Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Friday, October 4, 2013

31 4 21 Expectations and happiness

These two stories intersect in my mind:

Spoiled Generation Y kids are unhappy.   This unhappiness may be traced to unrealistic expectations, inflated notions of their own talents, and exaggerated images of their peers' success on social media.

Many adoptions fail, and with inadequate resources, some adoptive parents resort to unethical channels to "re-home" (a.k.a. disrupt) their adopted children.  While this is clearly wrong, the real question to ask is what are the factors which lead to the failed adoptions in the first place.  To some extent, corrupt adoption agencies may be culpable, offering inadequate pre-adoption training and post-adoption support to families which may be overwhelmed by the needs of their new child(ren).  Many Christian organizations also encourage ill-advised practices such as adopting out of birth order and adopting multiple unrelated children, seeing adoption as an absolute good regardless of context.  Such adoptions can certainly work, but they require even greater preparation, resources, and support.

At the same time, it seems that part of this trend is traceable to similar factors as the unhappiness of Generation Y. A quick search of the internet yields countless adoption blogs.  Families present this as a wonderful process, often glossing over the difficulties.  Disrupting families rarely express themselves openly around these sensitive issues.  The result is that adopters have unrealistically high expectations of their child(ren)'s transition, and a muted awareness of the potential pitfalls.  When they run into any kind of difficulties, they may give up, feeling inadequate.  They are likely to think that they are to blame for the problems, or that these problems are far worse than average, since their image of what the adoption "ought" to look like is far rosier, and other adopters appear more competent.

The advice most often offered by successful, experienced adopters is compatible with this analysis.  They consistently urge potential adopters to keep expectations extremely low.   They also encourage parents to seek support, both within the adoption community and in other arenas (family, friends, faith communities, professional counseling, etc.).

Reformtalk.net is a watchdog website that highlights potentially problematic practices in adoption.  It is highly critical of the adoption industry, which sometimes sets parents up for failure, as well as government agencies responsible for the welfare of children.  They provide a list of red flags, which represent potential risks in a given adoption situation.  None of them necessarily has to be a showstopper, but are important to keep in mind in assessing a course of action.

Adoption is not unique in this regard.  Many young women have a similarly idealized image of babies, prompting them to get pregnant without adequate preparation.  In most cases, though, they spend their pregnancy preparing and adjusting their expectations.  They also have mentors (mothers, aunts, older friends) who can support them through the hard times.  As a result, most mothers learn to mother their babies effectively.  With adoption, these resources are less available, since there are fewer potential mentors in the community.  They are there, but they need to be actively sought out.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Jewish Bloggers
Powered By Ringsurf