If I ran things

This up and down roller coaster is apropos for a Russian adoption and those of us who have been there and done that know all too well how that feels. ?Sadly, there are a whole contingent of those in the process currently who have their head in the sand and think it won’t happen to them. ?I have news for you honey… it will happen to you and if you think otherwise it will happen to you 10 fold. ?How can I be so cocky and say that? ?How mean, right? ?I can say that because that was me. ?I thought I had done my research. ?I thought I knew exactly what could go wrong and that if I was better prepared than those people that had bad stuff happen to them that I would come out unscathed. ?So how did that work out for me? ?Um, yeah. ?You can see for yourself here and here. ?There are many other posts about how our adoption process could went horribly wrong, but you can hunt for those yourself. ?In addition there are aftereffects of the adoption that weren’t as pleasant as originally anticipated. ?My shins still wince when the boy is flailing about.

That being said, I, like many post-adoptive parents, can offer a unique perspective on what it takes to go through the Russian adoption process.

Earlier today the Russian adoption roller coaster reared its ugly head with some news reporting on a stoppage of the process. ?Then later in the day that was retracted and there is no stoppage. ?Supposedly, the US is sending a “high level” delegation to Russia to talk to the Russians about a bilateral treaty for international adoption. ?I’m not exactly sure who these “high level” delegates are, but I can assure you they are not the right people. ?The only people who are remotely qualified to discuss improvements to the Russian adoption system are those of us who have been there.

I don’t recall any US government officials calling me to ask my opinion about how things should change. ?Had the done so I would have told them to give us training. ?Send down an ultimatum that requires pre-adoption classes. ?Then, work together to define the curriculum for the class. ?Let us know what life will be like and have it taught by families who have been there. ?Some social worker who learns about it from a book doesn’t know jack shit. ?The only people who know what it is like to live with a post institutionalized child are the ones who have been repeatedly kicked in the shins by their child.

And another thing, the Russians need to pull their heads out and admit that not all children in the orphanage system are healthy and if you tell us they are healthy that is not the whole truth. ?Institutionalization is not healthy for any child. ?Because of that life it causes long term damage to children. ?The damage doesn’t come from the adoption itself, but rather the treatment prior to the adoption. ?Give us the real story on our children. ?We will be better parents for it. ?You may want to put on airs and let us think that that all the children are perfect, but that just isn’t the truth.

Allow us more time with our children prior to leaving the orphanage. ?If you are going to have a 10 day waiting period mandate it across the board, but allow us to have our children in the hotel/orphanage so we can have at least a little bit of bonding time prior to the major changes the family will go through. ?Allow us to see our children in the orphanage more than 4 hours before making a decision and having to leave them and go back home. ?And that is another thing. ?This two trip process is a killer. ?I’m not saying the Kazakhstan process is any better with the bonding period and the 10 day, but the more time we can spend with our children the better.

Once we get home give us more training. ?Help us find families in our area who have adopted children. ?Again, the only one who knows what we are going through are those who have been there.

Give us the best tools possible to succeed as parents. ?The majority of those who adopt do so because they so badly want to be parents. ?Honestly, who goes into something thinking, let’s see if I can fail at this.

What do you think? ?What would you suggest to make the process more successful?

8 Comment

  1. Well said. I had my 10 days waived because of baby home construction. I NEEDED those 10 days…

  2. Nat says: Reply

    Well said. I would add reducing the amount of time they require these kiddos to be in the Russian system before they can be adopted. My son was in a great baby home, but he was there for A YEAR after we got the initial referral. A WHOLE YEAR. When he could have been with us instead. Get the kids out of the baby homes ASAP, to the FIRST AVAILABLE FAMILY NO MATTER WHAT COUNTRY THEY ARE FROM. I am convinced that my son would have a different existence if he hadn’t had to spend that TOTALLY UNNECESSARY year in that place. I feel your anger sister, my shins (and arms) are sore too.

  3. tacomachickadee says: Reply

    VERY well said. I still remember years ago when I asked “why Russia?” and you said it was your calling. I think that calling is leading you down a path that you are only beginning to discover. You have a gift. And a big heart. And a great kid.

  4. Kim says: Reply

    Lisa, I pink puffy heart you. Well said.

  5. I hope someone listens.

  6. Becky says: Reply

    AWESOME post!!! You are so right about the 10 day wait… give us our child (while under their watchful eye) to allow us to bond before taking him/her from the only place they’ve ever known, on a plane for umpteen hours and into a strange house. Changes need to be made on BOTH sides. Fabulous, fabulous post… seriously.

  7. Wendy says: Reply

    I don’t have Russian experience. I do have Guat and local adoption experience and adoption from a disruption. Preparation is key, plus assistance afterwards. Connect families in-process to those that have finished and successfully weathered the transistions over a couple of years. I have found that most therapists have no clue about this and only families that have survived it understand. Form support groups of families in similar circumstances. Provide respite care, even for a few hours. That can be a life saver. Simplify and streamline the process but allow more bonding time without supervision or interruption before sending families home. During that time provide daily support from other families that made it through.

    I really do hope that common sense prevails but it seems that adoptions are NOT about common sense, NOT about the children, and NOT open to changes.

  8. Long time since I was last here, probably don’t even remember me…but AMEN!!!!! China doesn’t quite have it right either – 24 hour “harmonious” period before finalizing the adoption (if you even get that which we did not). We were lucky that our daughter was in foster care, but she still has some attachment issues (hello? rough start to her life and institutionalized for her newborn-hood, foster care for 12 months, ripped from foster Mom 3 days before being handed to me…and then we bring her home at 16 months?!).

    Hague process now has you do 10 hours of “online class” but really…it doesn’t TEACH you anything. It might make you aware that it *could* happen to you (uh…make that WILL happen, but most don’t realize that).

    But to change the process? I love the idea of classes being taught by those of us who have BEEN there, and who would be honest…but would pre-adoptive parents even listen?

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