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Old 03-31-2013, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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This is one of the saddest adoption stories I've heard. These people tried so hard to give the best life possible to 2 thirteen year old boys only to give one a trip back to Russia at 18. Then their lives changed drastically. I've been following this story for awhile and thought my adoption forum friends would like to weigh in.

Couple denies mistreating adopted Russian teen - CBS News
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:08 AM
 
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How do you know he wasn't mistreated?

The article only gives the AP's side & trivializes what the boy has been through. Reducing it all down to alleged nagging.

Who cares about the Christmas presents & fishing trips?


Some red flags that stand out to me:

1. They blame his drug use on going back to Russia as if he never had or never would have touched drugs otherwise.

2. It appears they waited until he was acting out to get him counseling.

3. They claim there were no problems prior to their trip to Russia, which is highly unlikely.


So is he trashing his parents, or speaking the truth? The boy does not owe anything to his adoptive parents simply because they adopted him. They may have done their best, but if they mistreated or neglected his needs in anyway then the boy has every right to speak about it. Where is the empathy for what he has been through?

Last edited by thethreefoldme; 03-31-2013 at 09:30 AM..
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:53 AM
 
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I also have some issues with that article as well.

I would like to think that the truth is somewhere in between but I think it is HUGELY telling that the young man's experience was so bad that he CHOSE to return to Russia instead of stay here.

This article paints it in a completely different light

Russian teen flees adoptive U.S. parents who allegedly let him live on the streets: reports* - NY Daily News

Apparently his grandparents wanted to adopted him the whole time and now he is back in Russia so he can take care of them. Bit of a different story than leaving because of drugs and nagging.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:24 PM
 
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The part in the second article states the grandmother wanted him when his father died five years ago - which is also the length of time since he was adopted. Something does not add up but anyway lets say his father died just before he was adopted.

*loss of the only father he had ever known
*cut off from his grandmother
*moved to a country where everyone speaks a different language
*different culture, government, country
*13 years of age - the most difficult time of youth

Very sad story - perhaps expectations of gratitude and compliance/assimilation etc right off the bat (excluding honeymoon phase) were way above what was realistic, which could have caused a lack of integration into the new familial home?

Counselling likely would have been useless unless it was done in Russian, because by the age of 13 it takes time to learn a new language, and be able to fully explain the feelings of loss not just his country, but his father as well, compounded by a totally unfamiliar family, way of doing things, etc., in your brand new language would have been impossible.

Sad...
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:40 PM
 
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I am so glad he has found his way back home to his original family.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:11 PM
 
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It also said his bio-father was an alcoholic & I haven't seen anything about his mother. Is she dead as well, or out of the picture for some other reason? The APs are taking zero responsibility for their part in whatever happened & apparently feel it's okay to publicly trash him right back. If it's not okay for the boy to do it, why is it okay for the APs to?
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:27 PM
 
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Don't be too swift to judge these parents: how is the other eighteen year old boy adopted from Russia when Joshua/Alexander was adopted getting along? How are their other children (they have five or six all together, including this young man - I've seen different numbers) doing? What stories could they tell about their brother?

If this young man chose to live on the streets and to drink and do drugs rather than live at home, who paid for his initial visit back to Russia? I doubt if he paid for it himself, if he was reduced to begging for food. Presumably his adoptive parents paid for this visit, and may have accompanied him. We just don't know.

Evidently he returned to the U.S., then spent time - perhaps more time, the chronology is not clear - on the streets, then decided to return to Russia for good after he turned 18. It seems to me that his adoptive parents gave him a good deal of leeway, if they allowed him to go back to Russia to visit (or more likely, funded his trip and probably went with him) at age 17. It also sounds as if they might well have encouraged him to reconnect with his grandmother during this first trip back. These are not the behaviors of a rigid adoptive family who wants to sever all ties.

It is undisputed that the father of this boy died of alcoholism. His grandmother was refused custody after the father died because of her age and undisclosed serious health probems. Grandmother is now 72 - she would have been 65 or 66 then, not ancient by American terms, but Russia is not American. Clearly.

Given the current Putin-led views of American adoption of Russian children, it is obvious that this young man is going to be lionized and given all he desires right now, since he has renounced his American family and has chosen to return to Russia. My guess is that he may have lived in the orphanage for a good many years prior to the death of his father -what became of his mother, btw? I can find no mention of her - and was quite accustomed to the typical orphanage regime, which, along with his age of 13, well may have contributed to his difficulties adapting to ordinary American family life.

Do we know for certain that his adoptive parents did not seek counseling for him prior to his apparently recent involvement with drugs and alcohol and choice to live on the streets? We do know that they got him help as soon as they were aware of his drug and alcohol use. There's no mention either way of any previous counseling, or evident need for it. Again, we do not have the information necessary to form valid opinions about the parents' previous actions.

Given his family history, this young man also may have FAE: although he does not appear to have the typical FAE facial features, these do not always occur in children who are clearly affected by prenatal alcohol exposure (it is known that alcoholism in the father can also biologically affect a child). FAE can affect judgment, and the judgment of most 18-year-olds is rarely mature in the best of situations. Children and young adults with FAE are often very impulsive, have memory issues, do not fully comprehend the effects of their behaviors and choices, and are at greatly increased risk for dangerous and often addictive behaviors.

I don't think the whole story is out there yet. But the views of the adoptive parents expressed in some of the above posts remind me of the old "when did you stop beating your wife?" tactic. Until more is learned, I am not going to stand in judgement of anyone - but I do expect this young man may have many, many regrets in the years to come, when he is no longer the posterboy for Putinist attitudes.

Last edited by CraigCreek; 03-31-2013 at 01:38 PM..
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:31 PM
 
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Without knowing all the details, this seems like a perfect storm for a difficult adoption. Two 13yr old boys, a death of a parent, a living relative in Russia, a different culture and language. A challenge to everyone involved, especially when yet another very difficult problem occurs.

I imagine they didn't treat him differently than some parents would treat their own American child, and that can be problematical. Not to sound all hippy about it, but this adoption seemed to require a big added dose of sensitivity to what went on and continued to go on with this kid. Maybe they had it - I have no clue, but the 'tough love' approach doesn't seem to have been appropriate in his case with so many other issues going on.

In some situations the desire to help is just not enough. Like they say, hindsight is 20/20 vision. Too bad it is politicized. I'm not a fan of putting your business in the street and they're all getting used for others' purposes.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:47 PM
 
9,776 posts, read 7,690,153 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nj185 View Post
Without knowing all the details, this seems like a perfect storm for a difficult adoption. Two 13yr old boys, a death of a parent, a living relative in Russia, a different culture and language. A challenge to everyone involved, especially when yet another very difficult problem occurs.

I imagine they didn't treat him differently than some parents would treat their own American child, and that can be problematical. Not to sound all hippy about it, but this adoption seemed to require a big added dose of sensitivity to what went on and continued to go on with this kid. Maybe they had it - I have no clue, but the 'tough love' approach doesn't seem to have been appropriate in his case with so many other issues going on.

In some situations the desire to help is just not enough. Like they say, hindsight is 20/20 vision. Too bad it is politicized. I'm not a fan of putting your business in the street and they're all getting used for others' purposes.
It might also be relevent to note that many 13 year olds living in Russian and other Eastern European orphanages frequently look and act more like ten or eleven year olds living in families (of any nationality). Poor nutrition leads to smaller stature and later puberty, and the lack of family living and individual parental attention leads to slowed emotional and mental growth.

It is said that for every three months a child lives in a typical Eastern European orphanage, they lose one months' development - or to reverse that, a child will progress one two months in three actual months, thus gaining only eight months within a calendar year and losing four months of physical, mental, and emotional development that a child living with a family would gain. I have not read how long this boy lived in the orphanage before being adopted, but it might be a contributing factor to the difficulties.

If the adoptive parents were not prepared to encounter this kind of immaturity, that might have been a contributing factor, but most families who've adopted from Russia and Eastern Europe are well-aware of these conditions before they adopt, and parent accordingly once their children are home.

Again, we just don't know.

Last edited by CraigCreek; 03-31-2013 at 01:59 PM..
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:56 PM
 
1,024 posts, read 956,024 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
Don't be too swift to judge these parents: how is the other eighteen year old boy adopted from Russia when Joshua/Alexander was adopted getting along? How are their other children (they have five or six, I've seen different numbers) doing? What stories could they tell about their brother?
Don't be too swift to judge the parents, judge the teen as a liar instead?

Sometimes adoptees are treated very differently from their a-siblings. They also didn't come to the family with such a troubled past or have to assimilate to a new family, culture, & country. Most likely the a-parents were ill-equipped to raise a child like that -- if that is the case, should the boy be blamed for that?

Quote:
If this young man chose to live on the streets and to drink and do drugs rather than live at home, who paid for his initial visit back to Russia? I doubt if he paid for it himself, if he was reduced to begging for food. Presumably his adoptive parents paid for this visit, and may have accompanied him. We just don't know.
If this young man chose to live that way there were clearly major problems at home. Teens don't run away, live on the streets, & resort to drugs & alcohol for the fun of it. In the second article I believe it said his a-dad gave him the money to go to Russia. The boy says they did not invite him back home, the APs said they did but he wanted to go back to Russia instead.

Someone is definitely lying there if the reports are correct. Could be the boy, could be the APs.

Quote:
We do know that they got him help as soon as they were aware of his drug and alcohol use. There's no mention either way of any previous counseling, or evident need for it. Again, we do not have the information necessary to form valid opinions about the parents' previous actions.
Expecting a therapist to get him to stop acting up is not exactly getting him the help he needed. Considering his past, if they waited until then to get him help I would say that was somewhat neglectful of them. Too little, too late.

Quote:
I don't think the whole story is out there yet. But the views of the adoptive parents expressed in some of the above posts remind me of the old "when did you stop beating your wife?" tactic. Until more is learned, I am not going to stand in judgement of anyone - but I do expect this young man may have many, many regrets in the years to come, when he is no longer the posterboy for Putinist attitudes.
So you are standing in judgement -- judgement of the boy vs. his parents who were ultimately responsible for making sure he had all the help he needed to live a productive, happy life.

Not sure what you think the boy is getting out of this or what his incentive would be to lie to such an extent. Do people really think he cares about being a posterboy for Putin?

Last edited by thethreefoldme; 03-31-2013 at 02:32 PM..
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