It's been a week since my last post, but I have been busily mulling over much in the world of adoption. Many of you probably read headlines about the blogger Mommy Anita Tedaldi who adopted a child and then when she felt the baby boy wasn't bonding gave him up. It was all over the U.S. media and the Internet late last week. Tedaldi was interviewed by Matt Lauer on the Today Show. She was condemned and praised as people all over responded viscerally to her story. Last week I was called by a Montreal radio show to give comment on adoption and whether this mom did the best thing for her adopted child. This is essentially what I said:
Every adoption is different and nobody can know what went on in the home or the minds of the family that adopted that particular child Baby "D." It is a sad sad story and a choice nobody ever wants to make, to eventually decide it is impossible to parent a child or a sibling group. Adoption disruption is a very real phenomenon. It happens. Sadly statistics are not kept and the topic is not discussed because to admit that adoptions sometimes don't take would force us to go down a path that nobody seems willing or able to do - a path that forces us to evaluate why. Is it because the system fails to prepare families adequately for the reality that adoptees, particularly from foster care, will require more than biological children, different parenting? Is it because we do not invest in post-adoption supports? Is it that we do not train our therapists and doctors to recognize adoption issues and handle them in adoption sensitive ways? “I loved him and I cared deeply for him,” Tedaldi told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Thursday in New York. “I tried to do the same exact thing I did with my biological children, but over time it became clear that our family maybe wasn’t a good match for him, that we were unable to meet some of his needs.” To me the clue here lies in the statement about trying to do the same things she had done with her biological children. Children who are born with primal hurts, abandonment, relinquishment and apprehension. Children who faced environmental and prenatal insults: stress, trauma, drugs, alcohol, poverty. These are children who cannot be parented the same as biological children and that is the reality. Stress, prenatal insults and abandonment are things that change the brain and also impact babies psychologically and physically. We as a society like to console ourselves with platitudes about children being resilient. Reality is much harder to swallow. Adoptive parenting is not the same as biological parenting. Adoptive parents often have to work harder. Consider it parenting squared. Our kids need more. Hopefully this little boy is now somewhere parents understand this.