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Really difficult question about parenting adopted children - Page 2

post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin2004 View Post
No, it is not normal. Why would anyone think it's ok not to go the extra mile for their child (taking the parent's circumstances and resources into account, of course)?
I don't have any experience with adopted children, but I wanted to respond to this aspect. For some people, parenting, or motherhood is NOT the end all be all to their existence.

I could be spending MORE money to send my kid to private school, but overall, I value saving for my retirement. My public school, while not the best money can buy is adequate. I could be sending my baby to the Montessori day care with a ratio of 2:1 and a cost of $20,000 but overall, the small religious center within walking distance to my house is fine. My school-age child in not enrolled in all of those extra curricular activities either. We could be doing that. I think every mother gets to draw the line at what care, involvement etc she think is appropriate for her child, short of what the law defines as abuse. And I think every mother deserves to do that free of judgement from other people.
post #22 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post
I could be spending MORE money to send my kid to private school, but overall, I value saving for my retirement. My public school, while not the best money can buy is adequate. I could be sending my baby to the Montessori day care with a ratio of 2:1 and a cost of $20,000 but overall, the small religious center within walking distance to my house is fine. My school-age child in not enrolled in all of those extra curricular activities either. We could be doing that. I think every mother gets to draw the line at what care, involvement etc she think is appropriate for her child, short of what the law defines as abuse. And I think every mother deserves to do that free of judgement from other people.
Trust me (sorry I know it's not fair to provide insufficient info in a post like this, I just don't know how to provide details without feeling like I am violating my friend's privacy or, worse yet, leaving her vulnerable to identification by other friends who may read this) this situation does not involve decisions like the ones you've described. As I noted in a previous post, I have a huge circle of parent friends who all take different approaches to their decisions and I wouldn't even blink at any of them - this one goes way beyond the usual spectrum of parenting styles and raises a lot of red flags. I've thought about some of the things I've witenessed long and hard - I feel that it's not a case of abuse or neglect but some things are still very troubling. And like I said, my friend has litterally expressed that she doesn't think her kids are worth as much because they came to her as damaged goods. She's said this in different ways on more than one occasion. This is not merely a case of my interpretation of things, though that is part of it.

I am concerned about my own perspective here or I wouldn't have posted the question but overall I don't think this is a matter of me being a horribly judgemental person. Curious and moderately nosy just like most other human beings, yes. I agree entirely that every parent deserves the right to make decisions without the judgement of others but in reality, that's not how our brains work. We are parents, we think about parenting A LOT, perhaps constantly especially when we're new at it. If we're to be entirely honest here, it's not really something we can turn off. I have no doubt that my friends wonder about some of my actions and maybe even chit chat about them from time to time. As long as its relatively respectful, to me it's human nature. We look to others to learn from them and to evaluate ourselves in comparison. I think there is a big difference between punishing someone in response to a decision they've made that they were fully entitled to make (by ostrasizing them socially or bringing sanctions against them in some way) and thinking a bit about why they made the decision they made.

Back to the case at hand,

I am feeling disappointed and frustrated with my friend on a variety of levels and that is what this thread has been wonderful for - to sort out my friendship issues (where I have been too harsh I think) from my concern for the wellbeing of the children, which remains genuine and, the more I think about it, I beleive well-founded.

What to do about these feelings and concerns remains an unknown - probably I'll do absolutely nothing other than to accept the situation, as long as it doesn't deteriorate. At the very least, reading the range of responses here has really helped me to clear my head about this and for that I am deeply appreciative.
post #23 of 33
I have a limited experience with families I know have adopted children and I can't imagine them doing things less than their ideals for that reason alone. I'm sure there's stuff they've compromised on because life can be that way and most of us do compromise here and there, but not because of any attitude like "they're already damaged" or whatever your friend says to you.

Maybe point out to her, when she brings up her feelings of "why bother?", that good nutrition, even in adulthood, can correct problems started by bad nutrition in the womb? Maybe in the first couple years she could blame health problems on prenatal stuff, but once she had the care and feeding of them it's on her to go the extra mile to counteract their previous nutrition. If she really thinks were malnourished enough to damage them in utero, then this isn't an area where compromise is an option.
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post
I think every mother gets to draw the line at what care, involvement etc she think is appropriate for her child, short of what the law defines as abuse. And I think every mother deserves to do that free of judgement from other people.
Please note that I said taking resources and circumstances into account.
post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by JessieBird View Post
And like I said, my friend has litterally expressed that she doesn't think her kids are worth as much because they came to her as damaged goods. She's said this in different ways on more than one occasion. This is not merely a case of my interpretation of things, though that is part of it.
Yes, but are these occasions in the same 2-3 year time span?

To be honest, my perspective as a mom who had twins 17 months after my singleton, as well as my time as a foster parent and social service worker really colors my perspective on this, in regards to graveyard humor.

I will tell you that I think, even my older posts here during the time that I was in intense parenting mode--they reflect bare bones balls to the wall survival mode. I had a pregnancy scare during that time and pretty much said that it made me want to committ suicide at the thought of having another child at that point. In my most exhausted moments, I said that my goal was to keep everyone and myself alive for the next 24 hours, anything better than that was frosting. Believe it or not, I wasn't that depressed--just totally exhausted, and going through a time where intense parenting was bringing out intense childhood memories. After we moved out of the intense parenting phase, it was different. It sounds like your friend is in an intense parenting stage to me--her perspective on things a few years from now, who knows. Maybe she's having a rough time with little kids, but will sail through the adolescent years (when, frankly, a lot of adoptees have to deal with their parents freaking out on multiple levels over their emerging sexuality, which can bring up infertility grief to guilty thoughts of "please don't let them be a slut like their biomom" to milder concerns that I'm not sure anyone can help).

I think your friend may be making a mistake in saying these sort of things to someone who hasn't BTDT, and so can't give her either a blunt reality check when she needs it or isn't going to recognize graveyard humor. You know, her kids really *could* be "damaged". You have no way of knowing that she's not telling the truth in that regard. It's really difficult to parent kids with "hidden" problems. It does wear you down after awhile. For some people, radical honesty is a way to keep themselves sane--but they do need to understand that it has social consequences. doesn't mean that sometimes you don't need someone to say, "I hear you, but so can your kids, I know you don't want to hurt them even though you're frustrated." and it's okay for you to say, "I love you but please don't vent to me anymore--I'm not really capable of supporting you in these feelings and it makes me start to question your parenting ability, even though I intellectually think that you're just venting."
post #26 of 33
I read this and then went and thought about it and now have come back to post...

I don't have much experience with adoptive vs bio families, but i do think that unfortunately it's very difficult if not impossible to tell without specifics (and i understand why you don't want to give them) whether this mom is being light-hearted about something (today i laughingly "admitted" to a fellow mama that my packed snack of breadsticks, cheese and carrots wasn't TOTALLY organic - i do love my DD, i just didn't get any organic carrots this week, and i don't think it'll kill her to eat the regular kind once in a while) or if there is a genuine issue going on. For example, i feel my lack of organic carrots (or for example me giving my last organic carrot to a baby while letting my older DD have the non-organic type) isn't really a red flag of any kind. NOT feeding a child who is tube fed once in a while because "they are so thin anyway, it makes no difference" or similar is an abuse issue which needs reporting. Which means what you're seeing is something between the two...and it's hard to imagine or know what that could be.

There's definitely a difference between knowing that the baby you ended up HAVING to FF won't die of having a little junk food, and feeling there's no point in teaching a child with developmental issues to read because they'll probably end up in prison anyway.

I wonder how much you not liking how your friendship is going is making this harder? I have friends who i've known for YEARS whose ideals about parenting shifted dramatically once they actually had kids, and are parenting VERY differently to how i do, but because i still get on well with them and love them it doesn't matter as much to me, you know? Maybe you need some distance from her and her family for a while?
post #27 of 33
I can't really speculate with what's going on with your friend, but the fact that you seem very open-minded about your own perceptions being skewed differently than hers due to your very different families, tells me that if you feel like there is a problem, maybe there is. at the very least, this mama sounds like she needs to talk to other families in similar circumstances -- do you know if she is part of any support groups at all? you could mention this forum to her, if you think she'd be open (and remove your post if you think she might actually come to MDC)... there are so many experienced mamas here who have dealt with the same things she has dealt with, it might help her to know that her feelings are normal, how to deal with them, and if she maybe needs help if her feelings *aren't* normal, or safe, or sustainable, or conducive to a pleasant existence for her family.

anyway, I do hope it's all ok, but you would be a very good friend to try to talk a little more about it with her, and see if she's getting the support she needs.
post #28 of 33
Without knowing what the "red flags" are it is really hard to tell what's going on in this situation, but the thoughfulness of your post(s) *does* lead me to believe you are tuned into something off that does justify your concern.

As far as parental feelings towards bio vs. adopted kids, I remember when we adopted our dd from China, we needed to write a request to the Chinese officials and among other things needed to state that our adopted dd would be treated the same and given the same opportunities as our bio kids. I remember writing those words with absolute sincerity.

When dd came, she definitely was not as easy to parent as my bio kids, and it did feel like babysitting for quite some time. I was definitely on "fake it 'til you make it mode", and "made it" we did. During that time though, I would never have thought of cutting corners with her, whatever that would mean, but my standards are a bit different than say when my almost 18yo was little. Much more relaxed about a lot of things. My guess is this is not what you're talking about.

Your thoughts about judgement do resonate with me, and I understand what you are saying. I think it is less about not judging other people than it is about acceptance and respect. An example I can give has to to with a long time friend (since before kids) who is a great mom, who once said in conversation that she cannot justify spending added money for organic or unprocessed food. Now I go to great lengths to do this for my family, and she knows this, so the judgement is going both ways here. For her it is not worth it financially, for me, how can I justify not doing it? I simply agree with her that it does add up, and leave it at that. I respect her viewpoint and decision on this, I accept it, and will not engage in discussion about it unless *she* is interested. But, my opinion is not neutral, otherwise why would I go to the lengths I do to provide my family the food I do?

Anyway, what I'm saying is I believe you may be on to something with your friend, but without specifics it's hard to say for sure. I don't think you are being too judgemental or wrong for not turning a blind eye when this is such a deep concern for you. The little info. you have given regarding the "damaged goods" seems off on some level. I can see feeling challenged by adoptive parenting, but not using adoption as a reason not to parent to the best of one's ability.
post #29 of 33
I just finished reading 20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed by Sherrie Eldridge and while not a perfect book by any stretch, she does give weight to having feelings about your kids you may not say to other people... But then she also talks about dealing with people that may think your kid isn't worth the extra mile because they are damaged goods, and also gives a lot of ideas on what your adopted kids might be feeling...

anyway, maybe a copy of that might help her realize her feelings might not be alone (although perhaps a bit more drastic, it sounds!) but also that she does need to go the extra mile and why.
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffani View Post
I can't really speculate with what's going on with your friend, but the fact that you seem very open-minded about your own perceptions being skewed differently than hers due to your very different families, tells me that if you feel like there is a problem, maybe there is. at the very least, this mama sounds like she needs to talk to other families in similar circumstances


We have run into foster parents (I'm thinking specifically of a former fp of one of our former fks) who in their heart of hearts--with all the love for that child in the world, honestly and truly--believe that it's not worth putting the child through the rigors of something that is not going to produce a benefit for them. With one of our ffks, the baby had endures a skull fracture and was suspect for brain damage... so when the baby wasn't really engaging with the fm, fm let it go rather than trying to engage her at all. She truly believed that she would've been aggravating the baby for no reason since given the brain damage they suspected she had, she COULDN'T develop that way.

Of course, that foster mother was wrong. Very wrong.

I have a son who had an autism spectrum dx for several years and saw similar behaviors of other ASD parents with their bios.

So it's possible that someone could take that perspective and when applied in multiple aspects of a child's life, could look like "second best" parenting.

The other thing is that I agree with the pp about potential depression. Some adoptive parents go through a second grieving of their infertility (if they even had a first). Some resent that they wound up with a child that others will consider less than ideal (because it's not bio, or because of SN). But then there's just the regular "adoption blues". There are a lot of reasons that could cause it, and it can come across in many ways (including seemingly flippant or sarcastic remarks).

You sound like a wonderful friend. She's fortunate to have you in her life.
post #31 of 33
I guess I have to say I feel completely opposite as the mom mentioned in OP. My 1yo came from, for lack of better words, a very uneducated family. Not only the BM but the birth GM and the BF. The BM's little boy is 2.5 yrs old and his speech is not understandable hardly at all. Part of this may be nature but it also may be nurture. The BM admits that he goes to day-care from the minute it opens to the minute it closes 7 days a week, even on her days off so she doesn't have to deal with him. I AM NOT knocking/bad mouthing day cares but he doesn't get the individualized attention that he would at home.

With this in mind from the minute we were "matched" with this mom, DH and I decided that one of us would be with DD full time and I cut my hours down to 2 days a week so I can be her primary care giver. We constantly talk to her, play games with her, reinforce the words she can already say. We believe that our nurturing her can help overcome any of the "bad" nature that she might of inherited. So far it is working. At 13 months she knows a few signs but she also says about 10 words, and her speech is more understandable than her birth brothers who is a year and a half older.
post #32 of 33
I am not sure if my experience has a vein of similarity running through it...but my daughter has had a lot of developmental and health issues due to her prenatal experience, and while I feel that I have gone the extra mile for her in many ways, there are certainly ways in which I am more slack than I thought I'd be. But I think this happens when you have more than one child, and it happens when you have a child with health issues - priorities change.

For example, my daughter did not gain weight for a year due to health and developmental issues, and I did let her eat what she wanted, whatever it was (there were some minimum standards as to what was in the house, but still - pasta and graham crackers exclusively for longer than I was comfortable with), to gain some weight. And I did have to maintain a facade of "not caring" about food to avoid power struggles with her over it, even though it was very anxiety-provoking for me.

Education: My daughter does not get as many enrichment opportunities (art, sports, dance classes) as many of her friends, as she will often not separate from me to go to anything that is not regular and familiar. If she will separate from me to go to school, that is enough for me. She also has a lot of appointments with specialists for her various health needs, which puts a crimp in enrichment.

My older son is in a highly gifted program, has had a lot of art classes, soccer, dance, etc., but that is not my daughter. He has more playdates as well, because they don't all end in meltdowns and he does not have any life-threatening illnesses/allergies. It may seem that she is getting "less", but she is getting what she can handle and what she needs. We think she is fabulous and gifted in many ways, but we are just ecstatic that she is "at standard" academically, given all of the hurdles she has had to jump. And my son is jealous that she gets to go to occupational therapy and play with all of the cool toys!

I don't think I intentionally give her less, nor is this an attitude I have seen in any of the many, many adoptive families I know. I treat both of my kids like gold, but I do meet them where they are at. Maybe you are misinterpreting, maybe she didn't come off as planned, maybe she's really strange....I don't know. Maybe she's just really tired - did you say she has a lot of kids?
post #33 of 33
I havent read all the replies but wanted to respond with my experience.

We have 6 bio kids. Cloth diapered, organic feed, etc, etc.
We have 3 adopted kids. The 1st one was 2.5 when we got her, the other 2 came together at 5 and 2. Our 1st adopted dd was born addicted to meth, severely neglected, etc. When we got her she had MAJOR issues. We sought out professional help, plus started working on figuring out food issues. Our sibling set came with SEVERE abuse and neglect issues, food issues, the little one has brain damage from shaken baby, autism, and PICA. We have fought HARD to get them all the help they need to be able to progress, and make up for lost time, and to try to undo any previous "damage". They are feed the same as our bio kids, given any supplements that we think will help, along with anything else they need to become the best "they" they can be.

It makes my heart hurt to hear of a parent not doing all they can for any child they have been blessed with, no matter how they arrived into their family.
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