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Scuttled adoption. Need help processing...(long)


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#1 oscarsmaman

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:19 PM

This has been bugging me for a few months. Not majorly-bugging me, just a funky, repellent combination of emotions I don't think I've ever felt before, jumbled together like this. Confusion, fear, loneliness, suspicion, anger, disappointment, scornfulness, sadness AND, weirdly, relief and amusement (and guilt for the relief and amusement). It's a lot to reconcile, emotionally speaking.

I don't like the way it nags at me from time to time when China comes up in the news, so I'd just like to get it out here in hopes it helps make it all go away, and there ain't NO WAY I can really talk to anyone else in real life about it because it's too weird. Thank you, GP.com, for bringing this forum back. Here we go.

June 2011, we spent a long weekend at a vacation rental house with my ILs for PILs' 50th anniversary (lots of IL turmoil leading up to it, but it's not germaine here). Everyone was on their best behavior, we had a pretty decent time, due in small part to DH promising he wouldn't ask me to see them again for 6 months.

During the vacation, SIL1 declared they were working on possibly adopting from China. We thought it was interesting and said encouraging, congratulatory things, but we didn't ask too many deep questions about it (just, when do you think you'll get the baby, is a name picked out, oh that's nice). She already has an adopted child from Russia, DN2 was 6 when she came to the family. SIL1 had had her for 7 years by this time.

Previously, SIL1 had a habit of pushing adoption on us, but we'd just told her with finality about 8 months before, No, she DIDN'T have a right to "give us her opinion" on our family planning decisions, and she'd appeared to be shut down, but we weren't going to chance it by dwelling too long on the Adoption issue that weekend. Especially since we were all under the same roof and trying to make nice.

So time went by. I managed to avoid them a good long while, but DH stayed in touch with his whole family. Then, a huge blowup happened for T'giving and Xmas with pretty much all of them. I avoided all except MIL and FIL, and only saw/talked to them during counseling sessions. DH kept in contact with them, though. Just not as much as the old days.

Last March, we went on our first lunch date with them. I think it might have been the first time in 9 months I'd done anything social with MIL and FIL-- since the vacation rental house. During the course of the meal, MIL chattered away, and then said, "Well, SIL1 and BIL1 are working hard on their basement, getting it ready." DH asked, ready for what? "Well, for the Chinese boys, of course." (Shock.) Oh, do you mean they're taking in foreign exchange students? "No, of course not! The Chinese boys they're adopting!"

DH: "Uh, WHAT Chinese boys they're adopting?"
MIL: "You KNEW they were adopting two boys. YOU KNOW THIS!"
DH: "I have NO IDEA what you're talking about. No one told me anything."
MIL: (looking at ME) "Well, YOU knew, didn't you Oscar?"
Me: "How would *I* have known?"
MIL: (speechless) "Well, you'd all HAVE to know!"
--brief silence--
Me, quietly: "Hey, maybe it's really none of our business."
MIL: "Of COURSE it's your business!"

She told us SIL1/BIL were in their 2nd year of waiting (second year?!), and they were raising the money for it, and the boys are older, and they'll try to have them in time for Xmas...It was very unsettling that NO ONE, in 9 months since the vacation rental, had updated DH on what was going on.

From the car, DH called SIL. Re-read the conversation above, SIL1 pretty much reacted the same way. Then she texted us pictures of the boys, 11 and 12, enjoying a birthday cake she had apparently sent one of them TWO WEEKS AFTER THE VACATION RENTAL weekend. She called them her sons and identified them by name. "The boy in the middle is (name), our youngest son.This is the cake we had sent to him on June 18 for his bday along with a note welcoming him to his family." On the other pic, "This is (name). He just turned 12 on wed. This is a picture of both our boys!"

Couple months later, we did another family dinner, for FIL's and DH's b-days, which are a day apart. We met at a restaurant. SIL1 told us her recent garage sale was a hit, and when people wanted to bargain, she told them it was a fund-raiser of sorts. They'd ask for what, and she explained they were raising money for adopting the boys. She said a couple people pulled out their checkbooks and wrote extra checks on the spot. I clearly remember this, because I thought it was a nice thing to do, and I actually considered talking to DH about making a small donation-- then remembered how crazy his family is, and wanted to make sure I didn't regret it.

Fast forward three months, to July. We had SIL2's family down for a day's excursions (fun, actually!) and a week later, SIL1's family down for a day's excursion. They just said they were still waiting for the kids. SIL1 apparently was having doubts, because she asked DH what she thought of them adopting. I'm glad I didn't hear it, or I would've piped up, "It doesn't matter what we think! It's your decision! (and thought, Please don't involve us, it's been too weird already)!" But DH told me later that he told her it was her decision, but he couldn't imagine adopting at SIL's age, and being retired but still supporting kids, etc. But he admired her for going through with it.

Less than a month later? Adoption is off. Apparently, she was having trouble with DNiece2, and couldn't handle the stress of waiting (not to mention the stress of introducing two more kids when she was already having trouble with DN2). God only knows what DN2's older sister, DN1 (bio child), thinks about this whole thing. She had a hard time accepting DN2 when she was brought home, because she had relished being an only, pampered child.

I feel so bad for the Chinese boys. Not enough to adopt them myself, but I'm really trying to tamp it back down to "none of my business" and not let it get to me. But perhaps the thing that bothers me most is, I married into a family where SIL1 was so baby- and adoption-crazy, she used to hammer us about it when she got the chance, and oh, children are the most important thing, we're so blessed to have such a wonderful faaaamily, the more the merrier, etc....Then she strings these boys along for months, calls them "son," gets their hopes up, and then cuts them loose. That might speak to the fear I'm feeling-- that she's capable of doing that...even to innocent children.

Then again, I think the boys are probably lucky, in a way. But even though her environment is chaotic and unstable (and she has the best of intentions), is it really worse than an orphanage? And doesn't she feel any remorse? What happened to the boys, do they know they were rejected? And what happened to the money she collected? (Actually, DH hinted at this...She said no one gave her ANY money for the adoption, Mr. Oscar must be thinking of a different charity she had been raising money for...). Does this happen all the time with international adoption?

I think if I hadn't seen a picture of the kids' faces, along with text calling them her own, and mentally prepared myself for their entry into the family, it would be easier to forget the whole thing. Instead, I just find it haunting, much as I try to move on and forget it. I hear "China" mentioned, and half the time, I think of those boys I was almost related to.

I don't even feel like I can talk to DH about it. Thanks for listening, guys.

#2 Tinka

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:09 PM

I know a bit about international adoption. It's a long process and very detailed paperwork involved, one wrong move can shut the whole process down. It is possible that SIL was turned down some time in the process and she is now saying it is for other reasons etc.

As far as the emotions of it, Oscars, I get it and can understand how it would be hard to hear about this. I'm a stranger and it bothered me too how you said your SIL stated it.

#3 footballmom

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:35 PM

Oscar, the whole story was so weird to begin with, and now it is just dropped? Stranger and stranger with every update.

I am wondering if SIL failed a home visit? or a pscych exam? or even a financial deadline she did not make and it stopped the process? I just do not know, but if I had to bet, something other than herself put the brakes on this one.

Also, what does she think teenagers are going to do, sit on the couch and knit booties for the poor? The last thing she needs is more kids.
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#4 SueSTx

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:58 PM

I also think that it probably fell through for some reason having to do with an evualation and she is trying to save face.

It's not like she turned them back at the arrival gate.

#5 Elaine1954

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:55 AM

Oscar, about ten years ago one of my neighbors who is also a friend adopted a baby from Korea about eight months old when she arrived. The adoption proces took well over a year and the rules were very strict. They had several home inspections from the agency to make sure everything was exactly right. What I mean by this was the baby's room had to be set up, carseats in the car. Everything had to be purchased far in advance before the final approval. They still had to wait the twelve months after the baby arrived for the adoption to be finalized. One parent was not allowed to work. They were not allowed to move for twelve months after the adoption. There could be other rules for older children.
If its a similar agency I don't know why they would need donations. This agency made sure the money was in the bank and put in escrow.

How awful for those boys. They thought they were coming to America and it didn't happen for them. I too think perhaps something happened to stop the adoption. Maybe someone else adopted them.


#6 oscarsmaman

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:50 AM

Holy cow. It didn't even occur to me that they might have declined her. But that would make sense, wouldn't it...

Thanks, ladies. Just typing it out helped me sift through the whole strange, sad situation. I think I'll "adopt" (groan) the theory she was turned down-- it's easier to digest the prospect that they are all, indeed, better off if they didn't join her family.

I know plenty of times, I wish *I* hadn't joined their family.

Thanks again. So much.
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#7 Eowyn

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:18 PM

I remember when you first found out about the adoption and how cagey MIL/SIL were about it...honestly this just gets more and more suspicious IMO. Not that it fell through-- because that really does happen Very Frequently-- but with the frequent "oh you must have known/not known" first about the boys, then about the charities that of course were not HER that she was collecting for...and then my own raised eyebrows that someone was adopting boys from China (maybe I'm behind the times but I understood that was very rare)

Ultimately I think they were turned down and embarassed by it, becuase it seems terribly uncharacteristic that suddenly she cares about the mental health and well being of others more then self-aggrandization and faaaaaaaaamily

#8 Elaine1954

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:50 PM

Eowyn, maybe it's geographic but I know many families that adopt Asian children.

#9 SarahMB

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:08 PM

Eowyn, from my understanding of one family's experience, boys adopted from China often have some kind of health problem or disability.

#10 Elaine1954

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:16 PM

I know you addressed Eowyn but you are correct. Many Asian children have health problems and learning disabilities. Even when they are adopted at a young age. Many times its due to malnutrition and poor pre-natal care as many times the mother is a teenager. The eight month old I spoke of did not have these conditions, she was lucky.

#11 SarahMB

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:18 PM

Right, and it seemed Eowyn was asking about the gender issue, as it's typically been girls adopted from China due to the one-child policy and social preference for sons.

#12 Eowyn

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:30 PM

Elaine, sorry if I was unclear, I know a lot of families who have adoped GIRLS from China, but I understood that adopting BOYS was far more difficult due to a societal preference for males?

Sarah, thanks for the clarification, I hadn't heard that before, but it makes sense.

#13 Elaine1954

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:36 PM

I know of three girls, the eight month old. The two girls were sisters ages three and six at the time and a boy to another family I think about a year and a half. I know two young adults that were twin girls. A year younger than YDS which makes them 28. I never thought about gender until just now.

#14 Elaine1954

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:41 PM

Oscars, you had mentioned SIL and BIL were retired. Usually there is an age cap when adopting. Perhaps that cap is older when the kids are older if the adoptive parents are in good health.

#15 oscarsmaman

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:00 PM

SIL and BIL aren't retired. I can't find where I said that, but sorry if I gave that impression. DH and I have wondered though, whether, since they're probably 10-15 years from being able to collect SS and retire, their possible lack of savings made them realize their adoption plans were impractical. They went through this big investment folly a few years ago (their second or third investment scheme to go belly-up). MIL even works, and she's in her 70s. The only retired ones are FIL and GMIL.

Right, Eowyn, I'd wondered about the gender thing at first, too. Until someone mentioned on here that special needs/disabled Chinese boys are more likely to be adopt-able. I'd always thought it was mostly only girls, too.

And about the "cagey" thing...It's always been odd to me how they just sort of bumble along, and no one asks questions or feels the need to collect (what *I* would think is) pertinent information, but maybe that's their A.D.H.D. quality coming through.

Just recently, my DH was talking to SIL2 about plans for their mother's birthday (just a few days in advance, of course), and I heard DH say, "...You don't know either? Hey, I'll ask Oscar. Hey, Oscar-- how old is my mom?"

They'll ask us to do something (working only through DH, of course) and will give us the date, but they won't know the time, admission and/or where it's taking place. And they say they'll call, but they'll forget, and then DH will call when he remembers, and they'll say they don't know, hang on, they'll call back, and when they finally do, they'll have the place but not the time, necessitating another call, and after awhile, they give vibes like, "OMG, why are you giving me the third degree! Just show up and if you don't want to, don't!"

Unsettling.
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#16 Elaine1954

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:06 PM

Please don't involve us, it's been too weird already)!" But DH told me later that he told her it was her decision, but he couldn't imagine adopting at SIL's age, and being retired but still supporting kids, etc. But he admired her for going through with it.

I misunderstood. I guess this means when they do retire they'll still be supporting kids.

#17 oscarsmaman

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:14 PM

I can see where that sentence could easily be interpreted that way.

Eowyn, do adoptions really fall through that easily (on the adoptive parents' side)? I've heard that frequently, expectant mothers change their minds and decide to keep their babies instead of giving them to expectant adoptive families. But I never hear of couples/families being turned down. I imagine it happens, but had never heard of it.

#18 ItsKarma

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:28 PM

Oscar, I also think your SIL and BIL may have been turned down during the adoption process and are trying to save face.

A good friend whose DS and DIL are unable to have biological children have been looking into international adoption, specifically in Asia. My friend told me that several countries have age restrictions as well as WEIGHT restrictions for potential parents. This was news to me. Apparently, it's become very difficult to adopt from certain countries.

#19 oscarsmaman

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:30 PM

I understand, and yet I don't understand-- Why is it so incredibly difficult to adopt? It boggles the mind.

#20 PhalenMum

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:44 PM

in international adoptions you are dealing with two different sets of social workers plus an embassy plus an orphanage PLUS an agency.
Your first hurdle is to pass the rigorous screening (financial, criminal etc) by the adoption agency, which can take up to a year. THEN you have to have multiple social worker visits to find out if your home is suitable for a new child or children. THEN they take family history, if I do recall, SILs adopted daughter, the one from Russia (am I remembering this right?) was displaying some emotional and psychological problems due to the family not allowing her to assimilate properly {this would be a huge red flag for me if I was a social worker}. Then there's the social workers on the OTHER end finding out about the child/ren to be adopted. THEN you have to go through the embassy to get visas etc to and from the country. Once you are there, THEN you get to fill out the final paperwork and there is a week long meeting process to make sure the family is a good fit. Once you're BACK with the new child/ren you STILL have social worker visits to make sure the kids are doing well, 6 months to a year after the child/ren are brought over you get the final papers for the adoption and a new BC for the child/ren with your name on it.

mind you I know this second hand from a woman who went and adopted a baby from China

What struck me as odd was the picture of the boys with a birthday cake, as usually the adoptive family gets a photo and information about the child but contact is not made until the family is actually IN the country