Friday, December 31, 2010

On grieving for a grandchild NOT placed for adoption

Jane

Carolyn Hax the Washington Post advice columnist has taken up the quarrel with the family preservation foe, catching the torch at Ann Landers field to keep faith with the adopting class. At least Landers’ ignorance about adoption could be excused; she was an uneducated housewife from Sioux City, Iowa who simply parroted adoption industry propaganda. Harvard educated Hax, on the other hand, has no excuse for continuing to spout “adoption is the best option” except to pander to her Washington Post readers, many of whom are seeking to adopt after postponing child-bearing on their way to Capitol power and prestige.

For the past week, Hax has posted advice from readers while she is away. Here’s the latest adoption-promo piece written by an anonymous grandmother:
“My daughter became pregnant at 24 and, at the urging of her friends, made the decision to keep her baby. … She talked herself into it because that’s what others told her she ‘ought’ to do.

“Through the years, I have frequently been the primary caregiver, been there financially when things were difficult, and have been the one who has done homework, volunteering at school and known all my grandchild’s friends. …While I adore my grandchild, had adoption been the choice, I know it would have been the best one for this child. Two parents who love this child and wanted this child so much, contact with the bio family if the bio family wants it, no regrets everyday because you know you kept the baby to make others happy, and knowing you’ve done what is really best for your child.

“You have to understand, it isn’t because I resent what I have needed to do; it is all about this child’s life. …

“If I had to do it over again, I would take my daughter out for a long drive and beg her to reconsider the decision to keep her child, not for my sake, but for her child’s sake.”

Anonymous,
As a grandmother who does a lot of baby-sitting for my two grandchildren, I understand some of your frustration but you are so wrong on so many counts, it’s hard to know where to begin. Thousands of American grandparents would give up their Florida vacations, afternoons at the bridge club or on the golf course, whatever it took, to be able to raise their grandchildren. Attend an adoption support group and listen to the sobs of grandparents who lost their grandchild. That the adoption was at their urging compounds their pain.

You place the blame for your daughter’s decision to keep her child on “what others told her do.” At 24, your daughter certainly shares accountability for her decision. Likely she kept her child, not because of bad advice from friends, but because every human instinct urged her to keep the baby. You seem to think keeping the child is the unusual path where in fact it is the norm.

Your idealization of adoptive parents goes beyond the pale. Just because a couple wants a child and has the means to acquire someone else’s infant doesn’t mean they are more loving than you and your daughter. Children adopted, even into good homes, face a host of problems not borne by the non-adopted.

In the past, social workers promoted adoption as the best way to avoid problems associated with”unwed” pregnancy. However, as the problems associated with adoption surfaced, experts now agree that most children are better off with their natural families.

Adopted children often have difficulty fitting into their adoptive families. They do not look like other family members and have different personalities, talents, and interests. In spite of a mother-to-be’s best efforts to pick June and Ward Cleaver (or the contemporary model of exemplary parenthood, Angelina and Brad), the adoptive parents may turn out to be parents from hell, even murderers. In most cases, of course, adoptive parents are like other parents--no better and no worse--sharing the same burdens which befall other parents such as divorce, alcoholism, or unemployment.

As for “contact with the bio family if the bio family wants it,” get on the internet and read the tearful posts of women in “open adoptions” where the adoptive family cut off contact or just moved away.

Regrets? I’ve never met a mother who regretted not placing her child for adoption. I know of no support groups for mother commiserating with each other over keeping their children. I’ve attended lots of support groups of mothers who regretted losing their children to adoption every minute of their lives.

Our advice to you, granny, get on your knees and thank the powers to be that you had the opportunity to raise your grandchild. Thank your lucky stars that you didn’t have to learn the hard way--the way many of us had to learn--that adoptive parents are not the idealized folks you think them to be and that birth mothers get on with their lives with nary regret. And give praise to Allah that your grandchild won’t grow up wondering why his mother gave him away. And why his grandmother rejected him as well.


Lorraine and I wish our reader the best for the coming year. May it be filled with open hearts, open minds, and open records.

37 comments :

  1. Wishing everyone at FMF a very Happy New Year. Think I'm going to put adoption related issues aside. Well, at least until next year. ha ha :)

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  2. You could say all that again. I agree. Who knows how much my Mom has been changed over the fact that even though she won't admit she knows she made me place my daughter for adoption.

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  3. My birthmother does not regret keeping her second born - although she divorced soon after the birth.

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  4. Jane, is there any need to take this anon grandmother out in quite this way? And why blame Carolyn Hax? All she did was publish the opinion. Honestly, I can't see why this woman has become the anti-adoption rage magnet she has. The mother did not surrender this child for adoption and Grandma did step up to the plate. That does not mean her experience equates to yours or to anyone else's, including the comfy retirees you allude to. Saying that you have never met a woman who decided to parent who didn't regret it is not the beginning-and-end of all experience:

    There are people, single and married, who regret having kids and feel that if they had to do it over again, they wouldn't.
    There are people who are comfortable with the decision to surrender if not actively happy about it.
    There are grandparents who would be seriously burdened by raising kids.
    There are grandmothers who resent their own kids and resent the grandkids even worse. (I know one who wouldn't even meet a premature baby in an incubator because the kid was related to her.)

    In this world of multiple experiences there is one grandmother who is musing about her daughter's inability well past the age of 30 to parent and wonders if adoption might have provided this child with more security and more loving adults in his life, including in an open adoption. We simply don't have enough information to tear this woman up this way, and I'm referring to the other blog here too. She is entitled to her questions and her regrets.

    Adoption might have been a worse thing for this child--sure, we all get it that adoption is no miracle and comes with lifelong identity issues. But depending on the circumstances and the child's life (it's no picnic having a mother around who's too immature to parent you), it might have improved. In some respects.

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  5. Sorry I meant, "who decided to parent who regretted it".

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  6. I felt deeply for my father when I was forced into the relinguishment of my daughter...for many years he would catch a glance of my daughters picture and have a lot of pain in his eyes. Yes, I was angry because he did not stand up for me...it was wrong that he didn't. He tried very hard to apologize to me about it before he died...But in the end that was his cross to bare.

    For those that don't get it, it isn't just our children and grandchildren, it is those grandchildren's children and on through time, that suffer and know that pain of loss.

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  7. There's not enough info here for me to form an opinion about this particular family situation, but whether grandparent(s) would or could be able to step in and raise their grandchild(ren) surely depends on a number of significant factors.
    I can't imagine it would be too much of a sacrifice for all those thousands of American grandparents who would gladly give up their Florida vacations, afternoons at the bridge club or on the golf course or whatever, because, presumably they are healthy and not short of a dollar or two.
    OTOH, for those whose financial resources are severely limited, who are in poor health or just plain old and frail, it could be overwhelmingly difficult and not a good situation for either them or their grandchildren.
    According to this Pew report http://pewsocialtrends.org/2010/09/09/since-the-start-of-the-great-recession-more-children-raised-by-grandparents/ 2.9 million children live
    with grandparents, and unsurprisingly there has been a significant spike in this number since the recession. The figures tell us that about one child in ten lives with a grandparent, and of those, about 41% are being raised primarily by that grandparent.
    More at the link.

    Haigha

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  8. While the grandmother is flat out wrong in saying that her grandchild would have been better off being adopted, I have some sympathy for her because from the letter it appears that she has been the non-too-happy primary caretaker of her grandchild, and she is expressing her frustration in her letter to Carolyn Hax at the position she has assumed. She did not herself decide to become the primary caretaker of a child; it was a responsibility she feels was unwillingly foisted upon her.

    So if I were offering my two cents of advice, here I'd urge her to talk things through with her daughter, the child's mother, and see if there aren't other relatives who might step in and help relieve some of the burden she feels. And pray that this can all be done without the child feeling guilty for being the pain her her grandmother's arse. The woman's daughter needs to step up and shoulder more responsibility.

    We don't know anything about the child's other grandmother; I know of one case where the father did not want the woman he was casually dating to have the child, but since she had already lost one child to adoption, and was in a position to raise a child as a single mother, she chose to have the child and raise him. The paternal grandmother was kept in the loop, and in time the boy's father did want to have a relationship with his son, and ultimately paid for his college education.

    Bottom line: A tough talk with the child's mother, ASAP. Before this grandmother can change her attitude, she needs to admit that she does resent the responsibility of raising the child, and go from there and see if there is a way to turn over some of the major care taking to the daughter, the child's mother.

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  9. First of all, I want to say, Jane, what a stupendous rebuttal that covers all the bases. It's too bad so many of these points never seem to make it into popular culture.

    This piece is clearly pro-adoption. Adoption is mentioned several times as being in the best interest of the CHILD. Well, I can tell you as someone who actually lived being an adopted person, that unless there is abuse, neglect or the child is being shuttled from one foster home to another with no real sense of family, the child is better off with his or her biological kin. There is no mention in this article of the negative side of adoption for the CHILD. It frightens me that the grandmother seems to see the adoption option as all fairytales and rainbows. Also, I have never heard anyone say that they wish they had been adopted unless they were in one of the aforementioned situations.

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  10. Maybe, said grandma should have put her daughter up for adoption then she wouldn't have had to deal with any situation as adoption pretty much eliminates a family.

    As a grandma I would step up for any of my grandkids
    And there are many grandparents that do everyday it's called being a grandma!

    Shocking isn't it my thoughts are maybe she didn't do such a bang up job on her daughter in raising her to take care of responsibilities.

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  11. How can anyone know if the child would or would not be better off adopted? The grandma can't know that,she is speculating out of her frustration, and we can't know that the child might not be better off with another family, because we do not know enough of the background to make that definitive judgment.

    Lorraine and Jane, your position statement says you are not against all adoption, but saying categorically that this child would not be better off adopted certainly sounds like you believe all adoptions inferior to in-family placements.

    I have no idea where this particular child would or would not be better off, or why the mother is either unwilling or unable to take care of him. It is a sad situation, as are many where grandparents with limited means and energy have to raise their grandchildren. In the situations I personally know of, the parents are unfit, due to mental illness or substance abuse or both, and when older children end up with grandma it is often because they have been abused by mom or her boyfriends.

    We do not know the backstory here, don't have enought information to say what would be better or worse for this woman and her grandchild.

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  12. Lorriane, your advice in theory is great, though I'm not sure how one has a tough talk with a going-on-40-year-old about this. I don't think there's anything wrong in expressing honestly that you are burdened by raising a child you did not expect to raise. I do wonder if this is Grandma's issue. She says it isn't. She may not be able to bear saying that one of the few adults this child has in his life resents his presence now and then. It's all pretty sad.

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  13. "She is entitled to her questions and her regrets."

    She is also entitled to be comforted by knowing that her decision to help raise her g-child possibly thwarted some life-long regrets that could potentially be much more devastating for her, her daughter and her g-child than what she is dealing with now.

    good post, Jane.

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  14. Oh this sounds like a shill if there ever was one. Why not list an 800 number with agency name in it?

    I would find this much more believable if grandma was asking for advice about how to get her daughter to mom-up. I find it doubtful that someone who bother to write a columnist about an imaginary trajectory advising others to take a road she didn't take.

    It is silly, why not write Dear Carolyn:

    Please tell your babies not to grow up to be cowboys?



    It is about as relevant. This certainly reads like a commercial. The bit about open adoption and bio families being able to maintain contact, if they so desire, was a bit heavy-handed as far as sounding like it came from the mouths not of grandma-babes but rather copywriting-babes.

    That Ms. Hax chose this to publish is very telling.

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  15. Joy:
    Your comment is spot on.

    I didn't think of it that way, but it does sound like a letter written out there as a warning to all you young ladies who are thinking of surrendering your children, or grammas who urge you not to. It does sound like it could have been written by an adoption agency person...or someone from the Center for American Progess. If any of you do not understand that comment, look up our posts about them.

    I do believe that in nearly all circumstances in-family raising of children is better than placing them with strangers to whom they are not related. If they are raised in the family, they are always someone's cousin, half-sister, daughter, niece, et cetera...not the adopted kid.

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  16. Osolo: It may be too late, as you say, but what else can the woman do?

    My mother lived in a building for seniors in a quite small apartment--call it 2.5 rooms as the kitchen was small. She told me that one of the women in the building had a daughter who brought her two young children over every day for her to watch while she was at work. We both said, Yikes, how could she take care of two pre-school kids every day in that small apartment (same size at my mom')?

    The woman ultimately jumped off the top floor of the nine-story building. I don't know anymore, I'm just saying that's how her full time childcare job ended. My mother knew her well enough to attribute at least part of her desperation to her inability to tell her daughter she couldn't go on taking care of the children anymore.

    The woman in the scenario being discussed here needs to speak up. If indeed there is such a woman, unless she is fictional, as Joy has suggested. The woman says she loves the kid but then says she would have been better off adopted? Thinking about it again, she does sound made up.

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  17. Osolomama asked why I blamed Carolyn Hax for the grandmother's advice that her grandchild would be better adopted.

    Hax appears in my local paper infrequently; yet a number of her columns promote adoption, mouthing the mantras of the 50's and 60's about how children are better off adopted than raised by single mothers. Hax never discusses the negatives that can occur with adoption. I wrote to her a couple of times pointing out that experts agree that children should be raised with birth relatives when possible. She did not respond. Hax undoubtedly received many responses to her invitation to readers to write an advice column. Hax selected only a few including this column, likely because it reflect her views.

    Hax has also written that sperm donors should be anonymous, showing her ignorance on that subject as well.

    Readers are correct that not all grandparents can or wish to raise their grandchildren. However, this grandmother said she did not resent raising her grandchild and apparently had the financial resources and good enough health to enable her to do so.

    This grandmother goes beyond simply musing whether adoption would have been a better choice for this child. She states flatly it would have been based on her fantastical view of adoptive parents. Sadly, the grandmother's naive assertions about adoption may cause others to follow her advice resulting in unnecessary adoptions.

    Regarding regrets: I don't know any mothers who regretted having children although I have read of surveys which report this is the case. I do know mothers who wished they had put off having children or that they had had fewer children (although they can't identify which child they would have preferred not to have had.)

    However, I know no mother who has said she wished she had placed her child for adoption.

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  18. You're right, joy.

    It does sound made up.

    "Two parents who love this child and wanted this child so much, and contact with the bio family if the bio family wants it" sounds like something from an adoption agency's marketing department.

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  19. I have to say this letter felt a tad disingenuous to me too, and even more so after reading this http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/aug/27/
    let-her-go-through-with-adoption/
    which is written in a style oddly similar to the one quoted here. Also, the young women in both cases are described as having become pregnant when they were 24 years old - which could be entirely coincidental of course. But still . . .

    I too believe children are in most cases best raised within their biological families, but I also feel that the problems faced by grandparents raising grandchildren (often more than one) deserves rather more consideration and compassion than I'm sensing here.
    There is a woman lives near us who is raising five grandchildren. I got to know her because I sometimes help her carry her groceries and we chat. I'm sure she's at least ten years younger than me, maybe even more, but she seems older. She's poor, struggling and exhausted. She always seems to have a cold or some other ailment, but soldiers on regardless because she wants to keep her grand-kids out of the foster care system. I believe the kids will benefit and I admire her tremendously for what she is doing, but she is most definitely NOT celebrating a wholly joyful grannyhood.


    Haigha

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  20. "The woman says she loves the kid but then says she would have been better off adopted?"

    That's a perfectly understandable and human reaction. Unless you think in black and white. I love my brother but sometimes wish he hadn't been born. There, I said it. There's no end to the nasty, complex, cloudy emotions human beings are capable of.

    Also, if this was made up, why bother blogging about it.

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  21. "Also, if this was made up, why bother blogging about it."

    hmmm, false idols?

    Wouldn't you speak out against those who you felt were falsely representing issues near and dear to you, but who hid behind a curtain pretending to be someone else?

    The thoughts about whether or not granny is a poser came about through dialog here. It may not be in your interest to find out what kind of crap the adoption industry might be trying to pull, but I'm certainly interested.

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  22. There are people who regret having and raising the kids they had, just as there are grown kids who wish they had been raised by others, with good reason. This cannot be dismissed as "these people do not exist."

    People can imagine different circumstances and think they may have been better, and they can love their family members, but for a variety of reasons wish their lives would have been different, including those family members not existing.

    No, I am not talking about me, I wanted all my kids although none of them were "planned" in the way they are today. But people can be in so many circumstances that would make them feel ambivalent about those they love.

    One of my best friends has one son, severely schizophrenic and in his 40s who will never have a normal life. Might she wish he had never been born? I think so. Ironically she was an unwed mother who married and kept her child. The outcome was still tragic, and had her son been surrendered some here would attribute his condition to adoption.

    I think the letter was real, the grandma wants out from the burden her daughter has given her, but was not willing to say so. It is easier for her to talk about what might have been better for the child than to admit it would have been better for her not to have to be raising him.

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  23. I can understand this grandmother's frustration with having to raise her grandchild. And the truth is she shouldn't have to. What is frightening, though is the knee-jerk reaction to give up the child for adoption with no mention and seemingly no real knowledge of the negative side of adoption. The grandmother keeps mentioning that it would have been best for the child when it sounds like (without more information on the situation) that it would have been better for her.

    When a child is born, s/he is a member of the next generation and when s/he is given up it leaves a hole, a missing piece in the family. Not only for the mother and child but for the whole extended family. There is now a missing grandchild, niece/nephew, cousin, etc. And it goes on through the generations.

    As Lorraine wrote: "If they are raised in the family, they are always someone's cousin, half-sister, daughter, niece, et cetera...not the adopted kid."

    And there is almost always someone in the adoptive family who won't accept the a-kid as family. Doesn't consider her a "real" member of the family and lets her know she doesn't quite belong. Many, many people outside of the a-family believe this as well.

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  24. Anonymous said, " Shocking isn't it my thoughts are maybe she didn't do such a bang up job on her daughter in raising her to take care of responsibilities."

    Just like it's shocking that some mothers haven't done such a bang up job on raising daughters who go on to have children they are unable or unwilling to care for (Sarcasm alert, just in case anybody misses it)


    Haigha

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  25. It did not occur to us that this was made up until Joy mentioned it. and if it was made up, it certainly is worth pointing that out, and so if anyone comes upon this who is feeling the same way and reads these comments, they will certainly get an eyeful, right?

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  26. @Maryanne,
    It is always a crapshoot when one has a child. There is never a guarantee that the child will be healthy. Only PAPs have the choice to reject a child if s/he is unhealthy at the time of placement. Bio-parents take what they get. I have never heard of schizophrenia being caused by adoption.

    I wonder if your friend would have been happier if she had relinquished her son as an infant, never knowing him, never knowing where he was or what happened to him. Could she only be thinking this with hindsight because it is a hard row to hoe to raise a disabled child? Your comments sound as if you think it is immaterial whether a child is raised in his bio-family or by genetic strangers.

    @Joy,
    I'm with you. This sounds like 1-800-ADOPTION.

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  27. Lorraine, when I read your response yesterday, I thought you were spot on. Adoption is red herring in this woman's discussion of frustration. It is really about her feeling angry about the burden of raising her daughter's child. And then as Joy said, why wasn't the mother more concerned about speaking to her daughter about not doing the job she signed up for?

    Osolomama and Maryanne, you're right. We don't have enough backstory to make much of a judgment, but the lack of backstory is also a little suspicious. That said, I guess we have to go on only what is said. I hear a litany frustrated woman who seems to think that adoption just makes all problems go away for the nfamily--remember she said that nfamily contact is only if the nfamily *wants* it--and I doubt that she would. It's just another case of "What if?" and imagining that their lives without the child would have been better--not so much about better for the child--at least from the information given. As you said, there is no knowing if the child would have gone to a "better" family or a more abusive family with even less love to give. It's a crapshoot, as well all know, and the "grandmother" didn't seem to know all the facts about adoption.

    She is welcome to wish that things were different. But they aren't, and to shill for adoption by using scare tactics ("Watch out, grandparents, or you'll end up raising your daugher's or son's children!") is pretty nasty in my opinion.

    I really hate the "better off/not better off" argument. Some people would look at my life--my husband and I both work full-time and have careers, and we have a nanny for most afternoons during the workweek--and think that my kids would have been better off with a mom who stayed home all the time even though she had no money because it's all about LOVE. And because I work, I can't possibly love my children. I went against God's Will by not giving up the fruit of my loins to someone more deserving. After all, it is the current fashion for married people to give up their kids for adoption, and sometimes I wish I hadn't had my kids--Shock! Horror! But oops! My kids are now seven and five, so no one would want them anymore. They'll just have to put up with their adopted mother and her brand of love, wishing they'd had *more* loving adoptive parents with a private island in the Bahamas and lots of ponies, or more brothers and sisters with an adopted family in Utah. Actually, neither of them has ever said that he wishes he were adopted. But perhaps I am not educating them properly. Then again, we were talking about adopting a kitten, and my younger son said, "But we won't be taking him away from his mother forever, will we?"

    I am one of those for whom adoption was probably a "good" thing by your measure, in that my nfamily has rampant alcoholism and is emotionally very dysfunctional. I went to aparents with more money and education. I had a very privileged childhood and have profited from my aparents' support and financial assistance. They love me and I love them. And yet I feel very broken by adoption and wouldn't use my own situation as a reason to sell it to others, because I think the emotional fallout for me counterbalanced much of the good.

    It's just all so ridiculous and pathetically sad. I am almost certain that Joy is right about the testimonial being industry propaganda. Welcome to 2011.

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  28. I have no idea how Maryanne's friend feels about her schizophrenic son, but I am good friends with a man who has schizophrenia and his mother.

    I value his friendship and care a lot about him. I know his mother loves him dearly. I find that comment chilling and would hate to think of my friend or his mother coming across a eugenics sounding comment like that without being able to counter it with what I can attest to, that because you have mental illness does not mean that you are not a valued and loved member of your family.

    I have lost friends to mental illness and while I am not the feelings police, I find that comment disturbing and unfortunate. It may be how Maryanne and her friend feel, but it is certainly not universal.


    On another note, while I don't buy the letter as being legitimate for a moment, I think even as a shill it is very relevant to dialog about adoption.

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  29. "The woman in the scenario being discussed here needs to speak up."

    Some people are not amenable to change.
    Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the situation is real, it's possible that the daughter is one of these.
    Not that the letter mentioned that the grandmother had even tried, but perhaps she felt it was such a given that it didn't need to be spelled out.
    I do think the implication of enabling is below the belt (even if the story is fabricated)

    Haigha

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  30. Joy, excellent point about eugenics. Many people think about "what ifs" when it comes to misfortune or ill health.

    I actually took Mayanne's comment to mean that perhaps her friend wished her son with schizophrenia had been placed, but then the young man's illness would have been blamed on adoption. Well, in a sense it would, if the afamily didn't have a history of schizophrenia. If there isn't enough information to go on, you draw what conclusions you can.

    Definitely each person has intrinsic worth, and we can hope that it is recognized and each person is supported. But adoption is not a magic thing that fixes problems. One set of issues is traded for another.

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  31. My daughter had epilepsy, which is not inherited. However, when I met her parents, I was quizzed thoroughly about my family's mental health--you mean NO ONE in your family is institutionalized? They thought I might be in an institution. I've heard of other cases where the adoptive parents assume the girl's mother was a sex worker.

    If the adoptee is trouble, what I hear is that there is an immediate assumption that there is something wrong with the natural parents...
    otherwise...why is this kid so much trouble? It must be biology...but when the person turns out all right ...well, then, certainly it is his upbringing in our nice family with all the advantages.

    It's pathetic, actually.

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  32. mrs. marginalia:

    Thanks for your interesting comment. You recognize your own monetary and educational and social advantages of your own adoption, yet understand how that adoption impacted your life in not a good way. I think of what someone once posted on a wall in Manhattan:

    I hate that I'm adopted
    and I'm grateful too

    Life is complicated.

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  33. I haven't seen any other columns by Ms Hax that seem to promote adoption, but I do know of 2 grandparents (husband and wife) who are raising grandchildren who never thought they would be forced into that role. Their daughter is extremely immature and if the grandparents didn't have custody of the children then child protective services certainly would. The grandmother tried to get her daughter to consider adoption, but her daughter was strongly against it. She visits her kids about once a week at her parents' house but usually sleeps most of the time because of having a basically nocturnal lifestyle. She won't do anything at all to help out with child care. I hope that somehow the children won't realize how much their grandparents resent them and how little their own mother cares about them. It really is a bad situation when other relatives feel forced to raise children because their parents are too immature or toxic to parent their kids.

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  34. I have had in my care since 2/2010, my now 2 yr. old grandson. Before that I had him about 1/2 the time from age 9 months. His mother and father gave him up when he was 2 months old to her sister because of their heroin addiction. Then she decides my son is his father and we have beeen in his life ever since. But in Aug, 2010 we learnt he was not my sons. The other "father" had wanted nothing to do with him when he thought he was my sons child. The mother got temporary custody back in 2/2010 but I have had him ever since except for 4 weeks that she has kept him off and on. He thinks this is his home and cries terribly at the mention of going to see mommy. It broke my heart to learn he was not mine biologically but I still lov him and he still calls me meme. Now the father wants him in his life and totally away from me. Until Christmas 12/2010 he had not seen him since he was 1 yr. old and that was only breifly. The child does not know him at all but the court has givin him visits every other weekend unsupervised? The child is so attached to me I can not leave him with anyone or he cries uncontrollablly crying for meme. I am so torn over this situation and was wondering what rights if any I have. I havehad custody of my other 2 grandchildren for the past 6 1/2 years also. I love this child so much and he loves me and to seperate us would be terrible. I know I could get threw it if I knew he was going to be loved and taken care of but I also know that is not what is going to happen. Both parents are drug users and have new signifigant others in their lives. Its like no one has ever wanted him and I have supported him without any help from anyone and loved him as my own and now I'm in fear of losing him. The father has stated he wants himout of my life n matter what. The thing is he doesn't even realize he lives with me nor did the court. Any suggestions?

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  35. To anon who asked for advice about getting custody of a boy she has raised for several years thinking he was her son's child:

    Contact an attorney. The American Bar Association can link you to legal resources in your state. Go to www.findlegalhelp.org.

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  36. Hey, here's a shocking idea. All children are a burden to raise. They all involve lots and lots of effort and money. And all children are unexpected TO SOME DEGREE, also, because you can't plan your conceptions down to the day, minute, and second. They come in their own time--even when they're started with something like IVF.

    So let's get down from our high horses, some of us, about whether this was tougher for the grandmother because it was "unplanned." Welcome to reality, where that always happens. OK, we have dismissed that. Now what's so terrible? Life didn't go as planned? Life NEVER goes as planned. Wow, why have kids at all?

    The grandmother doesn't say why she's primary caregiver. You know, I'm primary caregiver of my daughter. Know why? Because her dad works eight hours a day, five days a week. I am literally with my child more than he is. I have to be; the logistics demand it. For all we know, this child's mother is working two or three jobs, and Grandma just doesn't want to 'fess up.

    I rather suspect that's why *many* grandparents these days are raising grandkids, now that I mention it... I mean... there's an economic crisis going on. People have to take whatever work they can get. The jobs don't pay. That means needing to obtain multiples of them.

    That would have been my situation had I kept my son and been in possession of a running car. I would have wound up begging grandparents and aunts and uncles for childcare help. And worked three jobs. That's just what you do when you are poor.

    By the way, it is possible to not be completely against adoption and still believe it is the inferior choice, the same way I can be pro-choice and still believe abortion is something of a tragedy. It's not black-and-white thinking, true, but gray fuzzy thinking is part of reality too.

    ReplyDelete
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