Has everyone read about the woman from Tennessee who sent her adopted son back to Russia after deeming him too psychotic to handle?
People are up in arms about this, primarily against the mother, who put the 7 year old on a plane, alone, with a note pinned on him. Authorities haven’t decided what to charge her with. Russian officials are threatening to halt adoptions of Russian orphans.
The woman, who is single, refuses to comment, but her own mother says that the boy was violent and had threatened to burn down the house. She also says they were lied to by the Russian agency that arranged the adoption. Many of the orphans in Russia (and elsewhere) who’ve spent their lives in institutions are described by experts as “feral” (i.e. completely unsocialized.) Many have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
If you adopted a child and discovered that he was emotionally disturbed or mentally ill, would you want to send him back, like a defective product? What about if he was violent enough to make you fear for your life? What about if he turned out to be schizophrenic or autistic? What if you kept the child to fulfill your moral obligation but forever regretted the adoption?
I once knew a woman who adopted an infant that turned out to be severely autistic. When I met them, he was about four. He was an unattractive, whiney child who tried to stick his finger in my eye when he noticed I wore contact lenses. When we took him out to a park, he attacked another child. Once, while I was driving, he grabbed my hair from the back seat and yanked it with all his might. He was the most repellent kid I have ever come across, but she adored him. I felt, secretly, that if it were me, I’d send him back.
I know another mom who adores her biological child but sent him to a residential treatment center after he hurt her during one of his rages. It wasn’t an easy decision. But she didn’t want to risk further violence.
I feel bad for the woman in Tennessee. I’m assuming that she wanted a child more than anything, but didn’t have the fortitude to care for a deeply damaged kid. I feel bad for the boy, who most likely has been abused and will be further traumatized.
Should the mother be prosecuted? Should there be better screening of adoptive parents? Should society have some mechanism for mothers who aren’t equipped to mother, that would absolve them of blame and spare a child from neglect or abuse?
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