[blindkid] Adoption from China

Heather craney07 at rochester.rr.com
Fri Feb 12 07:50:55 UTC 2010

I know you don't mean to sound harsh.  The reason I am so concerned about 
multiple disabilities is two fold.  For one thing a deaf blind child I could 
not do, period.  I know their intelligence can range from prefoundly 
retarded to amazingly bright, just like any other person, but I do not think 
that I could give all potential children, biological, foster or adopted 
enough attention if I had to go over and make physical contact to read signs 
and sign back for every single need and communication the deaf blind child 
would have.  Additionally, a child with a significant mental disability 
would pose a problem, because I am an attachment parent who is going to home 
school and the state does not mind this, as long as your child makes 
appropriate grades during state evaluations, but I know that a child with 
mild mental retardation, note not a learning disability, that I could handel 
as a special education major, but cognative delays, would be too time 
intensive for me to effectively home school any other children, and even if 
the mental delay was documented and properly diagnosed, I am sure the state 
would use such to push the issue of a blind parent not being compitant to 
home school her own children.  Some people, not you, but some people, would 
call me, and have called me selfish, narrow minded, etc, but I am realistic, 
and knowing what one can and cannot handel is a very responsible and wise 
thing.  For instance, I know I am a damn good musician, but I also know that 
auditioning at the Met. would only be an embarrassment and a disappointment. 
I am good, but I am not that good.  I know that I am a great dog handler and 
trainer and that if push came to shuv I could owner train a guide dog for my 
self, but I also know that, at present, I don't have the time or the energy. 
My thinking about a severly multiply handicapped child are along those lines 
of realism and fairness to myself, my family and any potentially adopted 
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "holly miller" <hollym12 at gmail.com>
To: "NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)" 
<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 12:51 PM
Subject: Re: [blindkid] Adoption from China

> You pose a good question Heather.
> The short answer is just like a child you give birth to, when you adopt a
> child there are no guarantees as to what issues you might end up dealing
> with.  A person definitely needs to go into this being wiling to take a 
> leap
> of faith and be prepared to deal with whatever may come.  There's no 
> factory
> warranty.  I hope this doesn't sound harsh, I don't mean it to be.  I'm
> thrilled when someone chooses international adoption but I'd never 
> criticize
> someone who doesn't.  We all have to make the choices that work for our 
> own
> family and it's important to understand and be realistic about all the
> factors before making those choices.  Domestic adoption doesn't come with
> any guarantees either and has it's own unique pitfalls but in most cases
> you'd be able to meet the child and draw your own conclusions before you
> commit, that might be an option to explore.
> For the longer answer, I can only speak about the China adoption program, 
> I
> am not well versed in adoptions from other countries. China is considered 
> a
> very stable & "safe" country to adopt from a paperwork/process point of
> view.  The rules and fees are clearly stated up front and are applied
> consistently.  While there can be some horror stories dredged up on the
> internet, overall there are very few surprises when it comes to the 
> process
> itself.
> The information about the children is controlled by China, not the
> individual adoption agencies.  The files on the children are prepared by 
> the
> orphanage staff and then filtered through the central adoption office in
> China run by the government. Those files are then distributed randomly to
> the various agencies in the US.  As far as the quality of information 
> about
> a child, it's pretty much consistent across all agencies.  Meaning that no
> one agency gets better information than another.  There are occasions 
> where
> an extra nugget of information turns up through someone visiting the
> orphanage or other back channels but that's hit or miss, not something 
> that
> can be counted on.  You absolutely should research any agency carefully, 
> get
> personal referrals, compare fees etc.  Doing an internet search will find
> you lots of blogs & message boards. There are good agencies & bad agencies
> but that has more to do with their business practices than the types of
> children they place.
> Generally speaking, China does not offer children up for adoption that are
> known to have a severe mental disability.  The key word though is known.
> Things do slip through the cracks, both for mental and medical issues.
> Medical exams are cursory. The quality of staff (and care) varies greatly
> from one orphanage to another. The person compiling the report may be a
> qualified social worker or may be a layperson checking off boxes.   Some
> organic conditions may not be apparent at a very young age and the files 
> are
> put together several months or even over a year before a potential parent
> reads them.  It may be another year before you bring that child home.  A 
> lot
> can change in that time and you won't necessarily receive updated
> information.  Even if the child does not have an organic brain issue, you
> have to consider the emotional effect being raised in an institutional
> setting can have.  Different kids have different levels of resiliency but 
> I
> dare say no child comes through entirely unscathed.  Virtually all 
> children
> will have delays in comparison to their homegrown peers, simply from lack 
> of
> opportunity.
> For us personally, Hank's file said his eyesight was normal.  He had never
> had an actual eye exam, this was based on the observations of whoever 
> filled
> out the forms. I don't think there was any deception involved, I think the
> person filing out the forms honestly didn't realize he was visually
> impaired. Most likely they didn't know anything about Albinism except that
> it makes his skin & hair white.  He is legally blind but he developed very
> good coping skills for himself.  I can understand the casual observer not
> realizing he has vision problems especially since he was a toddler at the
> time his file was created. We knew going in he had Albinism and I had done
> enough research to know his vision had to be impacted in some way.  If we
> had gone by the report alone, we would have had a big surprise.
> We did have a little scare when we were in the paperwork process.  A 
> parent
> who had visited the orphanage contacted us to say they had seen Hank (he's
> easy to spot in a crowd!) and he was grouped in the room with the kids 
> that
> did have mental disabilities.  They didn't get to interact with him but 
> they
> wanted us to know they were concerned that it was apparent these kids were
> segregated from the more typical children and Hank was in with that group.
> Obviously we went forward anyway but it did cause concern and there was no
> way to get clarification.  Turns out Hank has no cognitive issues, in fact
> he's exceptionally bright.  Why was he in that group of kids?  I can't 
> know
> for sure but I have a hunch it's more of a statement to the cultural 
> beliefs
> about Albinism more than anything about Hank's abilities.
> He does have emotional scars from his upbringing. He was almost 6 when we
> adopted him and he came from a place that no child should be subjected to
> for even a day. That is a bigger impact on our day to day life than him
> being blind.  Even though I did my homework, even though I spent lots of
> time talking to the been there, done that crowd, his emotional issues were 
> a
> lot harder to handle than I ever imagined.  Is he a great kid?  Yes!  Do I
> love him with every fiber of my being? Absolutely!  I don't regret 
> adopting
> him for a second but I've got to say, I wouldn't have thought I was strong
> enough to handle this before I actually had to handle it.  Then I think
> about how strong he had to be just to survive to the point he could be
> adopted and it stops me in my tracks.  He is an incredible child.  I know
> every mother thinks that but there's something about this kid.  People are
> drawn to him.  Even at NFB functions, I can introduce myself and get that
> kind of blank "who is this lady?" smile.  Then I say "I'm Hank's mom..." 
> and
> I get "OH!!!!  I love Hank!!!!"
> Ok, I think I've rambled on enough!
> I hope all of this is taken in the spirit intended and I'm happy to 
> clarify
> anything the best I can.
> Holly
> aka Hank's mom
> On Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 11:40 AM, Heather <craney07 at rochester.rr.com> 
> wrote:
>> I have always been interested in how one might go about adopting a blind 
>> or
>> VI child from another country, but doing so and being sure that the child 
>> is
>> blind only, without mental retardation could be difficult, especially if 
>> the
>> child is quite young, has been abused or neglected, or if the agency lies 
>> to
>> move the child out of the program.  In your opinion and experience, are
>> there opportunities out there, perhaps with the agency you mentioned, to
>> adopt blind children, for whom blindness is their only disability, or 
>> where
>> the system will be up front about the number, type and degree of special
>> needs?  Adopting is a wonderful thing to do, and I, as a blind parent, of 
>> a
>> blind mother and sighted father, feel that I could offer something 
>> special
>> to a blind child in need of a family, some time in the future. 
>> Thoughts??
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