That has become my mantra since this story broke last Thursday. One thing we were told when we started the adoption process was to "expect the unexpected." Our home study agency social worker told us that several times during our interviews, but at the time, we didn't fully understand how true that statement would become in our own adoption journey. But God is still the same God that called us to this journey. God has been with us the entire way and he's not leaving us now. So when I first heard the story and the potential impact it would have on all American adoptions of foreign children, my initial reaction was to panic. "NO GOD! YOU CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN! NOT AFTER WHAT WE'VE ALREADY BEEN THROUGH. I DON'T THINK I CAN TAKE ANOTHER DISAPPOINTMENT." But through prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit, I've been reassured. God is telling me, "No panicking allowed. I've got this. Remain in me and everything will be o.k." You see, God is not shocked by the recent developments. He knew this would be a part of our journey when we started. He also knew that if we relied on him, nothing could steal our joy or cause us to lose faith. So by faith, we are moving forward and we will not be shaken. God is our rock. He's solid. We don't have to be shaken by anything as long as we are standing on him. Praise God for his faithfulness!
Some things to remember about Russian adoptions. First of all, this story is not the norm. Most children adopted from Russia into American families have a happy outcome. This story has brought up 10-15 other stories of negative outcomes where children were abused and even killed by adoptive parents. It horrific to think that this could happen to any child. Especially given that families are provided with great support systems once they return to the U.S. All agencies provide follow-up and offer assistance to families that have difficulty adjusting with their adoptive children. Sadly, a few adoptions end up disrupting and the parents relinquish custody of the children because they are not equipped to handle their emotional and behavioral needs. But there are appropriate steps that these parents can take to do so. Putting a child on a plane back to their home country is ludicrous.
Secondly, any child who has lived in an orphanage or institution are likely to have difficulty bonding with their adoptive families initially. Bonding issues are to be expected and agencies do everything they can to prepare you for these issues during the home study process. Adoption and home study agencies provide resources and support for bonding difficulties after placement. Most adopted children adapt and develop a healthy bond with their adoptive parents and other family members. I'm trying NOT to comment too much on the mom who started all this mess, but I will say, as a mental health professional who has worked with children adopted from other countries (and who often had attachment and bonding issues), that six months is not enough time to expect a child adopted from an orphanage to bond with their adoptive family. While it is true that some children bond more quickly than others, in the grand scheme of things, six months is a relatively short period of time. For every three months that a child is in an orphanage, you can expect one month of delay in all areas of development (emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioral). So to expect a child to change seven years' worth of delay in six months is very unrealistic.
In case you would like to keep up with the latest developments, here are the links to the two websites that are dependable for accurate, up-to-date information. Remember, the media is not the most reliable source for information. :) I've had to watch the news cautiously in the past few days because I know that Satan can discourage me through all the sensationalized reporting. Please keep praying for a swift and positive outcome so that the families waiting to adopt Russian children can get their children home as soon as possible.
Joint Council on International Children's Services
Joint Council Blog