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So many lawyers, so little time...

"The prospect of hanging focuses the mind wonderfully"--Samuel Johnson

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Location: Louisville, KY, United States

Gastroenterologist, cyclist, cellist, Christian, husband, father, grandfather.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Reality check

So folks are insane if they adopt a child, especially an older Eastern European child?

Well, maybe.

Our local adoption agency stresses the need for appraising attachment issues realistically. They've told us about the good adoptions, the bad adoptions, and the ugly adoptions.

I've been reading my way through "Attaching in Adoption" by Deborah Gray. She covers about everything that could go wrong in her book, along with coping skills to overcome them.

My wife stopped reading the book. "It's like being pregnant and reading about every possible birth defect there is. I can't take it." I'll be doing the reading for now.

The interesting thing is that even in high risk situations, eg. adoption out of a marginal background, poorly run orphanages, etc, that only about 30% of the children go on to develop Reactive Attachment Disorder. That means that 70% don't. You see where I'm going with this?

As we check around our town, that seems to be a rough approximation for the local experience. We hear about the "nightmares", and for every nightmare there are two where the families/children couldn't be happier.

Love is not enough. Let's see, we've had experiences in our family with severe learning disabilities, severe childhood trauma, marital discord, mid-life crisis issues, poverty, etc. Things have worked out in spite of all of that. I like languages (although I'm not sure about Russian), and we know lots of Ukrainians for support. I get a quick language lesson at least three times a week, and I know how to get hold of the Russian cartoon network, though I probably won't let her watch it unless she gets severely homesick.

I only speak for myself. I've gone about the last 8 years (the beginning of the first lawsuit) until now feeling sorry for my sad plight and wanting to avoid all psychic pain, maybe pain altogether (an exception made for biking). I've also felt a little less than totally alive during that time. This is something I'm called to do, and not just for the adopted. My whole family will need more of me. I think that's a good thing.

One of my favorite quotes if from Mother Theresa: "We cannot do great things, only small things with great love". I modify it for me: "I can't even do small things with great love. I can do small things with just a tiny bit of love, and the Lord, who feed the five thousand with a few fish and a couple of loaves of bread, can do the rest."

And if it ends up being a disaster, at least we will have tried.

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