I’ve been struggling to keep my cool while composing this month’s column. You’ll soon understand why.
By now you’ve likely heard or read the story of the 7-year-old Russian boy whose American adoptive mother packed him on a plane and sent him on his way (alone) with a note tucked into his pocket that read in part:
After giving my best to this child, I am sorry to say that for the safety of my family, friends and myself, I no longer wish to parent this child. As he is a Russian national, I am returning him to your guardianship and would like the adoption disannulled.
See story: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,590863,00.html
Now, there are always two sides to every story. The woman in question, Torry Hansen, suggests she was never informed of the boy’s mental instability. Still, one has to wonder why she decided to abandon the boy when she just as easily could have pursued numerous other legal options, all of which would have given her the relief she so desperately sought.
Yet, the thing that angers me the most is the damage this incident has done to the families who are working through similar issues with both adopted and natural born children.
Like many of you, I am acquainted with several families who have adopted boys and girls from Russia. All of these parents would agree that they had varying degrees of struggles during the transition period. After all, you can’t expect to move a child from the other side of the world and transplant them into a completely different culture and expect them to fully acclimate overnight.
My adoptive friends don’t welcome the hardships of transition but they do acknowledge and understand them. They would also tell you that they view the decision to adopt a child as an iron-clad commitment to parent them and welcome them into their family as one of their very own.
Yet, there was something very eerie and ominous concerning Torry Hansen’s decision to summarily abandon her son. By her own admission she did so because he had autism – and because she was never told of the condition prior to the finalization of the adoption.
While a majority of the public has expressed outrage over the incident, is it possible that others could soon follow suit? Sadly, when it comes to preborn children diagnosed with special needs, we already know that abortion has become a popular and deathly fix. How many millions of children have been similarly and silently “abandoned” by those given responsibility for their care?
Our legal and legislative bodies have shown a willingness to draft and enforce laws giving parents the right to surrender children whom they can no longer control. I am not in a position to judge the merits of each law or the motivation of each party involved. But I do fear this trend could wind up making adoption contracts somewhat like a Hollywood marriage license -- broken before the ink even begins to dry.
Former President Ronald Regan used to say that America was a shining city on a hill. And I think we have been that very thing to the rest of the world, on many levels, but especially when it comes to adoption and our handling of human disabilities. Although we aren’t perfect, we’ve led the world in our treatment of individuals and children, and show other countries our compassion and bigheartedness when we joyfully proclaim that we’ll take care of their children as our very own.
A final thought and question:
If the Russian outrage over this incident was genuine, and if they are truly committed to caring for their own children, why is it that according to experts, a Russian orphanage is considered a synonym for Hell on Earth?