Late HT? What would it take for you to turn away? — The Bump
Adoption

Late HT? What would it take for you to turn away?

Within the last couple months, I've been privy to two disturbing cases in which couples requested to parent a child on the waiting list, received the referral, and then changed their minds.

In the first case, the couple did not have the child's file properly translated, and when they later found out the extent of his medical condition, decided that they could not become his parents.

In the second case, the couple traveled to bring their daughter home, and while there decided that she deserved a family "that could love her completely" and so decided not to complete the adoption.  I don't know many more specifics about this case, except that the couple was of mixed heritage (Peruvian-American), did not use an agency, mentioned that the girl's condition was not severe (in fact less severe than they had feared), and has two biological sons.

In both cases, it seems the couples let their emotions get the better of them.  The first couple was denied an earlier referral, and seemed to jump the gun with the second child.  The second couple began their process seeking a healthy 2 year-old, and ended up requesting an older child with special needs.  I'm guessing (but don't know) they made this switch to speed up their referral.

These cases have my emotions all in knots.  I'm angry for the children left behind, and the rejection they must feel.  I'm angry because it appears these families made their decisions in haste, because the wait had gotten to them, and the result is a child was told of their new parents, only to have their feelings crushed and hopes dashed.  I'm angry because it is making my husband and me be overly-cautious, in fear of making similar, ill-advised choices.

BUT, I'm also scared.  I'm wondering what would happen if we met the child referred to us, and for some reason felt that it was a mistake.  I'm wondering if there is ever a situation in which I could imagine this happening.  I'm wondering what that situation would be.  I hate to even think of it, but I can't help but fear it.

So, what would make you seriously consider refusing a referral after meeting the child?  For the purposes of discussion, please try really hard to not answer, "nothing;" I'd really like to see if there are any scenarios in which this could make sense, and I'm currently at a loss.


Re: Late HT? What would it take for you to turn away?

  • AWESOME POST!!!!  In thinking of the decision that we made this week concerning our waiting child match I totally agree with you...........These are children who need good families that will except them in any and all situations and in my opinion if you can't do that (which is perfect normal for some people) then you are not the right couple to look into waiting children....  Furthermore, the "normal/healthy" children that are matched are also a roll of the dice medically especially if you have minimal or no medical background the the bio-parents.

    As a mother of 3 bio children and as of yesterday mom of 1 adopted child.......you take your chances equally with them all!!!  Just love them anyway and how you get them.....NURTURE goes a long way..........

  • This gets me in knots too.  A family member had a similar situation.  She did what was right for her family but it didn't set well with me. 

    Medically,

    there
    image Best friends and sisters... 24 months and 16 months
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  • This gets me in knots too.  A family member had a similar situation.  She did what was right for her family but it didn't set well with me. 

    Medically, it would take a lot for me to end a relationship.  I've read of families that walk away from DA situations at the last minute because of medical issues.   I don't think that's fair or cool...parents don't do that with bio kids so why should they with their adopted child?  We have no guarantees.  Working in the field of cancer, I see day in and day out how quickly a family can change from being "healthy" to in the midst of a medical crisis.  My point-  a baby born health doesn't mean he/she will remain healthy.  Turning away at birth is lousy...IMO.

    Pre-birth, I am not sure what would make me turn away.  Our criteria are pretty narrow-  no drug exposure, no alcohol, no mental illness....What would happen if we matched and found out the mom used drugs?  Or had a history of mental illness...not entirely sure.  I think I'd do massive research but my heart would already be committed so it'd take some "in your face" stats to change my mind. 

    image Best friends and sisters... 24 months and 16 months
  • Okay, well one thing that I feel would be...I don't even know how to describe it..but say you put down that you could accept "medical conditions." And you meant things like cleft?pallets?or a heart deformity, a clubbed foot etc, but in your heart of hearts you knew that things like down syndrome, autism, serious learning disabilities etc were NOT something that you were prepared for then I think that would be a shocker to get to the match and meet your child and think..."This child is going to have a cleft pallet," and then they have autism. Then what would you do? Turn away this child b/c you knew that wasn't what you were prepared for or do it and stand up to the "challenge?"?

    I'm not sure if that happens or not but I personally would worry that the spectrum of "special needs" could be defined very broadly. ??

    ?

    I completely understand that you could have a biological child with any of these problems as well and you would take it on just like that..but to say that biological parents aren't afraid or do everything they can to have a healthy child..well, it's pretty common to hear people say, "I just want a healthy baby." right? ?I don't think it's wrong for adoptive parents to want the same thing.?

  • We're doing DA, so it's different, but I wanted to get this off my chest anyway.

    Since we're only in the application stage of DA, we've just started talking about this kind of situation. I've been reading some adoption books and have started asking DH questions like, "What, if any, medical issues would you accept? Cleft palate? Surgically reparable heart problems?" etc. He stated to me that he could handle a biological child with issues, but he would prefer not to go into adopting a child with medical issues. What I think we really need to talk about is a situation where we are matched with an e-mom who is 6 months along, and the baby is born with a medical problem. I think at that point I would be attached so much that I would want to still parent the child, but I'm not sure how DH would feel about it.

  • image fredalina:

    But shouldn't you have a file with that kind of medical/developmental history in it?? Shouldn't you be able to turn down the case before you're matched?

    If the file was incomplete or non-factual, and you thought you were getting a "healthy" baby (or one with only certain limited issues) and find a child with Down's Syndrome, i can understand turning that down.? But if the file is accurate, i don't think you should.

    Oh I agree completely! In CS's post above I can only fathom a guess about how the couples got to the point where they were meeting ?the child and saying, "This isn't what we signed up for."?

    IF you jumped into something without thinking it through, to move the process along..and take the shortcut..well shortcuts don't always workout the way you ?thought they would, and you should prepare for those--I hate to use the word "consequences," but now in this case you have brought another human life into the mix! How horribly selfish of those people, if that is what they did! ?

  • image fredalina:

    But shouldn't you have a file with that kind of medical/developmental history in it?  Shouldn't you be able to turn down the case before you're matched?

    If the file was incomplete or non-factual, and you thought you were getting a "healthy" baby (or one with only certain limited issues) and find a child with Down's Syndrome, i can understand turning that down.  But if the file is accurate, i don't think you should.

    Yes, in both these cases, the couples received all the medical information available for the children BEFORE they requested the referral, and the information was accurate.

    In both these cases, the children were waiting, and the couples REQESTED the referral of those specific children, AFTER having had a chance to review ALL their records, and were approved.  They then later decided against accepting the referral they requested.  In the second case, they met and spent time with the child before deciding not to follow through.

    Peru allows you to explicitly state what conditions you do and do not feel comfortable parenting, and tried extremely hard to only make matches within those parameters.  They've had problems, because a lot of people were just writing that they wanted a "generally healthy" child, and they would not assign a child with any medical issues to these parents (even if it was just asthma or allergies), in an effort not to over-tax adopters.  As a result, they're now requesting prospective adopters to be really specific about what they will or will not accept.  If, for some reason, you are matched with a child you do not feel comfortable parenting for medical reasons, you are allowed to turn down one referral and remain in the program.

    BUT AGAIN, these parents had the information, REQUESTED these children, and THEN turned them down.  THAT'S why I have just a problem with it.


  • image foundmylazybum:

    IF you jumped into something without thinking it through, to move the process along..and take the shortcut..well shortcuts don't always workout the way you  thought they would, and you should prepare for those--I hate to use the word "consequences," but now in this case you have brought another human life into the mix! How horribly selfish of those people, if that is what they did!  

    Unfortunately, that's exactly what they did.

    Don't get me wrong, I am happy that these children will not be raised by these couples, because it seems to me that the couples could/would not love them the way that parents should love their children.  But I am torn-up by what they did, and trying to find any reason that it might make more sense.


  • image Dr.Loretta:

    What I think we really need to talk about is a situation where we are matched with an e-mom who is 6 months along, and the baby is born with a medical problem. I think at that point I would be attached so much that I would want to still parent the child, but I'm not sure how DH would feel about it.

    Dr. L, I agree with you that that's a situation you definitely should discuss.  Since it is a very real possibility that you may be matched with a pregnant mother, I think this is too likely a scenario not to discuss.

    The answer is different for everyone, but personally, I would feel that if we were matched with a pregnant mother, then I would treat it the same as if I myself were pregnant, and parent.


  • Sorry - Duplicate post


  • I can see you having a problem with people who supposedly went in with eyes wide open and decided at the last minute that they were really blinded by the frustration of their long wait. They must not have been really honest with themselves or each other until the child was right there in front of them.

  • image CaptainSerious:
    image Dr.Loretta:

    What I think we really need to talk about is a situation where we are matched with an e-mom who is 6 months along, and the baby is born with a medical problem. I think at that point I would be attached so much that I would want to still parent the child, but I'm not sure how DH would feel about it.

    Dr. L, I agree with you that that's a situation you definitely should discuss.  Since it is a very real possibility that you may be matched with a pregnant mother, I think this is too likely a scenario not to discuss.

    The answer is different for everyone, but personally, I would feel that if we were matched with a pregnant mother, then I would treat it the same as if I myself were pregnant, and parent.

    It's definitely getting discussed. DH knows we're going to have to think about these things, but at this point I think he's unwilling to talk about more than the abstract until he has a form in front of him that asks specifics about what we're willing to take on. I imagine it is going to be a somewhat uncomfortable conversation, but I want us to be brutally honest about what we can (and can't) handle.

    We had similar conversations about bio children when we first started TTC, though. Since I was over 35 already, we were already talking about what testing we might have done, and how we would prepare ourselves for possible medical issues due to AMA.

  • image CaptainSerious:

     In the second case, they met and spent time with the child before deciding not to follow through.

    This happened to my friend's little brother.  He was scheduled to be adopted by another family who at the last minute- I believe after meeting him,  changed their minds and walked away.  My friend's family stepped in to take him and as far as I know there were never any serious health/ emotional problems, so I don't know why the first family wasn't interested, so I don't believe it was a case of him being misrepresented to the 1st family.

    Dh and I talked about what we would do if the baby were born with a serious health problem that was not discovered during the pg.  And we talked to family who has a child born with a serious health problem (although she has grown up wonderfully and wrote us an email that she doesn't think she has missed out on anything in her life because of it), but even they said that we should think hard about if we want to take that on.  While it is true that when you give birth there are no guarantees there are also no choices as there are with adoption.  If in DA the birth family has the right to change their minds at birth, I think it is only fair that the adoptive family has that same right if something unexpected arises. 

    All that being said, I'm not sure that I could walk away from a child that I was prepared to raise regardless of what health issues come up.  But I do like knowing that I have the option, same as the BM/ BF have. 

     

  • I'd like to respond from the DA side:

    I too have this little voice in my head that holds/whispers all of my fears to me (okay that sounds like I'm a nut job - but kwim?).

    What if ...

    - the child is born and there is "something" really wrong, legally we can walk away but how do you walk away from a baby ...

    - what if, even though I have cared for and been around babies of other races/ethnicities ... I see this baby and can't imagine being their mom ....

    I think everyone's moral compass is different. As angering and sad as it is perhaps those that do walk away are doing that child a favor.

    Maybe they would have never "gotten over" their regret/resentment/fears of having a child with a potential special need or of a different race/ethnicity. If they went through with the adoption perhaps, one day they would have seen their error of their ways and fallen head over heals for the child. But perhaps, they would never have gotten over their regret and resentment, and instead of the child being loved and cherished they were treated poorly.

    At my last support group meeting, I became so very upset inside when a couple said that they passed up an adoption situation because the child MIGHT be 1/4 hispanic. ONE-FOURTH! I know it is their journey, not mine.

    They are now in a match with a BM who is well versed in state laws and what she is allowed as compenstation to the point that she sought out specific states that would allow her MORE compenstation from APs in way of living expenses. She is only 8 wks along. NO ONE from this couple's agency nor a SW has even met with the e-mom at time of match. The agency just signed her up and matched her with this couple. THAT situation was okay for them, but not the previous situation simply because the baby might have 1/4 hispanic heritage.

    While that situation angered me because I could never imagine doing that myself. It is their journey, and they are the ones who will be the support system for their child. If they can't support a child with 1/4 hispanic heritage then they should have turned the situation (no matter how much it angers me personally) because that child deserves a home where the parents will love them and support them without prejudice and ignorance. Big Smile

    Having said ALL of that ... as hard as it would be and as contradicting and hipocritical as I would be ... I could see DH and I discussing turning down a match/placement if the child did have severe health issues which could not be corrected and would severely limit their life. I beleive that DH and I could love that child with everything we have. But love is not always going to solve life's problems. Today, we say that we will NOT go into a match knowing that there are severe or non-correctable health issues with the baby. However, once in the match or at time of birth if a health issue arises we have said that we will stay with the match because we equate it to what we would do if I was pregnant.

     

  • Boy, I don't know what could happen at the last minute that would sway us.  I probably can't even conceive of this scenario - but it might exist.

    We'd tried to be as honest as possible on our service plan to address what situations we would be open to.  Correctable/treatable medical conditions were definitely a "yes, we will consider" for us - but permanent, significant disabilities were tougher.  My plan at this point is to go back to work - and I'm concerned that wouldn't be fair to a severely disabled child.  Conversely, I was worried that (knowingly) giving up my career for this situation would be really hard for me, too.

    I know that there is no guarantee that a healthy baby will stay healthy throughout childhood.  But there is so little we can control in the adoption process - and I needed to be honest about having some control with this issue.

    That probably sounds heinous and awful to some of you - feel free to flame away if you need to.  But I'd rather be honest with myself where I can be - than resent a child later in life for something that is not their fault.

    2 years TTC with 5 losses, 1 year recovering, 6 months applying for adoption approval, and almost a year waiting for a placement. Then, a miracle BFP at age 36!


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  • image ColoRxGirl:

    I know that there is no guarantee that a healthy baby will stay healthy throughout childhood.  But there is so little we can control in the adoption process - and I needed to be honest about having some control with this issue.

    That probably sounds heinous and awful to some of you - feel free to flame away if you need to.  But I'd rather be honest with myself where I can be - than resent a child later in life for something that is not their fault.

    No, I would never judge a person for being honest about this.  In fact, I think it's common, and only fair to both the adopters and the children.  My husband and I are open to some special needs, but not all.  I think it's only responsible to admit that there are some conditions you don't have the resources financially or emotionally to handle.


  • There's been some talk of this in the Chinese adoption community--children with significant special needs beeing referred as non-special needs, and the parents not knowing until they arrive in China and meet their child.

    Background: The wait for a referral of a NSN child from China is in the neighborhood of 3 years, and some children who would have formerly been considered SN no longer are (prematurity, correctable issues, etc).

    HOWEVER, more and more parents are accepting referrals of "healthy" children only to discover the child with whom they have been matched has some significant special needs--needs they may not feel equipt to handle. Some of these families are forced to decide whether to accept the child or to go home empty handed and out several thousands of dollars (a new referral can only be received with strong support from the American agency.

    There's been a significant amount of discussion about the on the Rumor Queen website (chinaadopttalk.com or something like that).

    Heartbreaking.

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