Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Did the Lynched Parents Receive Adequate Support?

I'm sitting here listening to my relax mix on my iPod, so I'm especially sensitive for this good morning deafread.com wake up call having to do with the parents who gave their adopted child back because she was deaf and not a candidate for the cochlear implant. I read about this on listen-up, as well, and must admit I've been kind of chewing around about it for days. I refuse to see the parents' decision to return the child to the adoption agency as a defect in regard to the child, rather as a failure on the part of the parents and the system. Not all men and women are created alike, not all have that inner strength to overcome obstacles that challenge us on a daily basis.
I remember the first two years of Jordan's life when he woke up six times a night every single night and I had to do the pace back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I consider myself a pretty rational person (in general)but there were times when I lost it and for a second could imagine and almost understand how some people abuse their children. I mean I'm an educated, intelligent person who got pregnant before getting married and CHOSE to have my baby. What about all of those teenagers who get pregnant because it's in-style, how the hell do they deal with a baby who doesn't sleep at night?
If you are IGNORANT, INSECURE, SMALL IN THE HEAD, how do you deal with raising a Deaf child in a language that is not your own? The answer could be one of many, but one question I do have is were there adequate psychological support systems to help this couple? Did they have access to information, classes, home support and the Deaf community during this process?
I choose not to see this situation as a rejection of the child who they wanted to "FIX" but an admission of personal limitations, impotence, frustration, insecurity, shallowness and weakness...and choose to believe that they were doing this in the best interest of the deaf child whose needs they realized they were not strong enough people to adequately meet...although are a deaf child's needs really so different than a hearing child's needs?


Anonymous said...

You said it, Jodi! I didn't fix myself or my daughter (it sounds like we were spayed!). I gave us more opportunities to hear speech, music and sounds. And we're both grateful for it.

No one really knows how those parents felt, except those parents. Has anyone interviewed them or even tried?

Karen Putz said...

I do think it took courage for the family to go through with giving the child back. I just hope that this child finds a family who can communicate with her and open up her world.

Anonymous said...

Jodi, WOW! Just, WOW! I applaud your honesty and your ability to take a parent's perspective. This blog touched a nerve with me because I am childless by choice. Although lots of people tell me they think I'd be a great mom, I seriously question whether I'd have the stamina, patience, forbearance, and all that good stuff with a child. Lots of people see children and think they're so cute, which they are, of course, but all moms know that there are moments when children are not so cute. Yes, parenthood is very rewarding, but there are also sacrifices along the way. I agree with you that these parents might have been extremely brave to do a brutal self-analysis on themselves and realize they may not have what it takes to parent a deaf child. I love deaf kids with all my heart but am realistic to know that it's not an easy path even in the best of circumstances.

Unknown said...

Paula, Karen and Curious eyes,
I can't imagine that a parent who longed for a child to the point of adopting one would have made a flippant decision to one day just give her back. I refuse to believe that humanity could be so cruel and depraved. No, we do not know the tormented choice these parents went through in realizing they weren't up to the task and I do assume it was no easy decision to make. Yes, I hope the child will find a loving family...and given the shocked feedback from all concerned families in the extended Deaf community, I am SURE this will happen...actually things might even get violent to love that little girl:) Jodi

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be great if we could find out what does happen to that little girl?

Anonymous said...


thought this might amuse you.

Kim said...

Hi Jodi-- As a parent, what I have a problem with is I would think after a year of taking care of a baby these parents would have/ SHOULD have bonded with this baby so much that giving her back would have been unthinkable.

As a parent of a child with special needs yourself, you know how dealing with that aspect of parenting can make your bonds to that child grow stronger.

Though I don't have a Deaf child, one of my children has special needs, so I know about the night time worrying, obsessive planning, endless discussions with specialists, and celebrations when there's a minor breakthrough.

I agree the adoption agency perhaps failed to screen adequately maybe in their rush to place a less than perfect child.

I have to wonder if the parents would have given her back if they had not gotten pregnant on their own?

Yeah--I'm judging. I hope their natural child is perfect in every way, but if it isn't they won't be able to give it back. I have concerns. In my area we have a problem with teen-age anorexia and self-cutting behaviors caused by high parental expectations. Boys turn to drugs.

I agree with you about the word "fix" The CI is no more a "fix" than hearing aids, however it can be more effective for those with profound deafness.

Good post, thought-provoking!

Unknown said...

Hi Kim,
Thank you for your thought-provoking comment...I understand what you are saying and I will say this. When I was pregnant with Jordan, I always felt this sort of esp thing going on with him. I have always been one step ahead of his needs, because I kind of understand them before he has them. When I think back to the first year of his life and Sofia's, while you love your child because you have them grow with you for nine months, you don't really get that "I'm their mom feeling until they start considering you as their mom by communicating with you and considering you as a caretaker." For many moms, they don't really feel the "mom-ness" until their baby says the word "mom." This lack of closeness could be one potential explanation as to why it may have been easier for the parents to give the baby back, maybe that bond never formed and just left a sense of emptiness. I have had a number of birthmoms express this feeling of just being a butt-wiper, feeder, clother etc and not really feeling like a mom until the baby calls them mom. Does this work for you as a possible explanation as to why maybe, and I mean maybe, because I don't know them - just giving them the benefit of the doubt- that mom wasn't feeling the bond?
And yes, there are a lot of problems with lost adolescents all over the world...it's not just an American thing. Thank you, Jodi

Kim said...

Jodi-- No I don't get it. I NEVER felt like "just a butt-wiper" before they could speak. There was still communication through the eyes. Like you, I did sometimes feel tired, frustrated and angry.

Did you read Jamie Berke's blog about the Dutch diplomat who unloaded a seven-year-old Korean adoptee?

It sickens me-- Off the subject, I know.

There are extremely selfish people out there who do horrible things to children. Most of the time the victims of failed adoptions are not deaf.

You do make a good point that the parents may not have received the support they needed. It's well-known parents of Deaf children receive little support.

Unknown said...

You know what? You are so right, there is communication through the eyes and smiles and touches...why don't all parents see and feel that? Jodi

Anonymous said...

Hello Jodi,

I've been shocked and saddened by this story about the deaf adoptee (I'm a deaf adoptee, myself) being returned to her adoption agency.

I really want to find out more about this story, I've searched high and low on the web, but I can't seem to find any official non-blog sources on this story. None of the mainstream news sites seem to be carrying this story.

Do you, perchance, know of any sources you could point me to?

cianciottio said...

Jodi quello che leggo sul tuo blog e' cosi' musicale a volte tanto da cullarmi nelle belle speranze che la vita deve offrire.Ma e' quando leggo cose come queste che il riff si fa duro come il rock piu' mettallico tanto da essere sconvolgente.Forse non ho capito bene (sai a volte leggere con una traduzione approssimativa non aiuta affatto)ma se e' giusto quello che ho capito,il padre eterno aveva un motivo piu' che valido di non dare a costoro un figlio naturale.E' un'orrore gia' non accettare un figlio naturale figuriamoci negare aiuto,supporto e amore a chi puo' aiutare noi,perche' l'arricchimento sarebbe molto piu' consistente per noi piuttosto per coloro che,presumibilmente, ne hanno bisogno.vai Jodi insegna ancora

Unknown said...

I know that there is a person who posts on listen up who could possibly be in touch with the parents, but I'm not really sure I want to go there...this is a personal and without a doubt painful situation. I am certain we will hear news that should be shared when and if that time comes...Jodi

Unknown said...

Oh Bella,
Ammazza come scrivi...dovresti dedicarti alle romanze passionale:)ma il tuo marito sa che donna sei dentro con tutte queste parole belle, belle, belle? Apparte i scherzi, la situazione è brutta se pensi che una coppia debba realizare che non sono capace di prendersi cura di un bimbo perchè è sordo. Ovviamente è doloroso per me sentire queste cose, ma visto che capisco che vuol dire crescere un bimbo con delle difficoltà è quasi meglio che i genitori hanno capito che non sarebbero stato in grado di affrontare il tipo di sostegno di cui avrebbe avuto bisogno...meglio ma triste. Spero che la bimba trova la famiglia adatta a lei. Ci vediamo bella bionda...notte, Jodi

Loudest Mom said...

I am SO with you on the "fix" thing. You only fix things that are broken, and my 4 children are definitely not broken. I don't feel that I fixed them, anymore than my glasses fix my eyes. We chose to pursue CIs because our children were great candidates, and our family is rich in verbosity (bad word choice, but you know what I'm saying-LOL). Much like when I take off my glasses (or contacts), my eyesight still is crappy, the implant doesn't change who they are and what they were born with- good and bad.

Great post (as usual)