April 13, 2010

Retroactive abortions are not OK

I wasn't going to blog on this, really I wasn't. But the sheer callousness of Torry Hansen's actions, and the fact that some loons are actually defending that this not-mother put her adopted child on a plane alone to a country where he is no longer a citizen with a note saying he's unwanted, has my head spinning around like a pre-teen Linda Blair.

I'm willing to give Torry Hansen some benefit of the doubt at this point.  Maybe the adoption agency did tell her she was hitting the jackpot in adopting a kid who made it to the age of seven institutionalized with no emotional or mental problems, and no one had chosen to adopt him just because he was unlucky.  Maybe the fresh scars on the kid have nothing to do with faux-parent abuse - heck, it's a rare week when neither of my kids have multiple scrapes and bruises, and maybe she didn't really tell the kid that he was going on vacation when she shipped him back to Russia.  Maybe the kid really did try to set the house on fire - really, out of all the stuff being tossed around, I think this is most likely true.  Maybe the adoption agency really didn't try to keep in touch with Torry Hansen.  It's conceivable that lots of things are being twisted to paint Torry Hansen in the worst possible light.

But still...

  1. There's a reason that private adoptions are allowed from Russia and other countries that have large institutionalized populations of children, and it has nothing to do with there being a surplus of children there and not enough children here. Russia does not generally allow problem-free children to be adopted out of country.  This was common enough knowledge when an acquaintance of mine adopted his daughter with fetal alcohol syndrome and attachment problems from Russia fifteen years ago, surely with the Intarwebs available today Torry Hansen could have found this out in short order.
  2. Avoidable single parenting is a bad idea, mmmkay?  I understand that women are thrown into this situation all the time, and we have to make the best of what life deals us.  But choosing to introduce a highly unpredictable child into a single-parent household would be difficult for the best of us.  At the very least, having a second parent around means that when you've just had a knock-down-drag-out with the kid, the other parent can take over long enough for you to breathe, take a bubble bath or take a walk, and regain your parental composure.  This isn't even an issue of moms and dads having different things to offer a child by the nature of their momness and dadness, it's just a realization that I think every parent has at some point (usually when the spouse goes out of town and leaves you with the kids and you realize you can't even take a shower unless the kid is old enough and well-behaved enough to not set the house on fire while you're doing it) that childrearing is nearly impossible to do well without support.
  3. Don't expect help to suddenly appear in your life, especially when it comes to your children's mental health.  If you want people to not interfere with your single-parent adoption, expect them to not interfere when your child has mental problems. Part of parenting is recognizing when you need help and not being too proud or independent to ask for it.
  4. Most importantly: Children are not disposable. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this one.  We may have to get help for our kids, we may even have to get intensive help through institutionalization - I fully accept that some kids are so damaged that they may need more help than can be offered in a home environment, and inpatient treatment may be needed.  There's no fault in that, and parents that are able to recognize that they are in over their heads with their child's behavioral problems and seek appropriate help should be supported and commended for going the extra mile with their child.  Walking away from a child who you've taken responsibility for, especially when you've dragged the kid out of his culture for your own selfish need to have someone love you, is just reprehensible.

Posted by: Alice H at 11:46 AM | Comments (16) | Add Comment
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