Sunday, October 25, 2009

Adopting From a Disruption or Dissolution

"Disruption" is a term used to describe the termination of an adoption before it's legally complete. "Dissolution" refers to adoption termination after it's been legally finalized.

Either way, it's sad.

I've considered adopting a child whose adoption was being dissolved/disrupted. I've also done therapeutic respite for children with reactive attachment disorder (RAD.) When someone posted a question about adopting children out of disruption, I started thinking...

My first and foremost concern is that prospective parents understand what it means to parent a hurt child. Not all children coming out of a dissolution are going to have severe issues, but they may. And just as a parent should not adopt a child with significant physical special needs without doing research into the condition, neither should a parent consider adopting a child out of disruption without extensive research. Off the top of my head, here are some of the things I'd consider:
*talk to a family (or several) who has disrupted. (One prominent example is Nancy Spoolstra (of ATN) who has both dissolved an adoption and adopted more than one child from a dissolution. She can see both sides of the issue.)

*talk to a therapist who specializes in RAD

*only consider an adoption of this sort if you already have the professionals in place to treat the child. I know of families who've been forced to dissolve adoptions because their STATE had NO ONE who could treat the child's issues. I know families who've gone out of state for treatment and eventually run out of options.

*can you handle it financially? RAD therapy can run $150-$200 or more per session. Kids with significant issues may need weekly therapy. Insurance may or may not cover it. I'd want to know it ahead of time.

* I would never consider an adoption like this out of birth order. I would want my youngest child to be SIGNIFICANTLY older than the child coming into the family.

*I would want to remember that chances are that what I see upon meeting the child...and perhaps even for weeks or months...may not be the "real child"...and that the true "issues" may not emerge for a very, very long time. "What you see" (initially) may not be "what you get." Decisions probably shouldn't be made based on initial meetings with the child.

*I would want to consider my own history. My "buttons." Will I be okay parenting a child who may consistently push me away or do everything s/he can to be unlikeable? If you have unresolved issues of your own, the child is likely to push those buttons. If you have unfinished "self-work" the child will be happy to help you find what it is that ails you.

And, I think if you aren't nervous, then something is wrong. You should be. But if you can answer the above questions and feel like it's something you are capable of doing, consider it. These children need loving, endlessly patient, compassionate parents who will fight for their hearts. And I know nothing more worthwhile than fighting for the heart of a child.


blackbelt said...

Good one. I never understood "dissolution." Doesn't the judge say this child is like a child born to you??

richmomma said...

I assume so(?), but I've never really researched all the legal ramifications.

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