Adoption Flap

April 13, 2010

Perhaps you've seen the news about the dumb bitch in Tennessee who put her son on a plane to Russia with a note saying that she's punting on being a parent from now on.

I'm naturally a biased observer of this bit of news, but I the only reaction I can fathom is a strong desire to put a fist in her face.

But I have heard observers react with sympathy for the mother. Parents should be informed about potential problems during the adoption process. Parents should have programs to help them deal with children that they can't handle.


The parents that adopted know that they have it. The home study process doesn't just screen parents to make sure they have smoke detectors and locks on the bleach cabinet. They give you information about likelihood of different problems that children can have (which is an overwhelming list, let me assure you), and they give information about state and social programs to help parents cope.

By the way, did you know that alcohol during pregnancy is much, much worse for the baby than heroin during pregnancy? Just a little interesting tidbit that you learn when you adopt children from countries where expecting mothers sometimes drink a lot of vodka.)

And if you lost your paperwork, you can pick up the phone and call your state's office for children's services. Your adoption agency can direct you to help that is free or close to it. If there's a university in town, they may have a psychological services center that provides children services for a nominal cost. Your pediatrician will be able to refer parents to programs to help the overwhelmed parent.

Reports indicate that the woman in Tennessee took none of these basic steps.

You've paid taxes your whole life to support these services, so when you need them, use them.

So what happens for us?

Right now we don't know. The best case is that we have a delay before we get to go meet our second kid. In the worst case scenario, it gets shut down, and we're finished before we start.

The articles I saw Friday and Saturday suggested that the US borders are already closed for Russian orphans. But today's news uses language that suggests that this is just a consideration for now. The United States is sending additional diplomats to Russia to address just this issue.

Russian President Vladimir Medvedev spoke about it with George Stephanopoulos on ABC. The adotopion question was at the end of the interview.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I have to ask you about a case that has shocked people both in the United States and here in Russia. The case of the seven-year-old boy. Si-- Siberian boy. Ardev Siveliev (PH) who was adopted-- in the United States, returned back alone with a note pinned to his chest saying, I can't keep him anymore. You're shaking your head. You know about this. MEDVEDEV: Certainly I know and that's terrible and that young boy, Artyom Savyelyev, he simply fell into a very bad family. You know I would not like to finish the interview with the conversation on such a complicated topic, but I would like to say couple of things. first of all , it is a monstrous deed on the part of his adoptive parents, to take the kid and virtually throw him out with the airplane in the opposite direction and to say, I'm sorry I could not cope with it, take everything back is not only immoral but also against the law. And secondly what is now of my special concern, is the fact that the quantity of such cases in America is on the rise. We did have a couple of deaths of the kids which were adopted by American parents recently. That case thank God was without a fatal end, and without any bodily injury or trauma. Our agency responsible for kids' rights did react already to that. And even the minister of the department. STEPHANOPOULOS: Your minister has suggested freezing-- freezing adoptions. Is that a good idea? MEDVEDEV: You know any harsh decision is never either totally wrong or totally good. I believe considering that negative experience which has been accumulated in that department we should think with our American colleagues about some agreement between us about where the expectations which would outline very strongly the responsibilities of the parents which are taking the children from Russia, which will provide the monitoring opportunities of such a family. We should understand what is going on with our children, or we will totally refrain from the practice of adopting Russian children by American adoptive parents. I can only say we are alarmed by the tendency. This is very sad and I would like after the conversation with you, we would attract attention to that problem by American authorities.

I can't say that I disagree with Medvedev there. But really, there's already a process in place for that too. At 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years after a Russian adoption, you're required to have your same social worker visit, check up on things, and write up a report that gets sent back to Russia. We just finished the visit for our 3-year report a couple of weeks ago.

Tennessee should have just recently gone through her six-month post placement visit, which means she would have had a social worker that she knows, sitting at her dining room table, asking to be told about any problems.

Unlike most issues coming out of Russia, there is new information every few hours. I've been doing a lot of reading. I probably won't continue to link articles, but here are three new pieces that have appeared since I wrote the bulk of this post yesterday.

If you see others that are interesting, feel free to add links in the comments here, or send them to me via the book.