There's an article in the June 28 edition of TIME that has been the topic of much discussion between Slice and me, and other members of my family. (Published not long after I read this excellent blog post from an adoptive mother.) The terrible Russian orphan situation has impacted each of us; it is something we live with every single day.
Hint: it's not all the "sunshine and roses" that adoptive families hope for.
Foreign adoption seems to be garnering more media attention these days, thanks to Torry Hansen and the earthquake in Haiti, among other things. Fifteen years ago, most people had never even heard of Reactive Attachment Disorder. I'm hoping that's not the case anymore.
This article was timely for a number of reasons. The more time I spend with my darling Liam, the more it breaks my heart to think that my brothers did not have parents to care for them as babies. They didn't have mothers who rocked them to sleep, who watched and sang to and played with them. How many children spend the first years of their lives stuck in cribs, unable to bond with another human being? I can't even imagine.
I was too young when we got my brothers to understand what they were coming from. But they were old enough to be damaged by it.
The damage is not easily undone, we are continually learning. I have wondered whether families with mixed-race children due to adoption have an easier time coping than those with children who cannot form real relationships. (A moot point, I suppose; neither is "easy" by any stretch of the imagination!) The TIME article mentions that Russia is a major source of foreign adoption because the children are white - but if you can't adopt until the child is over a year old, the most crucial time is up. And you should probably think about future, possibly younger children, if you are thinking of adopting at all.
Anyway, the whole thing has had me thinking about the story of Lehi and his family from the Book of Mormon. Lehi had two sons who were wicked no matter what they saw, who tried to help them, or how obvious things should have been. Laman and Lemuel would have killed Nephi eventually (and the rest of their family, I assume) had the Lord not warned him and told him to leave.
Nephi forgave his brothers over and over for the terrible things they did to him, but in the end he had to separate himself from them to preserve his own life and those of his family members. He could not make them choose right; they had their agency and it would not be taken from them. But the posterity of Laman and Lemuel were not held to the same accountability as the Nephites, because of the "wicked traditions of their fathers."
So it's possible that my brothers won't be as accountable as I will be. No one knows what they went through in 5+ years, or how it has affected them since. But I do think that, as this article points out, sometimes separation is necessary for the preservation of the whole. Of course different families have different ways of dealing with their issues ... and fortunately the options seem to be multiplying.
But good heavens, if prophets aren't spared the heartache of having wayward children ... maybe no one is.