These adopted kids “can’t adapt”–really?

Another article on the question of Russian children adopted at older ages into US families and all the difficulties presented…..The Time magazine writer makes a little play on words–When the adopted can’t adapt–but it seems a bit of a cheap shot to me.,9171,1997439,00.html?loomia_si=t0:a16:g2:r1:c0.197028:b34979156&xid=Loomia

The article doesn’t break any new ground, but as I see it reminds us that the Russian government bears responsibility for the damage done to these children for unnecessarily keeping them confined to state institutions for so long. Early intervention and therapy could do so much to improve their long-term outcomes….Obvious, but something the Russian government, busy arguing about national pride and national treasures, does not seem to grasp yet. (The US government similarly bears responsibility for the damage done by our foster care system and failure to deal with placements in as timely a manner as possible.) And what about the people who are so keen on adoption reform that they enthusiastically call for moritoria, or for restricting the adoption numbers?

My point, though, was that these children have adapted, contrary to the article writer’s little pun. They have indeed adapted, even if what they have left to work with  does not allow them to be model children. Had they been left where they were, many would probably not have survived. The boy who was recently returned to Russia will receive the gold-plated treatment as a celebrity–but not so the many thousands like him. It is not surprising that so much of the energy for the pro-adoption, pro-permanency movement comes from adoptive parents, as they are able to look at children they love and say, Wow–I am glad you did not stay in that institution! And they are right. Of course, opponents twist this about and charge (as I read on one angry blog the other day) that  “Americans have a savior complex.” What that has to do with this life or death human rights situation, I certainly don’t know….


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