A friend recently sent me a link to an article that appeared in a British newspaper. My friend told me she had heard this paper was the equivalent of the Enquirer in America, so consider the source when you read the article. However, if even half of this story is factual, many of us will relate to the plight of this woman—and this child.
This is the story of a single mom who adopted a 7-year-old girl from the foster care system in England. The mom has a biological daughter whose father is from Tanzania. A Tanzanian girl was sent by her biological family to live with an uncle, but the placement fell apart and the child entered the system. The single mom, drawn to the girl’s ethnicity and plight, brought her into her home with the intentions of creating a happy family unit. Alas, it didn’t work out that way …
The mom sensed “a barrier” between her and the child from the very beginning. The child had a mom in Tanzania, never mind the fact that the mom had shipped her off while still keeping a more favored daughter in the family. The child was waiting for her biological family to come fetch her home. It didn’t happen—wasn’t going to happen. But the child still held out hope.
Eventually, the placement disrupted. There was no mention of support services for this mom—just platitudes from the placing agency. The headline of the article is a killer—I didn’t like my adopted daughter so I gave her back. Can we crucify this mom just a little more? I didn’t even bother to read the comments … I know what they will say.
This story is incredibly parallel to my story of Cindy, the Philippino girl we attempted to add to our family in the mid-90’s. Her birthmom had sold her twice, but Cindy returned home like a homing pigeon. Birthmom had another daughter—Cindy’s half-sister—and birthmom was fond of saying, “I love your sister because I loved her dad—I didn’t like your dad!” When we attempted to incorporate Cindy into our family, she made it abundantly clear that she already had a mom. She both loved and hated Stephanie, because Steph was about the same age as Cindy’s sister in the Philippines. She told our church choir director that she had come to America to “get an education.” She wanted a place to land, but the family was not included in her plans. She made no effort to do the work necessary to become part of our family and the placement disrupted.
This also fits with the many conversations I have had this week with Dora about making a decision to “love the one you’re with.” This article about this British mom is so sad … and so is the fact that her birth daughter suffered as well. It is all too familiar, is it not?