More of a who is right.....adopted daughter

(135 Posts)
MmmPercyPigs Mon 01-Oct-12 18:04:24

Two of my colleagues have recently had a big falling out. We are in an expat community in a Russian speaking country and colleague A (America) has recently adopted a daughter from Russia. Her DD is nearly 3 years old, and seems to be a lovely girl.

Colleague B is Canadian but of local heritage. She is furious, because colleague A has changed the girl's name (from a very obviously Russian name to a more 'Western' name) and colleague A has forbidden her nanny to speak in Russian to the girl (the girl speaks no English). Colleague B voiced her objections and the two have fallen out.

I don't really have an opinion on it, but I was interested in hearing a few more point of views.....

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 23:22:42

"It's strange how people with more knowledge are just getting stroppy about alternative opinions without offering an explanation as to why stopping a small child from being able to communicate is the best idea."

Because if I were to address every single opinion on this thread that I have a different perspective on then I'd be typing all night and I seem to be pissing off enough people as it is.

BTW - my 3 year old didn't speak until he was 2.5yrs - do you think he wasn't communicating for the previous few years?

Devora Mon 01-Oct-12 23:23:31

The thing is, most posters have said stuff that is generally common sense, but common sense isn't always fine-tuned to what is really necessary in this kind of adoption. And we don't have enough detailed information to judge properly (sad - I do love a good judging session).

This is the post that most bugged me: The name thing is a biggie for me, a name is such an important personal thing and I personally don't think that A has the (moral) right to change it. It is article 7 of the UN convention on the rights of the child that every child has the right to a name. It seems really sad to me that A seems to want to remove any trace of this child's history. LOADS of assumptions there, and a blanket condemnation of those of us have assumed the moral right to change our children's names.

Then, worse, this: There is a scary number of adopted children handed back as their adopted parents (however well-meaning) have no idea how difficult it can be taking on a traumatised child and think that 'love' will sort everything out. Unfortunately in many cases it takes a lot more than that. Oh really? How big is that scary number? Armies of well-meaning adopters, thinking that love is enough? I would truly love to see the evidence for that.

Maryz has had some stick for suggesting that some posters may not be, er, fully informed, and of course everybody has a right to their opinion on anything. But adoptive parents do have to endure an awful lot of being told what's what by uninformed people, so occasionally we may get a little arsey about it.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 01-Oct-12 23:25:26

Because you don't know anyone is stopping anyone to communicate

You are right. I don't know that anyone is stopping anyone from being Abel to communicate. They may have another system of communication that isn't the child's mother tounge that could be working perfectly well.

But even if they do, especially considering that they are still living in the same country that the child was born in, it seems bizzare to me to forbid the child's carer to speak to her in her own language.

I have asked what the reasons might be for that. I haven't been given any suggestions for possible answers. So until i find myself in colleague As situation, I will continue to think its bizarre.

honeytea Mon 01-Oct-12 23:26:57

but I also feel there's no harm in me saying that the theoretical chat you are having might bear no resemblance to the reality you are trying to discuss.

But you have no idea about how much knowledge and personal experience I have of international adoption do you? You just assume it's none because you disagree with my opinions.

BitOutOfPractice Mon 01-Oct-12 23:29:15

I think no matter what you think of a colleague's (colleague, not even a relative or a close friend) you are on a hiding to nothing if you try and interfere in their patenting. It will never, ever end well

BitOutOfPractice Mon 01-Oct-12 23:29:48

Parenting obv. Not patenting

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 23:31:15

honeytea - not every remark I made was aimed personally at things you said. I can safely assume that many of the posters on here have no experience of intercountry adoption because its clear from their comments. I have no recollection of specifically what you said even though you seem to think my generic you was aimed in the first person singular at you!

MrSunshine Mon 01-Oct-12 23:35:11

"But even if they do, especially considering that they are still living in the same country that the child was born in, it seems bizzare to me to forbid the child's carer to speak to her in her own language."

If you are going to base your thoughts on the scant third hand accounts in the OP, at least read it. They aren't living in the same country that the child was born into, the child is from Russia and they are in a Russian speaking country, ergo a different country.

And it might seem bizarre to you but Maryz has already explained to you a very good reason for it.

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 23:36:43

"I have asked what the reasons might be for that. I haven't been given any suggestions for possible answers. So until i find myself in colleague As situation, I will continue to think its bizarre."

Colleague A might only be posted to the country for another year (or even less) and be more concerned with the child having functional English before another move to another country cuts off all verbal communication possible with any carer.

Paretn A might indeed be worried about child overly attaching to nanny and be reducing reliance on nanny.

The majority of children adopted intercountry are adopted by people who are not fluent in their birth language and most learn to communicate very quickly - as you presumably know.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 01-Oct-12 23:41:53

As an adopted person myself, I am more concerned about them having a nanny.
I would imagine poor kid had enough in their short life and need mum and dad, not a nanny. Grrrrrrr angry

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 23:42:00

honeysea - I'm totally confused as you have quite clearly said you have an intercountry adopted sibling so I'm not sure why you would think I would accuse you personally of having no experience confused

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 23:44:00

morethan - I would agree with you if I had more information about how long the child has been adopted for and how much time she spends with the nanny to the exclusion of the parents.

BlueSkySinking Mon 01-Oct-12 23:44:51

I think giving the child a new name and keeping the old name as a middle name could be good, if it adds another strong connection between the new mother and child. I do however believe that the nanny should be able to speak in her native language so that the child grows up aware of her background.

honeytea Mon 01-Oct-12 23:49:08

I felt that that my opinion was nit regarded because I'm nit an adoptive parent myself (although internatinal adoption was our first option over paid IVF attempts after tge free cycles so I have looked into international adoption lots)

I realise I was being egotistical I'm sorry.

DameKewcumber Tue 02-Oct-12 00:05:55

I'm sorry too honey - it's difficult not to get personally involved in something that is personal to you isn't it? Take heart that you have not been categorised as a group of well-meaning parents who have a scary propensity to give their children back.

achillea Tue 02-Oct-12 00:11:55

^As an adopted person myself, I am more concerned about them having a nanny.
I would imagine poor kid had enough in their short life and need mum and dad, not a nanny. Grrrrrrr^

That's how I see it too. Over here it is unlikely that you would be able to adopt and have a nanny, usually you have to share childcare between parents and that's it, at least in the first year or two. A friend of mine had to do this.

DameKewcumber Tue 02-Oct-12 00:23:32

out of interest achillea, where is "over here"? countries vary quite dramatically in what is considered normal adoption practice.

Maryz Tue 02-Oct-12 08:18:45

Outraged, I gave you reasons why they might not want the nanny speaking English right up at the top of the thread.

I said "Because the most important thing is the relationship between the child and her new parents - and talking English to her will help her to learn English".

The only times I have criticised people's opinions on this thread is when they are judging without any seeming understanding of the difficulties the parents and the child will be having in the early months/years of this type of adoption.

It is tough, building a relationship within a new family. All adoptive parents muddle along to a certain extent at first, and add the age of the child, the language barrier, them all being in a strange country and it becomes particularly difficult.

I am answering the "who is being unreasonable" from the op and to me the answer is pretty clear - colleague B is being unreasonable because third parties sticking their noses in is one thing that is guaranteed NOT to help.

MmmPercyPigs Tue 02-Oct-12 17:44:05

Gosh - really sorry I didn't make it back last night - had some RL to deal with.

I am honestly not either A or B.

To answer a few questions: A does not speak any Russian, and is not learning. She is also a single Mother, and works full time. The nanny comes 0700-1700 during the week. I do know that she is planning to leave the country in June, and move somewhere else.

B speaks the language.

Some really interesting opinions here....

gimmecakeandcandy Tue 02-Oct-12 18:54:08

She has just adopted a child and she leaves that child with a nanny from 7-5?

Words fail me.

MmmPercyPigs Tue 02-Oct-12 19:04:09

Sorry - and she adopted her DD in July.

DameKewcumber Tue 02-Oct-12 20:47:10

yes gimme ,child would be much better off in a Russian institution 24/7 than in a loving family with a nanny. There's such a long queue of people waiting to adopt children over 2 from Russian orphanages they really should have waited and chosen a more perfect parent.

It's much more common for American working women to take very little maternity leave because there is very little available - maximum is 12 weeks and that has lots of restrictions and can be unpaid.

She might well be the worlds most shit parent or the most perfect or (most likely somewhere in between) . But children without families need them as soon as possible and as I suspected she isn't staying in a Russian speaking country then her main priority I suspect is not maintaining her russian but learning English and bonding with her mother. Whether she has chosen the right way to do that or not is impossible to judge without knowing both parent and child pretty well and certainly it isn't ideal losing your birth language. However nothing when you adopt a child from an institution is "ideal", much of it is pretty shitty. You lurch exhausted through a million different decisions which pretty much all have to be dealt with immediately - food issues and sleep issues and attachment and self soothing mechanisms and inadequate potty training in a child too big for nappies etc etc and you don't have the luxury of waiting until your child is weaned or walking or talking because it all hits you at once on the first day you become a parent. She's probably making a better fist of being a parent than either birth parents did or a rotation of about 8 carers did.

But if anyone (including colleague B) thinks colleague A is doing it so wrong - then knock yourself out and give it a go yourself. Really do, because its a wonderful thing to do. But bloody hard.

BEsides which I didn't say it before because it wasn't really the point but I wouldn't worry too much about non-english speaking nanny not talking to the child in Russian - what language do you think she's using 10 hours a day - french? Italian? English? Or Russian?

goosegooseduck Tue 02-Oct-12 20:52:15

i was thinking that kewcumber...i bet nanny is speaking Russian to little girl...it would be so hard not to

KitchenandJumble Tue 02-Oct-12 21:39:01

It's a shame that the parent didn't bother to learn any Russian, especially given her circumstances (living in a country with many Russian speakers). Although many adoptive parents choose to learn very little of their child's native language (or none at all), I personally believe it is very much in the child's best interests if the new parents can communicate in the language the child has heard all his/her life. We are a bilingual family, and I learned the second language (Russian, as it happens) as an adult. It is entirely possible to achieve a high degree of proficiency in a second language later in life. And of course, it is even easier to learn some basic words and phrases that can help ease the child's transition and in fact promote the attachment process. I would imagine in this case, the mother has no expectations of maintaining the child's native language, which is a shame, IMO.

As for having a nanny, I would imagine the adoptive mother doesn't have a choice if she needs to work. Although many people advise "cocooning" with a newly adopted child during the first weeks and months, it isn't always possible. I live in the U.S. and know quite a few families whose children had to go straight into some form of childcare when they were newly home. In nearly all cases, everything was fine, since the parents were very aware of issues surrounding bonding and attachment. The Family and Medical Leave Act in the U.S. allows for 12 weeks of leave after the birth or adoption of a child, but this is unpaid leave. Many people cannot afford to take the full amount of time (draconian U.S. laws, grrr).

OttillieRidiculous Wed 03-Oct-12 19:35:01

A little girl has got a mummy ... absolutely bloody wonderful if you ask me!

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