It is a sad fact but more common than anyone could ever wish for that some adoptions fail and give rise to attempts to have someone else re-adopt a child. What are the issues?
Audrey recently turned 8 and was adopted domestically when she was 6. She has a very strained, competitive relationship with the other child in her adopted family and has failed to form a healthy attachment to the family. They feel that Audrey will be happier, calmer and more likely to attach to a family who has no other children in the home under the age of 12 (a mature child). A family who is familiar with attachment issues would be a plus! Her family is willing to consider a single parent without other children to take their focus away from Audrey, as well as a 2-parent family.
Yet, consistently, these second chance “offerings” go on to describe the child in very glowing terms.
Audrey’s adopted parents describe her as creative, funny, sometimes stubborn, flexible, playful, helpful and artistic. She enjoys playing with Barbies and practicing her mothering skills with her Baby Alive doll. She is a great helper when she is one-on-one with someone. She likes to help with food prep, cleaning, and laundry, and likes to hear that she’s done a good job. Audrey has a set bedtime and falls asleep quickly. She sometimes likes to read a book before lights out. She enjoys painting and often uses drawing as a means of communicating her feelings and memories. She loves to play board and card games. She can be very funny and sweet, especially when she feels that you are giving her your full attention. She is a mix of girlie-girl and tomboy—she likes dressing up in her mom’s high heels and wearing makeup; but will also play in the mud, climb trees and ride her bike. She is keen on taking off her training wheels soon so she can ride her bike independently!
Audrey has a good imagination and can easily entertain herself. She is a fairly organized child—neither messy nor overly organized. She likes to read and is currently enjoying Fancy Nancy and Dr. Seuss books. She is obsessed with unicorns, so if she can find a book about those, she will read it too! Her favorite foods are peanut butter, pizza and Indian food. She has a different favorite color for every day! Her adopted mom will say, “What’s your favorite color today?”
Audrey is in the 2nd grade, does very well in school and loves school. She gets mostly A’s. She loves the structure, the friends, the teachers and the social aspect. She attends a private school with a small teacher/student ratio and she thrives in this environment. Math is her favorite subject; she enjoys the challenge of solving problems. Her teachers report that she is “a joy to have in class—wonderful and sweet!” She is a worker bee—she loves to be given a task to accomplish for the teacher.
What is it about adoption that causes such a contradiction in the description of a child’s personality? It is the fact that trauma is present and too often adoptive parents don’t want to work through the core issues with patience and tolerance. They only want harmony and so if an adopted child is seen by them as the source of disharmony in their family – then they will seek to be rid of the child as though human beings can simply be thrown away if their use is not satisfying.