Friday, November 23, 2007

Adoption laws??

Adoption of children by a childless couple has been happening since time immemorial. There are contradictory opinions about whether the adopted child should be told about his/her adopted status or not. If yes then when is the right time to divulge the information? The reactions of the human mind are strange and unpredictable and there is no guarantee that the child is going to react positively to the news if and when it is disclosed. They say blood is thicker than water. But is it really so? Don’t the years of nurture put in by the adopted parents count? I have the example of a few cases that make me conclude that the adopted parents are lucky if their wards take the news well but it would be better to be prepared for the worst.

I do not know their names so I have decided to give them names of my choice. On second thoughts I feel that naming them is not that important. This could happen to any of us whether our child is adopted or not.

I met the mother and daughter some 12 years back when I went to a friend’s place on invitation during Navaratri. They were visitor's at my friend's place having come there on a short vacation from New Delhi. The child was about 5 years old and unless otherwise mentioned one would not realize that she was adopted. Unfortunately the father had died soon after the child’s first birthday but the child was a source of joy and the mother worked hard as an assistant in a reputed institution in Delhi to give her the very best in life. I am a regular invitee to their house during Navaratri and I’d make it a point to enquire after the child’s progress when ever I visited. But the report I got this year was alarming. The girl was now a school drop out and is probably into bad company. She remains out with friends for days together makes atrocious demands for cash sometimes at gun point. She regularly steals money from her mother’s purse has removed the adoption papers from the locker of her mother’s almirah. The slightest rebuke makes her violent and she challenges her mother to ‘throw her back into the gutter’ from which she picked her. She claims to be working in a call center thereby justifying her absence at night. Her mother is now emotionally dependent on her and the girl is well aware of the fact. My conclusion is that the girl is into drugs and since she is the nominee to all her mother’s assets there may be others involved in encouraging her to threaten her mother and terrorize her to submitting to her unfair demands. In these days of HIV/AIDS spreading like wildfire I wonder if the mother is equipped to deal with the girl as well as those behind her. Any way that is beside the point.

The mother feels guilty about not having disclosed her adopted status at the appropriate time and feels that the shock of having found it out by herself perhaps led her to revolt. She tries to convince herself that drug abuse is not involved. I did not have the opportunity to meet the mother and I report the story from what I learnt through her sister who is in Jamshedpur. I personally feel that this could have happened even if the daughter was her own and not adopted. But then this is one of those issues that have no answer or solution. Blinded by her affection for the adopted daughter the mother refuses to take her for counseling or to find out what her problem happens to be and whether she is indeed working for a BPO. After all who’d hire a school drop out who has failed her 9th standard? Her main fear is that of losing the daughter for ever. And the sixteen year old is well aware of this. In this case the girl accidentally found out about her being an adopted child. I don’t have detailed information about adoption laws but there appears to be a condition making it necessary for parents to inform the child of his/her status at an appropriate time.

The world and its whimsical ways are strange. If the child turns out to be normal no credit is given to the parents whether adopted or natural. The moment things go wrong every one starts giving their expert opinion. Those that sympathize with the child accuse parents of over indulgence or indifference and if they are on the parent’s side they blame the child’s lineage laying the blame on bad blood. Neither of this really helps. Any child can fall into bad company and adolescent crisis is not unique to a particular group. Drug peddlers are on the look out for victims and a child who is confused is an easy prey. As parents one need to recognize signs and deal with it accordingly. Blaming one’s fate is not going to help nor would be helpful to indulge in self pity. No one wants a child to go astray but should the worst happen let it be faced and rectified before it is too late even if it is at the risk of losing the child's affection. Children are sharp and will understand your good intention pretty soon. One needs to remain patient. And in case the misunderstanding persists but the child's behavior is corrected, one can atlest watch his/her growth from a distance and it would be better than witnessing their downfall and not being able to do anything about it. It is the responsibility of the parent to deal with the situation in an appropriate manner and for adopted parents it is like walking on tight rope.

17 comments:

vishesh said...

i don't care what ever people do-but getting small children into drugs? are people so insensitive? so much for insanity....well no these people are sane....but the thing is yes,people need to be told how to handle these cases...you know these people will be stronger...

Preethi said...

It is so sad to see how kids get spoilt.. I have seen examples of this in my own family.. this has nothing to do with adoption.. and all to do with peer pressure!! The question on when to tell the adopted child that he/she is adopted brings to mind a tamil movie - Kannathil Muthamital. This movie has good english subtitles.. See it if you get a chance

Prats said...

I don't think the issue of adoption was the cause of the problem here. It happens in normal regular families,but it could be due to parallel issues like peer pressure, emotional issues, etc. I feel the child should told about her status around 10-12, where they understand well enough but young enough to accept and continue their lives...its just my opinion, so don't know if its foolproof

Tys on Ice said...

Iam not adopted...but i have lived the life of that 16 year old girl once...u r rite, it takes a fall for us to judge and tear apart and analyse relationships to find a reason....my reason was that i was a stupid , self centered , highly destructive brat, who shud hve been cuffed behind the ear....i was lucky and fortunate to have such patient support from my family to overcome it...i cud blame the company i kept, the age, everything but the truth is that the choice was my own...everything else was an excuse...

it wudnt hve mattered if this girl was adopted or is immaculate conception, she's in a situation that requires very delicate handling...it will require love, support, understanding and tons of strenness...love of parents is not abt indulgences but abt teaching their children survival...pls encourage the mother to raise up to the occassion and face the situation...she will be required to be non judgemental...it will hurt, it will make her question herself as a mother...but nothing shud matter other thn the childs welfare...in the end , if it survives, it will be a bond nothing in universe can break....and if it doesnt, well, she did take her off the street, but the girl put herself back there...

eve's lungs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eve's lungs said...

ts being blind to the child's faults which is the problem here not adoption,anger or whatever. I strongly believe in firmness and patience and love as well . But parents should always be sensitive to each nuance of the child's behaviour. Im sure it didnt evolve overnight. I know 4 people who have adopted kids . The oldest among them is 15 and has been told that she is adopted .Facts like this should be shared in a sensitive manner , once the child is old enough to understand.BTW I have tagged you.

Dotm said...

Raising an adopted child is a little simular to raising a step child. She was 4 yrs old when I met her and 5 yrs old when her Dad and I married. It seemed like love wasn`t enough to make things run smooth. I was young and thought all it would take was a lot of love and all would be ok. Well, some times were great, others made you want to pull your hair out trying so hard to be a good mother. I once spoke to a Dr for advice and his answer to me was that once a child is 2 to 3 years old, then it`s pattern of live is already set. The Dr told me I could move the stone wall in front of his office by banging my head against it just as much as I could change the daughters ways. He said I might improve on her ways, but I could never actually change her. Then I asked a lawyer friend who told me practically the same thing. I thought things were great till she turned 16 and started going boy wild on us. She started lying and seldom went where she asked to go. She didn`t think the house rules had anything to do with her. She started fights in school, never helped arouind the house like the others did, she made her own rules no matter what. When she was in her 40`s she wanted to meet her Birth Mother. I set it up and also drove her there. Two years later she suddenly decided she couldn`t have 2 mothers and suddenly dumped the whole family, even her Dad who was always there for her. I said once that I thought I was a good mother to her. She said "You were a good mother, in fact you were a D.. good mother. I just wasn`t her Mother now that she had her biological Mother. A few years later she wanted me to make the home remove her name as next of kin for her mother, which I couldn`t do. She never even showed up for her Father`s funeral.
So, being a good parent doesn`t mean things will work out. And love and family rules won`t make things ok either. I had less problems with her brother, who moved in with us at age 14. He had lived with their Birth mother and was happier living with us. He was never spoiled, but was abused while the sister had lived with her grandmother who never once used the word "no" to her. She was terribly spoiled.

Usha said...

Raising a child - your own, step or adopted is not without problems. It is perhaps the baggage that adopted and step children have (of abandonment) that makes them more vulnerable. It is always a good ides to have an open chat with the child and lay down the rules earlier in life in stead of kid gloving them and screening them from so-called hurt and then making it all miserable for everyone. It seems it is even tougher today to bring up a child than it was a few years ago with the kind of distractions and exposure to dangerous habits so early in life.

Hip Grandma said...

Hi all,
I was overwhelmed by tyour responses.True adopted or otherwise parenting is a life long responsibility.One needs to decide how strict or liberal on could be in the interest of the child.But as dotm rightly points out that being a good parent does not ensure that things will work out.And being an adopted parent may be slightly better with being able to blame someone else when things go wrong.I know a mother who lost the youngest child in a road acident,her first born became schizophrenic and another was highly irresponsible.They were all her own children and she did not know whom to grieve for.This is perhaps the worst situation to find one's self in.tys,you are an example of a drug abuser who was redeemed due to the love and care shown by your mother and family.Would you care to share more information so that others could benefit?Don't do it if you don't feel inclined.We have drug abusers who have turned counselors and are doing a wonderful job of it.I plan to come out with afew more adoption stories as wel as cases where children were brought up by others for one or the other reason.Love alone is not sufficient and there is more that goes into the making of a person.Preethi,I've watched 'Kannathil muthamittal' and loved the movie.parthibhan's daughter who plays the adopted child's role as well ass Nandita Das were simply superb.BTW.I don't need subtitles since I am a Tamilian.

Sumana said...

HG,
I sincerley feel, this has nothing to do with adoption. The girl must be blackmailing her mom for money, taking this adoption and not letting her know as an excuse. This is sad to hear. I feel pity for the mom though. I guess it is in her hands to get the daughter well bred.

Just Jen said...

If the child turns out to be normal no credit is given to the parents whether adopted or natural. The moment things go wrong every one starts giving their expert opinion.
This phrase is exactly what I've been dealing with lately. Not because my boys are adopted but because of their special needs. A little trouble and everyone's got an opinion...lol
Very tragic, your story though. I hope the girl grows out of her 'misspent' youth and finds happiness!

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Australia,

I was riveted by the passion of the post - and as someone who grew up in India, it is many years since I've come across that wonderful word ``almirah''.

Thank you for reviving a terrific memory.

Cheers

David

Thinking aloud said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hip Grandma said...

Hi all,
Like you I too felt that adoption and adoloscent issues are two different things and a biological parent will have to deal with growing pains as much as the adopted ones.But instead of accepting the challenge as part of parenting, things become more acute and painful when the child is adopted.More so when they have a child or children of their own thanks to the nosiness of the others who pitch in whether invited or not.The same applies to step children.When one is strict with them it is always 'would they do it if the child was their own?' All this plays havoc in the mind of a vulnerable child.All or atleast most of us are guilty of comparing our difficult child with another well behaved one who may or may not be a sibling.Under the same circumstances one child turns out to be responsible and another goes astray.As dotm pointed out a child's nature is kind of firmly set in the formative years whether adopted or otherwise.after that parents can only do their best and leave the rest to fate/chance or God.

david mcmahon said...

Hi again and thanks for the lovely comment on my blog.

Yes, I am intensely proud of my Indian origins and in answer to your question, I have made several India trips in the 20 years I;ve lived in Oz.

I was in Kolkata a year ago and in three weeks' time I'll be in Delhi, Dehra Dun and Mussoorie.

By the way, in about seven hours' time, I'll be posting an India shot for my Wordless Wednesday entry on my blog.

Do keep in touch

David

Preethi said...

Glad you liked kanathil muthamittal.. that was an endearing movie.. and the little girl has done a great job indeed.. she moved me to tears so many times (but thats just another quirk of mine I guess)

PixelChick said...

I'm wondering if the lack of a father figure played any role in her rebelliousness. Sometimes the parent that survives might tend to think "oh, she's already going through such a lot" and try to compensate for it through indulgence.