Saturday, November 18, 2006


A friend asked me if I wanted to adopt 4 year old twins. A boy and a girl, they were put into foster care as newborns because of an incompetent mother. I'm not sure what her story is, whether it's drugs or what, but after four years of giving her time to get her act together, the court finally terminated her rights to the kids permanently, meaning the kids can be adopted now.

The children have been in the same foster home since birth, the home of a middle aged nun. She has by all accounts been a wonderful mother to them, and they are thriving. However, the mother doesn't want to adopt them, since she has some health problems herself, and the Catholic order to which she belongs probably would not let her adopt the children permanently anyway. Apparently they are worried about their long term responsibility if if she adopts them and then something happens to her.

I feel terrible about the prospect of these four year olds having to be taken from the only home they have ever known, to be raised by current strangers. I want to be sure they end up with a great family that will deal with and minimize the trauma that will be for them, but I can't agree to adopt them myself.

I like kids and have enjoyed raising my own kids (and still have some of that to go, which is okay with me), but now I'm at a different stage in my life. I look forward to doing things I couldn't do with small children, like maybe going on a medical relief trip (maybe Doctors Without Borders?), reading more novels, attending more sporting events, and just generally having more free time. I'm also not at all sure I could give adopted kids the same commitment to parenting I did for my own, and if I can't be a good parent, I don't want to be one at all.

Also, these kids have a quite different genetic make-up than my own. Will they, like their mother, be prone to live chaotic, maybe addictive lives? That would be very difficult to handle. Finally, and I'm hesitant to admit this, when I really question myself I wonder if my reluctance has anything to do with the fact that the kids are black and I'm not. I don't want to be prejudiced, and I try not to be, but when I imagine the kids being white, I'm embarrassed to say I have a slightly different feeling towards them - but I still don't want to adopt them.

I just hope they don't end up being passed around from home to home in the foster system. Anyone want a couple of nice kids?

P.S. I'm sorry this post is late, but my computer got into a spat with our internet service provider, and I was without computer service for awhile.


Anonymous topher said...

As a med student tired of all forms of lie, I'm happy to read your post. Thank you for being honest.

8:27 PM  
Blogger SmartBlkWoman said...

There is nothing wrong with not wanting to be involved in a transracial adoption; at least your honest about it. Adopting a child of another race isn't something for everyone and it incurs it's own set of issues to go along besides the regular ones.

I can completely relate to wanting to finish up raising your own children so that you can be free again to enjoy a different stage of life.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Awesome Mom said...

There is nothing wrong with feeling that way. My husband and I decided not to make either set of grandparents guardians of our kids in case something happened for that very reason.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Fat Doctor said...

You have a right to decide what's right for your family. I trust that someone out there would LOVE 4-year-old twins!

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Karen in KC said...

I understand where you are coming from with the idea of inter-racial adoption. I don't think there is anything wrong with it (in fact it is something that I will probably do down the line) but the knowledge that they are adopted will be clear to anyone as soon as they hear the kids call you "dad" (just like it is when I see the little Asian girl call the white lady "mom".) That may not bother some folks but it could be even more difficult for those kids. It is one thing to know you are adopted. There is nothing wrong with that... they get hand-picked by their parents because they are special... but for the whole world to know immediately that their birth mother didn't love them enough to get her act together might be difficult for them. (Disclaimer: I am speaking about these kiddos specifically, not all adopted children/birth mothers)

10:29 AM  
Blogger Surgeon in my dreams said...

Not a thing wrong with your feelings. Our "feelings" and a good dose of common sense help us make "right"decisions.

Back in my fostering days, I had a baby who was black (we're white). We lived in a small town "hickville" type place. I was not sure whether we should take her or not mainly because I didn't want my kids exposed to ugly remarks. We were also concerned some "good ole boys" might just up and burn us a cross in our front yard.

We talked it over with our two and explained to them what kind of stuff they might hear. We all agreed to take her. She was 8 months old.

The only negative response we had was from adults. Sometimes in a store when I was holding her and it was just the two of us. My ex on the other hand, never got the dirty looks when he was alone with her!

There were also two families who took their babies out of the church nursery until she was given back to her mom months later. Now that - that hurt me!

When we got her, she couldn't sit up, would not reach for toys or food or anything else. It took several days to get her to smile and when we finally did she smiled all the time. The back of her little head was bald where she had been left in a bed all the time. It was quite spooky to me, because when my kids awakened in the mornings, they would yell and let someone know they were up and wanted out. This little girl, never opened her mouth. She just lay there until someone decided to notice she was awake. I cry just thinking about that.

I often wonder how she is. She would be 17 now.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a sincere hope that these little ones are settled with a wonderful family soon,and that they have the opportunity to see their foster mom from time to time to minimize any difficulties they may experience with the transition.children are so wonderfully resilient,and sometimes we forget that.(at least i know i do) neodoc,remember the "superkids" who rose above all adversities.i myself have seen evidence of that,and how inspiring it is.

5:20 PM  
Blogger neonataldoc said...

Thanks, everyone, for the support. Surgeon in my dreams, interesting story. I'm not surprised it was only the adults who said things. Kids are pretty accepting. Wasn't it hard to give the baby up after having her for a period of time?

Anonymous 5:20, I'm a big believer in the resiliency of kids. So far these kids have done well; let's hope it continues.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Surgeon in my dreams said...

NeoDoc, All total, we had five foster kids. She was the only little girl and she was the most difficult to give up.

There was one or two who deep down I was glad to see them go home to their "fixed" families, because they were very disturbed children. Not to sound ugly or intolerant, but taking someone elses' kids is not easy and I am just being honest here. These two were very aloof, very untouchable, almost as if they were in their own world.

One would not let you touch his head without screaming bloody murder. WOuld not look in our eyes. Didn't want to be held much less hugged on.

One was just as happy as a lark until they began letting his family have "home visits". AFter they began those, his personaly changed. He didn't smile much any more, and he cried a great deal for several days and just when you would think he was coming back to his old saelf, he would have another visit and it would all start again.

I remember his little diaper bag I had packed so carefully would come back just as I had sent it. The formula in the bottles was "clabbered" from not having been refrigerated the entire day.

It did hurt to see them go, but not bad enough that I didn't want to love them while they were there.

We only accepted 5 and under, since I had no experience with older kids except my own, and we also didn't want the ages to be close enough that our two felt threatened.

The last one was the little girl. I guess thats when I decided there had been enough good-byes.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any news on a home for the twins?

1:38 PM  

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