Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Oh dear

Have just found out that a friend's son - age 14 I think, adopted at the age of 6 after some time in foster care and, before that, neglect/abuse from his birth parents - has been arrested and is likely to be convicted, and is currently on remand (pre-trial) in what used to be called Borstal.

I feel strangely personally affected by this - we know L and her sons fairly well, but don't see them that often, and Mr Spouse and I have often noticed that while this son (the older one) is Trouble with a capital T, he comes across as rather childish in some ways, while the younger one seems to ingratiate himself with adults, and be The Good One. I know No 1 can be difficult and he has been in (minor) trouble before but I suppose we both feel that no 2 is not as innocent as he makes out, and have perhaps underplayed the troubles of No 1. But I have also I think invested slightly in "oh, what nice boys, see, adopted children with awful early backgrounds can turn out very nice" (the second one was placed with her at a younger age, with a slightly different background).

Without putting too much on our friend, I know that both boys have shown some problems at earlier ages, and some of the "therapies" that have been recommended to her are, at best, unproven. There is very little help available to families in her situation, but this does mean a vacuum in which dodgy therapies have room to grow.

And of course I also know of birth children (see: people I went to school with, see also: children of my parents' friends) who have had a loving family since the year dot and who have still got mentally ill/addicted to drugs/in trouble with the police.

And likewise I know (although they are still mainly young) of lovely children adopted by friends from foster care, who (so far) have no non-age-appropriate behaviour or developmental problems.

But it worries me.

1 comment:

Lori said...

My heart goes out to your friend and the boy and the family, and anyone else affected by the boy's actions.

The tragedy of such situations is huge. Some children, when damaged by abuse/neglect, are unable to recover, no matter how much love new parents provide or what therapies are tested.

I wonder how things might have been if the boy's biological parents had chosen adoption at his birth.

Oh, and I've updated the NIH post with a link that shows the names of the researchers. Thanks for commenting.