Story of adoption disruption in the New York Times Motherlode blog

from the New York Times Motherlode blog comes a personal story about disrupting an international adoption. Apparently the Motherlode blog has published several posts about adoption. I made the mistake of reading the comments afterwards which is usually a mistake, but I'm sure I saw a few familiar names representing a more balanced view of the typical adoption narrative.

Terminating an Adoption

Regular Motherlode readers have already met Anita Tedaldi, who blogs at She has written a few guest posts about being a military spouse. But she has never before written anything like this.

A few months ago, when another guest blogger wrote about secondary infertility,
many of the comments were along the lines of “why don’t you just
adopt?” and some of the responses were in the vein of “adoption is not
always that easy.” In the middle of that I heard from Anita, who asked
to share the story of D., her adopted son (she has used her real name
here, but changed his), whom she raised for 18 months before she
relinquished him to another family last year, when he was about
two-and-a-half years old.

The termination of an adoption is a fraught topic, raising questions
of love and loyalty and the definition of parenting. Anita’s tale will
make some of you angry, but she hopes it will trigger a deeper
understanding of how fragile and fierce the bonds of adoption can be.

** ETA: Oops, forgot to add the link again. You can read the whole article here.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

9 thoughts

  1. I agreed most with this commenter:
    “This is a very disturbing and terribly sad tale. As someone who works with foster kids, I’m really shocked that adoption professionals allowed this family to adopt a child.
    Five small children and a husband who is frequently deployed? Add in a special needs child with potential language and attachment issues and you have a recipe for disaster.”
    The author simply notes a “thorough screening process” with no further detail. I don’t think international adoption agencies do thorough screening processes. Even though the children they place may have more serious special needs than children from domestic foster care.

  2. I don’t think international adoption agencies do thorough screening processes. Even though the children they place may have more serious special needs than children from domestic foster care.
    My family members who adopted had to go through a screening process including a home visit– it was some years ago so I can’t tell you the full details, but it seemed quite thorough at the time. But I don’t know if that’s true of every agency.

  3. My husband and I recently adopted from Korea. I would say our screening process was semi-thorough; we did talk about a lot of possible difficulties and how we would handle them. What I think was missing was actually meeting and discussing these potential problems with families that had actually experienced them. If we had offered to adopt a special-needs child, I think this step should have been mandatory, as it should have been for the woman who wrote the blog post in the NYT. There is no way to be prepared simply by reading and discussing.
    In our case, our adoption (7 months now) has gone smoothly so far, but if we had run into major problems (or if we do so in the future) I’m not sure we’d be as prepared as possible. That said, there is no way in the world we would ever give up our child.

  4. Sorry, the first paragraph should’ve been a quote of atlasien’s comment, and I should’ve noted my family members adopted internationally.
    Having now read the article, I’m completely heartbroken and wondering what the screeners– if any– were thinking.

  5. uhg. that article makes me ill. find it very hard to have any sympathy for the writer. one commenter had it right: the image of 5 daughters who can’t be bothered to get up from spongebob to say goodbye to their brother and a mother who does nothing about it is highly disturbing. many other disturbing things in that article… i only hope that little boy is ok.

  6. Every time I see one of these stories — and they are out there more and more often these days, it seems — I am told of the “happy” ending that the child finds a new family. And then I’m left with wondering why this child couldn’t be parented by the first adoptive family, but can be by another one. This is not a child who is so broken he can’t function in a family, with more needs than a normal family can meet.
    What I see are first adopters who expect the child to change to fit their family, while the second adopters are ready to change to parent this child as he needs to be parented.
    Shouldn’t every parent, including every adoptive parent, be prepared to meet their child where they find him, and change as necessary to carry him where he needs to be? That’s what seems to be missing from these disrupting families.

  7. Reading the comments, it turns out she had only three children when they first adopted the boy and then she gave birth to two additional girls.
    I don’t even know what to say.

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