Monday, March 23, 2009


We have completed the eight hours of instruction required to become adoptive parents, which is eight hours more instruction than is required to become biological parents and approximately seven hundred ninety-two hours (give or take) less than is required to begin to have a clue about what we're getting ourselves into. I've tried to fill the gaps by reading everything I can find, both in print and in self-publication, i.e. blogs. And for the record, here's what I've learned:

  • Child raising is like CPR, in that new information is always forthcoming and periodically the new information is revolutionary. There's a cycle of throwing out theories as new theories emerge. That doesn't mean that all theories are bunk and you can just ignore them, but do be ready to accept new ideas. Just because last year they taught you mouth to mouth and this year they say no mouth to mouth and hum the BeeGees while you do compressions doesn't mean that this year, if you see someone in cardiac arrest that you shouldn't do anything because next year they'll find another song that's even better.
  • The behavior is what will present itself, but knocking out a behavior without getting at the underlying cause will only cause a new behavior to spring up in its place. If the underlying cause is unknown, fear is a safe first guess. In other words, Fear is the Kudzu of parenting traumatized children.
  • Getting involved with fost/adopt is checking into the biggest morass of second guessing I've ever come into contact with. There is no end to criticism of the system and everyone who is a part of it, which in every case should either have let kids be with parents who were good or removed them much earlier from the bad ones, but in no cases ever acted exactly as soon as anybody ought to have noticed that something was wrong and not a day before. Somebody always ought to have known what Anybody else thought would have been best for Everybody, if only they all hadn't been so selfish/lazy/stupid/only in it for the money. The motives of all voluntary parents of suffering children are automatically either laudable, suspect, or both and they should all be considered guilty of not doing enough for their children until they prove themselves innocent by collapsing from nervous exhaustion.
  • Sometimes kids wet the bed as a response to a specific, temporary anxiety. And sometimes they do it because their abusers didn't want to rape a kid who smelled bad. The fact that they continue to wet themselves when they're safe with you doesn't mean that they don't feel safe with you, necessarily. It's because that's the way the world works for them. Even if you're safe, that doesn't mean the world is. This cross applies to basically everything.
  • There is a different right answer for every child, and the only people who don't know what that right answer is are the people providing day to day care for him. It is strange that this should be so, but as the world in general tends to be in agreement on this point in each individual case (although the pattern is generally denied) anyone taking the part of a parent in any particular accusation is taking what is popularly considered to be an indefensible position.
  • When a child is neglected, a caustic chemical is released in her brain that has a calming effect on that child. If the neglect happens too frequently and the chemical is released too often, the brain resets its "rage thermostat" so that the chemical will now only be released under more extreme circumstances, leaving the kids with the most to cope with a harder time coping with everything. If one assumes the existence of an Omnipotent Diety, this single fact must be proof of Its satirical nature.
The agency has informed us that a case worker will contact us on Wednesday to begin our home study process. We still have a house to buy before the study can be completed.

My heartfelt good wishes for Torina. More than anything else, these poor waiting children need people like Torina's (and Yondalla's and the Grateful House and RADical Adventures) prominent presence in our society, because she provides visibility for their situation and encouragement and inspiration for people who are considering taking on the challenge of reforming their family to include a parentless special needs child. It is a shame that any dyspeptic troll can drive one of these bloggers underground by threatening to make false and baseless accusations of abuse against them. Taking her blog private was the only prudent thing Torina could do, but future adoptive parents will be poorer for not having her example to learn from, both in her successes and in her setbacks.

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