Saturday, November 29, 2008


Last night 20/20 aired a show about the hard parts of adoption and how it affects both the children and the families. 

I only watched part of the show because honestly I was getting pretty mad, at both 20/20 and the parents on the show.  Then I decided I wanted to watch the rest of it because I felt perhaps I shouldn't judge so harshly and see how they portray the end.

I have written a couple of times about the adoption of older children and how I feel they are the most in need of homes.  I still feel that way.  The sensationalism and fear of what "could happen" comes from shows like this one.

The beginning of the show had a set of parents that adopted 2 older girls from Russia.  The oldest ended up having some issues with grief and loss.  The part that bothered me the most was that after a week home, the older child was having a full blown grief episode and instead of sitting next to, and just being supportive and comforting, they followed her around with a camera and filmed her grief.  Ok, I am no expert on grief support, but you follow me around with a camera and film my grief outbreaks, I might have to break a camera. They started immediately labeling her with an attachment disorder, instead of just realizing that perhaps this little girl just needed someone to be there, hold her, tell her that things would be ok, and put the daggon camera down.

I will be honest with you. If you had followed us around those first few weeks with E, you would have thought we had some issues.  E had some behaviors from being in the orphanage for more than a year that were hard to deal with at first.  That didn't make him broken, or attachment impaired, he was little, and scared and had no way to communicate to us his fears and grief... and very probable anger. 

Adoption... shucks, parenting... is hard.  Our kids do things that we have no idea how to handle, we do the best we can, we love the best we can, we hold them and love them and in some cases ask others for help.

Adopting an older child can be scary, and sometimes down right hard, but that doesn't make them less deserving or less lovable.

E isn't considered and "older" child, but he certainly wasn't an infant and already had some very definite personality traits. He has his own thoughts and his own feelings, and certainly his own opinions... and he still thinks he is the boss.  ;o)

We have been home only a little more than 3 months.  And now if you were to follow us with a camera you would see a totally different kid than he was in ET.  And in another 3 months he will be even more different I am sure. He is loving, and snuggly, and just the other day started spontaneously saying to D and I , "I  uv ooo".  We aren't perfect parents, we haven't always done or acted the right way.  We make mistakes, but we love him.  We hold him, we understand that he will grieve the life he has left.  

I pray that the family in the 20/20 show will somehow be able to heal, be able to help this young lady realize her full potential, and her worth as a human and child of God.


Audrey said...

I was wondering how that show would go. We opted to watch 'A Christmas Story' instead. I wasn't really feeling up to hearing all that can go wrong - especially with the day that I had yesterday. We all know that happy endings are boring so I figured that this 20/20 episode would be pretty negative. I'll watch when I'm feeling a tiny bit stronger. :)

SupermomE11 said...

I am glad I didn't watch it... just the trailer was enough for me! Thanks for this beautiful post!!


Cindy said...

yeah, the show stirred up anger in me towards the parents of these children. They were just so unprepared to adopt an older child, and the possible issues that they would need to deal with. They seemed to talk as though they placed blame on the children and the agency, but took no responsibility for themsevles as parents and how they could have better handled things. I just did not think this was helpful in anyway to adoptive families, or children. The parents were self-absorbed.

MLB said...

Wow! They followed a grief-stricken child around with a camera? To me that's on par with treating them like a zoo animal.

Being in the first few days of our adoption I can't imagine doing something like that. I hate these shows. It's all about sensationalism, not about reality.

Aaron said...

Watching the build up to that show I knew I shouldn't watch it. We quickly turned the TV off and went to bed.

Andrea said...

I honestly didn't want to watch the show either. But then I was thinking about all those people that don't understand adoption, or attachment and thought I should watch just in case someone asked me about it. I did stop watching it in the beginning also because I was so annoyed. But then thought I should see who 20/20 portrayed the outcome.
It was hard to watch, and hard to find sympathy for the parents. They were woefully unprepared, and had obviously not done any research, or they would have known to put the camera down and hug the child.
Sad all the way around.