Saturday, October 10, 2009

Family Needs Help

Please click here and think of anyone you know who might be able to help this family. It is a desperate and devastating position to be in.

My family adopted Genea from a disruption. As most know, she was originally adopted from Ukraine as a toddler. I think, in my opinion and not having been there, that there was very little hope for that adoption in the first place. The family sought help from every resource available. In the short span of one year she had seen 5 medical doctors who were unable to determine what was causing her problems. Therapists and counselors. Her problems being that she wailed for hours on end and would then dissociate for hours on end. Having seen her dissociate, I can say with authority that it is extremely frightening. She becomes almost catatonic. If you were to pick up her arm for example, and let go, it would flop back down as if she were sleeping. But she wasn't. Her eyes would be open but she was not seeing and she would not move. Then she stopped growing. Initially upon arrival to the United States, she grew rapidly the first 6 months or so. Then across the next year, she stopped growing. When we met her she was 4 years old and the same height as Teena. She was just under 30 inches tall and had been wearing the same shoes for 2 years.

She was diagnosed with several different medical conditions. The family was primarily blamed for being bad parents. I don't know if they were or not but I think they were probably as good as most people would have been. Genea's body had burned out it's ability to produce stress hormone and she had to be on strict medication. No one knows what caused it and it is extremely rare, especially in children. Any physical injury had to be dealt with as a life or death possibility. If she became sick and vomited, we had to inject her with medication to counter the stress to her body. There were many different doses for different injuries or illnesses.

There were many other factors that led to the disruption of her adoption, those things are the tip of the tip of the iceburg. I can tell you this, I have about 20 years of experience in human services. I worked in a group home for severely and profoundly developmentally disabled adults just released from life long institutionalization. I worked with juvenile offenders. I worked in another group home for young girls (5-12) who had been specifically sexually abused (other abuses as well but this was a treatment home). They had all been in therapeutic foster homes and this group home was the stop before long term hospitalization. I worked doing autism treatment with young children, ages 2-12. I did what is called intensive in-home psychotherapy with severely emotionally disturbed children and teenagers. I went to the child's house to work with the family for 6 to 8 hours a week.

Genea's problems still knocked me out. And for a good 6..... 8.... 12 months I lived upside down and inside out. It is not and was not her fault, however it is a fact. We met Genea as a 'turtle'. She was withdrawn and clinically depressed. She rarely spoke and did not make a sound when she cried. We met with her and the other family many times and did a transition over about 4 weeks. Heavily monitered by the adoption agency and our therapist, we did everything by the book as far as the optimal plan goes. Well, I'll probably never know why, but the day she moved in with us she turned into a mountain lion and has been that way ever since. And rest assured, she makes noise when she cries.

That's just a little bit of our story. Hopefully if anyone was feeling judgemental, it might make you think again or at least get another perspective.

So I wish all the best for the Watching the Waters family, every single member!


  1. Thank you for posting this link and for sharing your story... we know of several families that have adopted from disruptions, and have seen that the children often do better under different circumstances.. and that the kids CAN be just as loved by another family.. this gives us such hope as we look to the future.

  2. It is amazing the progress Genea has made at your house.

    Helping a child who is at the end of help is an amazing thing. I am not sure how you managed it. Are you still in touch with her initial family? I'm sure they must both feel grateful and glad, as well as profoundly guilty and failed. But, it is such a good thing G. was "re-homed". Those people might have been blamed for her failure to thrive and eventual demise. It is frightening to think.

    How is your husband with all of this?

  3. People who judge are ignorant. Not stupid, just ignorant. They have absolutely no idea what someone else has lived. What their reality is. Judging someone comes out of fear that they could be in that same situation and not be able to handle it, so they tell themselves that it must be the parent's fault. I wish we could take in that sweet boy but we have younger kids. I am totally open to adopting from a disruption!

  4. You were what she needed. There is someone out there that can be what that little boy needs.
    The whole thing just makes me sad. I feel so badly for that family.

  5. Good post..I hope people think twice before judging this family too. Im giving you an award, go get it.

  6. We adopted our youngest - Bucksquat in 2008 from a disruption. Before his home disrupted he was in a few psych hospitals. After his adoptive home disrupted - he went to a very experienced foster home and that disrupted too...He then went to residential treatment. On a visit with his sister (whom we had in foster care) we fell in love with him. It has been a challenging and blessed experience for us all...I am feeling hopeful for Corey - and You and Me and the other families and children touched by disruption...


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