Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dreadlocks

My seven year old great nephew is growing his hair long because he wants to have dreadlocks or cornrows. He's not sure which yet, but he'd better decide fairly soon because his hair is getting pretty long and shaggy. Adopted by my nephew from a former Soviet bloc country several years ago, he'd been born prematurely and spent most of his first year of life in an orphanage. In spite of that rough start, he's a pretty good kid, although he does have some ADHD, and he spends a little more time in the principal's office than a seven year old should. When I heard that he wanted dreadlocks already at the tender age of seven, all I could think was, man, he's going to be a handful as a teenager.

When my nephew and his wife went to pick him up several years ago, they went as part of a group of parents, all of whom were adopting kids. The kids were at different stages of life, and one of them was a 12 year old with poorly controlled epilepsy. The doctors in her country had done all they could, and one of the reasons she was up for adoption was so she could come to America and get better care. That meant, though, saying a permanent good-bye to the foster family that had cared for her for years and was in essence her family. My nephew said the farewell scene was pretty emotional, as you can imagine.

Personally, I don't think I could have done it if I were the adoptive parent. My heart breaks just thinking of tearing a 12 year old away from her family. I think I would have said, look, we'll get her care for her epilepsy in the U.S. and then bring her back after a few months or a year or so. To forever remove her from a family she was attached to at that age? It shouldn't have to happen.

I've written before about my ambivalent feelings towards adoption. It's hard enough to give up a baby for adoption, but a 12 year old? Even though her foster parents weren't her biological parents, they had had her for many years, so it's no surprise it was wrenching to all sides of the adoption.

The things we do to kids sometimes. I'm glad my nephew made it out of there before his first birthday, and I hope he sits still for his dreadlocks.

9 Comments:

Blogger Awesome Mom said...

A possible problem with bringing the 12 year old back is that even if the epilepsy was under control right then the child might eventually need a medication change at a later date. Epilepsy is often a tricky thing to control. My eldest son has hemiplegia and I am on an email list for parents of kids with that. Some of the parents are on the list because their child had such bad epilepsy that half of the child's brain had to be removed. I read a lot about the ongoing struggles that the parents had with it until they were forced to take such a drastic step.

I agree that it had to be tough but that child is so very lucky that they had two sets of parents that cared so much.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Twins x two said...

This is a tought topic.
I am 33, and my brother and I are adopted. My adpoted parents carried the CF gene and both of their children died at an early age of cystic fibrosis. Coming from the other side of this topic, I am happy, I am happy because I was adopted by great parents who love me to death. I am not sure where I would be today otherwise.
My brother and I are not biological sibblings and were both born in the US.
I do believe that 12 yrs old is a bit to old to be ripped from the only people you know. I believe adoption should be done when a child is young enough not to remember. I was 4 and my brother 18 months. I believe I was even to old.

12:27 AM  
Blogger health watch center said...

The whole thing of adoption makes me feel sad, but in a way it makes feel happy to know that, there are parents who want to adopt and give a better life to those kids.

12 years old adoption is going to be difficult but its not impossible, as Awesome mom said she needs medication. Her parents have a good reason to do that for her better life. I liked your idea of sending her back to her family after cure.

Self Help Zone.
Self Help Zone

3:48 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

i agree with twins x two mom, adoption is a tough topic. still i am certain that the greatest thing to happen to our family was when my son came into our lives and completed our family. even the naysayers who questioned our choice agree our little man is truly an amazing gift that has completed our family circus.
your nephew sounds delightful and makes me smile because our little man's ethnicity is russian as well.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

I agree that in this situation this 12 year old should have been left with those who already love and know her. However, my understanding of adoption (both domestic and international) is that there are many older children who are in institutions or with less than stellar foster families, and are very desperate to be placed in a "forever family", despite the huge upheaval that this can cause in their lives. People who are willing to adopt these kids should be supported and commended.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Jilly Bean said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Jilly Bean said...

I don't understand why the 12 yr old's foster family didn't adopt her themselves. And there are so many older kids in orphanages over there, it's puzzling to me that this one would be selected to be considered. I have read that in Russia...when an orphan turns 16 or 18 years old, they are no longer taken care of by the state and are out on their own...even if that means living on the street. I feel as though I need "the rest of the story" to state an opinion on what happened to the 12 year old. It might have been a very, very good thing for her.

1:07 AM  
Blogger neonataldoc said...

Thanks, all. Jilly bean, I don't know the rest of the story.

I agree that adoption can be a great thing for all concerned.

6:21 PM  
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1:37 AM  

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