Dissolving an Adoption

Heartrending decision generates debate online

Monday, August 31, 2009

It’s Monday, when we talk about family issues on The Takeaway. Takeaway contributor Lisa Belkin, who writes the parenting blog Motherlode for The New York Times, is here to talk with us about what happens when parents make the decision to dissolve an adoption. 

We also talk wtih Anita Tedaldi about this painful process. Tedaldi wrote an essay for Motherlode about her very personal experience of terminating an adoption. She had adopted a baby from an undisclosed country and after months of raising the baby, decided that she and her husband were not equipped to take care of him.


Lisa Belkin and Anita Tedaldi


Jen Poyant

Comments [8]

Amber Landau from California

Regarding the discussion above. I am an adoptee now in my later age. It is my opinion that (as an adoptee) anyone who wants to dissolve an adoption should be allowed to. My situation: I was adopted at two. My real biological history was never revealed and instead Catholic Social Service "created" an much more politically correct history. My ethnicity was kept secret. My entire life was pure hell. I hate my adoptive family and I prayed to die rather than be stuck there. If anyone had asked me during my 18 years I would have begged to go anywhere than stay there. No one ever asked. I remember I could not stand the way my adoptive mother smelled. To this day when I hear their names I want to puke. My entire life has been ruined and I wish I had been aborted rather than placed with these jerks and abusers. Thank you very much Catholic Social Services. For anyone who thinks my comments are rare just take a look at Bastard Nation. So if a mother wants to dissolve and adoption please let her do so. When will adoptees have the same option. PRO CHOICE people and keep your hands off other peoples babies.

Jan. 16 2012 12:22 AM

While I applaud Ms. Tedaldi's candor in her interviews and articles, I am so disturbed by the story. The impression is that Ms. Tedaldi is looking for the public's approval of her decision. Perhaps if the articles/interviews were to provide a testament on what can go wrong with an adoption it would be more productive.

The reference to her son being left on the side of the road inferences that he was unwanted anyway. That he somehow was already broken before she entered his life. I question would she feel that same way about one of her biological children if they somehow didn't attach well or had some sort of special need. Would the other children nonchalantly say good bye to one of their biological siblings?

Ms. Tedaldi was discouraged from adoption on many different occasions for valid reasons. Perhaps the most selfless act with regard to adoption, is to love a child enough to not adopt them in the first place.

Sep. 01 2009 02:00 PM
Ibn Zayd

When questioned as to their upcoming plans, Ms. Tedaldi grew very excited. "We are going to start giving away all the kids, one by one. It will be a reality-based TV show, and each week one more child will be given away. It's perfect, because children this young don't have a say in the matter. Birthmothers do it all they time, and they get all the kudos for being saints--now it's my turn! Look out, Mother Theresa--you ain't got nothing on me!"

Ms. Belkin excitedly added: "We'll auction them off to the highest bidder. We all know how desperately some people want to be parents, well, we're going to milk this for all its worth. The kids won't even know what's happening--all they do is watch Spongebob Squarepants all day long." Ms. Tedaldi rolled her eyes and added: "Per dio, I hate that Spongebob. Plus, I never really loved them if I think about it--I never had time to blog! So, they go! 'Win-win' for everybody! It's the American way--and I'm almost American!"

Aug. 31 2009 05:40 PM

Being brave enough to talk about it does not, in my opinion, excuse her behavior before, during and after this child’s adoption. Adoption is supposed to be forever, and the best way to minimize disruption is to conduct extensive home studies, preparation and education and stop approving families who are not ideal in the first place. This is a subject we could discuss for many hours, but I wanted to at least express these thoughts.
Adoptive mom and wife to an adult international adoptee.

Aug. 31 2009 11:36 AM

My own adopted child went through many of the same attachment issues when he arrived at nine months old but with patience, time and a wholehearted commitment to doing whatever it took including relying on a strong support system of loved ones and professionals and ensuring that he was the only baby in the house he made it through and is today a beautiful, spunky, loving child. We go to Early Intervention and seek therapy when we (not just he) need it and we love him unconditionally. I can’t imagine ever referring to my son as “the boy”. To me, that spoke volumes about Anita’s attachment disorder, not her child’s.
While it does appear that the best thing for D was for Anita to re-home him like an unwanted puppy, she still bears responsibility for choosing to adopt that child at that particular time when she had been warned that she was ill-equipped to do so.

Aug. 31 2009 11:34 AM

Part of my frustration with people like Anita is that they set themselves and their adopted children up for failure and then blame the child when it happens.
I guess my point is that while Anita may have had good intentions, she broke every rule in the book of adoption parenting and frankly, should never have been approved for adoption in the first place. She knew when she accepted this child as her own that she had a mostly absent (albeit for very good reason) husband, many young children to care for who also had health/developmental issues, a shaky support system due to frequent moves and a prospective child who had known developmental issues. I feel strongly that she put the lion's share of the blame for the disruption at the feet of her adoptive son while neglecting to speak of the other, very real reasons for terminating his adoption.

Aug. 31 2009 11:32 AM

While there are many poverty stricken children throughout the world, there is a shortage of relatively healthy infants who are free for adoption internationally, and other families would have loved to welcome this child into their home. Anita did not need to "save" this child.
I am a mother by both adoption and biology and while I adore all of my children, they have very different needs. With adoptive parenting, sometimes you have to give a lot more than you get for a long time until the child adjusts, recovers from the trauma of losing one or more families and learns to trust you. You also have to be prepared to make certain sacrifices, such as co-sleeping, babywearing, postponing adding to your family, and taking the time to work with professionals to help your child heal. I don't know how anyone who is essentially a single parent most of the time and has 6 children under the age of 8 can accomplish this.

Aug. 31 2009 11:31 AM

Hi, I apologize for the length of my comment but this is a complicated subject. I will send it in several parts.

I just wanted to bring up a few issues that were not touched upon during your interview. While Anita's essay states that the disruption occurred largely because of attachment issues and other developmental problems with the adopted child she completely neglected to mention that she was either pregnant or caring for a biological newborn the entire time this child lived with her. This is a well known recipe for disaster in the adoption community and she never should have adopted while she was pregnant in the first place. If she had done the research she claims, she would have know this. Her social worker and adoption agency should have immediately put the adoption on hold when she became pregnant until she was ready and able to refrain from pregnancy and devote an appropriate amount of time to the new child.

Aug. 31 2009 11:29 AM

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