Friday, December 16, 2011

Adoption: Disruption

Today is a guest post from my friend Betsy.  She writes about a very vulnerable topic, one that rarely sees the light of day in adoption platforms, but one that is real and excruciatingly painful.  As she goes on to say, I don't think we can even begin to understand the circumstances or understand the pain, without being there.  Even though we don't understand, and even though we may not necessarily agree, we can still show love.  Casting scorn on someone who is likely going through the most difficult time in their life will not bring healing.  It will only bring shame.  And nothing good ever comes from shame.
Betsy was adopted herself as a newborn and her and her husband have adopted internationally and attempted to adopt through foster care.  She has a lot of experience on all fronts, and has published a lot of great posts recently in regards to adoption.  You can check out her blog here.

A Guest Post From Betsy
Adoption: Disruption 
These two words do not belong in the same sentence, I know.  It doesn’t make sense that you would work so hard, fight so long and go through so much to add a child to your family and then disrupt the adoption–or give the child up, nullifying the adoption.  To say that this doesn’t make sense is an understatement.  But, it happens.  Sometimes, it needs to happen.  If you know someone facing this decision, all I want you to take away from this is:  PLEASE, please don’t judge them.  Love them, tell them you don’t understand, but that you support them (even if you don’t support their decision) anyway.
I don’t expect anyone who has never thought about disruption to understand anything about it.  The good news, is that you are lucky, so extremely lucky and blessed if you don’t understand anything about disruption.  It is ugly, it is painful, it is heart breaking and gut wrenching.  It leaves an empty space that is unable to be filled and the worst part is that no one understands and nearly everyone judges.  The people who love you most will throw the biggest stones and it is not fair.  It is not fair that when you are grieving the loss of a child, the outside world is just cruel.
To many on the outside, it seems like you gave up, walked away, didn’t want to deal with it anymore and that you chose to lose your child, so why would they feel badly for you or have patience for you to grieve that loss?!?  And, in some disruptions all of that may be true, but it is in a small few and the majority of disruptions are the last possible option–meaning, there are NO OTHER OPTIONS.  None, not one.  Separating is it.  For the health and safety of all involved, sometimes disruption is the only option and this is only discovered after everything else has been tried, everything.
Therapy has been tried–possibly more than one type with more than one therapist just to see if some other expert could help.  Medications have been tried.  God has been screamed at and begged of.  Special schooling has been tried.  Having the child attend respite care for an extended period has been tried.  Specialists have been brought in on the conversation and even that has failed.  Sometimes, a child and a family are just not safe and healthy under the same roof.  Sometimes siblings are not safe and healthy in the same home.  This does not indicate a lack of love or a lack of effort.  Past abuse and past trauma can just be too much to overcome in certain circumstances.
If you have ever considered disruption and come back from the brink of that, you are my hero.  If you think you would never, ever consider disruption and can’t even stomach the thought of it, consider yourself blessed for never having had to deal with a situation that would bring you to the point of  considering adoption disruption.  If you have ever gone through a disruption and you know the grief I am talking about, there are some of us who “get it”.  We even understand that there are moments of relief mixed in with that grief and not everyone will judge you.  Just find those you can be safe with and pour your soul out to them. For everyone out there, please don’t judge.  Unless you have walked a mile in these very specific shoes, there is no possible way you can even know the complexities involved in making a decision to disrupt an adoption.

Betsy showed a lot of vulnerability in opening up in this way.  Send me your thoughts on this topic, but please be kind.  Pretend like it's not the internet, and you are sending messages to an actual person.


  1. Betsy, you're right, many of us have no clue.  Which is why this adoptive momma is so thankful that you took the time to be honest and vulnerable.  I also appreciate that your post was simple and to the point.  no need for examples, etc, just a simple reminder to us all (whethere adoptive parents or not) to extend love and grace because we truly have no idea.  great post to share murdock!

  2. Yes, thanks for sharing.  I think a healthy dose of grace and love could make a heap of difference in this world where we're way too quick to pass judgement when we don't have a clue.

  3.   Having been a play therapist in my previous life (before staying home) I saw this first hand. There are no easy answers and lots of heartache.  As an adoptive mom, I can try to imagine.  Our adoption has been hard on our marriage and on our bio times really hard. With that said, things are going pretty well.  So, if there are severe issues, out of the norm issues I can't even begin to imagine what one does.  God is a God of grace and mercy.  Situations like these call for others like myself to love with mercy and grace. So grateful for this woman's courage to share!!!!!  We need more REAL conversations in the Christian community about these hard issues that have no quick answers.

  4. Very well said Kay!

  5. Do you blog about your bio kids and adopted child? We have 3 bio kiddos and are hoping our adoption goes thru soon.

  6. Great post.  I have adopted 4 little girls from foster care.  It is hard!  Even though I was lucky enough to have them in my home for a few years before our adoptions were finalized, it is still a transition and you still feel the weight of the world when the child you have cared for since they were 2 years old now turns 7 and starts acting out about something that happened to them when they were only 18 months old.  Some things are impossible to prepare for.  There are lots of books, but even those don't always have answers for everything you may go through.  Our family was blessed to find help through our counties Mental Health professionals.  We kept praying and asked for the help we needed, and never gave up on our relationship with our child.  My daughter still has days when her emotions and fears get the better of her, but they are less and less and her acting out is easier to handle and less violent.  This has to be a topic that is brought out more and examined in the light of day.  Families can not feel ashamed to ask for help!  Thank you again for talking about it.

    1. Thank you for this!! I have had to disrupt an adoption of three brothers with severe behavioral and mental health issues. My entire family was in crisis on a daily basis, and we were all in physical danger. When I go online for support, I find more blogs accusing me of a severe sin than being supportive. We tried to stay involved with our boys but the state wouldn't let us because we couldn't bring them home. Would it be right to continue to subject our other children to such abuse, and disfunction? We did for five years. We tried everything to make it work. Disruption was a last resort, and our only option.

  7. I came across this and really appreciate that someone has written something so kind and loving. We have recently adopted a 3 year old, and are 4 month into the 6 months required before the adoption is finalized. We are heartbroken that we are considering disrupting the adoption. This is something that we have wanted for so long and we feel crushed.

    We were not aware of the previous trauma and attachment issues. The joy and excitement of being chosen by his birth mother seems like a million miles away. I can't remember ever shedding so many tears, and honestly feeling that I have no idea what to do with such a major, life altering decision.

    This child can be sweet, loving, and kind - those moments I cherish and criticize myself for even considering a disruption. Other times this child is violent, aggressive, and incredibly malicious towards me and my husband. We have been hit, kicked, spit upon, screamed at until the child is spitting blood, head butted (split lips and bruised faces) and bitten (to the point of breaking the skin and / or biting down and not letting go). There is no remorse, and often no warning or trigger (that we have been able to identify). We have taken him to a play therapist, doctors, paediatricians and a psychiatrist. Nothing seems to address the rage and violence that is hidden within this beautiful child.

    We firmly believe that God brought this child into our lives for a reason and I am terrified that we are going to make the wrong decision. We both feel like we are about to break, and have no idea what to do.

    Thank you for writing this, it gave me some peace that there are people out there who wouldn't view us as ungrateful or selfish.

  8. Thank you for this post. Losing a child is more difficult than words can say and the grief is made worse when others throw stones. I grieved for two full years and needed counseling myself. Some days the pain was so great I did not know if I could go on. I did. Today I am grateful the we all made it through. This does not mean I am "over it." I still miss our collective child. Kindness and love our much needed in this world. Disruption does not mean you do not love and care, it means that you do enough to let go when your own resources just aren't enough. That takes more love and self honesty than most could imagine. Blessings to you all and you journeys.