Friday, June 27, 2008

How much did they pay for you... and other adoption horror stories

I read somewhere that starting at around age 7 non-adopted kids get suspicious about the whole idea of adoption -- at this age they start to put things together enough to understand that adoption on the most basic level means it's possible for parents to "give up" their kids.

Up until this idea takes hold, non-adopted kids never suspect that the parent-child bond can be broken. Non-adopted kids who have contact with adopted kids start to ask themselves questions like:
-- If it happened to you, could it happen to me?
-- What makes parents give their kids away?
-- Will my parents give me away if I am bad or if I disappoint them?
-- Did your real parents give you away because you were bad or ugly or ...

When this happens that the playground can hold a house of horrors for adopted kids. Sometimes the non-adopted kids ask the adopted kid "why" in an attempt to reassure herself (himself) that his/her parents would never give him/her away.

In second grade a boy on the playground hounded my oldest daughter was hounded. He'd become obsessed with the idea that her "real parents" "gave her up"... and her new parents "bought" her. "How much did they pay for you?" he would ask day after day (OK.. in all fairness I should tell you that he was also on the autism scale but that's a different problem)

It was a difficult time. No amount of explaining could resolve it. Finally after months of talking to his parents and the teachers and trying to "educate" him one day he asked her for the bizillionth time: "How much did your parents pay for you?" She snapped back: "More than anyone would ever pay for you. So it's good they had to keep you when you were born" That shut him up. We changed schools the next year and solved the problem once and for all. When you can't win and you can't hide, you better be able to run.

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