Friday, November 12, 2010

Would You Have Rather Been Raised In An Orphanage?

In yesterdays post I revisited National Adoption Month, sighting adoption as an option for children in foster care, this is a subject I have mulled over in my mind for many years, since I was about 11 to be exact.  

Those of you who know my story know I have personally never been adopted, so I have no first hand experience with being adopted.  I was raised for the first part of my childhood by someone who was adopted out of the foster care system, and being that I then spent about 7 years as a ward of the state in the foster care system myself, one could draw some conclusions about how well that worked out in our cases.

Now way back when my parent was going through the system there was no therapy, no acknowledgement of their loss and pain and she was adopted into household dealing with a boat load of loss, pain and grief of their own.  So anyone could argue that that was an anomaly, but from what I hear when I listen to other adult adoptees I find that that is not the case and many if not most have had long standing struggles with loss and grief.  

It has occurred to me over the years that taking a child out of one dysfunctional family situation and putting in to possibly another is not a great solution either.  

The bulk of my foster care experiences was spent in group home situations, and maybe I am an anomaly but not much bad ever happened to me there.  Don’t get me wrong, I wished my parents would have just grown up and faced their responsibilities and raised me even though I was very inconvenient.  But maybe there is something to be said for being raised by people who’s patience is only tried in 8 hour shifts.  Maybe there is something to be said about not having to worry about what goes on in isolation or behind closed doors, when there is no isolation and no closed doors.  Maybe there is something to be said for responsible adults holding other responsible adults accountable when they aren’t locked in crazy family dynamics together.  Maybe there is something to be said about the age old question “would you have rather been raised in an orphanage?”

For me the answer is I would have rather have been raised by mature adult parents, but since I didn’t have any – may staff did a damn fine job!

Thank you,
Joyce, Claudette, Tamar, Carol, Val, Julie, Laura, Marietta, Sue, Wayne, Kim, Carmen, Duane, Linda, Thom, Mick, Dan, Bill, Jo-Anna, Al, Essie, John & Maggie, Sue & Robert, Lydia and Amy, you were not the parents I wanted, but you managed to love me anyway.


Amanda said...


I was fostered, brieftly, for 4.5 months. I have had people ask me and others "would you rather have stayed in foster care or an orphanage?!"

They forget we didn't magically materialize in foster care and orphanages. We had lives and families before then and were in those places for a reason--sometimes, it's because our parents were poor and no help was given. I think of all of the people who would never have to hear that question if society had helped their parents to begin with, eliminating the orphanage all together.

But for some, family preservation, at least not immediately, is not an option. I'm glad when they get good care and are protected. I am so glad that people were there looking out for you! (((hugs)))

Sunday Kofffon Taylor said...

Yes, Amanda, I also think that some people merely lack rescores and that family preservation in cased where parents are willing and motivated is essential.

However, in my case neither of my parents lacked resources; mostly they were just selfish, lazy and eager to get on with their lives after their divorce. You can’t make some people parent; they just don’t have it in them. What do we do for the children of narcissists?

I have been reading along, all month, you are doing great work!

Linda said...

I really do not know. While I was in "the system" for almost 6 months, I eventually was adopted.

On the one hand, I had a roof over my head and people who loved me, but on the other hand, I dont feel they loved me for ME. I feel they loved me for what I represented- the baby of their own they could not have.

I wish I could give you a better answer.

Just Me said...

I was pre-birth matched and knowing my personality along with my issues (both from childhood and now)... I would have to say that no, I would not have wanted to be raised in an orphanage or bounce around from foster home to foster home. However, that does not change the fact that I want my mother in my life in some way shape or form. I wanted her when I was a child, a teen and even now as an adult. None of that would have changed regardless.

I just would not have made it in foster care...

lydia1117 said...

I grew up with my birth parents, and we still lacked the kind of relationship that you all speak of. My grandmother, an overbearing, negative, probably clinically depressed woman who dominated our household and damaged the relationship I had with my mother. It took me many years to let go of the baggage I dragged around with me because my grandmother hated me (I think because I challenged her)and start dealing with what I needed to do to repair my psyche. There are few perfect families. We all have our baggage. And even when parents really want and love their children, they are all products of the deficits they grew up with. So we can all only try our best.

Von said...

My father and uncles were raised for a time in an orphanage and the legacy runs on down the family.Those were the old days of a repressive Catholic orphanage where cruelty and hunger prevailed.
I've always maintained a good orphange can be better than some parents and can be the best option for some children.Some of the problems for adoptees in adoption are due to adopters not being able to cope with a child who needs carers on a shift rota.

Campbell B. said...

This is hard to answer without a clear definition of what a an orphanage would be like today. In history there have been some pretty good orphanages and some pretty awful ones. If the orphanage was safe and the staff nurturing, I would have rather grown up in ONE orphanage over being bounced around from foster home to foster home.

michelle vandepol said...

i find this post fascinating. thanks for your insights, sunday :) good job and i love the encouraging you do for KC as well over on her blog

Sunday Koffron Taylor said...

Thank you Michelle, I know it may not seem like it btu I was a lot like L T when I aged out and in my early 20sit took me a while to sort it out (I am still working on some of it.) But she can find a way to live with the scars. I hope she knows that.

Anonymous said...

I lived in an orphanage with my older sister for 2 yrs in Bangladesh. I for one am gratful my bio dad decided to do that,then leave 2 toddlers to the mercy of the streets or the care of family who really didnt have the means to care for two more mouths to feed(Bangladesh is a third world country where girls and women are worth less then livestock)and in the orphanage we had a bed, food(not much)clothes, and an education(girls over there aren't nothing so why educate!?!)At times in my life I wished I never was adopted.Who wants to live their life always having to be "greatful for being rescued"

Sunday how do I sign in with out being"anonymous"

Sunday Koffron said...

On the older posts you need to have a google account or open I'd. On the newer ones you can just use your face book or twitter ids

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