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.....

TheHeirOfSlytherin Mon 01-Oct-12 18:08:09

I agree with colleague B. Just because this girl is adopted doesn't mean her start in life didn't happen, and if you live in a Russian speaking country why on earth wouldn't you want your dc to speak the language!
And also, her name is her name! At 3 she is too old for someone to change her name.

How confusing it all must be for her, poor thing! sad

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 18:08:44

Nobody's business but the parents hmm.

Exactly as if the girl was born to them - any parent can change their child's name if they want to.

Colleague B needs to butt out. 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.

My one worry is the presence of a "nanny" - I hope the girl's primary attachment is to her new mum and dad and not the nanny.

But either way, it is absolutely nothing to do with anyone else, and if I was colleague A I would have nothing whatsoever to do with colleague B if I could possibly avoid it.

Bigwheel Mon 01-Oct-12 18:10:07

As the child is 3 and not a baby I agree with colleague b. I might be tempted to try and introduce a nickname for her though. Surely being able to speak Russian or any other language is an advantage. She'll pick up English soon enough anyway living in an ex pat community.

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 18:10:21

In fact, I suspect banning the nanny from speaking russian is to stop her primary attachment being with the nanny. It is time enough later to talk to her in Russian and teach her about her heritage.

Anyone who knows nothing about adoption will of course disagree with me. But I bet if you posted this in adoption, the vast majority of adopters would agree.

whatsforyou Mon 01-Oct-12 18:20:51

B seems way over the top but I do think she's right. Whatever happened to this little girl to warrant her being adopted was probably quite traumatic and it is difficult enough for adopted children to settle into their new families without the added pressure of a new name and a language you don't understand. 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 sad
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. Really hopes this works out for the best.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Mon 01-Oct-12 18:35:55

You shouldn't change a child's name just because they are adopted. It is their name. English sounding nickname might be fine but that needs to develop. I would also be a bit sad to think that this girl has someone in her life she can talk to in her native language and that person is banned from speaking to her in this language. I agree with B. It may not be her business and all that but it takes a village.

x2boys Mon 01-Oct-12 18:37:10

years ago i visited my friend who was au pairing for a family in amerca there kids had benn adopted from russia at aboutv 2and four when i visited they were 9and eleven they did nt speak russian any more but then thy were living i massachaucetts?/sp however as delightful as the kids were they appeared to have anxiety problems and been seemingly been brought up by a sereis of au pairs not sure why the parents adopted them as they seemed to have little to do with them maybe they just thought they should have kids as thats what you do!

honeytea Mon 01-Oct-12 18:38:11

I think Colleague B needs to but out of it really, it is ok to have an opinion but it is not ok to voice it unless asked in situations like this.

I do feel worried that the child is recently adopted and has a nanny. Maybe the parents could use some russian words with their child and slowly stop using them as their dd becomes more confident in English.

I would wonder what sort of school they will send their dd to, if they opt for an international school and they only speak English at home I personally feel like it would be wrong for them to take the opertunity of keeping hold of the russian language from their daughter. I think it would be very difficult to be adopted in a country where your first language is spoken and be absorbed into a community that was outside that culture. I feel like any strong ex pat community is in a way damaging to the children, I won't be sending my kids to an English speaking school unless the specifically ask.

As for name changing, I think it depends on the name, if it ment something rude in English or it was not an easy name to say then I'd think fair enough but if it was just to identify her as being part of the ex pat community then I think it is a little unfair. I have an adopted sibling who changed her name back to their birth name as an adult, at 3 a child recognises their name and maybe an anglo nick name would be more appropriate.

These are just my opinions and I wouldn't tell a new adoptive parents this unless they asked for my advice.

Congrats to your friend!

KitchenandJumble Mon 01-Oct-12 19:17:35

Many issues here. There is considerable debate in the adoption community about the advisability of changing a child's name. I know many people who have adopted from Russia, and most of them changed their children's names. Personally, I am opposed to doing this if a child is old enough to have a sense of identity, and a 3-year-old is certainly well aware of his/her name. (As an aside, some of the people I know didn't even bother to learn how to pronounce their new child's Russian name properly. I think this is frankly appalling.)

As for the nanny, Maryz raises a good point about ensuring the primary attachment will be to the parents. At the same time, it seems odd that the parents don't want their child to maintain her native language. Growing up bilingual is always an advantage, and I would have thought it to be especially beneficial in a community of Russian speakers. If the child loses her first language while gaining a new one (subtractive bilingualism), there are some serious drawbacks to consider as well. It would be perfectly possible to maintain the first language and work on attachment to the adoptive parents.

Adopting a child from another culture is a true balancing act. Unfortunately, I know far too many people who are ill informed about the country of their children's heritage. Many of them seem to want to erase their children's early years entirely. Or worse, they say unbelievably negative things about that country and culture. I can only imagine the conflicts that must set up in the children's minds, especially as they get older and begin to question their identity and place in the family and the world.

Lilka Mon 01-Oct-12 19:45:20

Colleague B needs to butt out. She is welcome to have her own private opinions but sharing them is insensitive

But seriously, most adoptive parents do not just make decisions on a whim about names, language etc etc. Whatever decisions Colleague A has made, I suspect were made afer much careful and considered thought, and were what Colleague A considers to be in her childs best interests. It isn't nice to have your very carefully thought out (sometimes very difficult) decisions questionned by people with no experience of it whatsoever

I would think that given they are still in a majority Russian speaking country, the child is not going to lose all their Russian language. School, preschool, friends etc. It's not quite the same as adopting a child and bringing them to an English speaking country. But she does need to learn English somehow

Having a nanny may be a necessaity for them. I think it's easy to forget (I mean for us in the UK and other western european countries) that other people do not get good maternity/adoption leave. I speak with American adopters and foster carers online (living in the US) and many of them can only take days to a couple of weeks off before their child goes to daycare for a large part of the day. A nanny may have advantages, given it keeps the child within the safety and familiarity of the new home rather than putting them in another entirely new environment

Naming is no black and white issue, and we recently had quite a long discussion on it over on the adoptions board, which you could read if you were interested in the issue

Teapot13 Mon 01-Oct-12 19:59:35

If a child is being raised in a Russian-speaking country but in an English-speaking family, it is normal for the parents to want her to speak English at home. The Russian will take care of itself. Lots of bilingual families do the "minority language at home" method.

That being said, I don't know whether it is too much for a 3yr old to be put in a new family, given a new name, and expected to speak a new language all at once. I just don't know enough about adoption to say. But I kind of doubt the judging colleague does, either.

CrapBag Mon 01-Oct-12 19:59:39

Nothing to do with colleague B. Not their DD so they should mind their own business. Certainly shouldn't be falling out about it.

Are you one of them OP?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 01-Oct-12 20:06:18

I agree with colleague B. she is right in what she is saying, but that domestic give her the right to say it. She would be better off putting her complaint to the adoption agency who have allowed a child to go to people that won't allow a three year old to speak her own language. sad

I work in Early years, and we have to allow children the opportunity to acknowledge their heritage if they are EAL.

honeytea Mon 01-Oct-12 20:09:19

The Russian will take care of itself. Lots of bilingual families do the "minority language at home" method

They do, infact in my experience a home and school language split is the best option for bilingual kids. I wonder if the parents will choose to send their DC to a russian speaking school, from the desire to change her name it sounds like they are trying hard to make the child as English as possible. If the child goes to an ENglish speaking school there is a high chance that she will forget Russian entirely.

KitchenandJumble Mon 01-Oct-12 20:20:24

The Russian will only take care of itself if the child goes to a Russian-language nursery or school or has consistent language input from others. However, it sounds from the OP that they live in an English-speaking expat enclave. Under those circumstances, it would be entirely possible for the child to lose her Russian. That would be a real shame.

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 20:24:34

ffs, the child has been with them how long exactly?

And already the parents are being assumed to have decided to "make the child as English as possible", to "now allow her to speak her own language" and not to "allow the child to acknowledge her heritage".

Just how do you all know this?

Maybe, just maybe, they have thought this through. They want to build up a strong bond with their own child. They want (quite rightly) to be the only ones to bond with her, to communicate with her, to make her comfortable in her new family.

Let them get on with it.

Unless of course, you are all experts on adoption and on attachment issues hmm

MrSunshine Mon 01-Oct-12 20:27:03

Agree with Maryz. Too many people with too little experience but big opinions nonetheless. hmm

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 20:29:39

And what Lilka said (as usual). I accept her point about the nanny as well - it isn't ideal to leave a newly adopted child with a nanny, but is a necessity if you have to work. In which case it is even more important for the child to know who is mum (and dad) and who is temporary nanny.

CaliforniaLeaving Mon 01-Oct-12 20:29:39

Whether we agree with Colleague B or not, it's really not her business to tell Colleague A how to run her family. She needs to butt out.
One of our local adoptive families adopted a 3 year old, and name changed, and kept the original name as a middle name. It was done for security reasons, as birth family are local and not stable. They changed it slowly over about 6 months, hasn't seemed to have any ill effects on the child.

KitchenandJumble Mon 01-Oct-12 20:40:05

I agree that it really is none of Colleague B's business. The decisions are entirely up to Colleague A. However, that does not mean that we should automatically agree with Colleague A or assume that all her actions are right. Since none of us (with the exception of the OP) know the people in question, it seems perfectly reasonable to discuss these issues in the abstract. And issues of identity and language/culture preservation are well worth pondering, IMO.

UserNameNotAvailable Mon 01-Oct-12 20:42:54

My main concern would be that the child can't communicate with the parents, unless the parents can understand Russian. Could she ask for a drink and be understood or be able to tell anyone she felt poorly etc. I remember being in Cyprus and we went out of the touristy parts and even trying to buy a can of baked beans was really hard and frustrating so god knows how his little girl feels.

Why can't she be raised bi-lingual? Surely that makes more sense especially for her circumstances atm.

I always feel a little ache in my heart for kids who are recently or waiting to be adopted sad

honeytea Mon 01-Oct-12 20:47:03

I have experience of ex-pat communities. Even if I was giving birth to a child in another country if I intended to send that child to school in that country I would give them either a first or sir name from the country they lived in.

I'd love for my baby to grow up with an english name and speak only english at home but I think for a birth child or an adopted child it is unfair to give them only your own culture when you live in another country.

As the child knows the nanny speaks and understands Russian she may well feel like she has done something wrong or the nanny is rejecting her when the nanny will not talk to her in Russian. I think it is one thing to get an only English speaking nanny but to get a native Russian speaking nanny to speak English is different. So much of our nurturing language comes from how our parents spoke to us, for example my Swedish is decent but I don't know nursery rhymes in Swedish I don't feel I can portray my emotions as well in Swedish.

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 20:49:17

But your last paragraph is a reason for talking to the child in English, surely, isn't it?

mirry2 Mon 01-Oct-12 20:53:00

I wasn't adopted but when i was about 6 my parents decided to change my name from a nickname I'd always been known by, to my actual name which I didn't know I had. I remeber that it was strange for a few days but after that it never bothered me in the slightest. What is strange now is reading letters and school reports of that time where I am refered to by another name.

honeytea Mon 01-Oct-12 20:58:44

But your last paragraph is a reason for talking to the child in English, surely, isn't it? It is a reason fo rthe parents to talk in English but not the Russian nanny.

If the nanny has the child 40 hours a week and the child is awake for maybe 12 hours a day the child would have a pretty even 50/50 split when it comes to languages, she would get the best of both worlds and would be gaining rather than losing a language.

Kayano Mon 01-Oct-12 21:05:47

I am always amazed at people who are not adopted or have not adopted a child getting all her up about what you should or should not do.

I'm adopted and my mum changed my name as I was named after my biological mum and she had a name that has special meaning for our situation.

I live the name I have got now

Just because you've changed your name or had it changed does not mean you can't be told all about your history and birth and talk about it at length.

A name change doesn't mean you delete a child's history... It can mean however that (in this case with a strong Russian name) that people are less likely to pry into your business and make assumptions and stop you being slapped in the face with that nagging reminder that you couldn't name your own child

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 21:23:59

No honey. That would be a disaster, because the child would bond with the Russian speaking nanny rather than the English speaking parents.

The very worst thing to happen to a child who has been adopted is to not form a strong bond with his or her parents, to attach to another adult who will ultimately leave them. I think that people with no experience of adoption don't have any understanding of attachment issues.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 01-Oct-12 21:27:29

I don't thnk you have to be an expert on adoption or attachment issues to know that forbidding a three year old to be spoken to in the only language she understands is going to cause the child upset. Which you would want to minimise surely?

Plenty of young children form a bond with their child carers. I can see why the parents might not want a very strong bond to form with someone who isn't them, but I think preventing a child to be spoken to in their own language is taking it too far.

The child could be taught English without having to forget Russian.

honeytea Mon 01-Oct-12 21:28:55

The child has a big chance of bonding with the nanny over the parents no matter what language she speaks if the nanny is there for a large amount of time?

I have adopted siblings so I wouldn't say I don't have any understanding of attachment issues

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 21:31:00

Yes, but surely they want to avoid her attaching to the nanny over the parents, so it is better for the nanny to not speak Russian to her at the beginning?

achillea Mon 01-Oct-12 21:36:12

You need to consider not 'who is right' but 'what is in the child's best interests'.

In the case of the name, it wouldn't do the child any harm to change her name but not allowing someone to speak russian to her is probably not in her best interests. She will be bewildered and upset and will need to be able to express her thoughts and needs to someone in her own language.

If you think the adoptive parent is not putting her daughter's best interests before her own you need to do something about it to protect the child.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 01-Oct-12 21:37:32

You probably know more about this than I do, so I'm asking a genuine question.

Is the need to avoid a nanny bonding more strongly than the parents worthy of preventing the child from understanding communication?

Because I just can't see it. I know what you are saying a bout the consequences of a strong bond forming and then the nanny leaving, but if the bond with the parents is also strong then it wouldn't be too devastating would it? Would it really be more devastating than what will come from not being allowed to communicate?

What they are doing sounds just like what was done to Aborigine and Native American children, before society knew better.

It sounds as though there is to much change to soon.

There will be attachment issues regardless of what language is spoken and not all may be overcome given the childs age.

The transition into the family should be done as gently as possible, but it isn't being done as it should.

What they are doing sounds just like what was done to Aborigine and Native American children, before society knew better.

It sounds as though there is to much change to soon.

There will be attachment issues regardless of what language is spoken and not all may be overcome given the childs age.

The transition into the family should be done as gently as possible, but it isn't being done as it should.

"Is the need to avoid a nanny bonding more strongly than the parents worthy of preventing the child from understanding communication"

No, it isn't and a child with attachment issues will make inappropriate attachments to any care giver.

KitchenandJumble Mon 01-Oct-12 21:42:07

Drat, I just lost a long message. The upshot of it was that the child has lost everyone and everything that is comforting and familiar to her. She is in an entirely new environment, with a new family speaking an incomprehensible language, in a different country, and has even been given a new name. She cannot possibly understand why this is happening to her. Moreover, she may well have experienced neglect, abuse, trauma. She probably spent time in a children's home, where the care may have been adequate but could never replace a loving family.

The child should not be responsible for all the adjustments here. At the very least, the parents should learn enough Russian to communicate with her on a basic level, especially during the first few months she is home. Familiar, comforting language can help soothe a verbal 3-year-old. It can surely serve to assist the attachment process, which is the most crucial thing of all.

The issue of bonding with the nanny over the adoptive parents is certainly one that they would be right to be concerned about and watch out for. However, I don't think that simply banning the child's first language is the best solution. For a child who has endured so much loss, I think it is incumbent upon the parents to minimize any additional loss.

Again, I'm really speaking hypothetically, since I have no idea what is actually going on in this particular child's family.

Don't assume things about posters. Just because we don't say what our experience is doesn't mean we don't have any. Personally, and I resent the credential-checking, I have an adopted sister, friends from childhood who were adopted, two sets of friends who have recently adopted and an looking into fostering. I also lived in a different country as a child so understand issues with communication. I know how it feels to want to communicate with people and not be able to. Am I allowed an opinion?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 01-Oct-12 21:49:26

Maybe the parents are learning/have learned Russian to be able to communicate with their child?

I still don't think that would compensate for not being able to communicate for the majority of the day while the parents were at work, but it may help.

Lilka Mon 01-Oct-12 22:02:22

This is not an unusual situation

Most (international) adoptive families speak their own language only. Often English since the US accounts for the majority of international adoptions from many countries

They may learn some Russian or at least certain phrases that will be useful. But the majority have not planned their life around an adoption, and very few will have any fluency in the childs language. They won't have learnt 'toddler speak' in Russian either! Nearly all children who are adopted internationally have a sudden change of language, with a small transition perhaps. And yes, it can be a hard change. It's hard losing your way of communication - your way of thinking too, because right now i am thinking in English and if I lost my language without quickly acquiring a new one I wouldn't be able to think, let alone speak. But they adjust and in a few months have good English, and will be fluent pretty quickly. They may start to learn their old language (probaby from scratch) later, from a qualified teacher (because even if the adoptive parents have learnt some Russian or whatever it is, they won't be great and the child will just learn their mistakes and bad pronounciation). Very few internationally adoptive families are bilingual.

By the way - how much Russian does this little girl speak anyway? Children from institutions can be very delayed and not have developed their own language to any extent. She may not know much Russian to communicate in in the first place

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 22:06:07


So many assumptions on this thread.

For starters, we don't know how much time the nanny spends with the child, we don't know how much time the parents spend with the child, we don't know the family set up at all.

All we know is that colleague B feels that she has a right to criticise colleague A for her parenting. Which I don't think is right.

I haven't, by the way, said that anyone on this thread has no experience of adoption. I am simply saying that people who don't have experience of adoption, generally find the whole attachment thing very difficult to understand. It seems obvious that "nanny speaks Russian, let nanny speak to child as much as possible", but in reality it isn't that simple.

If colleague B is Canadian she may well have applied her knowledge of the way that First Nations People of Canada were treated to this. Canadians are quite well informed about the colonialist legacy. In the case of First Nations people, the removal of their names, language and culture is seen as a dreadful act of cultural genocide and part of a legacy that has traumatised the aboriginal people to this day. Of course, a loving adoptive family is not the same as a colonialist power but I can see where her thinking might come from.

OttillieRidiculous Mon 01-Oct-12 22:17:10

maybe the (adoptive) parents do know some basic Russian?

Maybe, just maybe, they have taken a lot of advice from experts in the field of intercountry adoption and - gasp - are following that advice in the best interests of their child. Stranger things have happened, you know.

CandiStaton Mon 01-Oct-12 22:20:40

i think it is non of colleague Bs business, but I agree with her

I know nothing of adoption, but I do know about kids growing up with dual heritage/issues associated with being detached from your heritage; and they are potentially heading for massive problems with the kids self-identity and esteem

CandiStaton Mon 01-Oct-12 22:23:28

Mrspratchett it isn't just canadians either-

honeytea Mon 01-Oct-12 22:23:44

I think there could be better options, like getting an English speaking nanny, that way tge communication would be more natural.

A child looked after by a main carer for 2 weeks is said to gain a good understanding of that language, I'm sure (I hope!) the parents took at least 2 weeks off work to be with the child when she first arrived so it's less about basic understanding, there are ways of communicating with a child that don't involve speech such as flash cards.

I would feel like its hard to draw tge line at what a carer should do to avoid a newly adopted child becoming attached to them, do you ask the nanny not to hug the child, do you ask them not to use lots of eye contact.

I guess my opinion is skewed because I live in a country where you get more than a year off work when adopting so the idea of leaving a child so newly adopted that they don't speak any English with a nanny alien to me, I guess I feel like the child deserves to spend her time with people that she is attached to but ideally that would be the parents, but if tge parents are not available my gut instinct is that she still deserves a secure attachment to her care giver, my worry would be that with the nanny being g "forbidden" from talking Russian to the little girl maybe tge relationship would be strained, but hopefully not.

As I said before I would never say my opinions to a friend unless they specifically asked, she is their child and it is their choices, what I have written is how I feel rather than what I think other people should do.

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 22:23:57

"Too many people with too little experience but big opinions nonetheless"

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 22:24:33

"Too many people with too little experience but big opinions nonetheless"

Just thought I'd repeat that for anyone who didn't get it first time.

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 22:26:09

Adoption is tough.

What every new adoptive parents need is plenty of people with too little experience but big opinions sticking their oar in.

New mother struggling with breastfeeding - "You are not doing it right. Do it my way. NOW" hmm

OttillieRidiculous Mon 01-Oct-12 22:28:53

Where has Colleague B the OP got to?

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 22:29:55

Nice to see you Kew.

As probably the only person on this thread with any direct experience of this, your summary is very appropriate grin.

I think that if the people concerned were here, no one would be sticking their oar in. MN would close down if everyone shut up unless they had a peer-reviewed, expert opinion.

KitchenandJumble Mon 01-Oct-12 22:34:35

Could we perhaps not assume anything about anyone else's experience? Fair enough if someone specifically mentions having no experience about a particular subject, but it's quite an assumption to make in general.

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 22:36:00

Oh Maryz - I really wouldn't have clicked on it if I'd known. There are some mindnumbing statements here and an incredible number of posters appear to calm a knowledge of how it should work. Which is a surprise really because there are currently around 150 intercountry adoptions in the UK a year and many many social worker will go their whole career never having dealt with one. And yet so many people seem to know all about it confused

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 22:36:30

calm = claim

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 22:37:13

Oh shit - I'm colleague A shock

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 22:38:47

Well, kitchen, I don't suppose it is likely that anyone on this thread does have a child adopted from Russia?

Apart from Kew, of course (well, Kazakhstan, which is nearly the same thing [geographical dunce emoticon])

I do think that assuming that colleague A is doing her best for her child, and colleague B is sticking her nose in unnecessarily is a pretty likely scenario.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 01-Oct-12 22:39:03

This is AIBU. It where people talk about stuff, sometimes learn stuff and offer opinions. If we were only every allowed to discuss things that we have direct experience in with every possible fact available to us all, then MN would shut down.

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 22:39:41

Yup, and it is also the place where people who are talking shite should expect to be told so.

MrSunshine Mon 01-Oct-12 22:40:15

I think its more the attempt to speak with authority where you have none. How can you have any sort of real opinion on a subject you know nothing about, anyway?

That would have been a short thread...


DameKewcumber: YABU

The end.

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 22:54:28

MrsPratchett - everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some opinions are better thought through than others, not always dependent on their personal experience.

All I have read on here except from a handful is a pile of supposition about the child and teh adoptive parents and many statements of fact which are not necessarily true.

No doubt very interesting in the abstract but not terribly relevant to the reality of adopting and raising a child in a different country from that of their birth.

Apparently the "facts" are:

- she is too old for someone to change her name (nope she isn't, depends on name/circumstances etc)
- There is a scary number of adopted children handed back hmm (actually fewer adoptive children are "handed back" than birth children are given/taken into the care of the state so lets not talk about how unprepared adoptive parents are)
- It is their name (well no actually it might not be. DS's room mate was known by a pet name totally different to his legal name and didn't recognise his given name)

actually I have loss the will the read any further.

OP - no-one is right. The adoptive parents are doing what they think best/have discussed with their social worker and no doubt like the rest of us they will get some of it wrong but hopefully more of it right. If colleague B feels so strongly I would like to propose that she adopts a three year old from an orphanage herself and does what she thinks is the right thing to her own child. Or takes up a time consuming hobby.

honeytea Mon 01-Oct-12 22:55:43

Isn't that the point of aibu? I think most of us agreed that colleague b was out of order by offering her seemingly unsolicited advice. I don't see the harm in saying what we feel would be the right so long as it is a theoretical discussion. If we all only had opinions on subjects that exactly mirrored our own lives there wouldn't be many posts on mn. I think there is a big difference between someone posting looking for support and someone posting asking for opinions.

OwedToAutumn Mon 01-Oct-12 22:58:37

To compare an adoption like this with the case of Australian Aborigines who were forcibly taken from their parents is mind boggling.

I don't know anything about this first hand, but I am absolutely sure that there is not a "one size fits all" solution to this case. The parents should do the best they can to bond with their child, and the busybodies (colleague B) should STFU!

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 22:59:40

I'm not sure where you read in my posts that I think everyone isn't perfectly entitled to post their views. Unfortunately (perhaps) I am also "everyone" and therefore also entitled to post my views as I see fit. And to take with a healthy pinch of salt many of them.

Off to inform some people on the pregnancy board what they must do when in labour.

DameKewcumber could you tell me where the information comes from about children being "given back"? Someone on another thread quoted the number form the Daily Mail <rolls eyes> and it suggested that a very high proportion of children had "failed" adoptions. I thought it sounded high at the time so if you have a good clickable link on numbers, I would be interested.

My comment about it being her name was from personal experience, actually. I lived abroad as a child and my name is unpronounceable to a lot of people in that country. I found it very difficult and had to use a different variation which didn't feel like my name at all. I am, as a result, extremely careful to try to use people's names properly.

People don't have your experience but equally, you may not have my experience of having a different name foisted on you. We all speak form our own experience, however limited that might be.

Asamumnonsense Mon 01-Oct-12 23:05:16

I am with B on this! why would she completely remove that little girl from her heritage? why adopt a russian speaking child then if she won't accept her the way she is? I think its not healthy for the child. How will she justify this to the child when she is older? I do not get it.

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 23:07:36

And there we go [sigh]

She adopted a Russian speaking child because she adopted a child from Russia.

There is no evidence she is "completely removing a little girl from her inheritance".

As she is unlikely to do that, she is unlikely to have to explain anything when she is older.

What an extraordinarily un-thought-out post. You might "get it" if you read up on it and thought about it, rather than just judging with no evidence.

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 23:10:07

"I don't see the harm in saying what we feel would be the right so long as it is a theoretical discussion."

Absolutely no harm.

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. Eg no-one despite all the relevant experience people appear to have mentioned that many children in orphanages are call pet-names by the carers and won't recognised their own names which appear on their birth certificates. I know one parent who was convinced their child was deaf because they never turned in response to their own name until they stumbled by accident across a carer who called them a totally different pet name. Their name might have been picked as the next name on the list by a junior un-named doctor at a maternity hospital rarely to be used again.

But of course a theoretical discussion with no basis in reality is just fine too if thats what you'd prefer.

I would be quite interested to know how many "well meaning" adoptive parents hand back their children - I can find statistics for birth children in care but none for adoptive children in care.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 01-Oct-12 23:14:50

Isn't the bigger thing worthy of discussion in the OP the communication issue rather than the name issue.

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.

CandiStaton Mon 01-Oct-12 23:17:48

it is most common for children of dual heritage to loose contact with one or other side of their heritage as they grow, no matter how good the parents intentions are..why would an adoptive situation be different to that, particularly as neither of her adoptive parents are the same heritage as the little girl?

why have we to assume that Colleague A is doing what is best? plenty of parents dont confused

I think it is as up for discussion as any other subject

Asamumnonsense Mon 01-Oct-12 23:18:16

Maryz.. sorry that you feel so angry about my response but MmmPercyPig asked for it so I am untitled to my opinion. I am judging it with the information provided :-)

MrSunshine Mon 01-Oct-12 23:18:42

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

This isn't the kind of thing where everyone has a valid opinion. There are people here who do know what they are talking about, and your "alternative opinions" are a direct criticism of how they parent, even though you know nothing about it.

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 23:19:32

"you may not have my experience of having a different name foisted on you" no I haven't which is why I would be reluctant to express a forceful opinion on it (name-changing). I have said on the other name-change thread (linked by Lilka or Maryz I think) that every situation is different and the only thing of value I can do is explain what my reasons were for changing DS's name and leave it at that.

If DS hates me for it in time then I will answer to him for it. I can only do what I think is the right thing for my child. Some of the opinions here (particularly about children in foreign institutions) are based on peoples imagination about what life for a child who has always been institutionalised might be like and how attached they might be to their name - and their opinions are not very well informed.

There are no reliable numbers about adoption disruptions in this country depending on what stage you consider disruption to happen. Talk is around 20% but I think it is lower for younger children and probably higher for post-school age children. Adoption don't disrupt because adoptive parents failed usually because because birth parents failed. And I tend to react badly to implication that disruptions are due to "well-meaning" adoptive parents who just didn't quite do well enough.

honeytea Mon 01-Oct-12 23:19:33

BI suppose I feel like we should respect each others views and if necessary correct other people's misinformation rather than dismissing their views because They can't use real life experience.

I think the situation the op put forward is really very unique because tge child will grow up in a country where their first language would be useful, I guess I'd liken it to if a british child from an English speaking family was to be adopted by an only welsh speaking family at the age of 3 and not given any chance to hold onto their first language. I don't think ss would allow that to happen, I may be wrong but from the research I did into adoption in the UK there seemed to be a strong focus on keeping up links to the child's birth culture.

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 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!

gimmecakeandcandy Thu 04-Oct-12 23:32:10

Don't be ridiculous dame
nowhere did I say she would be better in an orphanage than being adopted. I still maintain thag adopting a child and leavinf the child with a nanny is not a great start. You seem to have just come on here to tell us all how so very much you know compared to us lot hmm
seeing as you are such an expert best leave you to it

DameKewcumber Fri 05-Oct-12 00:00:32

you don't think "words fail me" is a tad dramatic? as if there isn't anything worse anyone could do than allow a nanny to look after an adopted child within 3 months of an adoption despite the fact that it is very common for american women to go back to work quickly after adopting and there is no evidence that it has any significant effect on the attachment of their children

DS went to a childminder three months after we came home because unlike maternity leave there is no 90% of salary element in adoption leave just minimum statutory and the process had taken so long overseas that I couldn't stretch to more than 3 months after coming home with DS.

What do you suggest as an alternative to the orphanage in that case? Because that is the stark choice - you take off the time you can afford or you don't adopt them and they stay where they are. Its not like a pregnancy where if you don't get pregnant the child doesn't exist. These children exist and they are living in institutions and thankfully people choose to adopt them.

I very often have normal discussions about intercountry adoption with people in real life and am perfectly accustomed to people telling me how I got it all wrong and how selfish I am for doing it etc. But just sometimes in the midst of people being so sure they know how it should be done despite absolutely no experience I choose to tell them the reality of what its like. This is one of those occasions. And no, I'm not going to apologise for telling people that I know more about it than the majority of people on this thread. Because I do.

I tried to explain in my most recent post a bit more fully but you only seem to have read the first line.

"seeing as you are such an expert" - ha! Is that supposed to be an insult? I'm no more an expert than someone who had a caesarian is but it would be pretty bloody odd if on a thread about caesarians, if the only person (who has admitted) to have one was dismissed when they said "actually its really like this...."

DameKewcumber Fri 05-Oct-12 00:18:32

I've just re-read the whole thread to try identify why I feel so angry about it. I'm not prone to angry reponses. But it has really pissed me off.

I also want to say "I told you so" when I pointed out that quite probably A wasn't planning to be in the country much longer (hence the urgency to learn English) and was very restrained at not saying it because it was the first thing that occured to me when I read the OP!

Enough now, not much point it descending into attack and defence by/on me personally.

Devora Fri 05-Oct-12 00:21:09

Do. Not. Mess. With. The. Dame.

DameKewcumber Fri 05-Oct-12 00:26:05

Ha ha! Now thats going to rile everyone even more Devora!

Devora Fri 05-Oct-12 00:34:46

Do you know, though, becoming a parent really showed me how little I knew about anything. Becoming an adoptive parent, even more so. In fact, the older I get the stupider I feel.

I certainly don't feel I have the answers to everything - or, indeed, very much. But I do get riled by birth parents who tell me how I should parent my dd and, if I mention her adoption is a reason why I'm not making a particular choice, berate me about how all children are just the same, I mustn't use her adoption as an 'excuse' etc. I think if I didn't also have a birth child I would find this quite destabilising (I probably lack your confidence, Kew smile but as it is I just get very hmm

DameKewcumber Fri 05-Oct-12 00:41:24

Oh I'm not confident, there are days when I have serious doubts whether I did the right thing by DS - no doubt why I get riled by threads mentioning "scary number of children being given back" and "well meaning" adopters in the same sentence. Then he gets into bed with me in the middle of the night and warms his cold feet on me and I don't care because he's here with me and he's safe and well and loved and the rest is all detail that you can argue the toss about all day long and you'll still never know if you got it right.

Devora Fri 05-Oct-12 00:45:03

Quite right smile.

gimmecakeandcandy Fri 05-Oct-12 07:18:35

What an inflated sense of self-importance certain people on here seem to have if they think others will be 'riled' because someone said 'don't mess with the dame' hmm

No I don think I am a 'tad' overdramatic And you know nothing about my personal insight into adoption (which is a lot more than you choose to presume). I think you are a 'tad' dramactic with your attitude that is coming across as a 'tad' superior though.

Anyway - op, let's hope the girl in question settles into her new family well and all is well for the future.

Flatbread Fri 05-Oct-12 08:08:17

I would think it is more important for the girl to feel comfortable and secure in her current situation, rather than make her feel isolated just so that she can be prepared for the next posting.

I also would think it is better that the girl forms a strong attachment to the nanny, even if it means having to lose that down the road, than not getting that closeness.

Children are perfectly capable of forming strong attachments to multiple people and dealing with moving on to new environments. The attachments nourish them and make them stronger for the next phase in life.

MaryZed Fri 05-Oct-12 08:26:52

Personally I prefer people to be self-important than passive-aggressively insulting.

Flatbread, children are capable of forming strong attachments with multiple people. Unfortunately, adopted children are much less able to do this, especially if they have spent their first formative years in institutions with many different carers.

Lilka Fri 05-Oct-12 08:39:40

It's obviously not ideal to have a nanny at this stage. But unfortunately parenting and adoptive parenting is a lot about doing the best you can under your individual circumstances when you can't provide 'ideal' (which is quite often)

Flatbread Fri 05-Oct-12 08:45:19

Hmm, I am not sure that adopted children are less capable of having multiple attachments. They may be slow to form attachments per se, but it should have little bearing on multiple attachments.

The studies/experiments I have read on attachments have come from a western focus of a nuclear family, where there is one main child carer, usually the mother. And trying to replicate that relationship in adopted children.

But in many cultures, there are multiple carers from an early age, and children learn to attach (or not) based on the caring shown across all these relationships.

Forming a close bond with the nanny in this time of upheaval might actually help the child feel secure and happy that will help her form a bond with her adopted mother, over time.

And it might equally be the case that the child will never be that close to her adopted mother, due to different personalities. It happens within non-adopted families as well. Does that mean the mother should not allow the child a chance to form close attachments to anyone else, just because of a narrow view that mothers must have the strongest bond with the child?

Flatbread, I think the difficulty with an adopted child who has spent time in an institution is that they quite possibly have formed no attachments in infancy. If that's the case, it's very important that the child makes an attachment with her primary carer. When we came home from Russia with our 14 month old daughter, the advice we were given by our social worker (and from the many books on attachment I had swallowed in the long wait) was to not allow anyone else to hold her, feed her, bath her etc to create that dependency relationship where the child knows her needs will be consistently met by her carers.

From the information given by the op, I presume that is what A is trying to do. No it isn't ideal that she's back to work so soon but it is much better, IMHO, that the child is being minded by a nanny as opposed to a creche situation which would be too similar to the institution she came from.

I feel sorry for the American mothers of adopted children that I know. Many of them adopted their children long after I did and are back at work months ago. What's the alternative for them? Not allow Americans to adopt? In Ireland, where I live, you have to make a commitment (not legally enforcable but would be held against you if you wanted to adopt again) that one parent will be at home with the child for its first year home. While I think that's a great start for the child, I think for many people it's a very difficult thing to commit to. We can only presume that A is doing the very best for her child and has made her decisions accordingly.

Flatbread Fri 05-Oct-12 09:38:39

Happy, who is a primary carer? The person who spends the most of her waking day with her or a legal guardian, i.e., the adopted mother?

I am not saying this in a way to diss the nanny or mum. In my mind, both are equally important caregivers to the child in this stage in her life. And trying to diminish the role and caring provided by one, in order to establish 'supremacy' of the other, IMO, is not to the benefit of the the child.

If the child has indeed formed no attachments in her infancy, then, again, I don't see the benefit of giving her only the option of only one person to form a bond with (not someone the child chose, anyway) The child could well be better off having a number of people in her life who show her caring and love, even if the people providing the love change over time.

I think it is different models/world views on how a child ought to be brought up. The western one of a nuclear family with one primary carer while in some other cultures, it is perfectly normal and desirable for the caring to be provided by a broader community.

Lilka Fri 05-Oct-12 13:34:57

If the child has never formed an close attachment to anyone before (she might of, this is all hypothetical) then that may well have affected her ability to form them now and in the future. Attachment issues are common among adopted children nowadays, although it's rarer to have very serious problems with it (attachment disorder). Not just lack of attachments, but many moves and broken off relationships in a childs earliest years have the potential to cause these issues. Creating a bond with someone and then breaking it off (eg. nanny) has the potential to exacerbate the attachment issues, not make them any better, because it reinforces the message that caring people are either absent or abandon you. The child needs to learn that a reliable carer will be meeting her needs and very importantly, will not leave her and will be meeting them for a long time to come

Of course, this is one situation where the child needs to be looked after for part of the time by someone other than the mum, and every adoptive parent placed in that situation has to decide what the best thing to do for their (unique) child is - daycare or nanny or something else. And I suspect that most adoptive parents facing that decision will weigh the pros and cons for each very carefully before deciding, and isn't making decisions on a whim or selfishly, but genuinely on what they think is best for their child in their family situation

DameKewcumber Fri 05-Oct-12 14:14:59

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

Words fail me." based on your post (though you might have made one earlier which I don't remember) I didn't presume you had no insight into adoption - I'm not psychic (just self-important).

I have an equal opportunities approach to disagreements - I disagree with any one - adopters/adoptees/non-adopters/non-adoptees if I think they are stating as a fact something they can't possibly know. I think "words fail me" indicates a rather dramatic disagreement to someone doing something. Someone else said "I think its a shame that..." I don't think that's dramatic.

Obviously I disagree because its something not a million miles away from what I did but I'm not going over it again because I'm starting to look deranged.

Flatbread Fri 05-Oct-12 14:19:42

Creating a bond with someone and then breaking it off (eg. nanny) has the potential to exacerbate the attachment issues, not make them any better, because it reinforces the message that caring people are either absent or abandon you

So the answer is to have a distant nanny, who is not allowed to bond with the child hmm

Anyone else, other than the parent, who has to take care of the child should keep a distance, so the child does not form a bond? hmm

Frankly, sounds a bit insecure parenting to me.

I know a number of children (myself included) who have not had our birth mother as our main caregiver, and have been provided care by different people over varying periods of time. Love is love, and it builds your self-esteem. Doesn't matter where it comes from and even if one carer leaves, children adapt, as long as they are getting love in their lives. Multiple attachments are healthy for a child, and far better than having caregivers who don't really care or bond with you.

Obviously, some children are more insecure than others, but I find it hard to understand how anyone can advocate that the nanny not provide as much love and comfort she possibly can to the child.

Lilka Fri 05-Oct-12 14:39:19

Actually, if you reread my posts, I haven't advocated the nanny either bonding or not bonding with the child. I consider some relationship with her inevitable anyway given the nature of nannying. But not knowing this girl, and this family, how could I be in a position to state what the girl does or does not need?? I have been talking hypothetically (and hopefully made that clear) based on my own knowldege and experiences (I am the adoptive mother of 3 children, all of whom have difficulties with attachments)

"Doesn't matter where it comes from and even if one carer leaves, children adapt, as long as they are getting love in their lives"

Unfortunately that is definitely not always the case. My DS has always had love in his life, from foster carers or me. That hasn't stopped moves damaging his ability to form relationships securely. Yes, children adapt, but sometimes they adapt in a negative way. And he hasn't moved nearly as much as many adopted chilren I know. And again, I do not speak for this girl that i do not know

Flatbread Fri 05-Oct-12 15:01:03

True, Lilka, some children adjust to changes harder than others, both based on their personality and experiences.

We don't know this girl at all, but it seems her new mum travels for work. So it is likely that she will have to get adjusted to new environments and carers/nannies. In this case, it seems multiple carers and attachments are inevitable.

You mention in your son's case how hard the moves were, even though he had love. I wonder how much harder the adjustments might have been, if he hadn't been given love by his carers in each new place.

DameKewcumber Fri 05-Oct-12 18:25:02

I didn't read anywhere that mother travels? Only that she was planning to leave the country - ie back to America or new posting in June. Nanny is daytime only which doesn't seem to imply travel to me.

achillea Sat 06-Oct-12 07:38:28

In the UK the don't allow parents to adopt a child and then leave them with a childminder. There is a reason for this.

Flatbread Sat 06-Oct-12 08:04:34

Dame, I meant travel as in postings to different places/countries. This might mean a new nanny in every country.

Even if it is within the US, presumably A will continue working and will need to employ a nanny, and that person might leave/new one hired and so on.

Achillea, I am not sure how good the reason some one mentioned upthread is institutional care any better than being cared part-time by nanny and part-time by new mum?

I find the premise underlying attachment theories i.e., a nucleur family with mum staying at home, not reflective of how children are brought up in many societies, with multiple caregivers. Nor is it reflective of our modern world, where we have single parents. Dies that mean a single career woman should not be allowed to adopt unless she wants to take a year or two off her work? How absurd is that...just puts pressure on women to confirm to some ideal 1960s family set-up.

Flatbread, that's not at all what my understanding of attachment theory is. With most children who are born to and raised by their mothers (and fathers if they're in the picture), in those early weeks and months the attachment is formed between the baby and mother when the child's needs, physical and emotional, are consistently met by her primary caregiver(s). This expectation from the child that when she's hungry she'll be fed, when she's lonely she'll be picked up and cuddled etc is what forms the attachment. This primary attachment forms a blueprint in a baby's brain for all future relationships and is HUGELY important.
I'm not talking out my arse here, I have a foster daughter who has an attachment disorder and it has been the most difficult of her 'labels' for her and for those around her to deal with. The damage that was done to her was in the first 2 years of her life.
For a child who has been institutionalised, they have learned the survival skills of 'using' any adult around them to give them what they need, be it food or a cuddle. So while their needs may be met SOMETIMES by the carers around them, they have no choice over who looks after them or whether their needs will be answered. This is (some of) what causes attachment difficulties.
This woman, A, presumably knows all of this. I would imagine (hope) that she spent at least 3 months nesting-in with her child. She will have done her best to answer every little cry her child makes to make her understand that she will always be listened to. She will have made a fuss each time her child falls to teach her to cry when she falls. She will have made a huge fuss every morning when her child wakes beside her to teach her child that when she wakes, she should shout out for her mother. 3 months is not a long time but I think about how my own dd changed in those 3 months and while I would have absolutely HATED to leave her, in the right care, she probably would have been fine. Some people don't have the luxury of good adoptive leave.

Lilka Sat 06-Oct-12 11:13:52

Flatbread, all people who adopt in the UK now are asked to take 6-12 months off work, including single parents. And there's a good reason for it. 12 months was not enough for my older two children, I had to give up work altogether for a time. And I am single, and yes it was hard financially. Prospective parents nowadays are told about this, and they are also warned about the possibility that the child's needs might be too great for them to return to work, although this isn't often the case.

Attachment theory is not about having a nuclear family, children from other types of set up fit well within it as well. The infant child has needs, including being fed, interacted with etc. It needs a caregiver (or several caregivers) meeting these needs consistantly over months so it can form a bond with them. If the baby cries but is ignored, if it isn't fed etc, then it can develop attachment problems. Later on, physical and sexual abuse might create or compound existing problems. Frequent complete changes in caregiver - going into foster care, then new foster home, then another one, then an adoptive home for instance, that means 5 homes, is likely to result in some level of difficulty forming new relationsips and trusting adults not to leave you. In communities which don't so much have a nuclear family, the parents still do not walk off forever and abandon the child, they are involved parents and usually they do meet all the childs needs whenever they are caring for it. The child is looked after by the same community (and set of caregivers) consistently, they aren't taken somewhere new after a year of life and given a whole new community of caregivers and then never see the old one again. Therefore the child is having their needs consistently met by a group of people who it forms a bond with over the first years of its life

Flatbread Sat 06-Oct-12 11:56:36

Happy, I am not talking out of my arse either. There are a lot of children in other cultures who do not see their birth mother at all, for several years. The birth mother is working in another city/country, and the children are bought up by an amalgam of grandparents, uncles, aunts etc. with care takers changing depending on requirements within each household (e.g. At aunts for a month, another uncle for two etc.)

In situations where the husband has many wives, childcare may be delegated to different wives on different days, for all children.

Where extended families stay together, the family/child rearing tasks may be divided, with one aunt taking care of cooking and feeding, another of putting the children to sleep etc. As children get older, they may start taking childcare responsibilities.

A lot of women who work in other cultures, do not have the luxury to pay attention to their children cries or make a fuss over them. These children do go on to be normal.

Does that mean all these children are fucked up because they do not have a 'traditional' family structure, where there is one go-to person who fusses over them?

Attachment theory comes from a 1960s, middle class western notion of an ideal family with mum focused on kids. Fluid, multiple attachments is not a key part of this type of family structure. Doesn't mean it is wrong or unhealthy for the child who grows up in this environment (ok, some may be fucked up, but you find these type of kids in every type of upbringing)

In A's case, making the nanny speak in English to the child and trying to create a distance between the nanny and child, so that the child bonds only with new mum, IMO, is wrong and not necessarily to the benefit of the child.

Flatbread, I hope you didn't think I was implying that you were talking out of your arse, I certainly didn't mean to. And I am not setting myself up as an expert on attachment at all. I said that because I have had FC in my life for 10 years and see the results of poor early infant attachment and early childhood trauma. As an adoptive mother now, I will do anything in my power to make sure that dd has a secure attachment to me and dh and I suppose to me, attachment theory makes sense and gives me a framework for what I can be doing to 'undo' the damage of my dd's start in life.

I accept what you're saying about attachment theory being a 'new' western notion. I know my parents, now in their 80s, certainly grew up in a time when children were less 'precious' and their cries wouldn't have been instantly answered. BUT I think the difference is that they didn't suffer actual neglect whereas most children from institutions, and children who come to be available for adoption, are emotionally neglected and in some cases physically and sexually neglected.

I agree that there are other family models that are successful. There are a lot of Filipina minders that work near me and most of them have children at home who are being minded by family. So I agree that the nuclear family is not the only way for a family to live.

I have several Israeli friends who grew up in kibbutzim at a time when children were reared centrally, away from their parents, and only saw their parents in the dining hall at meal times and for a couple of hours a day in the evenings. To a one, they would all say they thought it was a terrible upbringing and that they would never bring their children up that way (kibbutzim don't do this any more - children live with their parents now).

In A's case, I hope the reason she didn't want the nanny speaking Russian to her dd was because she wanted her dd to learn English asap and the best way to do that is total immersion in the language, although as someone said upthread I can only assume that once the mother was out of the way, the nanny was speaking Russian to her. If I was the mother, I would want a native speaker to be minding my child, not someone who spoke Russian. I can't remember, was it the op who said the mother wanted to create a distance between the nanny and the child? If so, that's the strangest thing I ever heard. My minder will be starting after Christmas when I'm back to work and my hope is that dd will love her and look forward to her coming and I'll be working with the minder to make that happen.

DameKewcumber Sat 06-Oct-12 21:50:45

"In the UK the don't allow parents to adopt a child and then leave them with a childminder. There is a reason for this." Yes they do. I was very clear about my childcare plans and it wasn't considered to be anything unusual, and wasn't actually substantially different to other adopters I knew. Most social workers will quiz you very carefully about your plans and ask you how you would deal with a situation where a child is really unable/unsuitable to be left in childcare at the point you had originally planned.

I don't know why you think its not allowed? I do think its tough on any child to be in childcare before they are ready and adopted child children generally find that harder than birth children. The need for some parents to rush back to work in some countries is frowned on here but as I said there isn't much evidence that the ultimate outcome for adoptions in the US is any different to those here.

Many different family/societal models are successful - however children in institutions haven't had any kind of family model you recognise and that is apparent in their behaviour. They display behaviours that just aren't present in the kind of non-nuclear or non-western set-ups you talk about. My DS had a distinct self soothing mechanism (he rocked) which you just don't see in NT children who have a "normal" start in life in any kind of family set up and that was the norm amongst the children in his home. And this was a very well run home with kind carers who did the best they could for the children in their care. By 11 months the only thing he could rely on was that everyone leaves - hospital for 3 months then moved to orphanage, then baby room for 3 months, then 6-12month room for 5 or 6 months (then sick bay for a month) then moved to the 1-2 year room, each time all the staff changed. Having a nanny for 6 months whom she liked teaches this child nothing different to what she has learned already. That everyone leaves. And whilst its important that the nanny is kind to her, it is vital that she learns to attach to her mother and to start learning that she won't leave.

Attachment is not a construct of recent western society its just been observed in the west since the 1960's. Doesn't mean attachment problems don't exist in other societies.

achillea Sun 07-Oct-12 15:40:28

Dame Kew, it's probably different in your LA.

It's not easy though for a child to learn that her mother isn't going to leave if she leaves every day? Or did you have a partner as well?

feelingawfullylow Wed 10-Oct-12 00:15:58

"It's not easy though for a child to learn that her mother isn't going to leave if she leaves every day" - when the mother returns every time, then the child soon learns that she isn't being abandoned and mummy isn't going to leave her forever.

ithinkimightbegoingmad Wed 10-Oct-12 10:48:30

flatbread my H comes from a polygamous culture where the children are very much raised by a wider circle of family and community members. It doesnt make Attachment Theory any less valid IME/O....the mothers/caregivers very much practice 'attachment parenting'...the babies are strapped on whilst the adults are doing chores/working in fields/ fetching water etc and it is normal for the children to sleep with the adults up until the age of around 5 years old. The children are affected the same there as here, if their needs are not met consistently and reliably when small

I dont think Attachment Theory is taking about a traditional western family structure at may have been 'discovered' in the 50s/60s but it has alwasys existed. And writing it down as a 'theory' is a westernisation, sure

Kewcumber Wed 10-Oct-12 15:33:30

it might be different LA's, achillea or it might just be different social workers. But if they are going to restrict adoption to those who can afford to take 1-2 years off and never use a childminder then they're going to run even shorter of adopters than they are now.

DS didn't have any problem attaching to me after the first say 4/5 weeks because he saw me every day. We co-slept, and once I'd gone back to work I did nothing other than work and look after him. Outside of his childminders hours (and my mum who cared for him one day a week) I didn't go out without him, I never left without telling him how long I would be, I was never late picking him up and we did all those things which do promote bonding.

He had more consistency from me than he had from any other person in his life (the same I would guess for this girl as she comes from a similar pre-adoption set-up). Even those carers he liked worked 24 hours on and three days off so there was really very little consistency.

We have annual reviews by a social worker so we can send reports back to his birth country and they always comment on his attachment to me and how incredibly well he has done for a child who was so delayed at 1yr. I chose his childcare extremely carefully to be as far away from institutional care as I could and had I not be happy that he would manage I would have found another solution and not gone back to work. As it is going back to work allowed me instead to take time off a sabbatical for a couple of years after I had been hospitalised and he was very unsettled at a time when he was about to start school. You know the kind of decision that most parents make for their children all through their lives. Adoptive parents aren't any different despite dealing with unusual circumstances - they just do their best.

This woman is doing her best and whether she could do better isn't really possible to judge without knowing both mother and child despite so many people on here being so convinced she should do things differently. Differently may not be possible and she's doing more for this child than colleague B (or indeed anyone else) so to decide on the basis of scant information that she should or shouldn't be doing something even with the experience of having done something remarkably similar myself seems ill-judged.

Hayleyh34 Wed 10-Oct-12 15:39:45

My child goes to a childminder every day for a few hours after school. I had a years adoption leave but couldn't afford more than that. I had been very clear with SS about this.

She has adapted really well and now knows that she can be left somewhere and we will pick her up.

It has taken ME nearly a year to adjust to it...

Kewcumber Wed 10-Oct-12 15:53:22

Yes hayley - DS adjusted a great deal faster than I did - little bugger!

Hayleyh34 Wed 10-Oct-12 16:11:14

It's amazing how adaptable they are isn't it? Whereas I spent many a time crying in the loos initially!

Still feel like part of me is missing most days sad

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