I have had a number of conversations over the years related to why and how parents who adopt children then want to return the child when the child doesn’t behave as expected or doesn’t live up to the fantasy of the adoptive parents’ ideas of what the child should be like. If you do a Google search on this topic, you can find a shocking number of stories related to it, with the story about the return of a Russian boy being the most known one currently.
It is appalling to me that this even goes through the minds of adoptive parents as an option for how to not deal with a child, who needs love, stability and support above all other things despite his/her possibly horrifying behavior. A person’s life is not to be shopped for, exchanged for a more preferred shape or size, nor returned for a refund. Period!
Earlier today, I had another conversation with a fellow adoptee on this topic and it has stayed with me throughout the day for more than just the lack of human decency factor (I know, this may stir up some debate, but that’s okay!).
Rather than rant on other people’s stories, though I would like to do that, I shall share my own.
This very thing happened to me and affected my life greatly. Although I think I came out alright in the end (still up for debate!), I wonder if someday I will have the opportunity to speak with my first adoptive family to find out what exactly they thought as they gave me up because I was not the child they expected to receive.
The story as I have read in my reports is that my first family expected to get a lovely, sweet and adoring baby girl from Korea. When I arrived in their arms, I was already over two-years-old.
On top of that, I was already stubborn (surprise! :P), speaking Korean and probably scared out of my wits being in a foreign country with different-looking adults, different food, different – well, EVERYTHING!
So, it really shouldn’t have been a surprise that I was not the ‘ideal’ daughter-to-be.
Still, for whatever reasons, the family decided to use the domestic Children’s Services Division to put me into temporary foster care to determine whether or not they would like to keep me. As if it wasn’t enough trauma already just being adopted internationally! Away I went to a very loving single foster mother, whom until very recently I had no recollection of (that’s another post to come!) for a few months. When my first family decided that they no longer wanted to keep me and my foster mother put in the paperwork to adopt me instead, they were given the power to say NO on the grounds that they couldn’t handle knowing where I had gone. So, in order to relieve their guilt, they used their power to prevent me from being happy and comfortable at that time to set me on a path that was full of abuse and further trauma.
To be fair, I know they never knew that was going to happen to me and I would like to believe that they would never has ‘wished’ that upon me.
However, little did they know that their selfish and immature, yes IMMATURE, actions would cause a great deal of unnecessary grief in a young girl’s life, who had already had to deal with a traumatic separation from her birth mother.
So, although now as an adult I can rationalize and intellectualize the whys and hows, I still do not believe that any child who has already had to deal with all the baggage that comes with being adopted should also have to be given the weight of threat or reality in being ‘returned to sender’. If a biological child turns out to be a psychopath, a parent does not have the luxury of getting out of the responsibility of raising the child. As an adoptive parent, that luxury should be even less of an option…in other words NOT AN OPTION!
If we’re going to go ahead and use terms like ‘forever families’ – which I don’t really agree with, but go with it for now – then let’s take that to heart! <3
– The Universal Asian