Monday, December 03, 2007

Bad Adoptions

What draws people to obscure blogs like mine is a fascinating question.

Some find me by Googling, "elderly narcissistic parent," and the first thing that pops into my head is, "That poor person." Because I know they are stricken with guilt or overburdened with making all the tough decisions because their parent made no advance plans or "Mom" or "Dad" is generally being a giant pain in the ass after being a thorn in the side of the adult children ever since they were kids.

Others find me by Googling, "Bad Adoptions."

And I'm wondering, what does that mean? I guess it all depends on who's searching.

If it's a prospective adoptive parent, it probably means they chose an agency that disappointed or the birth mother changed her mind or they flew all the way to Guatamala or China or some other third world exporter of babies and was forced to return home empty handed, for whatever reason.

If it's an adoptive parent, it probably means major disappointment of the staggering kind. Just the idea of this makes me cringe. Do bio parents Google, "Bad Biological Kids?" Probably not. They complain to their friends, read a lot of self-help parenting books, eventually become estranged or cut them out of their will. But they don't have the excuse of a, "bad adoption" to fall back on nor do they "disrupt an adoption," also known as giving back the kid.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, some adoptive parents were lied to or half-lied to and the child they brought home is a walking disaster or attachment disordered and this wasn't what they signed up for. They expected what everybody else expected when they read, "What To Expect When You're Expecting." A cozy bundle of joy, not a nightmare. Or if the child was older, maybe they wanted compliance and gratitude. But preceding any adoption is expectation. But because most people decide on adoption as a last resort, they're already emotionally strung out and the stakes have gone way, way up. It's like losing all but ten bucks in Vegas and you hit the giant spinney wheel thingy and throw your money down, muttering a prayer.

So what am I saying?

Adoption is not for the weak and fragile. (Which is kinda funny, if you think about it, because most of the infertile couples have been through a lot of trauma, so are understandably wrung out).

It's far more serious and difficult than many desperate, prospective adoptive parents would like to believe or can afford to believe. It takes a giant leap of faith to raise somebody else's kid and to deal with the disappointment they must feel deep inside when their adoptee turns out differently from whatever they had in mind. I oughta know. I could feel my adoptive mother's profound sadness and disappointment that I did not turn out to be the loving, dutiful Mexican daughter who stayed by her side. (And occasionally, I heard about it, too).

Every prospective adoptive parent has expectations. My advice? Best to be honest about it. If you can admit what you're expecting, then you can expect not to be so disappointed when you get served up a child you didn't quite expect. Kids are like that. Even biological ones. But I know raising an adopted child is harder than raising a biological one. Because being an adopted child is harder than being a biological one. There's just more layers of stuff.

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20 Comments:

Anonymous Annie said...

Hi Nina,

Well I found you by googling narcissistic adoptive parents, and I am so glad I found you - the lack of entries was suprising.
Yes, it is harder than being a biological child. My "brother" seemed to come out of it okay, successful, no issues to speak of, yet they were the same parents, though we were treated very differently, and, well, he does show narcissistic traits himself. I just read "Children of the Self-Absorbed" - have you read it? Any better books out there? This time of year is when I realise I am still in fantasy land, wishing they could see and change, etc.
Best wishes, Annie

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Annie said...

Sorry for the long comment!

9:57 AM  
Blogger Nina said...

Annie!
Not at all a long comment.

You, my dear, have suffered a trifecta of misfortune: a) loss of first family; b) garden variety adoptee issues; c) getting stuck with lousy, narcissistic a-parents.

If I may say, sheesh, your brother did not escape unscathed if he has narcissistic tendencies. To me, this is the real horror of having narcissistic parents! That the pattern may repeat so that we inflict this disease on others!

Just so you know, there are many of us adoptees - for whatever reason - who had/have self-absorbed a-parents. Blech. You are soooo not alone. You can find many of us hanging out at the Adoptees Advocating for Change forum (link on right side of page).

As for books, I recommend, "Trapped in the Mirror" by Elan Golumb which is in paperback. She's an expert who's father is a narcissist and the case studies are what really make the book especially interesting...and helpful. The book gets a bit weak and wobbly toward the end, but the rest is great. I liked Nina Brown's book. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Alice Miller's "The Drama of the Gifted Child." Which I didn't want to read b/c of the title. I thought it was a book about super smart kids, but it's not. It's about children of narcissists and is my favorite.

Anyway, I'm glad you found my blog!!!

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Hopewaits said...

Hi,
The one sentence that hit me was "adoption is not for the weak or fragile."
I know that you were talking about the parents but what came to my mind was"aren't we all as infants or young children weak/fragile?"
Why isn't there someone there to protect us at the point of adoption or as adults when we are still weak/fragile because of the adoption?

5:57 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Hopewaits,

Oh, DEFINITELY! We were totally vulnerable and weak and especially fragile after being separated from our mothers. And while people talk about our best interests, there still wasn't anybody or anything that could eliminate that trauma...and certainly NOT as adult adoptees. In fact, we often get the opposite...the equivalent of a verbal lashing for daring to express our honest feeilings. Worst...when Adoption Trauma Deniers step up and say there's no such thing as a Primal Wound. To which I say, here, wanna stick your hand in my gaping, festering wound and check it out? Gee, that almost sounded dirty, but you get my drift!

6:28 PM  
Blogger joy said...

you are so wonderful

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Annie said...

Thanks Nina, I'll check out your recommendations. Alice Miller's book is already on my shelves - I don't remember much of it as it was during a breakdown! I'll reread it . . .
Annie

12:55 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

I think you're wunnerful, too, JOY! Funny, was just thinking of you 'cause I hadn't seen you posting so much on AAAC and then I your named popped up again! Need to visit you, too!

Annie...Oh. Breakdowns. Yeah. I know those. Yuck. Do try rereading, but be prepared to maybe cry because it's so validating in ways that other books aren't.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Dear Nina,

I found your blog by typing "issues with being adopted." My husband and I are exploring adoption as we have been infertile for over 6 years with no kids. I appreciated reading your blog and to hear you say frankly that raising an adopted child is harder because being adopted is harder. As you said there is more layers of stuff. I know that there are no guarantees with biological children, but at least the parents can't blame "bad adoption" as the reason. And if I adopt, I really don't want to blame adoption as being the reason for any difficulties that may rise. Can I ask you a very frank question, if you feel comfortable answering. Being an adoptee, would you consider adopting? If yes, why? If no, why not? I have been wondering if wanting kids is not enough for adoption, but that you have to really want to adopt, if you know what I mean... they seem different to me. Anyway, as you can see I am wrestling with issues. If I choose to adopt, I want to be there for our kids no matter what, and for that to happen, I feel like I need to count various costs and joys involved in this process. Anyway, I apologize that this comment is so long...

9:18 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Hi Rebecca,

No comment is ever overly long! I welcome and read all.

I'm going to answer your question in my next post...soon!

Thanks for asking it.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Esther said...

Excellent post!

Thank you so much for reading my blog and leaving a nice comment! My blog has gone private now. If you would like an invite to read, please email me at
sweetangelplus4@yahoo.com

Hugs, Esther

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found you because a friend of mine was adopted as a preteen by a single lifelong obese single mother with a background in special education.

My friend is fairly stupid, and had a really rough life prior to being adopted.

The adopting parent is emotionally immature, incapable of unconditional love, manipulative, deceptive (quite possibly a sociopath), selfish etc.

She stole my friend's 6 month work savings so she couldn't become self sufficient, she bickers with my friend over stupid irrelevant things and never shows any affection, she tries to get attention from everyone else for raising a "problem child", and finally she had my friend committed on the day she gave birth, then used this to get custody of her child. Thanks to her mom's feral ex-stray cat, my friend contracted toxiplasmosis giving my friend schizophrenia. Then during an episode, her mom antagonized her then called the police on her own daughter and had her thrown in jail.

I hope that when this adoption was approved, it was only allowed because there was little chance of anyone else adopting an 11 year old with a troubled past.

My friend could have been saved by a tough and unconditionally loving personality.

9:34 AM  

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