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Monday, November 11, 2013

"An Epidemic of Failed Adoptions"

Posted by on Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 2:17 PM

If you're up to getting your heart broken today, has a (looong) thoughtful article that uses the case of Hana Williams, the Ethiopian girl fatally abused by her adoptive parents in Sedro-Woolley, as a launch point to investigate the trend of "American orphanages" in Western Washington (and in all probability, elsewhere). Families that adopt large numbers of orphans, often spurred on by their religious zeal, without understanding their new children's cultural background or social and emotional needs—to disastrous, damaging results. (Or maybe they're just sadistic shitbags who should never be put in positions of authority over any life forms, ever. Not even goldfish. Maybe mold, with good behavior.)

Whatever the case, the point is Hana's horrific home environment may not be an anomaly:

When he turned 12, problems grew worse and included what James describes as degrading and abusive physical punishment of Matt. There were sessions of sitting in place for as long as five hours, heavy chores, forced cold showers, and spankings with wooden spoons or belts. Matt says he was once duct-taped to his bed and was sometimes locked in his room or forcibly held on the floor by both parents, one sitting astride him while the other poked him forcefully in the chest—something he says the family called “Chinese torture” that may have been a form of “holding therapy,” a widely discredited treatment for attachment disorders that has gained popularity among some adoptive parents. During one such session, Matt says he blacked out and bit his mother; another time he leaped from his bedroom window and his parents had him hospitalized, claiming he’d attempted suicide. After he came home, Matt says he stayed locked in his room most of the time, eating little and excluded from the family, as his brothers and sisters weren’t allowed to talk to him. He fell into some bad habits in high school, had run-ins with the police over underage drinking and taking a friend’s car and sometimes “ran away” into the acres of land the family owned. Once, his father told him he wished he could kill him, and Matt ran away again. He says that soon thereafter, a judge removed him from the house for his own safety, transferring his legal guardianship to a friend’s mother. Yet another child, Tomas, left the family after their father asked him to reimburse the cost of his adoption.

Everyone seems to fail these children: their families, their adoption agencies, and the state.


Comments (15) RSS

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Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 11, 2013 at 2:29 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 2
religious is poison.
Posted by scary tyler moore on November 11, 2013 at 2:36 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 3
There was also this Reuters investigation which Slog linked to a few months ago.
Posted by keshmeshi on November 11, 2013 at 2:41 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 4

began with good intentions but went profoundly wrong.

Bull. Shit.
Posted by keshmeshi on November 11, 2013 at 2:43 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 5
But WAIT, they were heterosexuals AND Christianists? How could ANYTHING go wrong? Once again the heterosexual life style and the Christianist life style combine to kill children. It's a mental illness these two.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on November 11, 2013 at 3:10 PM · Report this
I feel so sad and angry when I read these stories because there are many many more kids being adopted for right reason than being adopted by religious sadists or psychologically unfit parents.

But, I think people who want to adopt kids to "do good" or "do god's work" should be immediately suspect. Unfortunately, in our society and with many agencies and the courts, saying you are doing something because "God wants you to do good," acts as a free pass from critical scrutiny.
As an adoptive parent I can say that the reason we adopted was because we simply wanted a child and thought we would be good parents, not because we wanted to "do good works." Sometimes the only children available for adoption to some categories of parents are children with special needs, as happens in a lot of cases with gay adoptions. All the gay parents I know either are folks who came out after having children or are parents who simply wanted to be parents and thought they could do a good job. Raising one child with even minor amounts of special needs is a lot of work. Just raising any child is a lot of work, which is why most people in the US aren't having so many kids these days. Seems almost like three is considered a big family. Any refugee child is by definition a child with potential huge needs for time and special services. Certainly, any family who makes a child like that part of their family will likely need access to support resources found mainly in cities of one size or another. The peaceful countryside may seem like a healing place for a child like that, but it may be the last place they should be, isolated from the broader society, with them and their parents cut off from easily accessible supports. Anyone who doesn't understand that should also be suspect. I know two Black teens from refugee families who live in small towns north of Seattle. They feel very isolated and spend a lot, if not most, of their time trying to figure out ways to visit their extended families and acquaintances in Seattle and the Eastside. They at least have a social network of people who understand where they have come from.
Posted by parent'who'doesnt'want'to'embarass'thekids on November 11, 2013 at 3:52 PM · Report this
@6: As a transracial/transcultural adult adoptee, thank you.
Posted by tanuki_don on November 11, 2013 at 4:20 PM · Report this
Social Services needs to step up their game. Maybe this article will wake up county agencies around the country.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on November 11, 2013 at 4:34 PM · Report this

let someone explain to you how bigotry works.

you ignorant malignant piece of shit....
Posted by Frank Lombard on November 11, 2013 at 5:36 PM · Report this
@4 FTW
Posted by cracked on November 11, 2013 at 6:15 PM · Report this
TVDinner 11
If you, like me, usually skip unregistered comments, take the time to give @6 a read.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on November 11, 2013 at 6:48 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 12
@4 - How about "began with a cleared background check but went profoundly wrong."?
Posted by MacCrocodile on November 11, 2013 at 8:46 PM · Report this
If only there were a legal, safe option for the natural mothers of those children to choose...
Posted by treehugger on November 12, 2013 at 8:36 AM · Report this
As an adoptive parent, I went through hell and back to be cleared to adopt two children from Eastern Europe. I dutifully send annual reports to officials, complete with physician documentation and photographs to show my children's growth and progress. Moreover, I'd lie down in traffic on I-5 during rush hour before I'd let any harm come to them. So, why the fuck would anyone take the time to adopt children from so far away just to abuse them? It's just absolutely unconscionable.
Posted by LaFemmeMonkita on November 12, 2013 at 10:32 AM · Report this
@14 Do they go through some kind of special agency for fundies or something? It is so baffling to me, too. I can't help but think they have some kind of twisted religious mission motivating them that makes them willing to get their hands on some kids they can viciously dominate, but who they don't and never intend to see as their own kids. Read some of the linked articles, especially about the swapping. There are some really twisted people out there obsessed with adoption with very little follow up, if any.

All the adoptive parents I know are like you, whether the adoption is domestic or overseas, transracial, transcultural or whatever. They would literally lay down in the street for their kids. I know you are not joking. [I'm not talking permissive or something like that, haters.]
Posted by cracked on November 12, 2013 at 10:09 PM · Report this

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