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Old 05-21-2012, 08:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
Thank you, but I'm not an idiot and I wasn't born yesterday. I simply used the family in the documentary as an example, among many others. The documentary also does a pretty good job at showing the downside of this type of family, like the fact that the kids with less problems didn't feel like they got enough attention, among other things, so I view it as pretty credible. Even though you have to view everything with a critical eye I do believe that there is a big difference between a well made documentary and a TV show meant to draw viewers only.

There are many other examples of people who are capable of caring for several kids with problems. One is a foster family I lived with for a while. There were eight kids in the home. Three biological and five foster kids, including me. It was chaotic at times and the housekeeping was lacking a bit but these two parents did a great job at taking care of all the kids including a very angry 12-year old and a 6-year old with frequent tantrums. None of the kids were handicapped but the foster kids all had various emotional issues. But these two were the kind of people that could handle it. They are definitely not the only ones. It's not fair to claim that those who take on a number of kids with issues are naive, stupid, have psychological problems or are addicted to adoption/having kids.

My sister has two normal, healthy bio kids, 4 and 7, but despite the fact that they have no special needs she is at her limit of what she can handle. To her caring for two little kids, especially when the youngest was younger, is a lot of work and there is no way she could handle another one. But then you have people like the Duggars who, regardless of what you think of them, do a great job at raising 19 kids without chaos or burnout. Most people couldn't do it but clearly these people have the skills to parent well with a lot of kids. Just like some can only handle one special needs kid while others can handle more.

It's true that having many children, adopted or not and special needs or not, will prevent you from giving your all to each child. You may not be able to satisfy all their emotional needs which you probably would if you just had a couple of kids. But fact is that for foster kids or kids in orphanages there often aren't many options and being adopted into a large family is definitely a heck of a lot better than the alternative. Telling someone that they should not adopt several kids because they can't provide everything for all the kids when the alternative is foster care or an orphanage where they would get nothing is, in my opinion, misguided at best.
That's why I said "some parents". I never said that is true of all parents who adopt (or foster) a bunch of kids. I don't think all parents who take on a lot of kids with special needs, whether in obvious physical ways (disabilities) or more subtle emotional ways (often the case with older adopted children) are stupid or all have psychological problems. But I do think that some of them must be lacking the emotional intelligence to understand how hard it is to raise that many children with that many needs, especially when they get to number five or six or seven, when they've already seen how hard it is to care for their first four kids--and yet continue to add more to their plate. I never said what anyone should do, but I do think that a lot of parents need to become more informed about what adopting entails before they go into it. And to clarify, I'm not talking about families with 5 children who decide to adopt their 6th--I'm talking about people who go out and adopt 20 kids, or 8 kids with multiple special needs per kid, like the lady I knew and the lady no kudzu mentioned. With the lady, I knew for example, it was clear that it was too much for her, and the kids could feel it and resented her for it. But in spite of already feeling overextended, she still kept on adopting more kids anyway. Those are the people I am talking about. They ignore the signs that they've gone overboard for their own family situations and still continue to go overboard.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:27 AM
 
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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.

You are wise beyond your years. I agree with all that you have said.

From you, and from your insightful and eloquent observations and narrative, I can only see hope.

I have an adopted child and one who is not adopted. I forget which is which.. I have worked in Eastern European adoption, ( Ukraine) and I have seen some nice orphanages and some terrible ones. Most were somewhere in between. The one I saw in Russia was in Vladmir, and it was fairly nice.

What you have said has actually encouraged me to proceed with the adoption on a 9 year old girl with a traumatic past.

Your posts are inspirational.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:32 AM
 
Location: Lower east side of Toronto
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Sad...
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:22 AM
 
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I sometimes wonder if people who want children so desperately have unrealistic expectations, and give up. After all...I had a biological son I wished I could have put on a plane! But...we worked it out as a family. As this woman should have done. She is responsible for that child. She wanted him, same as a biological child.
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sheena12 View Post
You are wise beyond your years. I agree with all that you have said.

From you, and from your insightful and eloquent observations and narrative, I can only see hope.

I have an adopted child and one who is not adopted. I forget which is which.. I have worked in Eastern European adoption, ( Ukraine) and I have seen some nice orphanages and some terrible ones. Most were somewhere in between. The one I saw in Russia was in Vladmir, and it was fairly nice.

What you have said has actually encouraged me to proceed with the adoption on a 9 year old girl with a traumatic past.

Your posts are inspirational.
I wish you the best of luck in the adoption process. Your children couldn't have asked for a better mom.
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
Today's ruling:

US judge: Woman who sent back Russian boy must pay *| ajc.com

The shock here is that the ruling came from a US judge, which will have major implications for anybody looking to adopt overseas.

Reading the title of the article made me think of the movie Orphan. *shudder*
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Old 05-30-2012, 03:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioChic View Post
Reading the title of the article made me think of the movie Orphan. *shudder*
I hope that you don't associate adopted children with a terrible horror movie. I defended that movie when it came out by saying that no one actually thinks that way about adopted children...please tell me I wasn't wrong and movies like that actually DO influence the way people look at my kids.
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hml1976 View Post
I hope that you don't associate adopted children with a terrible horror movie. I defended that movie when it came out by saying that no one actually thinks that way about adopted children...please tell me I wasn't wrong and movies like that actually DO influence the way people look at my kids.
I don't think anyone associates the movie "Orphan" to real-life orphans in an obvious conscious way, but I do think the movie played on many people's subtle subconscious fear that orphans/adopted children can go mental at the drop of a hat. Horror movies tend to do that--they take a fear that many people are usually not even fully aware of in themselves and run with it--which is what adds the fear-factor to the film.
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Old 05-31-2012, 12:27 PM
 
1,063 posts, read 759,382 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hml1976 View Post
I hope that you don't associate adopted children with a terrible horror movie. I defended that movie when it came out by saying that no one actually thinks that way about adopted children...please tell me I wasn't wrong and movies like that actually DO influence the way people look at my kids.


NO NO not at all lol the title just reminded me of the movie. If I could afford it I would TOTALLY adopt outside the country (or IN the country for that matter)
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:55 PM
 
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There are several American non-profits which assist parents who want to adopt orphaned children with special needs who live in other countries. Search for "Down syndrome" "adoption" "eastern Europe" and you should find one especially well-regarded such organization, which lists children under pseudonyms to preserve their anonymity, and assists families with information and preparation, red tape, fund-raising and with facilitators once they are in-country (facilitators serve as translators, make hotel or apartment and transportation arrangements for the traveling families, and assist with adoption courts and all the additional legal work and documentation which must be completed before a family can leave their child's birth country for the US (or Canada).

This award-winning organization is NOT an adoption agency, but raises awareness of the plight of orphaned children with special needs in the developing world, and facilitates international adoptions of children with many kinds of special needs in addition to adoptions of children with Down syndrome.

Considering that developing world (particularly eastern European) children with Down syndrome or many, many other physical and developmental special needs are routinely given up at birth by their birth parents, sent to baby house orphanages (which vary widely in quality or lack thereof) for their first four years, and then are sent to bleak adult level mental institutions for the rest of their days, starting at age four, adopting these children saves lives. It's a situation not well-known in the western world, unfortunately, where many people unknowingly frown upon international adoptions as they claim that adoptive parents should instead adopt the many children who lack families in this country. True, sadly enough, there are such children - but few of them are available for adoption and negotiating the foster care system is a nightmare in most states.

It seems to me that an orphaned child deserves a family, regardless of where that child happens to live, and that nationality does not automatically make one child more deserving than any other child.

I have extended family members who were adopted from eastern Europe as school-age children with mild physical special needs. Their parents were well-informed about the various issues involved, and their children have done very well as a result, and have blessed our family.
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