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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Ugly Side of International Adoption


The Lost Child of Philomena Lee: A Mother, Her Son and a Fifty Year Search: When she fell pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to the convent to be looked after as a fallen woman. She cared for her baby for three years until the Church took him from her and sold him, like countless others, to America for adoption. Coerced into signing a document promising never to attempt to see her child again, she nonetheless spent the next fifty years secretly searching for him, unaware that he was searching for her from across the Atlantic.


There are things about international adoption I wasn't prepared for going in. I don't think it is a bad thing or that people shouldn't adopt, but it isn't without it's faults. If you are considering international adoption, I urge you to take off the rose colored glasses and think long and hard about it's ugly side.

- Things will not go as planned: Stuff is going to go wrong, possibly very wrong. International adoption is not something you decide to do it and poof it happens. Some days you will feel like the world is crashing down around you and you have no power to stop it. If you accept that before hand, maybe it will make it easier to handle when it happens.

- Sometimes kids shouldn't be adopted: We sometimes imagine poor orphans longing for us to sweep them away from hell on earth, but that necessarily true. Sometimes there are questionable ethics involved to convince you otherwise. Are you prepared to look into how your potential child/ren ended up available to be adopted? You should be. You will need to be ready to think about what is best for everyone, not just you, and that is very hard.

- You're adoption agency may not know everything: They probably aren't trying to hurt you, but no one is perfect. They aren't immersed in the political and cultural environment of the country you will be adopting from. Trust them, they are helping you with a huge important undertaking, but do your research. If they tell you something that seems too good to be true it probably is.

- Your perfect child does not exist: If you want to adopt a happy, healthy baby with no emotional baggage you had better submit your dossier to dream-land. Those kids are not available for international adoption. The more open you are to older children, sibling groups, and children with moderate to severe special needs the more likely you will be to adopt successfully.

- You will need more money: There may be surprise costs, things may be more expensive than you think, time frames may be blown and a million other issues may arise. Make sure you have more money saved up than you are told you will need. If you don't need it, great, but if you do and you don't have it you will be stressing over one more thing.

- They are all hurt kids: Adoption is the best solution for a bad situation. Whether through death, abuse or abandonment, adoption means that a child comes from a broken past. They have lost the basic right to their family and with that their identity. Their scars may look different, but all adopted children have them. And they are all painful. No child escapes the trauma of adoption unscathed.

- Waiting is hard: Paperwork, home studies, document preparation, meetings, court hearings, and between everything waiting, waiting and more waiting. And that's the easy part. After adoption comes waiting to be trusted, accepted and loved. And what also may come and be a surprise is waiting to feel love for your adopted child. Sometimes loving is the hardest part. Just in case, become well acquainted with the term "fake it 'till you make it."

- Don't go into it looking to save someone: If everything works out and you come home one or more kids richer, you are in for a lot of hard work. Adoption is not the beginning of happy ever after, it is the beginning of the hard job of teaching a child they are special when they are convinced they are not. Don't expect a thank you. Ever.

You may think that because adopting a younger child, or siblings, or a girl, etc that things will be different for you. But some things about international adoption are universal. I am so happy that Hubby and I adopted Buddy. I wouldn't change it for the world. But we were very naive when we went into our adoption and we are so lucky that everything worked out the way it did.

12 comments:

  1. wise words, Mama Bear. really wise words!

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    1. Thanks, Leah. This was a hard one to write, but I felt I needed to say it.

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  2. Many good reminders as people choose their course. Thank you for sharing, Mama Bear.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your heart on this subject! Honestly, a lot of your points apply to our situation even though we adopted our sons through the foster care system.

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    1. Thanks, Alex. I had never thought about some of these points applying to adoption through the foster care system, that's interesting to know.

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  4. Oh wow, how insightful and inspiring. You've shared some really important and helpful words here.

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for organizing the link up!

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  5. Thank you for sharing these thoughts! What a great list of things to consider. Especially the agency stuff. So true. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

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    1. It's usually the case in general, I find.

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  6. I think the notion that adoption is rooted in loss is the piece that I didn't get at the start. So this statement is really valuable: "They are all hurt kids: Adoption is the best solution for a bad situation."

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    1. I know what you mean. I knew, but I didn't truly understand.

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