they were expecting.

Too many adoptive parents of older children act like their children were born the day of adoption. Abuse is rampant in orphanages, and even if there isn't any abuse, just the fact of not having one's own parents alone has profound effects.

Attachment disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 05-19-2012, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Liberal Coast
4,271 posts, read 4,990,096 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
you mean you did not have to re adopt once you were in the US? We sure did have to for our Korean daughter and I have the cutest picture of her all dressed in red, white and blue becoming a citizen the same day we formally readopted her.
can't honestly remember what we had to do for our Vietnamese daughters. life has been a blur these past 10 years.

but regardless of when the adoption is final I'm sure you agree this mother did not go about it the right way by sending the kid back to Russia.

and if paying child support would keep anybody from adopting - overseas or otherwise-then they have no business doing it. you don't try kids on and there is no returning. However that does not mean some adoptions should not be interrupted.
Many parents choose to readopt, but most countries do not require it.

While Russia often does some pretty shady stuff when it comes to adoption and neglects to tell the parents a lot of information, anyone adopting from Russia should be well aware of that fact.
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:14 PM
 
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I wanted to shed some more light on orphanage conditions. I can only speak for my own, but I imagine this is true of many orphanages.

We had no stimulation. We were kept in cribs all day long, all in one room. We weren't allowed to leave those cribs, except to be fed, and have our diapers and clothes changed. The caretakers would rotate 3 shifts every 8 hours, with one person at a time. Because there was only one caretaker, we didn't really get any love or affection--just the basic necessities for survival. Even that was questionable. We were fed gruel because all children from birth to age 4 were grouped into one orphanage--meaning that everyone ate gruel. The caretakers didn't talk to us enough for us to acquire language. When I was adopted, I didn't know how to chew or speak. I was severely malnourished and legally blind from medical neglect. This was common for a lot of the orphans. Often we wouldn't have our clothes changed for days at a time, because the caretakers couldn't keep up. When I went to visit my orphanage again, the ground was sticky with dirt because the caretakers didn't have time for things like mopping. A lot of the children would engage in self-stimulation behaviors like rocking back and forth or moaning. My parents tell me I did this for years after I was adopted. The orphanage smelled like a combination of urine and perspiration.

I also volunteered with an agency as an interpreter that brought orphans from Russia and a few other countries. Many of those children had absolutely no medical care. For example, their hair would be chopped off in one swoop. They would have either no teeth or very poor dental health. Many of them had burns and a lot more scars than the average child. Many had profound emotional disabilities, including PTSD and attachment disorders. (I have both myself.)

Many of the adoptees I worked with would either be promiscuous sexually, or completely sexually repressed. They would flinch, had an inherent distrust of adults, etc. I'm not a psychologist and can't diagnose them, but those are commonly known signs of abuse in the mental health community.

This documentary reminded me a lot of the conditions I observed in my own orphanage:



The rest of the series can be found on YouTube. There's also a follow-up called "Bulgaria's Abandoned Children - Revisited".

So when you think about the background these children live in, it makes sense that they have emotional disorders. A lot of parents who adopt have no idea what they're getting themselves into. I know my parents didn't. I love my parents to death and they did the best they could for me, but we didn't even know what an attachment disorder was till I was 18. Basically we went with unsuccessful communication for all those years. Our communication was so poor that my parents didn't realize I was legally blind till I was 12 years old. All of this was part of a greater pattern of attachment disorders. Children with attachment disorders show love in different ways, and don't understand when other people are showing them love. As a result, there is miscommunication on both ends, and resentment builds up. This is a common pattern I have seen many times, that a lot of adoptive families don't want to admit--because it's easy to fling around blame. I don't blame my parents and they don't blame me--but when that kind of miscommunication happens and for so long--it's easy to feel like the other person was doing it on purpose.

Adoption is different from being biological. Not that parents love their adoptive children less, but children learn how to love from being loved. When a child misses out on just basic love, and affection, early in life, they don't develop the brain wiring for relationships the same way biologically-raised children do. That said, this pattern can happen in biological families with abusive or neglectful parents, so it’s not unique to adoptive families. And adoptive families can recover and heal—so not all adoptive families are doomed to miscommunication and loveless relationships. But it is a common enough dynamic that adoptive parents would benefit from learning about attachment theory before going through an adoption process, and adopted children often do benefit from therapy that helps them understand why sometimes their messages of love are misunderstood.

I’m lucky that I was 3 when I was adopted. Some of the children I worked with were 14. Some of them were 16 and sent back to Russia or their respective countries to be dropped out of the system, left to fall through the cracks. In other words, they were never adopted or given parents, and became of age in Russian society, with no experience of an ongoing loving caregiver.

Have compassion for these children. A lot of adopted children have emotional disabilities because of their histories. Have compassion for adoptive parents, and realize how much courage it takes to adopt a child—especially an older child. Do not condemn how adoptive families act out because of their situation if you do not understand it personally, because you may personally never understand how heart-wrenching it can be to love someone so deeply, but not be able to have a common “language” of showing love. That is the situation that many adopted children and adoptive parents find themselves in.
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:25 PM
 
47,576 posts, read 58,772,681 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nimchimpsky View Post
I wanted to shed some more light on orphanage conditions. I can only speak for my own, but I imagine this is true of many orphanages.

We had no stimulation. We were kept in cribs all day long, all in one room. We weren't allowed to leave those cribs, except to be fed, and have our diapers and clothes changed. The caretakers would rotate 3 shifts every 8 hours, with one person at a time. Because there was only one caretaker, we didn't really get any love or affection--just the basic necessities for survival. Even that was questionable. We were fed gruel because all children from birth to age 4 were grouped into one orphanage--meaning that everyone ate gruel. The caretakers didn't talk to us enough for us to acquire language. When I was adopted, I didn't know how to chew or speak. I was severely malnourished and legally blind from medical neglect. This was common for a lot of the orphans. Often we wouldn't have our clothes changed for days at a time, because the caretakers couldn't keep up. When I went to visit my orphanage again, the ground was sticky with dirt because the caretakers didn't have time for things like mopping. A lot of the children would engage in self-stimulation behaviors like rocking back and forth or moaning. My parents tell me I did this for years after I was adopted. The orphanage smelled like a combination of urine and perspiration.

I also volunteered with an agency as an interpreter that brought orphans from Russia and a few other countries. Many of those children had absolutely no medical care. For example, their hair would be chopped off in one swoop. They would have either no teeth or very poor dental health. Many of them had burns and a lot more scars than the average child. Many had profound emotional disabilities, including PTSD and attachment disorders. (I have both myself.)

Many of the adoptees I worked with would either be promiscuous sexually, or completely sexually repressed. They would flinch, had an inherent distrust of adults, etc. I'm not a psychologist and can't diagnose them, but those are commonly known signs of abuse in the mental health community.

This documentary reminded me a lot of the conditions I observed in my own orphanage:



The rest of the series can be found on YouTube. There's also a follow-up called "Bulgaria's Abandoned Children - Revisited".

So when you think about the background these children live in, it makes sense that they have emotional disorders. A lot of parents who adopt have no idea what they're getting themselves into. I know my parents didn't. I love my parents to death and they did the best they could for me, but we didn't even know what an attachment disorder was till I was 18. Basically we went with unsuccessful communication for all those years. Our communication was so poor that my parents didn't realize I was legally blind till I was 12 years old. All of this was part of a greater pattern of attachment disorders. Children with attachment disorders show love in different ways, and don't understand when other people are showing them love. As a result, there is miscommunication on both ends, and resentment builds up. This is a common pattern I have seen many times, that a lot of adoptive families don't want to admit--because it's easy to fling around blame. I don't blame my parents and they don't blame me--but when that kind of miscommunication happens and for so long--it's easy to feel like the other person was doing it on purpose.

Adoption is different from being biological. Not that parents love their adoptive children less, but children learn how to love from being loved. When a child misses out on just basic love, and affection, early in life, they don't develop the brain wiring for relationships the same way biologically-raised children do. That said, this pattern can happen in biological families with abusive or neglectful parents, so it’s not unique to adoptive families. And adoptive families can recover and heal—so not all adoptive families are doomed to miscommunication and loveless relationships. But it is a common enough dynamic that adoptive parents would benefit from learning about attachment theory before going through an adoption process, and adopted children often do benefit from therapy that helps them understand why sometimes their messages of love are misunderstood.

I’m lucky that I was 3 when I was adopted. Some of the children I worked with were 14. Some of them were 16 and sent back to Russia or their respective countries to be dropped out of the system, left to fall through the cracks. In other words, they were never adopted or given parents, and became of age in Russian society, with no experience of an ongoing loving caregiver.

Have compassion for these children. A lot of adopted children have emotional disabilities because of their histories. Have compassion for adoptive parents, and realize how much courage it takes to adopt a child—especially an older child. Do not condemn how adoptive families act out because of their situation if you do not understand it personally, because you may personally never understand how heart-wrenching it can be to love someone so deeply, but not be able to have a common “language” of showing love. That is the situation that many adopted children and adoptive parents find themselves in.
What's interesting is that we believe that stimulation is very important in the development of the intellect yet you didn't get this stimulation and it's very obvious that you are very intelligent.

Was it your adoptive parents that managed to make up for the earlier deficiencies of your childhood?
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:40 PM
 
10,452 posts, read 10,238,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malamute View Post
What's interesting is that we believe that stimulation is very important in the development of the intellect yet you didn't get this stimulation and it's very obvious that you are very intelligent.

Was it your adoptive parents that managed to make up for the earlier deficiencies of your childhood?
Yes, I was truly truly blessed. My parents sent me to a bilingual school and provided tutors so I could study as many languages as I wanted. They sent me to private schools with very high standards of education. They gave me tutors for piano and guitar and sent me to gymnastics classes. I am really lucky to have parents that had so many resources to stimulate me and they more than made up for what I lost in stimulation. I am really so lucky because a lot of adoptive parents don't have these resources, and try to make up for lost time, but just don't have enough to give. I was also raised on organic food, with lots of vegetables, fruit, and protein to make up for the malnourishment. My parents went out of their way to hug me and tell me they love me. Obviously things aren't perfect, but my parents have really given their all to me and I really can't express the deep level of appreciation and love I have for my parents.

I will admit that the effects can't be completely erased. I'm considered Asperger's, have an attachment disorder, have debilitating anxiety (I get panic attacks every day), still get flashbacks every night from the orphanage and other abuse I experienced (I was abused a lot post-adoption cause abusers picked up on my vulnerability), and my visual system is much more messed up than it would have been if I got proper treatment early on. I have gone through many periods of better and worse functional vision, through various procedures--but at the end of the day, my brain is accustomed to blindness since I grew up that way, and that's okay with me. That said, I still consider myself a complete success story in that my most severe disabilities are nothing compared to the disabilities I have seen in children that I worked with. I have people in my life that love me, and I love a lot of people in my life. I have great blindness skills, that enable me to travel independently and type on this computer--I really have everything I could ask for. I definitely consider myself a success story. I am posting here to enlighten people that even "success stories" have their own dark sides, and a lot of people who present an all-positive side do often have their demons. Being in an orphanage, especially if you've been abused, is something that stays with you for life. You can forgive but you never forget. To end on a positive note though, I really owe it to the people in my life who helped me rebound from such impoverished beginnings, and I believe that the best gift you can give any adoptive child is pure, unadulterated, unconditional LOVE.

Last edited by nimchimpsky; 05-19-2012 at 05:51 PM..
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:46 PM
 
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Where I grew up there was a couple who had adopted a couple kids as infants. Their daughter was very bright, even precocious, the dream child. Then they adopted another infant and it turned out he was deaf and they gave him back. Everyone thought they were horrible.

They apparently could not deal with a child with disabilities even though there are no guarantees with biological children. I suppose though for the child's sake, he was better off without these parents because they were not up to providing him what he would likely need. Maybe he was lucky because unlike a biological child they might have had if that had been possible, he could have another chance to get more capable parents -- I won't say they were uncaring because they seemed to do just fine with their "perfect" child.
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:53 PM
 
47,576 posts, read 58,772,681 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nimchimpsky View Post
Yes, I was truly truly blessed. My parents sent me to a bilingual school and provided tutors so I could study as many languages as I wanted. They sent me to private schools with very high standards of education. They gave me tutors for piano and guitar and sent me to gymnastics classes. I am really lucky to have parents that had so many resources to stimulate me and they more than made up for what I lost in stimulation. I am really so lucky because a lot of adoptive parents don't have these resources, and try to make up for lost time, but just don't have enough to give. I was also raised on organic food, with lots of vegetables, fruit, and protein to make up for the malnourishment. My parents went out of their way to hug me and tell me they love me. Obviously things aren't perfect, but my parents have really given their all to me and I really can't express the deep level of appreciation and love I have for my parents.
It does sound like you were lucky -- they apparently didn't write off your possibilities at all.

It's really unfortunate that more cannot be done for the institutionalized kids, some in that video look like their problems would be more than the typical adoptive parents could handle, a private home might not be in their best interest unless it was especially exceptional.

Maybe for many people who would like to help kids it would be better to volunteer in a child crisis center or donate money to improve places for these kids. It probably isn't good to be too idealistic and naive.
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Old 05-19-2012, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
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A brief comment about adoptive parents being told incorrect ages.

A number of years ago I had a 2nd grade student in my special education classroom for a few months. Her parents adopted her from a different country when she was "four years old". The parents told me that the child seemed a little large for four but they were told that both of her parents were tall and large adults.

The adoptive parents started her in kindergarten the next year and everyone was surprised when the little girl started her period! Obviously, this is pretty unusual for a five year old. The next fall the local school & parents transferred her from regular kindergarten, skipping 1st grade to 2nd grade. Shortly after starting in my room. the parents had medical tests (bone length or something) done on their adopted daughter and the doctors felt that she was most likely 9 to 11 years old when she was adopted and not 4 years old. The parents moved shortly after that and I heard that they placed her in a 4th grade classroom (since she had her period and was developing breasts it wasn't totally age approprate but probably the best that they could do under difficult circumstances).

The parents were stunned. They thought that they were adopting a "little sister" for their current daughter and the girl ended up being a "big sister" five to seven years older than they had thought. What seemed like normal/typical/ or slightly delayed behavior & language for a four year old was significantly delayed if the child was actually nine to eleven years old.

I often wondered how something like this could happen. I hope that there are more safe guards today.
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Old 05-19-2012, 07:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by malamute View Post
Where I grew up there was a couple who had adopted a couple kids as infants. Their daughter was very bright, even precocious, the dream child. Then they adopted another infant and it turned out he was deaf and they gave him back. Everyone thought they were horrible.

They apparently could not deal with a child with disabilities even though there are no guarantees with biological children. I suppose though for the child's sake, he was better off without these parents because they were not up to providing him what he would likely need. Maybe he was lucky because unlike a biological child they might have had if that had been possible, he could have another chance to get more capable parents -- I won't say they were uncaring because they seemed to do just fine with their "perfect" child.
It's easy to criticize those parents as awful and use them as an example for unsuccessful adoption, but I know a lot of biological parents that did not and do not accept their deaf children. I go to a deaf school and really the only parents who know sign language are the parents who are themselves deaf (which is about 5-10% of the time, from genetic deafness). The rest of my deaf friends' parents didn't even bother to learn a language so they could communicate with their child on the most basic level. Even one of my friend's parents, who is a gifted polyglot and a professor of linguistics, didn't bother to learn sign language for his own deaf son. So I can see why the same pattern would evolve with an adopted child, and when adoption enters the equation, so does the option of returning the child (at least in their minds). The theme of parents rejecting their disabled children is incredibly heart-breaking, but it's certainly not restricted to adoptive families.

Last edited by nimchimpsky; 05-19-2012 at 07:18 PM..
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