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.
Over the years, my family has interacted with countless medical professionals. They've come in all shapes, sizes and specialties. We've encountered them throughout the eleven surgeries of our son, the twice-weekly physical and occupational therapy sessions ?not to mention the routine doctor visits for check-ups and treatment of various illnesses.
We’ve had some real ?winners?over the years. And by ?winners?I’mtalking about those who made me wish it were still socially acceptable to challenge someone to a duel. Metaphorically, of course.
The legendary comedian George Carlin once said that somewhere out there is the world’s worst doctor ?and somebody has an appointment with him tomorrow. It might be me.
For example, I might have already mentioned the doctor who gave us our son’s initial diagnosis. I don’t even remember his real name - I just affectionately call him ?Doctor Death?.
This guy delivered the most devastating news of our lives with all the bedside manor of a Mack truck. To this day, I can see his exam room and I can remember sitting in the chair as he talked to us so callously about our beloved son.
Over the years, I’ve carried that hurt with me into most of our dealings with other physicians. Unfortunately, some of these doctors and therapists have reinforced my misgivings about the medical profession.
I wondered how they had managed to make it through years of working with parents of disabled children without someone ever telling them how awful and devastating their bedside manner was.
I feel like this month has been one of great contrasts. Maybe it’s just because it’s fall. Because of the altitude here in Colorado, it might be 80 degrees one October day, followed by snow the next. It’s not uncommon to also see this: people walking around in shorts and t-shirts with two feet of snow on the ground. Though the weather hasn’t really started to change drastically, fall is definitely in the air: it is drizzling and cold as I write this.
Two other things I’ve seen recently were also of drastic contrast. One was a link I noticed on a news Web site tucked in between stories about the economy and “Movie Star Drug Rehab Gone Bad.” The headline essentially proclaimed: “Expert believes smothering children compassionate.” In the story was a link to a YouTube video of a woman named Virginia Ironside, who was speaking on a British talk show. In an interview, she explains that she thinks “good mothers” would take a pillow and smother their suffering children. And by suffering, she primarily means children with disabilities.
Although I have never heard of Ms. Ironside, this line of thinking is nothing new. It is the same old story: a child who has a disability must invariably be suffering. According to this (faulty) logic, since a disabled child’s “quality of life” must be terrible, the compassionate thing to do is to get rid of the child. In reality, of course, it’s not only immoral, but a purely selfish thing to do.
(Here is the link to the video so you can see what is being said in the name of “compassion.” click here