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Adoption disruptions


LilMissMetaphor
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Does anyone remember Sol and Christine Moghadam? Their story is recapped here: http://jenniferchosalaff.blogspot.ca/2013/01/modern-family.html  Or if you google them, they come up in a variety of news sources.

In a nutshell they adopted 4 siblings from Ghana, had difficulties getting them home, had disciplinary/attachment issues (or whatever, it wasn't very clear) once home, and now appear to have wiped any traces of them from their social media.  These days it seems they are happily travelling around the world with their 2 bio children, no information on what happened to the other 4 kids.  

I want to know where these children are.  These aren't isolated cases.  We've talked about Avery at length here at FJ, also about Jenny and Roddy Wagner, who adopted a sibling group and similarly deleted all evidence (I'm hoping these girls are now with family, as they appeared to have had an uncle with whom they kept in touch once in the US).  

 

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Oh wow just saw that the Wagner’s did get rid of their Ethiopian daughters. So many families seemed to get caught up in the adoption ministry that were not well suited for it. I wonder what happened to them? Hopefully with their uncle. She always seemed like an uptight bitch to me  

https://m.facebook.com/roddyandjenny.wagner

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How do these disrupted adopters live with themselves? What a way to join into a series of horrific events that have tormented a child, or in this case, children... Very, very Christian of them. Definitely.

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I have friends who had to disrupt an adoption. The child in question exhibited some very troubling characteristics and ended up in state custody to get the residential care that was needed. It wasn't their first rodeo either...they have 6 children, all adopted from various places, private, foster to adopt and foreign. 

Sometimes disruption is what is best for all involved. 

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23 minutes ago, feministxtian said:

I have friends who had to disrupt an adoption. The child in question exhibited some very troubling characteristics and ended up in state custody to get the residential care that was needed. It wasn't their first rodeo either...they have 6 children, all adopted from various places, private, foster to adopt and foreign. 

Sometimes disruption is what is best for all involved. 

I can see making an adopted child with serious MH issues or sexual deviancy a ward of the state to obtain treatment.  I don't think that's the same as the "foreign black child adopted by Christians to save him," model.  

The problem is that we see repeated "Christian" blogs who trumpet their adoptions of little non-white children from not-America, and then the parents seem to be shocked by the fact these children act VERY "badly" compared to their own little white bio-kids who have been raised as little evangelical Americans since birth.  Then, ignoring the massive culture shift, racial prejudices they face, missing their families/caregivers (I could go on ad nauseam), the adopted kids get labelled as problematic, then scrubbed from the family blog as if they never existed.  

It always strikes me as gross on so many levels.  It's so exploitative, designed to invite praise upon the adoptive parents.  And then, when they realize what a MASSIVE investment in time/patience/resources these adopted little children are, they discard them.  

I want to make it clear, not all disrupted adoptions are on this model.  But this seems to be a repeated problem in Evangelical circles after "Above Rubies" popularized borderline-illegal adoptions from Africa in order to "save" black kids.  

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My friend's kids were not "healthy white infants". She's had plenty of heartache with them, but she persevered with the kids and except for the one, the rest are fantastic adults

BUT...this "white savior" bullshit is disgusting. It's like the "little pagan baby" shit I used to get hit with in grade school.

I have another friend who grew his family through adoption, choosing the foster to adopt route. He's a pastor BUT...NOT the "fundie" type...hell, he voted for Obama!!! The kids go to public schools, will probably be encouraged to go to college for whatever their heart desires. The older kids play baseball and his fervent prayer is to have at least one MLB star in the bunch. He and his wife are "good people" if you know what I mean. Another friend adopted from China. Her husband is a optical physicist and she is a professor at a state university. N is the youngest kiddo...and they're steering her to go to college where my friend teaches because they'll get one hell of a tuition discount. 

One of my best friends, her sister and one brother were all adopted. Then...her parents thought her mom had a tumor...it wasn't a tumor, it was S. This friend, A, is also a college professor in a southern state. Her sister and both brothers still live in our hometown. Her brother B was a handful...he did some time in juvie...discovered that grown up jail sucked worse than juvie and straightened up. However I doubt A's parents would have ever thought of "getting rid" of B. 

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Read “The Child Catchers” by Kathryn Joyce. It addresses the topic of child “saving” by evangelical Americans and is chilling. One of our members (was it @chaotic life?) is interviewed in it.

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Our one and only disrupted adoption was completely heartbreaking to me. Even after nearly 20 years, I can't look at the scrapbook of that child without sobbing. I felt such a complete failure as a mother, but the child's mental health problems were more than our family could bear. It was breaking up my marriage and traumatizing my older children... thankfully the child was placed in a situation where the child would be the ONLY child in the family and all resources and love could be lavished. According to the last I heard from the social worker, there were still problems but things were able to be more evened out... 

But when I read about kids "not working out"..... my blood boils.

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I know the Mulvahills from There's No Like Place blog adopted a girl from a disrupted adoption situation. I think there was some blog evidence from the girl's former adoptive parents. But, i might be remembering it wrong.

 

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21 hours ago, feministxtian said:

Sometimes disruption is what is best for all involved. 

I agree, majority of those cases probably never end up on blogs. 

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I've read Kathryn Joyce's book, and the way these adoptions are disrupted is sickening. 

It's very different to move a child to the right place, especially with an impeccable paper trail; sometimes kids need more than their adopted parents can give them. Or sending a kid to live with relatives for a while (a fun summer with grandparents to give parents a break, for example).

BUT what Joyce described is more like sending a "bad" child to a different place so the "parents" don't have to deal with that child. There are a lot of those situations that Joyce describes, like children who end up with very abusive people because their adopted parents couldn't handle them -- with no records of this happening. 

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Who was the one who adopted two kids from Africa (I feel like it was either Uganda or Liberia, but I can't remember which) and complained about them on her blog, even editing a picture of the boy to make him look demonic? I felt terrible for those kids and was so glad to hear they went to what sounded like a better home.

There were two different families in our social circle who adopted and when they were having issues in the first few months openly said that they were thinking of sending the kids back. My parents gave it a lot of consideration and both times they decided that they would adopt the kids if the parents didn't keep them, but it ended up working out with the original adoptive families.

My grandparents actually tried to adopt a child when my mom was young and unfortunately they couldn't keep her after she tried to kill my mom's little brother by strangling him. My grandparents did serve as foster parents for many children later on, with much better experiences.

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I do not know anyone who has had a disrupted adoption, but I know several families who have adopted children from the disrupted adoption, and I know some families who adopted and had a very hard time with their new kids. 

I think the problem, especially in international adoption it's a lack of information and understanding of what the adoptive families are actually getting into. I think there is this Rosy view that you'll provide such a great life for some poor starving orphans and they'll be so grateful. Jesus will save the kids and all will be peachy.

The truth is that many of these kids are not even orphans (or children!). Kids coming from places like Liberia have lived through things the average homeschooling Christian family doesn't even have the capacity of imagining. And they are given zero training to deal with the trauma they are coming with. 

I know 2 families who adopted from Liberia several years ago when it was all the rage. One family had 5 little boys and the mom was pregnant with a 6th, and they adopted 5 kids (maybe all girls at least 4 of them were) at once. The kids off course had no birth certificates, so their ages were just made up. They were supposed to be between 9-15, but once they got them here they learned that at least 2 and maybe a 3rd were actually adults, and all of them were teen agers. They were small because of poor nutrition. It was a nightmare for the family from the moment they got here. 2 of the girls came addicted to drugs, they continually ran away from home, all of them acted out sexually, some got in trouble with the law and they all had no desire to live in a conservative Christian homeschooling family (the mom was dresses only head covering, etc). One of the girls had such severe mental health/mental delay that she had to be institutionalized. She was one of the adults when she came here, I ran into the adoptive mom recently and she said basically they brought an adult to a country against her will do that they could pay to have her institutionalized. I think the mom does still have contact with 2 of the 5 kids, they are all adults and out of their care now (except the one in the care home).

There other couple who adopted at the same time did get actual children, but the parents were much older, in their 60s when they adopted and it's been a very hard road for them as well. The father has died and she's raising really difficult teenagers in her 70s. 

I also know people who are living through hell with their domestically adopted children. I can see why people get to the point they just can't do it. There needs to be more information and more support for adoptive families. Well, families living with mental health issues in general.

But then I also know a family with an adopted child whom I believe would be so much better off in another family. The mother refused to go to counseling with the child, or seek the help that is available because she was afraid they would tell her not to spank the child. 

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THese fundies make my blood boil. No concept that the child they are adopting have their own identities. No concept that maybe they don't want to be converted. Or that perhaps they had their own dreams and ambitions.

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There is no question that sometimes disruptions are necessary for safety considerations.... and I can't imagine the turmoil and heartbreak that go into making that decision.... both for the child and the families involved.

But there is another kind of disruption at play that isn't due to safety circumstances -- it's because of the overall "my way or the highway" attitude that you see in fundie/ super religious families. (It certainly isn't solely related to religious families, but it seems to reside there frequently.) Not just in the white savior context, but the outright refusal to acknowledge that kids who have experienced trauma cannot be raised the same way as biological children.  You cannot expect kids from a different culture, who have lost their birth families to simply conform to a rigid rule set -- their brains behave differently because of the trauma they've experienced. 

 

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I have acquaintances ( we belong to the same fandom club; I wouldn't call them friends) who disrupted their adoption of two little girls. They have adopted a total of five kids over the years, four girls and a boy, and have two biological sons, all from foster-to-adopt. The adopted son is an adult, left home at 18, & cut ties with them. The oldest girl is his bio sister; she's an adult now & lives with her brother while going to college but still has a close relationship with the parents & siblings.
The youngest girl was a baby when they adopted her, and is probably 9 or 10 now. The other two girls are her bio sisters, who were a bit older when they were adopted. When they were young teens, not long after the adoptions were final, the parents declared that the older girls had never bonded with the rest of the family and "rehomed" them, possibly to some sort of group home. I don't know details, just that they were there in the family and then suddenly they weren't. 
I do know that they've always been really strict & hard on all the kids, bio sons included. They are some kind of fundie-lite: they drink alcohol & the mom & daughters wear pants & shorts, but they are rabid creationists and left a main-stream church because they thought it was too liberal, & went to a local nondenominational mega-church that is kind of hipster-fundie. They homeschooled all the kids.

I do know they taught their kids that non-white people are inferior because god made them that way & meant for whites to rule over them. (I heard this straight from the youngest girl & one of the bio sons.)

According to a mutual friend who's closer to the family, they didn't disrupt officially through DSS, they waited until the adoption was completely final & went through some faith-based group to rehome the girls, because they wanted to keep the youngest & DSS would not have allowed them to separate the sibling group. The older girls did not react well to the strict discipline or homeschooling, & were resistant to being "saved" & becoming Christians.

Edited by FeministShrew
removed possibly identifying info
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11 hours ago, scribble said:

There is no question that sometimes disruptions are necessary for safety considerations.... and I can't imagine the turmoil and heartbreak that go into making that decision.... both for the child and the families involved.

But there is another kind of disruption at play that isn't due to safety circumstances -- it's because of the overall "my way or the highway" attitude that you see in fundie/ super religious families. (It certainly isn't solely related to religious families, but it seems to reside there frequently.) Not just in the white savior context, but the outright refusal to acknowledge that kids who have experienced trauma cannot be raised the same way as biological children.  You cannot expect kids from a different culture, who have lost their birth families to simply conform to a rigid rule set -- their brains behave differently because of the trauma they've experienced. 

 

This^^^ so much this . There is a family in our homeschool group that is currently struggling with this. When I was a child they adopted several infants (China, Ethiopia, Korea...) and it all seemed to work out just ducky. When I got a back from college I found out they had adopted older children and it had turned out very differently. Walked in to the kitchen one day to hear the adoptive mom telling my mother she just couldn’t understand why these older children were refusing to follow the homeschool program all the others had done etc. “My way or the highway” ended up happening and one child ended up being placed in another family and the other two ended up at a Christian boarding school but come home for the summer. 

My parents were in a similar situation with one of my older siblings. While all three of the last of us were adopted, they just weren’t prepared for the trauma, medical and cultural issues that came with adopting an older child from another country. (He ended up at boarding school as well) 

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One thing I don’t understand: Ok, sometimes a kid with really high challenges and needs will be moved to a therapeutic residential setting. But why does that have to involve rehoming/giving up parental rights? When bio kids need residential care, the parents don’t give up parental rights, surely?

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1 hour ago, SusanAtTheLastBattle said:

One thing I don’t understand: Ok, sometimes a kid with really high challenges and needs will be moved to a therapeutic residential setting. But why does that have to involve rehoming/giving up parental rights? When bio kids need residential care, the parents don’t give up parental rights, surely?

Limitations of private insurance may be a factor. When the child becomes a ward of the state they may have more funds available for treatment.

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I don't understand how a family can adopt 5 kids at a time without any kind of professional support and NOT have problems.  So many of the Fundy adoption-ministry types are just child collectors, and not following any kind of advice (trying to add new kids every year etc) - especially with older kids, who they rename, refuse to let them speak their own language, and expect the poor kids to forget everything that happened to them and just love the new parents unconditionally.

(I know some FJers don't think it's a problem that adopting parents don't bother to learn the children's language and expect them to speak English only, but nothing will convince me that this is terrible practice.   Especially the ones who  find it too hard to learn the child's language, but expect them to be fluent in American in 6 months...)

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3 hours ago, Skyline said:

Limitations of private insurance may be a factor. When the child becomes a ward of the state they may have more funds available for treatment.

Even worse, parents may be forced to accept being charged with "abandoning" their child to get them into state care. This is an older story, but it shows what happens: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/lowell/parents-advised-to-abandon-children-in-order-to-secure-mental/article_d8073da8-2609-5bf8-ba2f-1157dce11b66.html

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Which state was it that, when it drafted its initial "safe haven" law, failed to specify a maximum age, and people were dropping off their teenagers?

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23 minutes ago, smittykins said:

Which state was it that, when it drafted its initial "safe haven" law, failed to specify a maximum age, and people were dropping off their teenagers?

That was Nebraska.

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Yes and we are still dealing with the repurcussions of what happened with the Safe haven law today. Most of the older children/teenagers who were abandoned under safe haven had been adopted through foster care. It really brought to the forefront the lasting effects of trauma on foster children and the appalling lack of resources and support for families with adopted children from foster care. As well as families with bio children with mental health concerns. Some good came from it including some post adoption service providers. But Nebraska’s child welfare system is extremely dysfunctional. Safe Haven was definitely a wake up call (as well as an embarrassment). 

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