The story had some figures on how many adoptions from Eastern Europe have been "disrupted," that is, terminated. No more forever family, kids sayeth the Times:
"Dr. Federici has tracked international adoptions since 1992 and estimates that about 4,000 from Eastern Europe alone have foundered — with children being sent into state care or to places like the Ranch for Kids or back to their home countries. He said that while he respected the impulse behind the ranch, permanent improvement could not happen without a spine of rigorous medical and therapeutic treatment.
"'It’s like a vacation at the beach — we’re always better when at the beach,' he said.
"Ms. Sterkel and her staff do not fully disagree....
“'We can’t fix the fundamental damage,' she said.'Generally, our parents have reached a place where they need to restore sanity.'
"About 70 percent of the roughly 300 children who have come here, Ms. Sterkel said, do go back to their adoptive families — though she admits she often loses track after that. Of the remaining 30 percent, the younger ones are often readopted, while adolescents typically go into the federal Job Corps program. And now there is even a second-generation to work with — a 10-month-old girl named Lilia. Lilia’s mother was adopted from Russia and came through the program herself a few years ago — fiercely unmanageable and claiming, in full embrace of the Goth lifestyle, to be a vampire. The young woman’s life did not much get better: She ended up on methamphetamine, tattooed, pierced and pregnant at age 19.
"But she came back to the ranch last year, Ms. Sterkel said, for the final months of her pregnancy, and then agreed to let the infant stay on in the Sterkel family’s care. Ms. Sterkel, now the baby’s legal guardian, said she assumed Lilia had prenatal exposure to alcohol, so she is trying everything she has learned over the years — especially physical contact, usually with the baby on her hip or lap — as an effort at early intervention therapy."But wait, there's more: In another adoption story in today's Times, we learn that adoptionack Rosie O'Donnell, our least favorite celebrity adoptive mother (who is adamantly against open records, along with her rude and obnoxious brother, Daniel O'Donnell of the New York Senate and who will never never never vote for an open-records bill to give adoptees the right to know their birth parents, as he told us, but I digress); anyway, one of Rosie's kids is having a problem--that is, listening to her apparently, and so we get a sympathetic story about Ms. O'Donnell. All right, I'm being flip about this, I'm sure "auditory processing disorder" is a serious problem, but Daniel or Danny, you choose, O'Donnell told one of our lobbyists that he and Rosie feared that her children's birth mothers, if they ever found them, would ask O'Donnell for money, and that was a reason he would never support giving those kids, even as adults, the chance to make a decision for themselves. Rosie bought them, and they were gonna stay her property, in other words. Unfortunately that is the feeling of a lot of adoptive families who shell out $25,000 up for a kid today.
Unfortunate, yes, but true. Parents sympathetic to our cause have told me that this is the feeling of a lot of wealthy adoptive parents.
Back to O'Donnell. Just hearing his or her name makes me angry. If he is the kind of legislator we have in New York, from the uber-liberal West Side of Manhattan, in supposedly liberal New York State, it is no surprise that getting legislation passed anywhere is like walking against a thick tide of sludge. As in Michigan, where I just returned from after visiting family and friends. The supposedly "open-records" bill there now has an amendment that would criminalize contact with your birth mother/father/parents once you got your original birth certificate--if you did not go through their confidential intermediary system. And pay money that, you know, no other person, non-adopted person, that is, has to pay. Fair? Unequal under the law? Cruel and unusual?
All of the above.--lorraine
For more about the Michigan mess, see on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/topic.php?uid=47705527209&topic=14700. I'll try to come up with a site/link later today that doesn't require you to be on FB. I'm not shilling for FB, but it does have a lot of adoption-related stuff that is worthwhile. Here's the official Michigan site detailing the bad bill: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2009-HB-4015 but it does not explain a lot. The FB site details what happened.
In the meantime, I'm trying to come up with a more recent photo--took some pix while I was home visiting--that I can live with. The one above, in truth, gives me a nifty facelift that my brother and photoshop achieved...but vanity sits deep in my heart, 'tis true. Now off to the doctor, and my husband says his computer is dying, at last, and he needs a new one.