Threads

A very long, very heavy post. Sorry. This lovely lady and her thoughtful, respectful commenters got me writing. I know some will think it is foolish, or self-serving, or stupid, or uncomfortable, or wrong to speak openly about this. It probably is. Every single time I write about this topic, I get emails from parents in terrible pain. I guess this is my way of being a thread in their rope.

**************************************************

I read the news articles and I didn’t know what to say.

I braced myself for the tweets and the posts and the comments of outrage and disgust, laced with vitriol and judgment and they came. I didn’t know what to say.

I watched the posts and the essays and the discussions switch from direct condemnation of abandoning a young boy to officials in a foreign country to sweeping generalizations decrying any family that didn’t make it after adoption. I didn’t know what to say.

Reporters contacted me and I was silent.

Talk shows asked me to participate in “a balanced discussion of international adoption and its outcomes” and I stayed wisely, safely silent.

Bloggers whose writing I admire and whose opinions I respect and whose families I hold in awe couched the issue in harsh black and white terms, either you commit forever and make it work, no matter what, or you are a terrible person, not fit to be a parent.

People linked here from chat groups and posts about adoption disruption and I sat here thinking I don’t know what to say.

Adult adoptees spoke up on the pain and trauma of being abandoned and I took it to heart, as I always try to do, because their voice is vital and unheard. I cried and I stayed silent.

There is no return policy.
Adoption is for life.
You said forever.
What part of parent don’t you understand?

No part. I understand too well. I understand parenting one child to the detriment and trauma of another. Do you?

Finally, futilely, but necessarily, I know what I want to say. They aren’t wrong, these outraged, indignant, outspoken people. They aren’t wrong; they’re just taking the easy road. Point a finger and move on. Shake a head. Gasp in dismay and turn away. That’s easy.

Outrage is easy. Sarcastic snark is easy. Judgment and dismissal are easy.

Compassion is hard. Action is hard. Being a part, even a tiny part, of the solution, is hard.

Are some parents worthy of disgust? Frothing outrage? Vicious diatribes on their worthless horribleness? I don’t know. Here’s my question. How does it help? Does it help the child? Does it help other parents balancing on the precipice?

I don’t think so. I think we should save it. Save our disgust, save our sweeping, unknowledgeable generalizations, save our casual expressions of horror and our shocked, callous comments about what we would never do. Save our mocking tweets. Save our holier than thou comments and posts.

We are not helping anything. We are not helping the parents in absolute crisis and as a result, we are certainly not helping the child.

We have to meet people where they are if we want to help them. With open hearts, not wagging fingers. We have to meet people where they are and I will tell you something that I know for a fact about a parent, like me, who considers disrupting an adoption because they have reached their capacity to parent a traumatized child – I will tell you something that I know in my heart about a parent that places a child in foster care or in a mental health facility or at ranch for troubled kids, or even a parent who abandons a child on a plane alone – they are at rock hard bottom.

They are already wearing the hair shirt of guilt and self-loathing and it is cutting them to the core every single second of every single day.

And you are right. All of you who breathe your fiery dragon breath of indignation and blame across the internet and across the lives of families. It is about the child. It is about a child and how tragic it is that a child can be so damaged, so traumatized, in the first few years of his life that he can become a terrifying and heartbreaking impossibility for the parents who finally bring him into their home and try to love him.

I agree with you, in a perfect world, adoptions would be open and potential parents would get full information and intense preparation and meaningful support. In a perfect world, parents wouldn’t give up and they wouldn’t break down and they wouldn’t say I can’t do this any more. In a perfect world, children wouldn’t be abused or starve. They wouldn’t spend years in institutions or in foster care.

But, this is not a perfect world. So yes, it is about the child, but there is no way to help a child without helping the child’s parents. Are you? Are you opening your heart to try and help the child’s parents? Before you type out a vicious comment with your fingers tap tap tapping in staccato righteousness, have you tried to parent a traumatized child? There are many who need you. Have you opened your home to chaos and anger and pain and fury? Are you a respite family for foster care? Do you volunteer at your local shelter for run away teens? Your local crisis nursery?

No? That’s okay. I mean that. That. Is. Okay. But take a breath and ask yourself, what good is your anger “for the children” what good is your tweet or scathing commentary? How is it helping families, parents, people who have opened their hearts and their homes to this possibility and found themselves drowning in the aftermath?

We have to meet parents where they are and make decisions based on where parents are and offer suggestions based on where parents are. Parents in these situations don’t open up very often. They don’t tell you the truth. Do you know why? I do. The judgment is crushing. The casual, “just do xyz” comments, cut to the bone. The failure is overwhelming, can’t breathe, drowning in black water without knowing which way is up, overwhelming. Their emotions feel shameful. They are afraid. They are so afraid. Of your awful words. Of losing their other children. Of losing their minds for a moment and losing everything.

Maybe your callous, offhand remarks are made in ignorance. Parents of traumatized, unattached kids don’t talk and so how can you know. Maybe you don’t understand what rock bottom looks like for a parent with a rage-filled, traumatized child.

I will try and paint it for you. If you will try to keep in mind that I am shaking as I type. I am still shaking, three long years later.

I sat on my couch and the sun shone in the windows and for the first time in two months, I felt a fragile peace. My traumatized, institutionalized five-year-old son with valid grief, with understandable rage and abandonment issues, actually leaned against me to see the story that I read. The tentative, warm touch of his arm against mine made it difficult for me to breathe. He was touching me. He was choosing to touch me. I could do this. Two months of screaming tantrums set off by nothing and rages and incidents with our little ones that I tried to ignore faded away, melted into nothing at my feet. I could do it if we could have these moments. If I could see the progress. If I could have something to give me hope that I was on the right track and he might someday love me and trust me enough that I could breathe.

My one-year-old son, my first baby, my healthy, untraumatized child who had my heart like any first child does, from birth, toddled back and forth from the books to us, carrying offerings. He asked to sit in my lap and I pulled him up, but he cried and fussed and I set him down. A few minutes later, he tentatively approached with another book and I pulled him up on my other side, but after a minute, he screamed and I set him down. He leaned against me from the floor and then started to cry again and crawled away. Maybe eight or ten times, until I started to wonder in the back of my mind whether he was sick, maybe an ear infection, but the fragile bond with my oldest boy stayed in place and so when the baby found a quiet game to play on the far side of the room, I read books and snuggled with him as long as I could.

Shadows fell. I kissed my son and thanked him for reading with me and got up to start the evening routine. I sat on the ground to change the baby’s diaper, pulled off his pants and pushed up his shirt. Angry red welts scattered across his stomach. One on his side. One on his back. My heart leaped up to my throat. An allergic reaction? Hives? They weren’t raised. They weren’t itchy. In the middle they looked bruised.

I knew, then. I looked up and met his eyes and I knew. The hard, angry heart-breakingly familiar set of his face. Defiant, daring, asking. What are you going to do now? Do you still want to be my mother now? The price for my peace. The price for my oblivion and my quiet and my desperate need to just have everything work for an afternoon. Just one afternoon. I could see my older son’s rage and jealousy and grief and trauma splashed in vivid red on my baby’s stomach.

I could see the price and it was too high for me. I knew he needed to learn that he would be loved no matter what. Trauma, anger, grief, some small part of my brain whispered to whatever small part of me remembered to be his mother. I know. I know. I know. I knew and I still shook with rage at a five-year-old boy. There’s no easier way to say it. I shook with rage at a five-year-old boy.

I went to him and I took his hand and he writhed and screamed and fought and bit and scratched and I don’t blame him. Pure survival instincts. He sensed the danger as well as I did. I pulled him up the stairs as gently, but quickly, as I could, protecting myself as best I could and I put him in his room and I locked the door.

It wasn’t to keep him in. It wasn’t to contain his tantrum which raged inside, turning over furniture and ripping apart bedding and kicking and screaming.

I didn’t lock the door to keep him in.

I did it because I didn’t think I could open a locked door to hurt a child.

And I didn’t. But I wanted to. I wanted to go in there and spank him until I couldn’t lift my arm. I wanted to hold him down and hurt him like he hurt my baby.

I stood on the other side of the door with my head against it and all my education, all my love, all my good intentions, all my reading, all my preparation were nothing. Nothing. There was nothing and no one there to help me and I have never been so angry, so on the edge of out of control, in my life.

You can call me a monster. You can say something must be wrong with me. You can judge and parse and critique and discuss and feel superior and safe in the knowledge that you would never feel that way, no matter what and I will say this:

Bullshit. You don’t know. Unless you’ve stood on the other side of that door, shaking with animal rage at the child – person – entity – being – that intentionally hurt your baby, with you sitting right there, like an idiot, watching, and walked away, you don’t know who you are. I dare anyone, anyone with children who has never lost control, even the tiniest bit, even for second, with your precious, bonded, untraumatized, relatively easy child, to throw the first stone.

I’m proud of who I was that day. No. Actually. I’m proud of who I wasn’t. A news story with a sad ending you could all shake your head and cluck your tongue over.

That is the bottom. That is what the bottom looks like and I know from my email inbox that I am not the only parent of a traumatized child who has been there. Could I have put him on a plane that day, alone, with a note saying that I couldn’t parent him any more? If I didn’t have resources and options and a loving, supportive husband, I don’t know. It would have been the wrong thing to do, but we aren’t making our best choices at the bottom. Can you imagine, for a moment, how far down at the bottom, at the end of wits and hope and sanity, a parent must feel to see abandonment as her only option?

That’s where these parents are. Let me ask you this, you are standing at the top of a dark well and you are looking down at a parent, sitting at the bottom with her head on her knees. Are you going to try and throw her a rope, or are you going to spit on her? Which do you think helps the child?

Twittering your disgust is spitting. Ranting in comments on articles and posts is spitting. Rolling your eyes and using your best snarky voice in a Momversation video on a topic on which not one mother involved has the first iota of experience is spitting. Rolling your eyes at the playground or commenting negatively on someone’s parenting or their child’s behavior is spitting.

Families hit crisis. Their adjectives don’t matter. Adoptive families. Biological families. Step families. All types of families. How can we help them? Because that is what helps their children and isn’t that the goal here? Isn’t it?

That is what helped my children. A family that wanted a child. A family with only teenagers. A family that had parented traumatized children before. A family that has never spoken to me with anything but compassion and understanding.

They didn’t throw me a rope, they built my whole family a staircase and it was in the best interest of every single one of my children, my oldest son most of all.

What could you do? I don’t say that lightly. You don’t have to be the whole rope. We don’t have to be the whole rope. All we have to be is a thread. Bad things happen to children and we can each and every one of us be a thread in the rope for change, for healing.

After agreeing with the thoughts of many birth mothers, slamming the resources and support for young mothers in this country, arguing that the first choice for children should always be with their biological parents, I signed up to mentor a young, single mom. I meet with her once a week. I buy her coffee. I listen; Provided everyone is safe, I just listen. I give her a place to spend an afternoon without alcoholic relatives or chaos or unhappiness. Is there a program like this in your town?

Is there a crisis nursery near you? The one in our city takes volunteers in two hour blocks. It’s a safe place to drop off a child for a short time and know that you won’t lose custody, as long as you follow their rules.

Could you be a respite family for foster care? There is a family in your town, right now, that is putting everything, their hearts and souls and sanity and every shred of energy, into a hurting child and they need a break. They need a night to go out to dinner and feel normal; attend a function for another child without worry; have a conversation that isn’t tense and guarded. Could you help?

If not, I understand, but do you? You are not willing to have a disruptive, emotionally challenging, possibly violent child in your home. Not even for a short time while the family that tries to function in that environment every day takes a much needed break. That’s understandable. But consider keeping your thoughts, then, on the family’s lack of love to yourself.

I know these things aren’t possible for all of us. We all have lives, troubles, griefs and concerns. I’m not condemning you if you can’t make such big commitments. I’m not standing above you. I’m standing beside you with my hand outstretched. Being a thread in the rope can be so much simpler.

How about this? The next time you see a mom “with a horrible kid” “losing it” at the playground, take a deep breath and instead of commenting on the “terrible parent doing nothing while her daughter screams,” think:

Maybe this is the twentieth tantrum today;
Maybe she was up all night;
Maybe the situation is ten million times more complicated than I realize;

And then meet her eyes and smile.

Because maybe, an hour ago, she walked away from that child’s door. And maybe, for the cost of a smile, you gave her the strength to do it again.

Just like that, you’re part of the rope. Now, we’re helping children.

206 Responses to Threads
  1. K.Line
    May 18, 2010 | 1:27 am

    Thank you for posting this Stacey. Your perspective is so necessary. None of us can imagine how we would respond in your (or others') circumstances. I know how hard it is to parent a biological child with no prior trauma. I don't think anyone could judge you, knowing your story. It's just a matter of giving the same benefit to those who aren't able to communicate (so beautifully and articulately) the pain they've experienced.

  2. Suburban Correspondent
    May 18, 2010 | 1:29 am

    I love you. You are magnificent. I have never adopted (nor do I think I could), but I've been dismayed by the judgment placed on these obviously desperate adoptive parents. Thank you for speaking up.

    Compassion costs us nothing but a little effort. And it feels way better than the sour satisfaction of indignation and judgment.

  3. Sheryl
    May 18, 2010 | 1:31 am

    Thank you for your post Stacey. When this first came up in the news I was so thankful to have read your blog and that of another family that has disrupted an adoption. People don't see the other side. You're right, it's easier just to blame. So sad.

  4. Rebecca
    May 18, 2010 | 1:31 am

    Wow…this is moving.

    I thought similar thoughts…we don't know the whole story. We don't know what happened in that house. Do I think that I could ever understand that? Nope…

    I can feel bad for the kid. I can feel bad for the mother. They both deserve my compassion.

    I can feel sad for the adoptive parents-in-waiting whose adoptions are now being held…I can feel all of those things.

    What I cannot feel is what that mother felt…what that little boy felt…it's not my place.

  5. Hi, I'm Natalie.
    May 18, 2010 | 1:31 am

    Thank you. That is easily the most thoughtful post about adoption/fostering that I have ever read. (One of my highschool teachers fostered a newborn whose mother was HIV positive. They decided to wait until the HIV tests came back negative before they would adopt her because they did not want to put their older children at risk. The choice that they had to make was a fascinating and heartbreaking perspective on parenting.)

  6. Sheila
    May 18, 2010 | 1:32 am

    That is beautiful. Thank you for your words and your emotions and your perspective and all that has happened to you to allow you to write that post.
    thank you.

  7. Mom24
    May 18, 2010 | 1:33 am

    Beautiful Stacey. Beautiful.

  8. anymommy
    May 18, 2010 | 1:36 am

    Oh, you guys, are so gentle. I have to take a break, but I will read all of the comments and I welcome true discussion.

  9. Bridget
    May 18, 2010 | 1:36 am

    I didn't comment over on Heather's blog on purpose. Because I have to admit that a year ago, I probably would have been much more judgmental. It wasn't until after I read one of your old posts that I realized that it's not about *you*(the parent), it's about *the child* and what is best for him or her. Sometimes what is best for him/her is not what is easy and surely not something that an outsider can know. I'd never honestly thought about it, and never known anyone in that situation. But thanks to you and your honesty, I'm more aware and more sympathetic to situations like these.

    This was perfectly written, and I'm glad that you spoke up.

  10. Anonymous
    May 18, 2010 | 1:42 am

    Wow – what a lovely, articulate, honest post. I've thought of you since hearing about that horrible situation with the little boy being sent home. I'm so glad that I found your blog months ago and that I can read your perspective on these sad adoptive situations that don't work out as planned. I have always been one to try and think of 'the other side' of something I don't understand, so I believe that I would have tried to understand that situation even without reading your story. But, I definitely felt much more compassion/tried to understand that news story since knowing of your story. I also thought of you when watching the momversation video and wondered how many of the vloggers had read your story and saw from that perspective. And, would their opinions be different if they had??

    Keep up your good work in being a voice for those who have experienced a heartwrenching situation like yours. I think it benefits everyone to be able to hear your story and to excercise some understanding in their lives.

    Laura

  11. Shell
    May 18, 2010 | 1:43 am

    I have tears in my eyes. No, we never know what is going on with someone. All that has happened before the act that we are witnessing or judging. We just never know. We haven't been there.

    So beautifully written.

  12. AmazingGreis
    May 18, 2010 | 1:49 am

    It's posts like this one that make me LOVE you more and more each day.

    Thank you for sharing your story…your truth. You are an amazing woman and mother and you will help the world to understand one day!!

    XOXO

  13. mosey
    May 18, 2010 | 1:51 am

    Ten years ago before I was a mother I might have been one of the holier-than-thou commenters. Before (and after) my sister adopted my two adored nieces, I might have felt judgment in my heart even if I didn't express it out loud. Stories like yours have also contributed to my conversion to a more compassionate response to heartbreaking events like the one you referenced.

    I think the media sometimes helps us forget our innate compassion. We are so quick to scan the headline and point a finger of accusation.

    Thank you for your articulate and tender reminder that not one of us is ever in a position to judge the choice made by someone else.

  14. OHmommy
    May 18, 2010 | 1:52 am

    Two years ago, before "meeting" you I would have rolled my eyes and spitted ugly words. But when the story broke I remembered your words. Your story.

    That is all. Much love.

  15. Shannon-
    May 18, 2010 | 1:55 am

    You are priceless

  16. Jenni
    May 18, 2010 | 2:01 am

    It takes a lot of courage to share and put this story out there, Stacy. You've done a fantastic job.

  17. Boy Crazy
    May 18, 2010 | 2:06 am

    I understand this too well. It's my cousin's story, not my own, so I can't share it. But it was horrible and heartbreaking. There are many people to consider in a family, and everyone's safety is important.

    I admire you and your honesty and straight-forwardness so much. Thank you for sharing your perspectives and experience because so many of us have no clue, and we can't know unless someone shares their stories.

    -elizabeth

  18. ThePeachy1
    May 18, 2010 | 2:07 am

    Stacey. I did not adopt my child that struggled. He is mine, all mine. I could not kiss away his boo boo's and there was no bandaid big enough to help him. He is 18 now, and as his biological mom it was a constant balancing act of how much to sacrifice the other childrens happiness for him and his problems. If he were blind would we not all adjust and accomidate. One Professional after another, one hospital after another. We lost all of our friends, and all of our family support, schools out of the question, and forget us both having jobs someone was always on call for emergencies that employers couldn't understand. But I had 1 thing, a husband who had adopted this child and would not give up, we tagged in and out as we each hit rock bottom time and time again. My 21 year old still doesn't understand how/why we chose to fight the fight. I can't say that if he wasn't my biological child I wouldn't have dusted my hands and ran away. Do I think children are returnable like jeans at walmart. Do I think parents biological or adopted of these kids need more help, better support, and more education definitely. But if the choice is hurting the child or yourself at rock bottom or handing them over safely. I have to chose the later. We are a rarity in the statistically world, a blended family with a severe and profound child with special needs that survived. Intact. Not financially but what mother or father wouldn't give their last penny in the hopes of helping their child. We will never be the nuclear family, his problems weren't just his, they affected all of us, to the core, to question ourselves, and our judgement daily. For 18 years.

  19. The Broad
    May 18, 2010 | 2:08 am

    Thank God there are people like you in this world.

    much love. C

  20. Ann Imig
    May 18, 2010 | 2:11 am

    Stacey, I am just so thankful. So beyond thankful for your voice of compassion and empathy and rationale.

    You have one of the biggest hearts of the blogosphere, combined with a huge huge intellect and talent for using words to say what you mean and make us understand.

    You're parenting gifts just baffle me.

    You. You make this world a better place. I couldn't agree more that THE LAST thing this world needs is more judgment.

    Everyone just breathe. And BE QUIET. and listen. And open their hearts–or at least not close them up like a fist.

    Love,
    Ann

  21. ThePeachy1
    May 18, 2010 | 2:11 am

    I didn't want to forget to tell you. I respect your decision and appreciate your post. Honestly. Just as I would respect the decision to put their child up for adoption in the first place. How could I possibly judge someone for doing what they thought best, what I wanted to do with my own biological child. It's an impossible road, with impossible decisions.

  22. Issas Crazy World
    May 18, 2010 | 2:12 am

    I read every single comment at Heather's. I've read every comment every time I read about this in any way. Each time, I think about you. Sometimes I tell people about you. I don't try to change their mind, just to help them see that it's not so easy. It's not so cut and dry. There are the stories you hear about and so many others that you don't. Stories like yours. Stories of a parent having to make the hardest choice ever, yet doing it anyway, because it's the right choice for all.

    Sometimes I don't say a word, because I know it brings you unwanted attention.

    I believe you did the right thing for your entire family. That's the hard thing about being a parent. Doing the best you can for all of your children, knowing it may not be the easy thing.

    I love you. I am incredibly proud of you for this. For being honest and standing up on this stage and speaking your truth.

    Am here, if you need anything. Anything love? Okay? Love you tons.

  23. Ashley King
    May 18, 2010 | 2:19 am

    wow.

    with tears in my eyes, i sit here and just wish i could wrap my arms around you!!!!! you have so many ears and heads turned to you…. with such words of wisdom, i WISH you would have shared them…. because i am certain you would reach far more people than you could EVER begin to imagine. you aren't attacking anyone, but asking others to NOT attack anyone…. what more peaceful approach is there?

    i will share with you the most honest parts of my soul…. i became a mother at 19. my daughter was SUCH a well behaved baby…. she slept through the night at 8 weeks, and i had it made…. however, i didn't realize i had it made, until i had my son…. who is 9 months now…. he JUST, within the last few weeks, has begun sleeping through the night…. do you know how many times i wanted to snap? and that's not even with a disabled child…. no psychological problems…. nothing. there were SO many times that i sat on the couch in the middle of the night and darkness and cried. sometimes i would cry so hard and for so long that i couldn't breathe…. i USED to be the one to mumble under my breath for the way that parents would react (or not) to their children and their tantrums…. well guess what? guess who has a child who throws those tantrums?? guess who stands in line at costco with tears in her eyes apologizing to the cashier because her son is screaming at the top of his lungs, and i'm beyond exhausted, and i can't hear a word they are saying…. yep. me…. yet, i cannot agree with you more about just reaching out to someone who needs the help, rather than judging them…. the comments, the judgement, and everything else…. none of that helps…. but reaching out your hand to help, is more help than anyone could ever imagine. when someone smiles at me in the middle of Lewie's tantrum and says "don't apologize…." that gives me just enough courage to exhale and continue on, just a little bit more…. just a little bit longer…. it's enough to make me cry tears of joy, rather than tears of frustration…. the world needs a whole lot more of you out there…. i would GLADLY lock arms with you and step out to do what you do…. if only i had as great of an impact as you….

    you are magnificent…. i respected you before…. what i think of you now is indescribable…. thank you.

  24. jen
    May 18, 2010 | 2:22 am

    painfully beautiful.
    i wish i could say that i would never judge … but i think it took knowing you and seeing parents in similar situations to help me immediately look at both sides before coming to my conclusion when i first heard this story.
    and that conclusion was so similar to yours.
    that mother must have felt painfully alone and at the end of her rope. and my heart breaks for her.

  25. Laurie
    May 18, 2010 | 2:23 am

    This was simply beautiful. Thank you.

  26. heather...
    May 18, 2010 | 2:24 am

    Sometime, I will have to show you all my footage that ended up on the cutting room floor. I talked about you, a lot.

    If I hadn't known about your story, your experiences, I would have had a very different take. And just writing those words makes me ashamed…I really need to put myself in the other person's shoes from now on. I shouldn't need to know a person personally to try to change my perspective.

    Anyway. I think you are so amazing, Stacey. I was so nervous when I participated in that episode and blogged about it because I didn't want you to think less of me.

  27. Lyndsay
    May 18, 2010 | 2:26 am

    You're awesome Stacey.

  28. Ivory
    May 18, 2010 | 2:28 am

    Stacey, this is really beautiful, as are you. Mothering is an incredibly humbling experience.

  29. mom2nji
    May 18, 2010 | 2:32 am

    I will admit I don't completely know your story, I will have to read on. I am also in the middle of a miscarriage and extremely emotional.
    I HAVE been on the other side of the door. With my biological child, who at the worst of his autism did things that were terrifying. More than once I had to lock him in another room to stop myself from hurting him. I was (and still am) that mom in public with the screaming, now cursing kid. I do my best not judge other mothers, because God knows it is not easy to do this job.
    The mother who put her child on the plane upsets me. Had she chosen to send him back and found a proper channel, I could understand. Even if she called the police and had him placed under psychiatric care, I would have understood.

    That said, I am not going to rant about her on twitter or my blog. She has to live with what went wrong. And its not my place to judge.

  30. butwhymommy
    May 18, 2010 | 2:32 am

    This was beautiful. Thank you for your words. I know that they will help many people understand. I love you.

  31. PrincessJenn
    May 18, 2010 | 2:36 am

    I've been watching this story unfold and I was wondering if you were going to tell the other side of the story again. It's a story I think more people need to hear.

    People like to point the finger and say 'if it was a biological child you wouldn't just give them up'. I say 'if that were true, there would be no children in foster care'.

    The reality is, sometimes life is not perfect.

    I can comment from the perspective of an adoptee. My parents struggled with raising me and I was a good kid (mostly), because I was just SO different from them. In the best of situations raising a child who's adopted can be hard. In the worst of situations? It can be damn near impossible.

    I then watched as my mother tried to parent my very difficult youngest brother (not adopted). Understand, my mom is a mild mannered, non-confrontational, petite woman. I can remember tackling her on the stairs one day to keep her from going after my brother after he had just pushed her too far one day. She got to the point where she had hit rock bottom, there was no support, and she just couldn't deal with him anymore. He threatened to call children's services, she told him to do it. I know if he had, she would have let him go. Not because she didn't love him, but because his behavior was tearing our family apart.

    There needs to be more understanding and less condemnation, not just in adoptive situations, but in ANY family who is dealing with a child with behavioral issues.

    Anyway, I didn't mean to turn this into a novel about me. I just wanted to say that I get it and I appreciate your bravery in telling your story.
    Hugs.

  32. Kaycee
    May 18, 2010 | 2:40 am

    This is so brave. You are so courageous and this post is so thoughtful. This post IS a thread. I am sure it reaches and touches people, your blog has done that for me. I was never intentionally judgmental but I did not understand. I had no concept of what was on the other side, which made it hard to feel compassion for someone you don't understand – even though I wanted to. If no one tells you their story how can you know? How can you know how they got to that point? Is just foreign. Thank you for your perspective. Thank you for the suggestions and understanding in the same breath. It is amazingly motivating and freeing at the same time.

  33. Maura
    May 18, 2010 | 2:42 am

    Because of you, I'm a thread. Because of you and your willingness to put words and a name to the unbelievable pain you and your family went through, I feel that I'm a thread who tries to be a part of the loving rope you show us how to be.

    That spitting is so easy and so much more comfortable than being blinded by our own shortcomings when we actually think, "Could I do it?" Because usually the answer is no, but we don't want to see that in ourselves, do we? Not when the Internet makes it so easy to be dismissive and judgmental of others without a second thought.

    When this news story came up, like others I thought of your story and what I'd learned about disruption and the pain it causes all around. And I kept silent, because I knew I didn't know. Silence isn't really any harder than quick and noisy condemnation, but it was the only thing I had to offer a mother who had to be in unbelievable pain. One less voice in the cacophony of judgment was all I had to give, and it had to be enough.

    The fact that you are here to tell us, "that can be enough" is testament to the incredible person you are and the influence you wield, whether you embrace it or not. Children in this world have no greater advocate.

  34. mom2nji
    May 18, 2010 | 2:43 am

    I just went back and read your story. I want to be clear, I don't judge that mother or you. There are times, even in biological families, when the safety of the rest of the family is at risk, difficult choices have to be made.

  35. Alivia
    May 18, 2010 | 2:44 am

    I linked your blog in one of my most recent posts–I think you write so beautifully; hope that's okay! Thank you for sharing your insight so eloquently with all of us.

  36. Colleen - Mommy Always Wins
    May 18, 2010 | 2:54 am

    You've made me weapy with this post. I try not to be judgemental of other Moms and what their kids do because I know I sometimes have a hard time with my two. My two loved, loving, undamaged children. For all the wonderful amazing things I've found in my children and in being a Mom, there are those times where you just CAN'T any longer, and you thank GOD that you can distract them with a book or a toy and take a moment to yourself. You are a bigger person than most for going that extra step (the extra 1000 steps) to try and love a child who is clearly in need of, but hard to love.

  37. debbie
    May 18, 2010 | 2:55 am

    You are a flat-out amazing writer!

  38. MommyNamedApril
    May 18, 2010 | 2:58 am

    i'm glad you were able to write this. it needs to be said. so well put. truly.

    xo

  39. Adventures In Babywearing
    May 18, 2010 | 3:04 am

    I'm breathless. Speechless. I think I can seriously understand and I thank you for showing me such a gentle, much-needed perspective.

    Steph

  40. Sandi
    May 18, 2010 | 3:05 am

    I love you and I think you are amazing. I agree with you completely. Until you have walked in those shoes…. DO NOT PASS JUDGEMENT!

  41. Elizabeth@Romans8:15
    May 18, 2010 | 3:08 am

    Wow, wow, wow. I appreciate that you are so honest. Seeing marks like that? On my baby? I don't know that I could have been as controlled as you.

    And that woman in the park? With the screaming child? I have been her before, and another woman approached me and asked me what she could do to help me. Huge life lesson she taught me that day…HUGE.

  42. Holly at Tropic of Mom
    May 18, 2010 | 3:34 am

    Wow. I think you are amazing for writing about this so honestly. Thank you for reminding everyone that issues that affect parents aren't black and white, so you can never judge anyone. And you're right, it's easier to look at the surface and join the bandwagon and jump in and condemn someone and move on. It takes much more energy to try to relate, or walk in the other person's shoes, or try to be part of the solution.

  43. Alexicographer
    May 18, 2010 | 3:59 am

    Thanks for writing this, Stacey. What a powerful post.

    You write (about that other adoptive mom), "[P]ut[ting] him on a plane that day, alone, with a note saying that … [she] couldn't parent him any more … would have been the wrong thing to do …" And honestly, having read your blog for awhile now, I just don't know (and I knew I didn't know even before reading this post). Sure, it wasn't the "right" thing to do, but what I now get is that I really don't know enough to know what options were open to her (I don't just mean, what help could she have gotten, I also mean, what would she have done had she not put him on the plane?). I know almost nothing about her situation, what avenues she had tried to pursue and found closed. It wasn't the right thing to do, but it's at least possible it really was the best of the alternatives that remained. Not better, perhaps, than locking him in his room, but better than (entirely) abandoning him, better than physically attacking him.

    And, yes, we're entirely kidding ourselves if/when we say that choosing not to parent is a sin unique to adoptive parents. Huh? How do US-born kids get placed for adoption? How do kids in general get neglected and abandoned?

    I believe in (and benefit hugely from) the rope you mention. And I'm not a great thread at the moment. I'll admit it, though I'm not proud of it. But I do try to be one at the margins and I absolutely want to become a better one. Thanks for this powerful post describing some of the reasons it matters and some of the variety of ways to do it.

  44. Linda
    May 18, 2010 | 4:16 am

    Once again, you've written a moving, heartfelt post that opens minds and souls. When that recent situation was in the news, my husband and I discussed it, and I told him about your story.
    It makes a difference. You make a difference. One person at a time, trying to put themselves in others' shoes before judging, thanks to you sharing a painful part of your life.

  45. Kirsten
    May 18, 2010 | 4:30 am

    Stacey, I try to remember these thoughts every time I want to judge someone else. Every.time. We don't know what a person has gone through that day/week/month/year. You've yet to walk in their shoes, so how can you judge? I am doing my best to show my girls that you can love someone and care for them with all your heart and yet not like the way they act. I'm not talking our immediate family – as they know they are loved in our house – but with friends and outsiders. Life truly boils down to the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

    I thank you, from the bottom of my well-adjusted-family heart, thank you for sharing your insight. We need more Stacey's in this world. Much love to you!

  46. Minnesota Mamaleh
    May 18, 2010 | 4:51 am

    i think you're amazing. strong. and SMART. for putting all of this out there. thank you. i will always hold the thread, rope, spitting image in my mind. shivers-on-my-arms as i type, always. thank you.

  47. shauna
    May 18, 2010 | 4:54 am

    Great post.

  48. Smart A$$ Mom
    May 18, 2010 | 5:30 am

    I hate when all I have to say is 'wow'. I wish I had more. But, I hope that I can be as magnificent as you are at an important time.

  49. Hezra
    May 18, 2010 | 5:42 am

    again, so brave to write what no one else will talk about. I love that about you. I read a book recently where the author discussed a man on a train who was irritated by another man's unruly kids. He was so furious that the father seemed oblivious to the fact that his kids were acting completely insane! It turns out that before he could say anything, he made eye contact with the guy and the father said, oh, I am sorry, we just left the hospital. Their mother just died. I guess they just don't quite know what to do.
    We need to realize that there is so much more to everyone's story and life than just what we SEE. If we could be open for even a moment, we may be able to reach out and be a thread of hope instead of snip the very last shred of sanity they have!

  50. Anonymous
    May 18, 2010 | 7:03 am

    I read this post & cried. You have taught me SO much. I don't even know where to start. Before I read this blog I didn't even know disruption existed. Now, not only do I know it exists, I know more than what the media wants to portray. I tell my friends & family your story all the time because I am so proud of who you are. I know it's weird, I don't know you & have never left a comment before today but I am SOOOOO proud of you.

    I have one bio child. I can't believe I'm even going to write this….but I'm at the bottom & don't know what to do. You say "I dare anyone, anyone with children who has never lost control, even the tiniest bit, even for second, with your precious, bonded, untraumatized, relatively easy child, to throw the first stone." I have lost control with him and it haunts me everyday. I cannot imagine what you went through. You are so strong. So brave. I just want to tell you that you are a way better mom than I could ever be.

  51. Jill
    May 18, 2010 | 7:08 am

    Wow. Tears. Simply fabulous!

  52. Dysfunctional Mom
    May 18, 2010 | 7:40 am

    I, too, thought of you when this story broke. It's so easy for people to throw stones.
    I have had my stepson hurt my biological child and I will just say that I did not handle it as well as you did. It's a situation that nobody can understand unless they've been there, and even then maybe not because we're all different. We all have different stories and have walked down different roads.
    Thank you for posting this.

  53. Amelia
    May 18, 2010 | 8:31 am

    This is why I read your blog. This is why everytime I go online, I hope you've written. Thank you.
    I worked at a level 12 group home for little girls 6 to 13 (once 5) for 10 years. When I'd tell people this, they'd scoff, "How much trouble can little girls be?" Depends on the day. My last couple of years, there was a change. About half our kids were voluntary placements from adoptive homes. 1 I remember most was finally placed because after the girl's mother held her for who knows how long, to keep her safe from hurting herself and others, the girl looked at her and said to the mother she'd known since she was 3 or 4; "Someday you won't be strong enough to hold me down." I worked 40 hours a week. I loved those kids, not nearly as much as their parents, but I did. There's no way I could have survived if I didn't go home, AWAY, every night. I knew their parents. I saw the families. I can't even imagine how they survived.

  54. Kira
    May 18, 2010 | 10:26 am

    This is beautiful and haunting and raw. Thank you for your thoughts. I am inspired.

  55. Robin
    May 18, 2010 | 10:47 am

    xox

  56. hokgardner
    May 18, 2010 | 10:54 am

    That was an amazing and honest post.

    I wish I lived close to you so that I could give you a hug for sharing it.

  57. Kerrie
    May 18, 2010 | 11:24 am

    Oh, thank-you. I can't even think in black and white anymore, in ANY situation; I know too much. And I often wonder if the people who can are too busy coming back from the salon to watch their two children cavort in the spacious back yard while they drink a glass of white wine to do anything REAL. What you said is deeply true: if you aren't willing to contribute to ease others' pain, then you have no right to comment when their pain becomes too much.

  58. Minivan Mom
    May 18, 2010 | 12:02 pm

    First, I am so very glad you listened to my poor judgement and said fuck it.

    Second, I still can't believe your graduate degree is in law and not counseling, or psychology, or social work, because your insight is ridiculously impressive.

    Finally, I could write an entire blog post in RESPONSE to your post, but I will try to condense and say this post, these types of posts, is why I am profoundly moved by your writing. I think you and I are both very similar in politics, philosophy, parenting attitudes, etc, etc. However, whereas my writing tends to emotionally vomit and sometimes cross the line of rhetoric into hyperbole, you my friend are so thoughtful and intelligent and insightful, you challenge people to THINK. To reflect. To consider they are wrong.

    I challenge any of those people who point the finger and snark and dismiss and step up onto the superior soapbox to read this post and not at least CONSIDER that there is compassion, assistance, empathy, for the PARENTS. Even those most judgemental and closeminded, I believe, would read this and at least consider maybe, just maybe, they are wrong.

    And that, girlfriend, is writing genius. Hats off.

  59. Erin
    May 18, 2010 | 12:10 pm

    Wow. You are such a strong amazing woman. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of your children and other mothers and children in your community. I would love to find a program like the mother support you have in your town. What a great idea. Thank you for posting about this. Your honesty and unique perspective are refreshing.

  60. Carolyn
    May 18, 2010 | 12:24 pm

    I think this might be the best blog post I have ever read.

  61. Robyn
    May 18, 2010 | 12:27 pm

    As always, your sincerity cuts right the core. I love how you lay it all out there, without fear (or seemingly, anyway) of judgment.

    I KNOW that you are helping people with your experiences. That someone is learning from what you've been through. Even though I haven't adopted, you have taught me some amazing lessons about how to be a great mom (and how to cut myself some slack when I'm not).

  62. Marinka
    May 18, 2010 | 12:41 pm

    I am, as always, in awe of your bravery, your honesty and your generosity.

    Like Pauline, I feel that your experience, and your choosing to share it with us, with the world, transformed the way I thought about the the Russian adoption issue. I don't think that I snarked (btw, are you kidding me? Good snarking is never easy. It's a skill) about it, but I did have dark thoughts. Thoughts like adoption is not for everyone (and I readily include myself in this group) because the price of heartbreak is too steep.

    Because I love you, it hurts me to know that you are living with these wounds and you will probably have them forever. Because I know your heart, and your spirit.

    But I don't know the mother in the Russian adoption. It doesn't prevent me from having sympathy towards her, in a way that I'd have sympathy for anyone in a tragedy, but I must admit that the sympathy is tempered. With exactly the same questions that you asked, that are so painful.

    Generally, I stay out of these discussions because I have no point of reference beyond Lifetime Television for Women, but I can't resist your posts.

  63. Jen
    May 18, 2010 | 1:15 pm

    I have to admit, when I first heard the story that sparked this discussion and the one on Heather's blog – I was one of those judgmental people thinking, "how could she?"

    Thank you for opening MY eyes. I so admire what you did with your son. Your story could have turned out very differently – tragically so – and you did what you had to do to protect your entire family.

    I spent yesterday reading through your blog and I was so happy to read the post about how well he's doing now.

    You are a strong woman and I very much appreciate you sharing your story.

  64. s
    May 18, 2010 | 1:22 pm

    what a moving post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. You certainly made me think.

  65. Burgh Baby
    May 18, 2010 | 1:43 pm

    In my mind, there is no doubt that putting the child on a plane was a mistake, but there is also no doubt that what that family was going through to have reached that point is a million times worse than that one act. I can't even begin to imagine the horror everyone involved has been through. And, you are right. There is absolutely no value in piling on to the family's nightmare. It doesn't help the child, it doesn't help the system, and it most certainly doesn't help create those much-needed ropes.

  66. Meredith
    May 18, 2010 | 1:49 pm

    I waws so moved by this post, as I have been by so much of your writing. It's courageous, it's beautiful, and it's emotional, which is wonderful. I can't imagine how much this would mean to me if I were a mother in crisis. You've inspired me to help, too.

    Since becoming pregnant and having my son, I have been floored by the level of judgement among mothers and the completely unrealistic, unfair, and crippling standards we impose on one another. Being a great mother is incredibly important to me, but every day I am aware of how unbelievably hard it is to be patient, to be kind, to be totally unselfish (and I lead a very privileged, very "easy" life by most standards). For this reason, I can't ever believe anyone feels they can judge another mother knowing nothing of her circumstances. I love that you write about this. I love that you write about what's important to you. Thank you.

  67. Manic Mommy
    May 18, 2010 | 1:50 pm

    Thank you, Stacey for telling your stories and making us think.

  68. Kelli
    May 18, 2010 | 2:05 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that your posts sharing the real truth about disruption have been a balm to my soul. For months I struggled with our unattached daughter- thinking "this just does not seem normal – what is wrong with me? with us? why can't we seem to love her? & why doesn't this seem to be working?" Late at night, when I was at my wit's end, I would search to see if anyone was blogging on the dark side of adoption. I could never find anyone being real – which made me feel like even more of a failure. Thankfully I believe the adoption community is now talking – and I am so very grateful. Thanks for writing honestly & from the heart.

    Late February we hit our "rock bottom" and our daughter is now being adopted by another family. Hardest thing we've ever walked through. It is grief. It is loss. And it is public- out there for all to see.

    I can identify with your thoughts of feeling like we were being taken under, in a fog, like we couldn't breathe. Our life was completely spinning around her & her emotional needs, no one felt safe (found out later that our youngest was being bullied far more than we ever knew – but didn't tell because she knew that it would lead to another "episode" of drama & the running away & the police coming to our home…. you get the picture). I think your words are true – these families DON'T talk – because life is so completely overwhelming and on the outside this child looks like she is doing so well. Yes, she is the focus, the one everyone looks to in order to see how your family is doing. I wanted to scream a million times – "Doesn't anyone see the rest of us & how we look like we are dying?!" And no one knows unless they have really walked that road what it is like to let go of the child you waited for & sacrificed beyond measure. This letting go -finding a new home, a better plan is gut-wrenching. It takes more courage and soul-searching than I ever knew. It is loss & grief & failure for all to see. Yet, for some, it is what MUST happen for that child who is struggling and for the family.

    Thankfully, in our case, a family stepped up and became our bridge. They have walked the road of adoption and have experienced the pain of having an unattached child, so they have been extremely helpful, encouraging & have never once criticized us. We know our daughter is meant to be in their home. It is a "fit" in every way possible. They are perfect for her & she is thriving- which is great, but hard to understand why it is working there, but not with us.

    Here at home we are returning to "the five of us". We are breathing more easily, laughing a little more, but we also live daily with the loss & all of the little reminders that we once were a family of 6. We are grateful to not wonder each morning if today is going to be one of those days that "spins out of control", but it doesn't mean that we don't miss our daughter & sister. It stinks to be 100% rejected & spurned by one you have given your all to love. It stinks to watch her growing up & smiling on Facebook – doing well with someone else- while you clean up the path left behind.

    Please keep writing, Stacey. You are helping heal this heart of mine.

  69. Maggie, dammit
    May 18, 2010 | 2:10 pm

    Ann took my words.

    THIS is why I'm still madly in love with blogging, even as I write so much less than I used to… it's not for lack of desire to read and connect and be moved. This is why. This perspective, this eloquence, this unprecedented reach. Look at you, changing the world.

    I love you, girl.

    xo

  70. leel
    May 18, 2010 | 2:18 pm

    thanks stacey, for writing this out for all of us. when this news story broe you flew to my mind. i wished i knew you IRL so i could pick up the phone and warn you and ask if you are ok.

    as an adoptee i was saddened. as a woman, adult, i was angered. not so much by the event, but by the system and community that obviously lacked resources to help this family. the entire circus, really. i try not to judge, but understand. i hated the sensationalism around it all – the cast stones, rolling eyes etc, like you so eloquently wrote. Your words, i was waiting for them, for you to react to all this. thank you. thank you or beng so honest. you are the example of loving parenting. you are. you did it all right. know that. i do.

    thanks again, keeley

  71. Sprite's Keeper
    May 18, 2010 | 2:28 pm

    Amen!
    You are a shining light of truth in the sea of dark thoughts on this subject. Too many people rely only on their own experiences, and while they should feel lucky they don't have to make these rough choices, they instead choose to cast their opinions from high, not considering whose head they may hit on the way down.
    When I heard the story, I did think of you, and that helped me remember there are so many sides to every story and chances are, the only parts told were the parts that were the most likely to get the best (and worst) reactions.
    Thank you for this!

  72. Denise
    May 18, 2010 | 2:31 pm

    Absolutely, stunningly beautiful. This piece emotes experience, love and a true desire to educate and guide. As I type, with tears in my eyes, I applaud you, your stance and your words.

    Thank you.

  73. Amy
    May 18, 2010 | 2:31 pm

    Bravo.

  74. Heather, Queen of Shake Shake
    May 18, 2010 | 2:36 pm

    I didn't think I could love you more, but here I am, loving you more. You are so brave and humble and faulty and perfect. You make humanness a beautiful thing.

  75. Anonymous
    May 18, 2010 | 2:38 pm

    Thank you for writing this. Like others, I have been waiting to see if you would/how you would respond to this.

    I have some idea of this pain. It was my adopted sister…My parents put her in foster care when she was a teenager…after many, many attempts to find another solution. It just got to the point where my father knew it was not safe to leave the house with her in it. (He feared for our safety.) It was one of the bravest and most loving things…for all of us…although in no way easy. She was able to eventually be with a family that was right for her, and we were able to reconcile after some time. I still consider her my sister. But having gone through this experience, I cannot judge others.

    Thanks again for sharing your story.

  76. Kelly (conversemomma)
    May 18, 2010 | 2:46 pm

    I adopted a child after three heartbreaking years of miscarriage and pain. He is my life, but he is broken. He hits and he spits and he hurts us all. He hurts himself. I have stood on the other side of that locked door. I'm sorry for what you went through, go through. Thank you for writing this.
    XO,
    Kel

  77. Nancy
    May 18, 2010 | 3:01 pm

    Amazing. Thank you for your honesty. Parenting is not always the bright and shiny existence we'd like it to be. I love your suggestions for a crisis care center. Brilliant. So many parents are good people who make bad decisions out of exhaustion or frustration. Sometimes a break can make all the difference. And sometimes hard decisions need to be made. Bless you and your family.

  78. marslo
    May 18, 2010 | 3:19 pm

    Stacey, your perspective is so important. You have opened my eyes and shown me another side to something I thought was black and white. Because of you, I took a step back and chose not to judge this woman. Thank you.

  79. Lanie Ree
    May 18, 2010 | 3:32 pm

    This is beautiful.

  80. Pollyanna
    May 18, 2010 | 3:37 pm

    My tears are flowing for you. The pain and heartbreak are just unimaginable. Thank God for strong women like you; for having the courage to tell your story. May God continue to bestow his blessings to you and your family. And may He watch over that broken little boy and somehow bring him some peace.

  81. Christy
    May 18, 2010 | 3:44 pm

    I was wondering when you were going to comment on this latest occurrence in the news. Your post brought tears to my eyes – I am, as always, awed by your passion and your eloquence. Thanks for reminding us that there is always another side to the story.

  82. LazyCrazyMama
    May 18, 2010 | 3:48 pm

    I don't even know what to say or where to start. Simple words would not suffice. This post was amazing. And you hit on so many things, hit them square on the head. With such wonderful honesty. This post should be published somewhere!
    I am with you on each and every point you made here.
    I went through the adoption/foster parenting classes. The "help" you get there for dealing with traumatized children is laughable. At least in the classes we attended they considered these behaviors some kind of novelty – some kind of gossipy sort of topic. And the suggestions for dealing with these behaviors were so completely lacking.
    I feel sooooo fortunate that our niece adapted well to our home after our adoption. But that was a special circumstance. She'd had a rough 5 years, she had been neglected and abused, but luckily not so traumatized that she had bad behavioral issues.
    We had almost seriously considered adopting one of 2 boys who were introduced in our classes. Both of them had severe behavioral issues. What ultimately stopped us was just what you went through. We had 2 5 year old girls and we knew that if one of those boys would pose any kind of physical threat – we couldn't allow that to happen.
    We would have had to disrupt the adoption. That would be an intolerable situation. You cannot put your other children in danger like that.
    You absolutely did the right thing for that child. He needed a home where he was the only child or the youngest child.
    And yes, others who have never been even close to a situation like that have absolutely no room to judge. It's too damn easy for them.
    You are an amazing woman and an amazing mother.
    I have been somewhat absent for a while ;) but I do check in and read your posts, just haven't been taking the time to comment, but I felt like I just had to comment on this one, it touched me so.

  83. Rachel
    May 18, 2010 | 4:01 pm

    Long time lurker.

    Thanks for this post. I really love your suggestions for getting involved. I think that it's incredible that you are willing to talk about your experiences despite the criticism. As someone who hopes to adopt a special needs child in the future, I find the media's coverage of these events deeply distressing.

  84. anymommy
    May 18, 2010 | 4:07 pm

    Arg. I hate blogger right now and its crappy comment thing. I have things I want to say to you all and it doesn't make any sense when I can't respond to your comments individually. I'll say the big generalization anyway, because it's true and I mean it.

    Thank you. Thank you for your words and your open hearts.

    @Heather I know. I think you are amazing. I think using your huge voice and speaking so thoughtfully is amazing. I don't think any of us remember to think compassionately in every situation. I know that blogs and the writers behind them have forced me to look at so many situations through the lens of a personal friend instead of at a distance. I wish I was better at doing it on my own too.

    @Anon 12:03 I am not a better mom than you. I guarantee it. I lose my temper with my children all the time, though not to the extent I wrote about here. You are normal. If you need someone to talk to, please email me.

    @Kelli Oh. Yes. There it is in a brief, eloquent nutshell. (A talent, I am never brief). That is disruption. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing with me.

    @leel @princessjen I think it is absolutely astonishing when an adoptee can look at this so objectively and with such kindness. I'm not sure I would have that kind of grace and forgiveness in me. We want, I want, parents to be perfect.

    And to each of you who said that knowing something about our story changed your point of view or caused you to think more carefully on this news story or this subject: Thank you. That means so much to me.

  85. Christy
    May 18, 2010 | 4:14 pm

    What an amazing post Stacey. Thank you for sharing your insight with us – I know that wasn't easy to write!

  86. Lu
    May 18, 2010 | 4:23 pm

    Wow. You are not a monster. It takes a lot of strength to walk away. I'm so glad you posted this perspective. It is very easy to judge, but you've made a valid point. We just don't know what goes on behind closed doors.

  87. Christy
    May 18, 2010 | 5:00 pm

    Wow. This post is amazing. You have put everything into perspective.

  88. Kirsten
    May 18, 2010 | 5:16 pm

    This is why I love blogging so much. You have changed the perspective of so many people. Thank you for sharing your pain and opening so many eyes.

  89. Diva Las Vegas
    May 18, 2010 | 5:21 pm

    Beautifully and passionately written. I know nothing firsthand about the topic, but fully appreciate your eloquent candor on such a difficult and emotional issue. It is clear that you are a compassionate parent with a generous spirit and a huge heart. I've enjoyed your blog and appreciate your honesty on all things related to parenting. Thank you for educating those of us who have not been in your shoes when it comes to adoption and foster care. I hope you have a wonderful day.

  90. Magpie
    May 18, 2010 | 5:34 pm

    I can't imagine. But thank you for writing this, for sharing this.

  91. Bikes
    May 18, 2010 | 6:26 pm

    Wow. I am deeply sorry, mama. I can't imagine how I could love someone who hurt my baby, even (especially?) if that someone was also my child. I'm praying for healing for your son and your family.

  92. rachel...
    May 18, 2010 | 6:40 pm

    Such a wonderful post. I'm glad you shared your experience. I'm sure it's made so many of your readers think twice about their comments and their judgement. I'm certain, too, that it's helped more than a few of your readers to know that they're not alone, either.

    I've been on the other side of that door, too. And I have an ATTACHED, UN-traumatized biological child who challenges me. Thank goodness that you and I and so many other moms have that whatever-it-is that makes us lock that door and breathe deeply instead of losing control altogether. I've said so so many times that I've had my toe on that line and that I can absolutely understand how it can be crossed in a moment of desperation. I'm glad you've said it, too.

  93. Stephanie
    May 18, 2010 | 7:00 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can't tell you how healing to my weary heart this article was. We have fostered for 15 years, 45 children and adopted 7 of them. Next month, is the first time we won't be renewing the foster license and my heart is downcast. I know it is the right thing for this season in our life…but oh the precious children that are still waiting and hoping and praying for a mommy.

  94. Deb
    May 18, 2010 | 7:23 pm

    Stacy –

    I love your writing and have been reading you for about a year, but rarely comment.

    I am another person who looks at this Russian adoption situation differently after reading your story. Your honesty and courage make a difference. Thank you.

  95. Annje
    May 18, 2010 | 7:36 pm

    I thought of you when I heard that story and felt compassion for that mother as well as that child. I don't know what her situation was, I can imagine she was at the end of her rope. I don't know what other solutions she tried, if any, if this was the last recourse, or her first thought. I do imagine that her choice to send the child back on a plane did not help the child much in the long term, and that makes me sad. That it also seems to have complicated the adoption process for other parents looking at Russia to adopt may be another unfortunate consequence. You are absolutely right that it doesn't help anyone to condemn the parent in such a public way. She must really be suffering. I hope in the long run, it will make everyone more aware that there are complications in the adoption process and that both parent and child need a lot of support and more options when things don't go as hoped.

    I love your call for action, no matter the scale.

  96. MomInTheTrench
    May 18, 2010 | 7:51 pm

    If I've never been in the situation, then I never have an opinion anymore. I'm old enough to know better. I always know what I *think* I would do, but somehow reality rarely lines up.

    It's important to tell the hard stories. You are doing a good thing.

    I tell the hard story of our experiences. People need to know these things.
    {{Hugs}}

  97. bunnysmom
    May 18, 2010 | 8:24 pm

    Thank you for posting this. People really have no idea how hard it is, and most of them don't want to know. Thank you.

  98. merlotmom
    May 18, 2010 | 8:48 pm

    This was profound and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story and your insights. You are amazing and your kids are lucky to have you.

  99. Lisa
    May 18, 2010 | 9:00 pm

    This brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing your story, for sharing your perspective.

    I admit that upon first hearing about that little boy stuck on a plane by himself I judged that woman. But, then I thought, as a mom, how far down do you have to be for that to be your option. I wish for the child that there had been a different solution. But, I understand that maybe that was the best solution there was.

    You are amazing and inspirational and I now have a million more reasons to love you (not that I needed any more).

  100. Maria Melee
    May 18, 2010 | 9:05 pm

    I think it's amazing that you shared something so personal, and so painful. I think this will help a lot of people with perspective.

  101. Erin
    May 18, 2010 | 9:13 pm

    You are so very brave. So very brave. I already knew this. I already knew this part of your story, and yet, it captivated me all over again. I cannot imagine the pain you must have felt making this choice. I know in my heart that you made the right choice, yet I also know that it must have been beyond agonizing for you. I love you.

  102. ManyBlessings
    May 18, 2010 | 9:36 pm

    Amen.

  103. Anonymous
    May 18, 2010 | 9:40 pm

    Why do people think they can adopt a kid and not expect this? They are at animal level (no fault of their own) and will never change. The fact that anyone thinks they can change these kids is mind boggling. They are brought into the home and either beat or abuse the other kids in the house. Quit adopting. You couldn't pay me to take me one of these RAD kids.

  104. Tricia (irishsamom)
    May 18, 2010 | 9:55 pm

    I am in tears at the honesty and love in this post. The love of your family for your children. That's all I see. The love. Choices are never easy, even when they are made with love. Compassion is not always easy to practice, but it should be. It will go, as you so poignantly say and write, a long way in healing familes, children and parents.

    I'm fairly new to the social media and have to say it's shocked me to see how easy it is to jump on a bandwagon regarding other parents and their choices, their challenges, their children, without giving pause to the fact that no one ever understands anyone or anything until you have walked in their very shoes. I try to be careful in everyday life to be aware of this, but it is all too easy to judge sometimes and to think that you would know what you would do in a situation.

    Truth is, there is no way to know, unless you have lived it, breathed it and gone through hell with it. I think you are an amazing person to shed light on this situation, or indeed any situation which involves parenting, relationships or people. I am deeply appreciative that I came across this today as it's opened my eyes wide and made me more determined to help with the healing and not contribute to the hurting.

    I'm not sure why I've never read your blog before but I'm glad I came upon it, because it's one that I will keep reading. Your writing touches the human soul of all of us, especially all of us mothers and fathers. It's a hard job at the best of times. As a single mother, I know this all too well, but I have never faced challenges such as your family did. I have nothing but great admiration for the love that so obviously fills your home.

    Thank you too for pointing out practical ways in which we can contribute to the conversation by DOING something in our communities. I am going to look into that this week and I have you to thank for that.

    Thank you – you are a beautiful writer and I can only aspire to being the mother that you so obviouly are. Brave, courageous and protective.

    Tricia

  105. Jen
    May 18, 2010 | 10:19 pm

    I've always tried to be the person in the room who smiles at a parent dealing with a "tantrum child", I put on my best understanding face because even though I'm a new mom I know…

    I'm so glad that there are rational people writing important stuff like this. I'm so glad that YOU are writing stuff like this.

  106. Anonymous
    May 18, 2010 | 10:30 pm

    wow.. just wow. Thank you. Your honesty and bravery makes me glad there is a world with you in and a medium for you to share your words with the world.

  107. Wendi
    May 18, 2010 | 10:37 pm

    Stacey, this is really something. Brava.

  108. Andrea's Sweet Life
    May 18, 2010 | 10:43 pm

    Stacey, once again I am in awe of your eloquent way of getting the point across.

    Because of you, so many people (myself included) have a better understanding about adoption abruption. I know it must be hard, but just by talking about it – you are indirectly helping other people to spit less and help, more. Even if the way they help is by NOT spitting.

    I think the problem is ignorance. Being ignorant of the issue, and yet not accepting that fact, is where so much of this hatred and venom comes from.

    Thank you for your words, your clarity, your courage.

    I love you!

  109. Vodka Mom
    May 18, 2010 | 11:00 pm

    that was incredible- but I never, ever expected less.

    You are an inspiration.

  110. Heather Griffith Brewer
    May 18, 2010 | 11:07 pm

    You know, if more parents were honest with themselves, there would be more understanding. I think that we all reach "locked door" moments throughout our parenting experience. I've always called them "mommy time-outs" because those were the times that I locked myself in the bathroom and cried.
    Thanks for bringing the issue to light, and making me aware that there are avenues of support that are much needed for other parents. Parenting is hard in the best of circumstances, and we should be more sympathetic towards people living in the more difficult ones.

  111. {Staci}
    May 18, 2010 | 11:22 pm

    Thank you Stacey. I appreciate this post so much.

  112. My Bottle's Up!
    May 18, 2010 | 11:22 pm

    i admire your bravery in writing this post.

  113. Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama
    May 18, 2010 | 11:37 pm

    I have been on the other side of that door {literally} many times and that is why I felt I could write the post that I did.http://www.multitaskingmama.com/2010/04/adoption/ And you are right, there are NO easy answers to parenting a child with attachment issues. NO.EASY.ANSWERS

    Thanks for your candid and authentic words.

  114. waldenbunch
    May 18, 2010 | 11:54 pm

    I know the heartbreak you speak of. Know it personally with my kids, both bio and adopted. Know the abuse and learning that I, too, could feel anger beyond belief. That I was capable of deep hurt and unimaginable anger. We had to do what was right for our other 4 kids, which was a group home for sexually abused kids. 6 years later we are still healing and our oldest is not longer part of our lives, her choice. There is enough pain in this life that we should never judge. Thank you for the wisdom and brokenness you shared. God bless you.

  115. Leeann Ward
    May 19, 2010 | 12:42 am

    I haven't read the comments above yet, but I hope they are all supportive and thanking you for this real and heartful post.

    I read your blog every day that you post something new. My husband and I are planning to adopt. We aren't going to even try to conceive children. We've just always known that adoption is what we want to do. Yours has been the most insightful and honest blog that I've come across so far. Your posts are always just so thoughtful and insightful.

    I can't imagine what it would be like to go through what you've gon through, but I thank you for putting it out there for us, especially for those of us who can use the education.

    I'll admit that I've had my own judgy opinions about the incident that inspired this post, but my perspective sure has shifted now. In fact, the thing that kept me from totally judging and being snarky about it is knowing, from past posts of yours, that you went through a similar situation and that things aren't as clear cut as they may seem.

    Anyway, I'm rambling, but I can't thank you enough for your perspective. This post and so many of your others have brought me to tears just out of the sheer honesty and thoughtfulness of them.

  116. Naomi
    May 19, 2010 | 1:35 am

    You made me cry and you made me think, as usual. Thank you.

  117. Elaine A.
    May 19, 2010 | 2:55 am

    I have absolutely NO experience in this arena. None.

    Except.

    I'm a mother to three of my own babies and the oldest, well he's made me SO upset that I've had to go in another room across the house to calm down and make sure no one got hurt.

    I totally agree with you in the fact that we need to try to understand this situation from every perspective and perhaps EVERYONE will be better off in this situation with the choice that this mother made. I like to believe that anyway.

    And the thing that REALLY burns me up about stories like this? People just don't KNOW unless you've been there so don't start throwing stones. Drives me crazy.

    Good post mah lady.

  118. Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry
    May 19, 2010 | 3:15 am

    Amazing and powerful. This post equals many threads.

  119. vawriter
    May 19, 2010 | 3:41 am

    Your thread is spun of the strongest substance known to exist–love.

  120. Anonymous
    May 19, 2010 | 3:59 am

    A brilliant, honest post that should be read by everyone! Thank you for telling your story, and for hopefully educating people and creating more compassion for all involved – parents and children alike – and advocating for helpful resources rather than judgment.

  121. Melissa
    May 19, 2010 | 4:02 am

    Awesome. You, and this post.

  122. JJ
    May 19, 2010 | 4:22 am

    Once again, you have written words that have made me understand more than I did yesterday. Thank you for that, you are inspiring. And when I heard that story, my first thought went to "who let that kid get on a plane with a one-way ticket by himself?" It's funny where your mind takes things. Having 2 biological children, it's hard to place myself in an adopted families place. All we can do to as parents/strangers/onlookers is to see, listen, learn, and not judge. And that is like the hardest thing in life.

  123. Sally
    May 19, 2010 | 4:41 am

    This is beautiful, so well written. I forwarded it to every social worker and every person in my personal "support" group. Thank you. Keep up this blog, it is a huge light in my day. :)

  124. Mom 4 Kids
    May 19, 2010 | 4:51 am

    Unbelievably beautiful words that so express what being in crisis feels like.

  125. Sue
    May 19, 2010 | 11:21 am

    I absolutely love this post. Thanks you so much for giving your much needed perspective. I cannot imagine the emotions you have gone through dealing with, this then and now. I am proud of the mother you are and the mother you weren't that day on the other side of the door.

    Thank you.

  126. Swistle
    May 19, 2010 | 12:24 pm

    I can't believe how clear, and well-written, and measured, and intelligent, and understandable this post is. I kept getting shivers, seriously. Like the part about how people aren't willing to have a destructive child in their home for even a few hours but they're spitting on the people who can't manage it for life. The part about someone being down in a well, and do we spit or do we throw a rope. Honestly, my mind is full with this post, and I thank you for writing it.

  127. Nick
    May 19, 2010 | 1:29 pm

    Your perspective is much needed and I admire your bravery in sharing your story. However, I have a problem with a few of the commenters in their support of your post are sliding down a slippery slope into the world where all actions should not be judge because "we have not been there" and saying "maybe everyone will be better off" and we can't judge the mother put the child on the plane because we are nother. What she did was wrong and as a society we can condemn the act. There is no need to be snarky or flippant and those comments are not useful. However, she clearly did not handle the situation appropriately and what she did was probably illegal and out right wrong. I know you are not supporting her actions but voicing outrage at the abuse or abandonment of a child is necessary and hopefully it will help motivate change. I am the mother of an internationally adopted child and this mother's actions turned that whole world of parents in the process and waiting children on it's head. So what she did not only impacted her son but untold numbers of other children. ANyone who has ever visited an orphange knows that that little boy is not better off there. He will not get the help he needs back in Russia.
    Because of your family's experience I undrstand why you do not want to sit in judgement (although I think you are being very hard on yourself because you handled the situation very differently and there is an ocean which separates your actions from hers). Discussion on these topics is important and I admire what you are doing to help other mothers and parents in crisis. Public outcries denouncing child abuse are necessary and what th emonther did was abusive. I guess my point is that this whole non judgement thing can be taken too far–are we not going to judge a parent who beats their child because "we don't know what is going on in their life or we have not walked in their shoes". Of course not. There needs to be more resources for parents in crisis, the adoption system needs some overhauling, and we as individuals can all do something productive to help–but that does not change the fact that putting your child on a plane back to Russia is wrong.

  128. Leah and Maya
    May 19, 2010 | 2:35 pm

    this is a wonderful post, I know i wouldn't have understood what this mother went thru had I not adopted and learned about adopting, and really until I came home and started reading blogs about RAD I would have never had a clue. I don't blame the mom who sent the boy back and I think you did what was best for your family. It is awful but after learning so much I had thought I would like to adopt an older child but now I won't, I have a 3 year old and I am not putting her life in danger or discomfort, of course we could adopt a younger child that still grows up to have issues but I have the fear in me from what you went thru along with some other families I have read about.

  129. Loukia
    May 19, 2010 | 2:54 pm

    Thank you for this amazing, emotional, beautiful post. I don't even know what to say, except that I agree with you and since becoming a mom, I'm less judgemental than I used to be. I will never look down upon a mom who is in a 'situation' having been there myself, countless numbers of times. You are a strong, amazing, wonderful mother. Your children are so lucky!

  130. Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog
    May 19, 2010 | 3:22 pm

    I'm so proud of you, too. Many people can't retain that shred of humanity to think to lock the door between the rage. THAT is what makes you a GOOD mom.

    Love you, STacey.

  131. Heather
    May 19, 2010 | 3:25 pm

    xo

  132. deets
    May 19, 2010 | 4:46 pm

    Thank you so much for your story. We disrupted our fost-adopt parenting with two girls last year and it was the hardest thing that I have ever done. I have written a lengthy response to your post on my blog and have posted about our disruption before, as well. When first looking into disruption, I found the outer layer of reactions and comments to be the judgmental ones that you describe. But once I started looking a little deeper (particularly at our friends who have adopted and at the forums at adoption.com) I found how many people were sympathetic. Our friends that have adopted (through many different channels) have all had stops and starts and trouble making the right match. There are many stories like yours and it is these stories that gave me hope that a disruption was not the end of our journey as parents.

    I am going to to do a more detailed reply on my blog (www.gardensofresistance.com) later this afternoon when I have time. But thanks so much for bringing my attention to this conversation and you and have all of my respect and support.

  133. Heather
    May 19, 2010 | 6:43 pm

    {{Hugs}}

    That's all I've got. I truly believe you did all you could and only wanted the best for that little boy and I think speaking out, even knowing that others might condem you for it, takes great courage.

  134. anymommy
    May 19, 2010 | 7:39 pm

    @ Nick. I see your point and I do see a place for community outrage and for acknowledging wrongs. I even see the need to prosecute wrongs that are crimes and to face consequences for your actions.

    That wasn't the type of outrage I intended to talk about here. I don't see the need to viciously attack a person (rather than condemn the act), especially on subjects like parenting, or failing to parent as we hope one would.

    I also don't see the point of taking, rational, needed commentary on a particular incident (based on news reports) and generalizing them in a way that condemns anyone who faces a similar situation.

    I know that's not what you are doing. There were many, many thoughtful, even angry posts about this subject and about disruption in general that made the point about how wrong abandoning a child is without blasting a stream of hate at this mother or other families.

    I don't think it makes sense to say that people who are willing to hear that scathing, uninformed commentary on a particular mother on the internet isn't helping much are dismissing the wrongness of her choice or would also excuse physical abuse of a child. I think we are all more discerning than that.

  135. anymommy
    May 19, 2010 | 8:05 pm

    You know something funny, @aaryn b, that sentence had been bothering me. You are right, it generalizes in exactly the same way that I have disliked in other writings.

    It is hard to stay on point and say what you mean. I'll change it.

    As for the rest of it, I suppose one person's passion is another person's indignation and patronization. A hard pill for me to swallow, given my intent and your delivery, but one I will try to choke down anyway.

  136. Yo is Me
    May 19, 2010 | 9:11 pm

    oh, stacey. this is an amazing post. thank you for writing this. you're amazing. putting this out there was brave.

    i hope the commenters on this post remain respectful. this is an important conversation, so important.

    i've wondered what i would do if i were put in the situation of having to decide to "return" my nephew. it breaks my heart to even think about it. there are other parents out there… aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandparents… people who are raising kids that aren't theirs.

    i feel like he's my kid, his struggles are mine to help him through.

    your words are important, stacey. your perspective is important.

  137. excavator
    May 19, 2010 | 9:27 pm

    Condemning the mother of boy in the failed adoption is too easy. It's shooting fish in a barrel. It's an opportunity to revel in one's own righteousness and circle-jerk with other revelers. The urge to pile on is strong, and hurtful.

    I disagree with aaron. I think your post was passionate, from the heart (and your response gracious), and he's way oversimplified.

    Your voice rings true.

  138. Roshni Mitra Chintalapati
    May 19, 2010 | 9:32 pm

    Hi Stacey,

    Although I knew about your older son, I did not know the circumstances surrounding his going to another family. I am thankful that you made that choice (for everyone concerned). No, I do not do anything to help other people in a crisis situation (except maybe if my immediate family or friends need any help), but I will remember this and smile at any parent in a playground who look as if they are having a bad day.

  139. anymommy
    May 19, 2010 | 11:31 pm

    I am taking @aaryn b 's comment down because she emailed me and requested that I do so. But, I would like to keep this part of it:

    "'I will tell you something that I know in my heart about a parent that puts a child on a plane alone or abandons a child to foster care or to a mental health facility or a ranch for troubled kids – they are at rock hard bottom.'

    "Indeed, they are at an all-time low. But sending a child to foster care or to a ranch for troubled kids is NOT abandonment. Sending a little boy on an airplane across an ocean all by himself IS."

    I agree. As I said above, that sentence is not right, I did not intend to imply that these are the same choices and as soon as I am not watching three children beat each other up in a bathtub and I can think, I will change it.

    I hope that no one who read this post felt hurt by my unintentional comparison of these choices.

  140. just making my way
    May 20, 2010 | 1:28 am

    Thank you, as always, for sharing this part of your life. I have two "normal" kids, and I know I've had to close doors and walk away. I have such respect for those who build the staircases, or offer the ropes.
    And as always, you make me think. How can I be a thread? I'm going to try to figure that out.

  141. Anna See
    May 20, 2010 | 3:37 am

    Don't know why this didn't show up in my reader. So glad I stopped over to see how you were doing today. Stacey, you have changed me. Knowing your story makes me look at the world differently, and I thank you for that. Kelli, I am so sorry you are going through this right now. Thanks to you both for helping me understand something so gutwrenching and difficult. LOVE, A

  142. Pickel
    May 20, 2010 | 3:38 am

    Stacey,
    Perfect. Any mom with a child like yours knows how hard it is to parent, to love, to deal with the trauma every day. That's why I understand why she did it. I don't condone it but I understand.

    If you ever want to re-post this let me know.

  143. Enjoli
    May 20, 2010 | 1:18 pm

    Through tears, I say this. Thanks for sharing your story in your own time and in your own way. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And the mentor idea is a great one.

  144. Anonymous
    May 20, 2010 | 1:43 pm

    I so needed to read this, right now, today. I so need this vindication. My son is violent due to autism and as a mother I suffer in ways I can not describe.

    I have lost friends over this when I needed them the most, and have suffered deep depressions all because I spend every waking moment trying to figure out how to help my child.

    all I need is a few threads for my rope, it helps more than people will ever realize.

    the fact that we also adopted my son has nothing to do with his violent behavior and everything to do with his autism/aspergers. just another angle to consider…

    thank you a hundred times for sharing this. we all need this.

  145. Anonymous
    May 20, 2010 | 2:05 pm

    "There needs to be more understanding and less condemnation, not just in adoptive situations, but in ANY family who is dealing with a child with behavioral issues."
    -PrincessJenn

    omg, thank you thank you!!

  146. Solarii
    May 20, 2010 | 2:59 pm

    Thank you for your post that will hopefully help other people to understand what it's like to parent a child with emotional issues. I agree with your decision because I've been there with my own son who was born with emotional problems. A son who I had to send to a psychiatric hospital before he started Kindergarten to get him the help that he needed. I am thankful EVERYDAY that things are better now. I honestly don't know if Ior my other children could've managed another 13 years of his behaviors. So Thank you for not being afraid to share your life and helping others to understand what hitting rock bottom really is!

  147. bonnie
    May 20, 2010 | 2:59 pm

    you & i were both on Twitter when the story broke. the b&w vitriol of some of the responses, even if speaking from their own personal experiences and good intentions, made ME feel wounded and judged, and i have no threads that currently connect me to adoption at all. i was dismayed. i felt utterly inadequate to the task of saying all you've said so eloquently and bravely here. i also felt utterly inadequate to the task of helping you feel in any way protected or stood beside, tho i figured the storm had to hit you like a ton of bricks thrown in your direction, no matter the intent of commenters.

    i've been wanting to say sorry, ever since.

    my own experiences of parenting my colicky babies after the death of my firstborn has taught me humility, and how limited my patience can be no matter how great my love and desire for my children. i don't condone what the woman did, but my first response was "there but for the grace of God," even if i don't believe.

    i will look into what kind of services are available in my community. i will see what kind of action i can take. i am grateful to you for teaching me.

  148. Bon
    May 20, 2010 | 3:00 pm

    you & i were both on Twitter when the story broke. the b&w vitriol of some of the responses, even if speaking from their own personal experiences and good intentions, made ME feel wounded and judged, and i have no threads that currently connect me to adoption at all. i was dismayed. i felt utterly inadequate to the task of saying all you've said so eloquently and bravely here. i also felt utterly inadequate to the task of helping you feel in any way protected or stood beside, tho i figured the storm had to hit you like a ton of bricks thrown in your direction, no matter the intent of commenters.

    i've been wanting to say sorry, ever since.

    my own experiences of parenting my (merely) colicky babies after the death of my firstborn has taught me humility, and how limited my patience can be no matter how great my love and desire for my children. i don't condone what the woman did, but my first response was "there but for the grace of God," even if i don't believe.

    i will look into what kind of services are available in my community. i will see what kind of action i can take. i am grateful to you for teaching me.

  149. Bon
    May 20, 2010 | 3:04 pm

    um, yeh, those were both me. work account & blog account. silly Google.

  150. Anonymous
    May 20, 2010 | 4:33 pm

    I love your blog. I love your beautifully, honestly written posts. You have a lovely family. I am mother to three children adopted from China, two of whom have special needs and one who was not special needs, but had attachment issues. I tried very hard not to judge the mother who sent her son back to Russia. Clearly, she was beyond desperate and clearly she did not get the support she needed to parent (or not parent) effectively. There were many other choices she could have made, but she couldn't see those other choices through her pain and desperation. I hope that she gets the help she needs now to process what happened and to learn to live with the pain of a failed adoption.

    All of that being said, I have wondered about your own situation. If it had been your biological child who made your home unsafe, what would you have done? Would you have found a family better able to parent him? I ask this not to hurt you or to judge you, but simply because I wonder if you have thought about that.

  151. Leeann Ward
    May 20, 2010 | 5:04 pm

    Of course, I can't answer for her, but I'm guessing that even if a parent's biological son did what her adopted son did, they would at least have him removed from the home to protect the other children. Perhaps he would still be legally theirs, but probably in a hospital or home for children with behaviors. In that case, maybe it's better that this little boy was given a home that was better able to fit his needs. Maybe this boy didn't get the short end of the stick because he was adopted, but the opposite. Instead, because he was adopted the social (and maybe even emotional) obligation to keep him may not have been the same as if he was a birth child, but perhaps that worked in his favor if you look at it from an unselfish standpoint. Just some thoughts.

  152. anymommy
    May 20, 2010 | 5:51 pm

    I see this comment often and I have thought about it, often. And I am willing to discuss it. I appreciate your tone so much.

    I (gently and respectfully) reject it as an argument for several reasons the most compelling of which I wrote about in a post called "Differences."

    My main response, one that I know is painful to adult adoptees and I am sorry for that, is that attachment is not instant. Children and parents do not attach instantly, some children who have suffered trauma and neglect of any kind (including institutionalization) have lost some of their capacity to attach. In fact they can be so fearful of it that it causes violent rages and reactions when someone even tries to bond with them. This is an emotional disorder that some refer to as attachment disorder, or at its worst, RAD (reactive attachment disorder).

    All of that is to say that in these most difficult of situations, which generally occur in adoptive families, but can occur in other types of blended families, the core of the problem is lack of attachment between the child and parent and resistance to attachment by the child. This factor simply isn't there in most difficult biological relationships. It is a huge factor, I don't know how else to say that part of it.

    Also, I would say, biological families do fail. Our juvenile detention centers and our ranches for troubled children and our mental health facilities can attest to that.

    I would agree that most biological parents do not sever legal ties. But, most biological parents do not deal with a child who has been in their home less than a year when the violence or the behavior is discovered or becomes too much. Most biological parents do not deal with a child who is in no way attached to them and who experts tell them, plainly, will be far more heavily affected by living with your family unattached than by living through the transfer to a second family where they have a better chance of attaching.

    Finally, I can say that if one of my biological boys was, for example, (god forbid), sexually mol.esting my daughter. I absolutely would remove him from our home. No, I wouldn't look for another family. Border school, residential treatment, some option that kept everyone safe. And that is the difference that attachment makes.

    I know that probably won't sit well with some, but it is honest.

  153. anymommy
    May 20, 2010 | 6:03 pm

    P.S. I do realize that you have adopted and lived through a lot of this yourself. I just want to say that I didn't mean to be condescending or "lectury." That's just the way I think. I mean, that's just how I have to lay it all out in my own mind and I was typing as I thought.

    And I fully realize that some families make it through these behaviors and attach. It is awe-inspiring. I fully admit my failure. MY rageful reaction to his behavior towards our younger children caused the failure. His behavior was the result of his trauma and his fear. My reaction created a situation in which attachment was unlikely.

  154. Nick
    May 20, 2010 | 8:27 pm

    I am curious, do you mean that attachment is not instant with any child (bio or adopted) or it is not instant when you adopt a child?
    I know what it is not to attach right away because after my 2nd son was born to me I was critically ill for several months and in and out of the hospital and my attachment with him took longer because of my illness. When we adopted my daughter I was physically very healthy and felt very attached to her very quickly (She had been in an orphange for the first year of her life and was withdrawn and had mild attachment issues).

  155. KDH522
    May 20, 2010 | 9:11 pm

    All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you, for pointing out the obvious, which everyone should easily see.

  156. DivineMum
    May 20, 2010 | 10:44 pm

    I just want someone to know that here is another person that has been on the other side of that door-more times than I want to remember. When I hear on the news when people say that 99.9% of int'l adoptions turn out successful, I wonder, HOW DO THEY KNOW? No one has called me for that survey! I have felt so abandoned until the past year or so when more blogs have hit the internet. Thank you. I don't feel so alone now. And to the anonymous dated May 20th 9:33 a.m., I would just like to remind them that there ARE NOT other choices. That is why we (parents of internationally adopted emotionally disturbed children) are so desperate. THERE AREN'T OPTIONS. If you know of any, please, fill me in on the millions of options I have with a 13 yr old 140 lb violent narcissistic sociopath adopted at 9 that we found out (from documents that were read to us at the last minute) that she had never attached to anyone, and that what was told to us earlier were lies. And after finding out that her medical condition she has now is from being given lithium in the orphanage. Please let me know of all those options out there that are less than $3,000 per month.

  157. Susie
    May 21, 2010 | 1:56 am

    Thanks for the reminder that we can always be compassionate. always – even when we disagree or don't understand. Oh, and thanks for helping us to understand a little bit.

  158. Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge
    May 21, 2010 | 3:56 am

    hmm… that post wasn't too long. As usual, your writing drew me in so much that the words seemed to just fly by and I absorbed them all anxiously awaiting the next one.

    I can't say I've experienced trauma of international adoption. Not even of one of my children harming another. But i have experienced having one child seriously threaten to harm one of my others and that, THAT, is the one deep-down secret fear about parenting that I never wanted to come true. Then it did. And I never knew how I'd handle it.

    It was the first and only time I ever doubted God's care for me. I am ashamed to say that, as I consider my faith to be one consistent stable thing in my life. But on that day, everything was upside down and everything right was wrong. That was my "rock bottom", and I am so thankful I've never had to endure what you did with your eldest son.

    WHY WHY WHY must we judge other mothers? Are we really that stupid to think that the AP delivers all the facts to us? That we can know the whole story from a 30 second sound byte or a 2-column story in a newspaper? You asked, if we are trying to help a mother, then what good will it do to criticize and judge? I would say, a better question to ask is, why am I judging this woman? Am I a perfect parent? Do I have all the answers? And if I do, then shouldn't I feel sympathy, not disgust, for this family?

    Stacey, truth: I don't think people care about this woman. That's why they judge. That's why they surround themselves with a protective coccoon of Little League and Girl Scouts and piano lessons and JC Penneys portraits. If my family looks normal then I don't have to admit that maybe I am just as fucked up as that family with the disrupted adoption.

    Now, yes, I am getting all judgy about people who are judgmental. I want to have sympathy for them. I don't know their story. But I'm working on it. At least I'm honest about it.

  159. anymommy
    May 21, 2010 | 6:17 am

    @Nick I was thinking specifically about attachment in adoption, and even more particular, attachment with children beyond infancy, but you make a great point. Attachment is very specific to a particular parent and child. I have talked to other biological parents who did not attach to their babies instantly because of their illness, or colic, or even prematurity, or PPD. And, I've talked to parents who felt almost instantly attached to their adopted children.

    The point I was trying to make was that when attachment is slower, or when the child seriously resists attachment AND the child is older it creates a set of circumstances that is fairly unique to beyond infancy adoption.

    Because if a parent fails to attach to a biological infant OR an adopted infant for months, the infant can't actually hurt anyone, so it's unlikely that a parent would be facing such an intense, traumatic situation during the attachment process.

    That's all related to my attempt to discuss the "would you give up a bio child" argument. The circumstances are not very often the same, where you have an unattached relationship and behavior that the parent can't handle.

    I can understand the other side of the argument; that it is the parent's responsibility to find a way to attachment. I just disagree that it is possible, or even best for the child in every single circumstance.

  160. Gayle
    May 21, 2010 | 8:13 am

    Powerful writing.

  161. Casey
    May 21, 2010 | 1:10 pm

    My God, Stacey, you and that keyboard of yours can write your way right into people's hearts. And I love you for that.

    Thank you, for sharing your story and shedding some light on the entire subject. As a mom of so called "normal" kids who sometimes cause me to shake in anger and try with all of my might not to snap, I can't even begin to imagine how hard it would/could be if just one more teensy challenge was thrown our way. These parents are superparents. The ones who recognize the need to place their kids somewhere else in the child's best interest and the ones who try with all of their might to help those kids. And you're right… it's up to the rest of us to try and show compassion and help them along the way.

  162. Schmutzie
    May 21, 2010 | 4:35 pm
  163. Kate
    May 21, 2010 | 4:40 pm

    If the post hadn't brought me to tears, the incredibly gentle and respectful tone of these comments would have. It's sometimes hard for me to understand how people can be so judgmental. Surely it should take only one instance of seeing that you were wrong to realize that you usually won't KNOW when you're wrong to judge. To me, that says it's always wrong to judge. Of course, everyone has knee-jerk reactions, but isn't learning to control them a major part of being a person, and living in society?

  164. The Beaver Bunch
    May 21, 2010 | 6:47 pm

    At comment 165, I don't know that this will even show up on your radar BUT…

    I have 6 children. My oldest will be 6 yrs old in August. My youngest is almost 2 months old.

    I love my life.

    BUT SOME DAYS, the anger that wells up within me seems so foreign and I wonder where it comes from. I know it is driven by sleep deprivation and exhaustion. During those times, I look at our two adopted children (who are 24 months and 20 months respectively) and wonder how much easier our life would be had we chosen to NOT adopt them.

    Then the guilt washes over me and I realize what a blessing they are. And I wonder if I'm really cut out for motherhood at all.

    Thank you for helping me realize that it IS ACCEPTABLE to have less than glamorous emotions(and sometimes just flat out anger) for your children. And, thank you for encouraging me to openly blog about the real, raw emotion that come with mothering my little people.

  165. Headless Mom
    May 21, 2010 | 10:20 pm

    I was wondering if/when you would respond to that situation and I knew exactly what you would say.

    I love you, Lady, and I thank you for your perspective on such a heart-wrenching issue.

  166. Nick
    May 22, 2010 | 12:53 am

    Thank you for responding to my comment. I absolutely think you did the right thing for your son and I cannot pretend to know how difficult it was for you.. I will say (and I hope this comment come off with out sounding judgmental because I made these realizations after we went through the adoption process so I was no more "aware" at the time than anyone else–this is where the need for reform with agencies is so obvious)–as a general rule (for which there are always exceptions) I don't think families, even those with the best intentions, should adopt an older child when they have a baby at home and plan on having more babies in the near future. Adopted children who have spent some time in an institution need an enormous amount of attention and need to be the focus and energy devoted to them as if they were a new born in some way and any other real babies at home and pregnancies take an enormous amount of attention and energy. It is human nature to feel the overwhelming protective instinct to a baby and to hold an older child responsible but an adopted, previously institutionalized child cannot be held to that standard. Creating families of a lot of children very quickly, especially when emotionally fragile children are involved, will usually result in painful situations–again even when the parents have the best of intentions. I know I am not telling you anything you do not know but I feel that a lot of these comments are focusing on how difficult the child can be from these circumstance and I agree that the issues can be overwhelming but some of these situations can be avoided through education and overhaul in adoption guidelines. Nobody likes it when countries tighten the rules for prospective parents but I think it is necessary. China now requires age differences between children if you have a child at home and are seeking to adopt and many agencies ask that parents commit to not seeking to become pregnant for at least a year after bringing a child home. I have had discussions with parent s who disagree with these requirements but I feel they are in the best interest of the child and all children in the family.

  167. Amie
    May 22, 2010 | 1:28 am

    I had never hear about disrupted adoption until I read things you have written about it. I am so thankful you have written about it because now, when I hear and read things about it like this story, I think of you, of your perspective, of truth, I hear the other side. If it wasn't for you being my reference point I would probably be another judgmental Mom. Thank you for writing what you do and making me a better person and making other peoples situations that much better because, because of you, there are more people with some (all be it very little) understanding of what they may be going through.

  168. RottenMom
    May 22, 2010 | 1:30 am

    Beautifully, perfectly written. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  169. Anonymous
    May 22, 2010 | 2:05 am

    First, I must say that I have read your blog since I found it a year ago and have been amazed and rocked by your story. I do not have an adopted child, but I appreciate how eloquently you have given verse to the horror of this situation. Horror for the child, of course, but, also, maybe worse, horror for the family and mother of the child. We all feel this horror when reading these stories; not understanding how something as pure as a mother's love or a child's innocence can be twisted by a child who is traumitized. Who only knows to test and test and test and test a family, a mother. We feel the horror when we read of a mother who hits that bottom; we feel that horror when we see the child returned to his original home. What we don't see, usually, what you have allowed us to see, is the compassion involved in finding the right home for a child. The right family, the best family, the most loving situation. Even when that is not with the original adoptive family. Thank you for reminding me, us, that not all of what we hear is all of the story and that it is easy to get caught up in the horror. It is harder to remember that this is real, torn, horrified mother and child who need nothing as much as our compassion.

  170. anymommy
    May 22, 2010 | 5:06 am

    @Nick I think the simplest thing to say is, I agree. I very much agree. In general, (of course there are exceptions), I would say that first-time adoptive parents should not adopt out of birth order, meaning that the adopted child should enter the home as the youngest child, by a few years if possible. You said it exactly, that child needs to be seen as and treated as an infant, no matter what age he actually is. And it is really, really hard to see a child as an infant if you have younger children to parent.

    Adopting out of birth order and with very young, pre-verbal children in our home was just too much. It was definitely why we failed to parent all of our kids. I don't think big families are "bad" in any way or that parents can't meet the needs of larger families, but I do agree that if a child is joining a family through adoption, unless the parents are very experienced with post-institutionalized and trauma behaviors, that child should be the youngest and the parents should feel that they have a huge portion of their time available to devote to one child.

    I hope that it never comes across as though I am blaming our son. His grief and his anger and his behaviors were not extraordinary for a child with his experiences.

    It's interesting to me, looking back, that our social worker focused so much in our pre-interviews on how we would deal with our bio son's displacement in the family. What would we do if he were angry? How would we handle the fact that he was losing his place as first born? The focus confused me. I could not see how a one year old could possibly remember, or be angry, about an older brother that had been a part of his life for all of his memory.

    She never once asked me how I thought I would react if our older child was angry at our baby or lashed out. I don't know if it would have made a difference and I am not blaming her in anyway. But, I do think that was the more important question by far.

    This is a book, but on the stricter standards, yes and no. I cringe because I am ashamed that my family's mistakes and failures would cause another family to be unable to adopt out of birth order. But, if I try to look at the big picture, it makes sense, and I know some countries do have these stricter rules.

    On the other hand, there are so many success stories. I don't know enough about the statistics to know if stricter rules would primarily prevent situations like ours or just keep kids from finding families.

  171. Mama D.'s Dozen
    May 22, 2010 | 5:41 am

    I've read your blog for awhile now, but I don't think I knew this about your family's story. Thank you for sharing.

    We, too, had to choose the dreaded "d-word" … we had to disrupt the adoption of a teenage son. We had 5 younger children. We had to protect them. So very, very hard.

    I'm going to use a few short clips from your post, and link over to your blog so that others may hear your story. Maybe those that judged me so harshly last summer, will read this and realize that maybe, just maybe, I'm not the horrible mother that they have condemned me as.

    Thank you.

    Laurel

  172. Miss Sissy
    May 22, 2010 | 5:48 am

    ((hugs))

  173. luna
    May 22, 2010 | 5:53 pm

    stacey, this is simply a magnificent post. probably the best I've seen on the subject. I think it should be required reading for anyone.

  174. Mommy Mo
    May 22, 2010 | 6:05 pm

    I am sitting here bawling. Bravo Stacey, bravo.

  175. Heather
    May 22, 2010 | 9:59 pm

    Hi. I do not know this story because I purposely avoid the news.
    I did want to say thank you though for a reminder about judgement and compassion.
    I have had "locked door" incidents with one of my kids and I am sure it is just the tip of the iceberg in comparison to what some parents have to navigate through.
    Very well written.

  176. Anonymous
    May 23, 2010 | 5:10 pm

    I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now. We have a mutual friend, Tera, who told me about your situation. I was adopted at 1 month of age into a Christian, loving, middle class family. Soon after that my mom found out that she was pregnant (thought that it was highly unlikely, hence the adoption) and my brother was born 10 months later.

    Here is the rub. He is like them. I am not. Am I troubled? No. No ADD, autism, bipolar, depression or any learning disabilities. For all intents and purposes I am 'normal'. But, and it's a really big but, I am a 'free spirit'. Have always been. But that does not mean that like any child I crave the deep down approval of who I am from the people who raised me. And I don't mean that they 'love me unconditionally', I mean that they really really LIKE me, and trust me and approve of my need to be social, make my own decisions about things, find my way through the maze of friendships and etc.. You get the picture.

    Sometimes raising me was a based on commitment rather than bonding. I am old enough to know that now. Although it was not until my 20's that I figured this out, and is based on not one experience or event but on a lifetime of words, choices and behaviors. All of which add up to an impression.

    I am not trying to make you feel sorry for me in any way. Just to bring to light that abandonment can happen at any age and take many forms. For example, when I turned 18 and was graduating from High School my parents literally said "we will pay for college for you if you go to another state, as mom can not be in the same town as you". This after I begged to go to school in my hometown with all my friends and promised to 'live in the dorm and never come home'. But my dad said "well she(mom) is afraid that she will bump into you and can't stand to see the choices that you will probably make".

    Like what? I did not party, smoke pot (never have), dress in goth, get tattoos, smoke,sleep around or make bad grades. I never have. I still am a free spirit though.

    Then to make it worse (and more obvious as 'not normal'), college friends would always ask me why I was so far away from home. And I would respond with something like 'well my parents wanted me to broaden my horizons' and then would get the inevitable response of 'my mom can hardly stand that I am 2 hours away, let alone 10'. Or some such answer. And this happened over and over and over. Through the years. Pain.

    Meanwhile my brother stayed home, went to local university and lived in the dorm.

    If one looked at what was provided for me and what was provided for him all was fair. Truly fair. That's not the point.

    It caused some problems early on in my marriage to be sure and many tears shed to my husband. And before ever reading your blog or knowing that there was this whole 'unattached' world of adoption out there I came to my own conclusion that it was not a good idea to raise bio children with adopted ones. Based on my experience.

    Anyhow, I don't want to sound preachy, but rather to tell you that abandonment comes not just in the form of 'well we ultimately gave him/her up' but can be a more subtle thing. Please keep my feelings in mind as you raise your daughter. Telling her that you want her to go away (I was threatened with boarding school many times in High School, if my 'attitude did not improve') will cause pain. She, on some level, realizes that she was rejected by her bio mom. Or will at some point. As for your son. Well , I don't think that the same applies. But I can't say for sure. Of course I don't mean that you should never encourage independence even if she is 35 and living at home or whatever. There is healthy middle ground here. Just be aware that it's an issue deep down inside that needs to be considered in your every day dealings with her.

  177. Anonymous
    May 23, 2010 | 5:14 pm

    Continued:
    I went over the character limit – sorry. But just wanted to finish up by saying that I do, in fact, have a good relationship with my parents. Do they like me yet? I think they still prefer to 'reserve judgment' to an extent on that one. But hey, we all have baggage right?

    I have 2 children of my own and am very blessed. More than I deserve.

    Thank you for being so very honest about your feelings and situation. It's a pleasure to read.

  178. Deb
    May 23, 2010 | 6:30 pm

    I came here from Ordinary Art. Wow. You're willing and able to feel compassion for others who stumble and fall, as we all do. You restored my faith in humans today. Thank you.

    I read another blogger, Third Eve, who has adopted many children with many different problems. You might find her interesting, I know I do.

    http://eve3.wordpress.com/

  179. wooliesocks
    May 23, 2010 | 6:31 pm

    I left the previous comment by Deb but wanted to leave a link to my real blog.

  180. Alexicographer
    May 23, 2010 | 7:02 pm

    Those asking whether genetic parents "would ever" give up a child (presumably excepting parents who place infants born to them for adoption, a group of parents whose decision not to parent is often praised?) might be interested to read about the effects of Nebraska's recent child-abandonment law, e.g. here: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1859951,00.html, or here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2008396715_haven16.html (the latter article focuses more on one particular mother but also provides some basic statistics about the parents who used the law's provision that made it legal for them to drop their children off (and leave them, permanently) at emergency rooms. It doesn't identify any as having become parents through adoption.).

    Consistent, I think, with Stacey's basic point, I'm inclined to agree with the line in the second article that reads, "the unexpected images of adults from half a dozen states dumping their children in Nebraska have revealed a largely hidden crisis in the U.S."

  181. Maggie May
    May 23, 2010 | 10:57 pm

    that last bit especially- YES.

    you are a beautiful, thoughtful person, telling the truth.

  182. mommymae
    May 24, 2010 | 7:38 pm

    i've had this in my reader since last week & just had the chance to say that i admire your bravery & honesty, stacey. i am proud of what you didn't do, too.

  183. ElisaC
    May 25, 2010 | 3:12 am

    This was a challenging and courageous post, which is why we selected it as this week's BLogHer Voice of the Week:
    http://www.blogher.com/blogher-voice-week-there-any-mommy-out-there

    Thanks for taking the risk to write it.

    Elisa Camahort Page, on behalf of
    Elisa, Jory and Lisa, BlogHer co-founders

  184. Katie
    May 25, 2010 | 6:38 am

    Amazing, truly amazing and humbled by you.

  185. Mir
    May 25, 2010 | 12:27 pm

    Just found you through BlogHer Voice of the Week, Stacey. This post took my breath away. Thank you.

  186. Lanita @ A Mother's Hood
    May 25, 2010 | 12:35 pm

    Stacey…what amazing strength and courage you have. I am a mother of a child with RAD. My child has never been violent, and although I can understand "your bottom" I also know I can never truly "understand." I was one of the people that had righteous indignation, but more for the adoption agencies. I never felt they prepared me for what was to come. I never once remember them warning me that my child might have RAD, or even what to do if she had. I wish knew earlier.

    I thank you for having the courage to write this. You have touched me today.

  187. Just Margaret
    May 25, 2010 | 4:35 pm

    I also found this via BlogHer. This is such an honest and beautifully written post. Your perspective is not one often heard, and it was courageous of you to share it. Thank you.

  188. Deb
    May 25, 2010 | 4:58 pm

    Since that story broke, I have said I cannot judge that mother, because I don't know the circumstances. Thank you for getting to the heart of the matter.

  189. Mary Freaking Poppins
    May 26, 2010 | 4:44 pm

    Thank you for your bravery and your courage. Your voice needs to be heard. I can't imagine how draining and difficult that was to write, much less live.

  190. Anonymous
    May 28, 2010 | 1:45 am

    So well put. Thank-you for your wonderful post.

    I have a biological child who was very difficult through her childhood and early teenage years. Nothing like what you had to cope with. But she had disabilities that made life very difficult for her, and thus very difficult for those around her. No physical violence, but verbal violance and rages.

    Her presence in our home had a negative impact on her younger siblings. I will always wonder how the problems they cope with now might have been different if they hadn't had their older sister around. There was more than once that I went on the internet searching for boarding schools.

    I choose to be anonymous because what if she ever saw this. How would she feel.

  191. Anonymous
    May 28, 2010 | 3:50 am

    I would have done the same. I have no judgment for you.

  192. Kate Coveny Hood
    May 29, 2010 | 7:40 pm

    It just occurred to me that I never commented on this… As always – I appreciate your courage to tell the truth and then your strength of character in forcing others to look within before judging. On a daily basis, my very normal looking special needs son and I are judged by our seemingly odd behavior. And I appreciate someone else putting out the reminder that empathy is generally the only appropriate reaction.

  193. Steph
    May 31, 2010 | 6:28 pm

    I honestly can't remember if I commented on this or not so if I did already sorry! I think I didn't but I meant to because it's what made me find you!

    Anyway, I love this post. When Blogher wrote about this issue my comment at the time was something along the lines of "without knowing the entire situation it's just impossible to form an opinion. While I would like to think there was a better option than sending him on an overseas flight alone, we just don't know"

    In my heart I just couldn't condemn her without knowing the whole story.

    I could write more but I don't want to hijack your comments so maybe I'll just blog on it instead.

    Anyway, ((((HUGS)))) you're so brave and amazing and I'm so glad I found your blog!!

  194. Al_Pal
    June 2, 2010 | 4:47 am

    Great post. Wonderful reminder to keep our compassion close at hand.

    I'm not a mom, but I've learned through reading blogs that a smile can help encourage breastfeeding moms. Reading this post let me know that I can do the same for any mom in a situation that might get them frowned at.

    Thanks.

  195. Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN}
    June 5, 2010 | 11:21 pm

    I am reading this through tears.

    How I wish I didn't understand the feeling of rage at a small child.

    How I wish I didn't understand the horror of realizing the way other children have been harmed.

    But I do.

    And I agree. NO ONE knows what it is like to parent a traumatized child.

    Thank you for sharing this. I'm so glad so many are reading and at least understanding a wee bit.

    I hope I can track you down at Blogher and give you a big hug of solidarity.

  196. Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub
    June 21, 2010 | 10:28 pm

    I can't believe that I have been so out of it in blog-land that I missed this amazing post, Stacey. Wow. I've been on that edge a few times with my own challenging lot of boys and marvel at what other parents can handle because I know that as difficult as my kids can be, they are a piece of cake compared to truly traumatized children.

    I am so happy that you opened up and shared this, I feel like I can be a better human because of it. That isn't just hyperbole, I mean it.

    And, for the record, I want to be a thread! But I am going to have to wait until my own children are done sapping my patience and goodwill away with their antics. I'll get there someday, I know it.

  197. Anonymous
    November 11, 2010 | 12:15 am

    I found this post completely by accident and did not make it to the end without crying.

    As a mother, a woman, a human being I want you to know that my heart goes out to you and any parent that goes through such difficult times and has to make incredibly difficult decisions that other may not understand.

  198. Mandy W.
    March 10, 2011 | 11:09 pm

    I keep this post as a short cut on my computer. I need to read it to remember that I am not the only mom out here dealing with this. Yesterday one of my girls threatened to kill my youngest. A 9 year old spewing hate to a six year old. My nine year old has been with us for almost 3 years, my six year old is my youngest bio child. She didn't asked for a sister to be so mean to her. I allowed this to happen. The guilt is papatable. While no violence occured (this time) the threat hurts so bad.
    Thanks for sharing.

  199. Propzj
    September 19, 2011 | 11:21 pm

    Bonjour à tous,

    Premièrement, offrez-moi la chance de vous démontrer ma gratitude pour chacune des excellentes infos que j’ai rencontrées sur cet excellent site internet .

    Je ne suis pas sure d’être au meilleur endroit mais je n’en ai pas vu de meilleure .

    Je viens de Gabriola, us . J’ai vingt-cinq années et j’élève trois très gentils enfants qui sont tous âgés entre cinq et 14 ans (1 est adoptée ). J’aime beaucoup les animaux et j’essaie de leur garantir les accessoires pour animaux qui leur rendent la vie plus splendide.

    Merci dors et déjà pour toutes les très “à propos” débats à venir et je vous remercie de votre compassion pour mon français moins qu’idéal : ma langue maternelle est l’anglais et je tempte d’éviter les erreurs mais c’est très complexe !

    A la prochaine

    Carry

  200. Bypemypefrums
    May 16, 2012 | 5:13 pm

    таможенное оформление и транспортировка грузов

  201. Coomber
    July 31, 2012 | 5:45 pm

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