Couple returns adopted daughter after seven years

By Anita Doberman

Hard to believe, but a Dutch couple returned their adopted Korean daughter after seven years. The parents had adopted the little girl from South Korea when she was four months old. Reports of how the situation unfolded were contradictory, but it appears that the girl was given over to the care of the Social Welfare Department in Hong Kong, where the man is a diplomat, because they could no longer care for her. The couple explained that the girl was emotionally unresponsive and all attempts at therapy had failed.

As an adoptive parent, really as just a parent, I can’t justify this couple’s behavior under any circumstance. I don’t think these people are monsters, though the result of their action is monstrous because they chose to follow their selfish and unloving side instead of choosing to tough it out and love their daughter no matter what. Sadly, the impact on this child will be devastating.

Perhaps they had good intentions when they adopted, most likely they did, but something went wrong along the way. These parents were probably unprepared to deal with some difficult aspects of adoption. It’s easy to imagine only the best of a new family member, just as we do with our biological children. No one envisions mediocrity, let alone problems. I have imagined perfect things in the past only to discover the road to family or marital bliss requires lots of hard work and an effort to practice unconditional love.

Anyone can have unrealistic expectations. It’s easier to envision perfect little kids who excel in everything, or a flawless husband, an exciting job, but most of the times these things require hard work.

From personal experience, I can say that adoption can be challenging. But so is a biological child who has issues, or problems in marriage, or work-related difficulties. When our adopted son Matteo started having health issues, we had to consult several specialist, and it was hard for him to be around his sisters. It became challenging. This doesn’t mean that my husband or I ever had any second thoughts about the adoption or that we considered Matteo any different than our biological children. My husband’s intense deployments have been difficult for our family, but this hasn’t meant that my husband has considered leaving the military or that I have told him that I wanted to “exchange” him after many years of marriage.

Like adoption, a friendship, a marriage, any other relationship, even military lifestyle, it’s easy to be a parent, a spouse, a great friend when things are going well. But it’s much harder to be those things when the going gets rough. There’s a reason we say that character is revealed by trying times.

I hope this girl can find a loving family who can help her overcome her traumatic loss and that all of us, no matter in what area of life we are struggling, can continue to renew our love for children and families even when it’s tough.