Abandoning one’s adoptive child

October 1, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

What am I supposed to think when a woman steps forward to publicize her decision to give up an adopted child that she had raised for 18 months?

This story leaves me bewildered. I don’t think the story tells me enough to allow me to know what to think. I keep wondering, “What if it had been her biological child? What would I think then? Would I have an opinion in that case, or would I be in this same puzzled/confused state that I’m now experiencing?

How could I possibly render judgment without knowing a lot more about all of those involved? Even though I am sorely tempted to be angry with this adoptive mother at a gut level. But, as indicated in the video, this woman has parented her own biological children too. But that can cut two ways. And why aren’t we told anything at all about the adoptive father and his history and attitudes regarding this baby? And what about the claim that the baby is doing “well” with his new family? That cuts both ways too, in my opinion. What’s really going on here?  Were there financial issues?  Racial issues?  Medical issues?

Such a frustrating story to me.  What is the take-away message from this story?  It makes me feel like a voyeur and it makes me want to accuse MSNBC of irresponsibly packaging this story.

Note: For those who don’t know me, I am an adoptive parent of two girls from China who I very much consider to be my daughter forever, no matter what happens–and that’s how my wife and I looked at adoption from Day One.   I wonder how much my personal history colors my views on this abandonment story.

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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Brynn Jacobs says:

    I think this is the key to understanding this case:

    I also knew that I had issues bonding with him. I was attentive, and I provided D. with a good home, but I wasn’t connecting with him on the visceral level I experienced with my biological daughters. And while it was easy, and reassuring, to talk to all these experts about D.’s issues, it was terrifying to look at my own. <span style="font-weight: bold;">I had never once considered the possibility that I’d view an adopted child differently than my biological children. The realization that I didn’t feel for D. the same way I felt for my own flesh and blood shook the foundations of who I thought I was.</span>

    It appears too that her husband is (or was?) deployed, and doesn't seem to provide much support or input.

    The other part that struck me was this:

    I had wanted to adopt for a long time, even before I met my husband or had my five biological daughters. I’ve always wanted a large family, like the one I grew up with in Italy, and I love the chaos and liveliness of many kids.

    She reminds me of so many people I've talked to that want to have kids, just because. Literally no thought goes into any of the many ways that children could potentially complicate life. She had already decided to adopt, before even meeting her husband? Did she discuss this with him? Did he agree at the time? Did they discuss whether things had changed since having 5 other children? You're right, there are too many unanswered questions to really come down on one side or another. At least she appears to have recognized that she's probably not the best person to be raising this child, a point that I can certainly agree with.

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