This story makes me thoroughly angry, and the "back pat" sympathy from readers, even more so. I had to turn off the Today Show yesterday morning quickly so my son would not hear this story. His biggest fear? His behavior causing us to send him away to another family. He's living in the shadow of knowing about E leaving our family, even though we've tried to explain over and over how and why that happened, so that he doesn't feel as though it could happen to him too. Especially after suffering such huge loss in his life already. I'm sure there's some adopted child out there, somewhere, that did see this story and is wondering and worrying if they are not good enough to be loved forever.
Unless the family's safety or the child's well being was involved in some serious way, I can't see disrupting an adoption... any adoption. Even then, I'd work to find a solution that did not involve terminating my long-term parental relationship forever. It takes a huge amount of courage for a mother to place a baby for adoption and recognize that she's ill equipped to raise the child. But for an adoptive mother to go through an adoption process and raise an infant child for 2 years, then give it up because she hasn't bonded? I will not understand that. I don't even want to.
She's justifying her reasons publicly, and assuming no responsibility for what she's done and treating it as if she's given him some gift by giving him away. She makes no apology. She makes it appear as if it is the baby's fault. The burden is on the parents to try to make it work and put the time in to do so, the burden is not on the baby to bond with the parents. She comes across pretty cold about it. And talks of her feelings towards him in the past tense. As a temporary thing. Even birthmothers who placed babies, and moms who had children die, don't stop loving their children because they are not raising them or never had a chance to. Love is something you carry in your heart forever.
She comes across as very self-centered in her blogging. She wanted another baby, she wanted to "adopt" and she brought a special needs child into a family with an absent dad and 5 young siblings already. That the children sat there watching Sponge Bob and absent-mindedly said good bye FOREVER speaks volumes for how that baby was integrated into their family after 18 months. We fostered an 18 month old for ONE WEEK as an emergency placement, and had Dallas for only a few months himself (with attachment issues), and he sobbed his little eyes out in saying good bye. That's the day we decided that we had to put our license on hold and focus on him.
That family has some problems that go way deeper than mom not bonding with baby. She admitted it was only a few months into his placement and she was ready for him to go. A few months is a drop in the bucket and bonding can take time. If your mind gives up early, your heart is never going to follow. I hope that the little guy thrives in his new family, and I'm glad he is hopefully with people that know how to work with attachment and bonding issues. But... newsflash... It WAS NOT HIS FAULT. He was not defective.
It is kind of a sensitive issue for me. I'd never willingly give up any child I loved, no matter what the issues, so I cannot relate to this mother at all. She just pisses me off.
You know, bonding (to me) isn't even about hormones and visceral connected-ness, at least not right away. It's about learning to love another human-being as much as you do yourself, if not moreso. Loving a child is supposed to be about giving of yourself unconditionally, not about whatever rewards may come out of it.
Biological, step and adoptive parents don't always instinctively bond right away. Even some fathers don't until some time after the mother does. It takes time. With a challenging or hurt child or baby, maybe even longer. Maybe some don't ever bond as deeply as others do, but they still love and care for the child they are raising. Committed parents hang in there, and most fake it til they make it, and are happy enough for the internal rewards that come from caring for and loving a child and watching him or her grow and learn. When my son finally connected to me as his mom and bonded to me, it was my biggest reward. It didn't come right away, and I WORKED hard at helping it to happen. It is still a work in progress.
I think this lady expected more of a reward -- more intense feelings toward and from this baby -- than she received right off. So she gave up.
I don't know how any mom with two small infants already, no matter how maternal she thinks she is, could possibly think she'd instantly bond with a special needs 9 month old she's never met. Or expect to put the time in that is necessary to help the child bond with her. Why did she even adopt? I don't get it.
Any why are agencies not educating and thoroughly screening potential adoptive parents about attachment and bonding issues in adoptive children, and providing support afterwards?
Why was this baby failed so miserably during the most critical bonding period in his development? Has it become so fashionable to adopt from overseas that parents and facilitators are ignoring or downplaying the very real issues these children face, in favor of some pipe dream of instant gratification, be it parenthood or money?
It makes me angry and it makes me sad. At the same time, I am relieved that this mother didn't hold onto a child she says she loved, but couldn't love as her own.
It's just so sad. But she gets no sympathy from me. I've worked damn hard for my motherhood.