It is with a very heavy heart that I write this. I am seeking your insight and experience with preparing my family for a dissolution of an adopted daughter.
AD was adopted from abroad and is almost 3 years old. I also have a bio son who is 7. DH and I are in agreement that we are well in over our heads in trying to help heal AD for the past 2 years so we can lead a 'normal' life. Despite our best efforts, AD's issues remain pervasive and is wearing us increasingly down, to the point where we are sometimes ineffective. We have started discussions with our social worker from the adoption agency and she has already told us the agency can help re-adopt AD and it would likely not be difficult. I am saddened at the thought of the impact it will have on AD and DS.
We went into adoption, I think in hindsight, unprepared and at times naive. In part we truly did not know what we were getting ourselves into and could not prepare for that unknown.
So now that we are facing a dissolution, I want to be more proactive so that we may all survive this as best as possible. I expect that we will receive harsh judgment and criticism from some friends and family and we may experience something akin to a death of a child. I have scheduled meetings with therapists for myself & DH and separately for our so. We will continue taking AD to her Dr. Is there anything more we can do? Is there anything else we need to consider?
Thank you
These children often do the best in families with only one child. That's a fact.
I had a child in my home that was just jaw-dropping amount of time and work to try to heal. I would not have believed it if I hadn't seen it. NOW I believe it. Before living it, I would not have. Because I've lived it, I have no judgements for you or anyone else doing this. I actually *commend* you for realizing that you're not making progress on healing the child, that for whatever reason, now that this child is here, someone else will need to take that on from here forward. If our society was a bit more sane, we all might not judge this. In *any* other profession, if one crew comes in and works a while, say in building a house, then another crew with different expertise comes in... we don't think that's bad. We think it's good.
There are other parents in the world, that for whatever reason, have a calling to work with children like this. For whatever reasons, they enjoy the trainings, they easily understand what steps to take next with these children. And they don't mind living in the (truly very odd) therapeutic lifestyle needed to heal these children. The work makes their hearts sing. I am saying that to make it very real to *you* that these people exist, and that in letting go, you are opening the door for healing for your child. In my eyes, you are sacrificing a dream, to help heal a real child, to find a way that her needs be met. That's what good parents do: they sacrifice for their children.
Some parents who do well with highly-damaged children have more than one child at home. That gives them experience -- which counters the "one child/family" wisdom. They usually still will only add one child at a time, waiting till the last child is on track before adding another little cyclone to their family mix.
I think you'd be best advised to prepare a short, general "speech" about the situation, to deliver to other people who inquire. Something like, "With great pain, we have realized that this child is too damaged for us to heal ourselves. She needs a special type of parent. We were relieved to learn that these parents are out there, and have engaged the right professionals to locate such a family for her. We're glad we brought her here to the USA where she may have a bright future. But we are really grieving and sensitive about this whole experience, which has brought a lot of pain to us all... and we would appreciate you honoring our wishes not to talk further about this." If it were me, I would *literally* print that out (your version of it) and carry multiple copies. If someone started to ask me further questions, I'd just hand it to them, and say, "I"m sorry, I can't talk further about this. Thank you."
The short version for strangers might be, "For confidentiality reasons, our agency has asked us not to discuss this with anyone, and we're in a lot of pain about it, please don't ask about this again."
Best of success to you as you move forward. People who have lived this will not judge you, but they are few.
Thank you Lucyjoy, Linny and alys1.
I really appreciate your candor and sharing your experience. The info is very helpful.
Is there anything you wish you had known when you went through your own dissolution/disruption or something that you would do differently if you could?
We have a relatively good relationship with SW. We adopted AD from a program where demand far outweighed supply (sorry for such crude terms), especially for girls. Shortly after our referral the program closed with over a hundred PAPs still waiting. Our agency also has a strong domestic adoption program. DH & I think the agency has a strong vested interest in working with us because of the pool of waiting PAPs and the agency fees for adoption.
DH & I think the agency has a strong vested interest in working with us because of the pool of waiting PAPs and the agency fees for adoption
That makes sense then......I suspect you're correct in this one. As I wrote to you, it's very unusual that any agency would be helpful or understanding in this type of situation. Generally, agencies are all too quick to point the finger at the adoptive parents, saying they did nothing but fail the child. And, in some cases, this is true. In others, it isn't the case.
Good luck and please keep us updated.....
Regarding what we wish we'd known........
We were saved from some problems because another family in our support group had gone through an adoption dissolution. (The pre-teen was sexually abusing the younger child in the family and had absolutely NO remorse, nor did the pre-teen plan to stop what was going on!)
Anyway.......the family trusted their DCF caseworker and office--completely. The DCF had told them, "No worry, you'll not be charged, things will go on, etc'.
In short, DCF lied. (Can you believe it? Hear the sarcasm in my voice?) Not only did they lie, DCF ended up charging them with neglect, abandonment, was a nightmare for them.
We learned from their experience. While we talked to great lengths about our two experiences, we knew all the while DCF was NOT to be trusted and they lied on more than one occasion to us---but we were prepared.
I want to send you an update and also ask if anyone has any thoughts, experience, feedback, etc. on Artificial Twinning.
We met with SW last Friday, and as you can imagine it was a very heavy conversation, probably very much like the ones they have with birth moms who decide to relinquish their parental rights and make that sacrifice so their children can have a better future. At least that's how it was presented to us and how we felt about it. SW said the agency director has even given some thought about ideal PAPs for AD, an experienced family with a child or children and have AD as the youngest member. And just as we had suspected, there are many potential families since it would now be a domestic vs. intern'l adoption. SW said it could happen very quickly. We asked to have some say in the PAP selection process, to which she replied that we needed to brace ourselves because the profiles of other PAPs are very different than our own (socioeconomically, racially, etc.). Our main goal is to honor the birth mom's wishes (who we got to meet and heard from firsthand) and use that as our guiding principal.
In the interim, DH has a work colleague who adopted from the same program and their AD is just 4 months older than our AD. We know them but not that well. Since our program closed and the colleague whos always dreamt of having more than 1 child didnҒt think it would be possible, until DH shared with her our story. We met last week and the girls played together. I gave the family full disclosure and she is undeterred, even when we told her SW and the agency frowned on what they consider this would be Artificial Twinning. The colleague is now asking for us to share AD֒s medical records and allow her to take AD for short excursions, and possibly even an overnight trip.
On the one hand, it would be nice for AD to transition locally and more slowly, but on the other hand these benefits also have equally strong drawbacks. We dont want to become the colleagueҒs crutch and we also want a clean break and have the occasional updates. Also, we are concerned that the colleagues environment may not be in ADҒs best interest. Thoughts anyone?
We begin our couples therapy tomorrow and in a couple of weeks I return to work full time. I hope I can manage the next couple of weeks.
Thank you for reading this far.
I have mixed feelings on this. I have helped adoptive couples 're-home' their children...directly and I'm going a lot on those experiences as well as the experiences we've had of dissolutions and a disruption.
I don't know what type of environment you're referring to when you write that you're not sure this would be the best one for your AD. That's completely a judgement call, and one only you two can make. I *do* have confusing feelings when you mention that you don't want to be a new parent's crutch, but you also want updates. I get not wanting to become the sole source someone comes to when things may not go very well; but to also have continuous updates, seems you *may* be wanting to be *that* involved with your AD---after you've re-homed her. Honestly, I'm not sure that's fair. Please be sure to discuss this with your counselor. I know your AD is almost 3yrs old.......and this will be a confusing and trying time for her; *but*, it may also be a time where *she* will need a clean break from you in order to fully bond with the new adopting family. I say this only from my own experiences in helping others re-home their child. Sometimes that continued contact isn't necessarily healthy----at least in the first several months.
Next, IMO, your agency---while being helpful, also *may* stand to gain in thie experience. In finding a family for your AD, won't they also be able to complete another adoption--thus charging $$$ for services? I hate to sound so blunt and suspicious, but we've personally seen this stuff before. And, in that experience, we were charged for a full adoption of the child even though the original adopting parents had already paid full fees to the agency. I would hope your family would be directly involved in finding a new family for your AD. Hopefully your agency isn't going to cut you out of the loop of this important part? Just like a bmom, you ARE the parents who are looking to find the best scenario/environment for your daughter. You should be given the same courtesy.
Finally, while I understand you want to honor the bmom for her choice of your family, keep in mind that who your daughter was----when bmom made her decision---is NOT the same child now. As I understand you, your AD has significant health issues that any new family will need to address and be prepared for, right? This was not the case when your AD came to you. Socioeconomic standings, ethnicity, etc---IMO---shouldn't be at issue now (if they ever would have been)....but rather how prepared the new family is, their resources, their supports for dealing with a child who has challenges your own family could not handle.
That last statement wasn't meant to be mean or sound cruel. I accept that our own family was unable to handle the challenges of very dangerous behaviors when we had such little ones in our home who were in harm's way and would forever *be* in such a place. (And, our own CPS deliberately left out vital info about the one child.)
I'd encourage you to talk with your counselor about this to get other suggestions too. These are only ones developed from my own experiences in such matters.
Good luck.
Linny - thank you for your candor, I truly appreciate your feedback and insights, and no offense was taken. That is a good point about honoring the bmom's wishes - I hadn't considered that perspective and will share that with DH. In any case, we will be involved in family selection.
I should clarify what I meant. We do not want any type of "open" -like adoption where we keep ongoing dialogues with the next family. We would like, however, if it's not too much of an imposition, to receive Christmas-card like updates, just very high level and perhaps a picture. SW even suggested that we go so far as to allow our bio son to keep in touch, but we felt uncomfortable with that. Maybe when he's older and he wants to make that call, and the other family is comfortable? I don't know because I can't see that far out right now.
Regarding the agency, DH & I think as you do. They have an "incentive," for lack of a better word, to "help" us through this. I'm certain they will be charging the new APs some type of adoption fee. SW mentioned the agency's attorney would take care of it all. I guess from our perspective, while it's sickening to think there is some profiting involved, they are helping us to make the right connections with families that have been vetted and are prepared to embrace AD as she is. For this we are thankful. As for the work colleague, we stay open to her family as a possibility. I am just so grateful that there are families who would so readily accept AD into their own family and love and provide for her in a way that we cannot.
Our couple's therapist today asked us how we plan to communicate the dissolution to our children. We bounced around a few thoughts but don't feel yet that we have a solid answer. If you have any thoughts on this, please share.
Thank you for your continued support. I really do need it.
We are beginning our transition process for AD to move to her new family who is local to our area. The new APs are asking for a closed adoption citing that a psychologist with whom they consulted think this is in the best interest of AD who will be leaving the family. Since both children are still young, I do not want to permanently exclude the option for the children to stay in contact, even if both children may not want this or know how to ask for this now. The APs has only committed to annual updates like Christmas cards. Thoughts?
It seems from your previous post that was the kind of situation you were looking for - not ongoing, regular interval contact but once in a while, once a year contact. I think that would be sufficient so that the kids can make contact with each other when older if they would like.
I want to thank you all for sharing and responding to my posts, both online and offline. Your words helped tremendously, more than you will every know. When I agonized over this decision, there were very few resources and people who were willing to candidly and objectively discuss this topic with me. In this spirit, I want to share with anyone who may be reading, the rest of my story to 3 weeks post transition. No flames please.
AD's psychologist referred us to another one who specializes in transitioning children in these types of situations. He provided us and the new APs with a transition plan and here is a condensed version. Luckily because the new APs were close by, we were able to have a longer than normal transition period. During the transition, both sets of parents began referring to each parent as mommy or daddy (insert first name). Our nanny became the constant in AD's life and will remain so for the next few months. New APs came over or went on outings with AD and our nanny over the following 3 weeks and AD had a few sleepovers on the weekends. We each also began integrating her life story into bedtime and naptime routines, which included how AD came from her birth country, came to our family temporarily, and then finally to new APs as her forever family/home. During the 3 weeks of transition, AD helped to pack some of her belongings and unpacked them in her new room, allowing for more conversation about her pending move. By the time she made the final transition, many of her familiar belongings were already at her new home. For anything that was remaining, we took our time to clear it out, and that helped us emotionally and provided DS with a visual cue as well.
The first week after her transtion was extremely difficult. While DS knew what was happening, he did not "get" it. It wasn't until 2 weeks out that it hit him that AD was not returning and he cried. He is doing much better now and it helped him to know that he has the option for a visit in a few months after AD has had time to settle in (the dr. recommended at least 6 months post transition for any visits). Now that we are 3 weeks post transition, we are doing much better. We have had a few close friends and family members villify us and I expect we will continue to see more of that as more and more people learn about our dissolution. We still miss her, but can now see how dysfunctional we had been with her in our lives and our inability to continue to help her reach her fullest potential. We got to know the new APs and believe they are a good "fit" for AD and they will be able to do what we wanted but couldn't. Overall, we believe we made the right decision, in the best interest of AD.
It sounds as if your transition couldn't have been done any better and you all did so with the child in mind. I know this is very hard and I know some will scorn you for dissolving an adoption.
But in the longrun, you've done what's best (IMO) for this very young child.
I hope life continues to smooth out for her and your family.
Most Sincerely,
I had not been on this forum in 5 1/2 years. Since then, we traveled to Ukraine and adopted a little girl. She has been with us for 4 1/2 years. They have been the hardest years of my life! We realized soon after the adoption that there was something VERY wrong with her. Almost a year after the adoption, she was diagnosed with FAS. She also has RAD although not diagnosed. After many tears and my yearly summer breakdown, my husband called a counselor. We saw her today. I told her that I could not do this anymore. My husband said he recognized that I could not take the stress of raising our daughter and maybe we should look into finding her a home where she will be loved and well cared for. I have two bio sons. One that my husband adopted after we married and one we had after we were married. This whole thing has been so desperately painful. I've spent most of the last month crying. She is a sweet loving child but cannot do the most simple things without you walking her through it EACH TIME!!! I'm stressed to the point of breakdown during the summer since I am with her 12+ hrs a day. During school, I can hang on because I only have her for 5 1/2 hrs a day and that time is very scheduled. I live in Illinois and have NO idea what to do or where to start this process. I wish her no ill. She deserves a family that will love her. I have not attached to her, my husband barely has, and our boys find her irritating and embarrassing. I know that if we do this, we may lose friends/family but at this point, it can't get much worse. The reason I wanted a daughter was because of the great relationship I have with my mom. She used to be my best friend. I valued her advise and could talk to her about everything. Now, I have no relationship with her. She doesn't want to be around because of our dealing with dd's behaviors. She thinks if we just love her she will be fine. Anyone who has been through this knows that is NOT true. My father understands. As a matter of fact, he is taking my dd for three days and giving me my mom so that she and I can have some time without dd starting WWIII. (Even though she has severe brain damage, she admitted to me that she disobeys the rules when we are with Grandma so that Grandma and I will fight.) Even though I know this is going to be difficult, I came home tonight almost elated. I feel guilty about that but the chaos in our home has been almost tangible for 4 1/2 years. I feel like I just got the news that the war is over and I'm going home!! I know this will be difficult for the boys to understand but I think the peace will win them over. The oldest told me one day that he was tired of it always being about dd. So much of our life is centered around getting her to do what she is supposed to so that we can get on with our life. So difficult. I know this is long but I would like to hear from anyone who has gone through this as to what is the first step. How do we find a family for her? PLEASE HELP!!!!!
1. Call the agency through which you adopted your daughter. See if they have a dissolution support program, through which they will help you find a new family for your child. Unfortunately, too many agencies don't, and consider themselves done with you once your adoption is complete, but more and more are getting the message that they'd better start developing lists of families willing and able to accept children of disruption/dissolution, and particularly those children whose needs involve significant issues such as FASD, RAD, history of sexual abuse, and so on.
2. Do the same with your homestudy agency.
3. If these agencies don't help, look for those who do. It used to be that Tressler Lutheran Services had a great track record with children of disruption, when Barbara Holtan was there. They would help families when no one else would. Try Tressler and try reaching Barb; I think you might be able to find an email address for her on line.
4. Contact any other adoption professionals you know or can find in your community, and see if they have any other leads in terms of programs for children of disruption/dissolution.
5. Go out on line to some of the groups for families with RAD, FASD, etc., like Attach. They may be able to recommend agencies that can work with you on rehoming your daughter. There also may be individuals that are homestudy ready and willing to adopt a child like yours.
5. Consider the state a last resort. Relinquishing to the state means that your daughter will wind up in a foster home (or series of foster homes) or in a treatment center. The quality may or may not be good, but it's an option if all else fails.
6. While you are searching for a permanent solution, talk to the adoption professionals about respite care options. You and your family need a break. Some agencies can arrange for a child to stay with a private foster family for anywhere from days to months, while you work out a rehoming plan.
Thanks for your post. We found someone on here almost 7 months ago who lived in Illinois and helped us find a family. She has been with them for a little over 6 months now and we are all doing great. She is thriving in her new home and we are healing with the stress of parenting her being gone. I met some amazing people throughout this process who gave me info, encouragement and understanding. There are moments that I am overcome with the shear joy bubbling up inside of me! After 4 1/2 years of hell, salvation has come. Thanks be to God for the woman on here who reached out to me and helped me in my darkest hour!! I will be FOREVER grateful;)
I know this post is several years old, but I am thankful I came across it. Thank you to those who shared suggestions for families considering or preparing to dissolve their adoption. My husband and I are on the verge of dissolving an adoption. We feel like we have run out of options and nothing has improved in our relationship with our adopted child after EIGHT YEARS (he has been diagnosed with RAD, an anxiety disorder and disinhibited social engagement disorder). I am burnt out with the daily manipulations, incessant lying, destructive behavior, sneakiness, food issues, fighting with the school to meet his 504 requirements, etc. I just want to create a loving, peaceful environment for our other two children.
Please contact me if you have any suggestions for resources for placing a child (i.e. agencies or attorneys that have potential adoptive families, etc.) Our adoption agency offered little post-adoption support originally (now none). I did call them a couple of years ago and received a voicemail where the woman in charge thought she hung up, but did not. I could clearly hear her and her coworker laughing in between their comments of "how sad" our situation was. Needless to say, I did not call them back for help.