This blog covers our wait, travel, and adjustment to our 4 year old adopted Chinese daughter Sarah Shui Qing from Nanjing. There are over 1000 posts. I have moved my blog to Catching Butterflies 2. I hope you will enjoy reading this blog. It has alot of information on Special needs adoption. Follow us to our new address Catching Butterflies 2! Thank you for reading!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hi, I am copying this letter (long letter) from Amy Eldrige of Love Without Boundaries on her view on disrupting an adoption. I think she has some very wise thoughts. Very worth reading...
I have been so saddened by this situation. I most definitely
wish there
was a way to educate ALL adoptive parents about the truths of
care, however I have come to realize in my daily work that just
as many
parents are not online reading everything they can find on
adoption as
There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parents out
there who have
no idea what life is like for a child in an orphanage, and who
to pick up their "China doll" only to be handed a baby who is
thin, unable to eat..and on and on and on. While adopting my son
month, I walked several times over to the White Swan to talk to
parents, and
over and over I spoke with moms and dads who had no clue
whatsoever about
the issues their kids were having. I heard so many times things
"she won't eat solid foods" (oral aversion), "she has no muscle
(muscle atrophy from lying in a crib all day), "she won't smile"
grieving from being taken from her foster mom). I guess since I
China 24/7, I assume everyone adopting does, too, which is not
the case.
I talked to at least a dozen parents who didn't even know their
orphanage name, and while I gently said "you might want to
that for
your child's sake", at the same time I was trying to process how
parents get all the way to China without ever reading about
post-institutional issues. It was sobering to me. Babies in the
NSN as
well as the SN path can have issues with attachment, motor
issues and more. I think all of us on the WCC list acknowledge
that, while
also acknowledging that all children (whether bio or not) can
have these
same issues. Living in an orphanage of course increases the

I think the easy out is to say that agencies have to do more, as
well as
social workers, but I do think that most of them do try to give
to the parents but often parents don't want to hear it or else
think it
won't happen to them. Again, I am often surprised to talk to
leaving soon and to realize they are not prepared. One family
was adopting
from our foster care program, and when I told them that the
child was
attached to the mom, the father said, "guess she might cry for
an hour
or so
then?" An hour or so? She had been in foster care for over a
year! I
tried to explain that this little girl was about ready to lose
she had ever known, and that they should not expect her to be
and full of personality after an hour. I told them to please
remember the
72 hour rule.......that after 72 hours they would probably see
her spark,
but that she would probably grieve for a long time after that as

I think for many adoptive parents, they just don't want to read
the "bad
stuff", and so I do think that is the parents who
are at
for not doing more to educate themselves. There certainly are
books galore
out there about post-institutional issues. I equate this to when
I was
pregnant with my kids and I would read "What to Expect When
Expecting", and
I would get to the C-section part and always skip it. Each and
time I
would jump to the next chapter as "that wasn't going to happen
to me".
Well, on my fifth baby, when they were rushing me in for an
emergency C
section, I sure was wishing I had read that section earlier! But
at that
point in the OR, while they were strapping my hands down to the
table, it
was too late, and so I felt complete panic when I could have
I think adoption from China is very similar to giving birth.. it
is much
more rosy to only read the happy stories on APC, but I now
encourage every
family I meet to read the harder ones as well, because if you
are the
who is handed a child that is limp and listless and who looks
autistic, what
you have learned in the past will help you make the right
decision for
family during those very emotional first few days.

I have been called many times in the last few years by parents
in China
worried about their children. I agree that having a support
network to
you through the initial time is essential. Everyone should go to
with at least one phone number of someone they can call if they
upon meeting their new child. I remember feeling so alone when I
handed my daughter and she was so tiny and limp. Because our
often helps with the kids who have been disrupted, I am aware
there are children who have much more serious issues than
reported..and that is such a hard thing for a parent to get to
China and
then discover their child is truly autistic or has serious
delays. I
think everyone on both the China and international side would
that it
is absolutely wrong of an orphanage to not be honest in their
reports, and
no one would excuse that, but I also know without a doubt that
of kids who are disrupted are just suffering from institutional
issues and
would catch up quickly in a loving home. It is always a very sad
day for
the orphanage and everyone involved when a child that they know
absolutely fine, but perhaps thin and grieving, is returned by
their new
parents for being "delayed".

I think far too many people believe their child's life is going
begin the
moment they meet them. The truth is, and everyone must realize
child's life is going on RIGHT NOW in China, and all of their
are shaping who they are. The vast majority of aunties that I
have met in
China are such kind and caring people, but it absolutely is not
same as
having a mom and dad at your beck and call. I have had new
parents call
and say "we didn't think living in an orphanage would affect her
at all",
and those statements truly puzzle me. How could they not
contemplate life
in an orphanage? Walk through Babies R Us and you will see every
known to man to make our children's lives here as ideal as
possible. Now
Americans have two way video monitors, so that when baby awakens
not only
can mommy see when to immediately rush in and comfort him, but
she can
to baby so that he doesn't even have one single second where he
How many new parents would have a newborn and then put that baby
in a crib
22 hours a day on their own? How many would only feed their
baby, even if
they were really crying hard, every 8 hours? Or prop the bottle
in her
crib and then not watch to see if she ever really ate? Of course
no one
would do that..we feed newborns on demand, comfort on demand,
continuously..and whether people want to recognize it or not,
that is NOT
the life of an orphan in an institution. ...even when the
aunties are as
good as gold. I remember one night when I took some volunteers
in for the
night shift in an orphanage, when normally just a few aunties
are working.
One mom looked at me with tears in her eyes as she slowly
realized that it
was absolutely impossible with just two hands to feed every
child, to
comfort every child, to soothe every baby who was crying. She
said her
heart was aching to realize that her own daughter most likely
many, many
times where she cried without someone to comfort her.....and she
told me
that for the first time she finally understood why her daughter
had such a
deep seated fear of being out of her mom's sight.

The aunties are trying their absolute best, but that doesn't
mother/child care. I remember being in an orphanage in the north
past winter and the aunties were so proud of how they had 6-8
layers of
clothes and blankets on every baby to keep them warm. They were
swaddled so
tight that they couldn't move, but it was freezing in the
orphanage and so
the aunties wanted the babies to stay as warm as possible. What
alternative did they have? It really was freezing there..I was
cold in my
wool coat, so the babies couldn't be up and about with just 1-2
layers on,
with the ability to move their arms and legs. To stay warm they
had to be
immobile, and so of course all of those kids have weak muscle
tone. But
the aunties were truly trying their best, and when a parent is
one of
those beautiful children on adoption day, I am sure they will go
back to
their room with concern and say "she can't sit up by
can't put
weight on her legs". That is absolutely the truth, but she also
10 degree weather in a very cold province and she will catch up
with parents to encourage her.

To not acknowledge that living in orphanage circumstances can
cause lower
body weights, low muscle tone, inability to make good eye
contact is very
sad to me. Can it be overcome? Most definitely! The one thing I
learned over and over again about the kids in China is that they
fighters and survivors. But for some reason, people seem to want
to ignore
these issues in public forums.

Recently, one of our medical babies that we had met several
times in
was adopted, and we all knew that this child was a "spitfire".
When the
family arrived and spent a few days with her, they decided she
was too
of a handful for them and they wanted to disrupt. She absolutely
was not
what they expected. When they called their agency, they were
told they had
two choices: adopt the child, bring her to the US, and change
expectations of what they were hoping for, or adopt the child,
her to
the US and the agency would have a family waiting at the airport
to adopt
her locally. Option three of leaving the child in China was
never once
given. I admire that agency so much, as they were thinking of
child and
the child alone. The family followed through with the adoption
and handed
the little girl to a new family upon her arrival in the US. As
and tragic and emotional as it was for everyone involved...I
still feel
this was the right decision for the agency to make. It was done
in the
absolute best interest of the child, who had waited a long, long
for a
family. I wish more agencies would advocate for the rights of
the child,
instead of always seeming to give in to the parents, especially
in those
cases when they know with absolute certainty that nothing is
wrong with the child. Recently with another disruption, the
agency I spoke
with told me that it was "easier" to just get the family a new
Sometimes easier does not equal right. The first baby who was
rejected has
now been labeled "mentally challenged" even though the agency
knew the
was really going to be okay.

I think all of us, who do realize that delays occur and that
babies can
usually overcome them, should be these children's advocates by
trying to educate new parents on what to expect in China. By
helping them
be better prepared, we just might help stop a disruption in the
future. I
love Chinese adoption with my whole heart, and it is my life's
work..but I
also want every family who goes to get their baby to go with
eyes open
and to be as emotionally prepared as possible, for the child's

Amy E"