Could you give away an adopted child?

I know Fridays are supposed to be fun but I just read the saddest story in The New York Times Magazine. It’s an essay from a mother who adopted a little boy from South America. The little boy had been found by the side of the road. They weren’t sure how old he was (under 1) and he had a lot of developmental problems.

The mother already had five biological daughters with her husband but she had always wanted to adopt. The husband was deployed overseas and the mother found it all to be just too much.

She started considering giving away her adopted son.

Read the whole story here. Read the story before discussing. It might change your opinion. It’s really well written and just heart breaking! Prepare to cry!

I wonder if the little boy had bonded more with her if she would have felt the same way – if she would have been able to overcome the tough times or would that only have made it harder to give him away?

Before I read the essay and just read the headline I was really judging her. I said to my husband I can’t even bring myself to give away the dog we took in even though he’s pooping on my carpet ALL the time and costing us a fortune at the vet. (I’m not comparing a baby to a dog — I’m just saying I can’t even give away an animal much less a child.)

After reading the story I think she did the right thing mainly because the little boy is bonding and connecting with his new parents and siblings. It seems like they were the right family for him.

Could you give away an adopted child? Do you think it’s better to move the child on to another family if it’s not going well or should the parents continue to persevere?

46 comments Add your comment


November 20th, 2009
10:55 am

The real problem is the woman who adopted D. for she has a “Mommy Fetish”. I mean just look around; half of all parents should be sterilized and their children given up for placement in better households.


November 20th, 2009
11:23 am

Wow. Just teared up a bit because I cannot even imagine being in that situation. The mother really seems to be torn about it but it seems that she really thinks she is doing the right thing for D. If she didn’t feel that she can properly take care of him than I applaud her for finding someone who can. Personally, though I don’t know if I could do it. The thought of giving away my own son is not even possible in my mind, and she did have him for quite a while. What a horribly sad situation.


November 20th, 2009
11:58 am

I have never walked in Anita’s shoes.

I have 2 children and cannot even imagine having 5 children BEFORE adopting, much less adding another children to a 5 child family.

I applaud those who adopt and especially those who bring children from dire situations, into a loving home.

I am with Theresa on the pet issue, which is NOT the same as children.

I cannot imagine giving a child away….BUT….if you truly feel you cannot parent this child…is it better for the ( adopted) child to start with a different family at a very early age or for him to grow up in a resentful environment, where folks do not love him? I do not know.

Also, should it make a difference if the child is not biologically yours? I cannot imagine folks just getting fed up with their biological children and seeking other parents for them…does this happen?

I do not know the answers to these questions.


November 20th, 2009
12:57 pm

WOW -I have to say I agree with Photius. I DO commend Anita for giving him up to a loving home where hopefully he’ll experience bonding and love for a lifetime, but WTF!?!?! with moron Anita? OH, I want a large family (HELLO -you have 5 -count ‘em FIVE -kids already) -so I guess she didn’t think that was enough on her plate WITH HAVING A MILITARY HUSBAND who is gone a lot -so she thought she should adopt a special needs kid? Once again, I am completely astounded at the stupidity of some people. As I said, I will give her props for having to sense to get out of the situation so the boy could have a truly good life, but that situation should have never existed in the first place. And, no, I don’t feel bad for judging someone so stupid and delusional.


November 20th, 2009
1:06 pm

I can’t even imagine having to go through this..So sitting here behind a desk, I can say no way, then when reality hits, I really don’t know..From reading her story, I do think that she did what she really felt was for the best..I hope it was..She doesn’t say how old her bio daughters are, so what I can’t understand is, did no one in the family bond with this baby? That to me seems very strange..


November 20th, 2009
1:11 pm

@ JATL….your last line has got me chuckling as I am typically made to look bad ( on this blog) for judging people whom I think are stupid and delusional….even though I have never met them and am making an assumption by what they have written. We are all making an assumption today based on what Anita has written, unless anyone here knows her personally.

I often wonder why folks have so many children and sometimes think that there are women are just “nesting” types of women who do not know what to do with themselves if they are not in MOMMA mode. Am I the only one who thinks this?

I love my kids dearly but am thrilled that they are nearly grown and I can pursue my own interests now, as they pursue theirs too!

Beauchamp Fortenberry

November 20th, 2009
1:39 pm

The only time you should give your child away is when she’s walking down the aisle on her wedding day.

Phyllis Bearden

November 20th, 2009
1:57 pm

I know I couldn’t give up my children, but what about the young mother who gives her child up for adoption? What about the drug addict who keeps endangering her child and gives him or her up to more responsible people. I haven’t read the story, and I probably would agree with delusional as the description of a woman who has five children, a military husband, and agrees to adopt a special needs child. But thank God she realized her stupidity and did give him up to a better situation.


November 20th, 2009
1:58 pm

Google Anita Tedaldi and click on the chinaadoptiontalk blog link that comes up. It will open your eyes to this woman and how full of it she is. Don’t feel the list bit sympathetic for her, but very sorry for this alleged child who may or may not really exist.


November 20th, 2009
2:16 pm

A friend of mine was left at an orphanage in Korea as a baby. She was adopted by a family in Chicago who then decided after a couple of years that they did not want her. She was placed in an orphanage in Chicago and eventually adopted again. They kept her, but basically ceased all communication with her after she graduated and left for college. It’s sad, but it happens folks…

American Mother

November 20th, 2009
2:17 pm

huh! My Daddy did not GIVE my sister or me away – He Presented us to be married, said he wasn’t giving his kids to anybody!!!

As for the article, she just really really did bite off more than she could chew – but remember she made it right. anyway
tough call….


November 20th, 2009
2:19 pm

I think her heart was in the right place, but she severely overestimated her own capacity. Luckily, she recognized that she had a problem and dealt with it responsibly.

People make mistakes — they aren’t perfect. *shrug*. Sara, I read the link you mentioned — yes, there does seem to be some inconsistencies, but I would attribute them mostly to a journalist attempting to provide a privacy wall between the public and her family. I think the saddest thing in the article was the description of D.’s leaving — and his “sisters” just waving goodbye as they watched TV. Obviously, there were some disconnect issues within this family.

The main thing is that the child appears to be well-cared for and happy, now. Which is a far cry from being dumped by the side of the road in South America, now, isn’t it? I don’t know what I’d do in that situation. I’d like to think I wouldn’t get myself into it, but let’s face it, few of us CHOOSE to make mistakes. Honestly, I probably would never have chosen to adopt, I’ve never felt that biological drive of “motherhood at all costs”.


November 20th, 2009
2:26 pm

I am really torn over this article. I have 2 adopted children, 10 years apart, and I can’t even IMAGINE giving them up for a second. My situation was different – I did not already have 5 children when I adopted mine. I have to wonder if she went thru all the scrutiny adoptive parents have to go thru before being able to adopt? the home studies, the background checks?? while I commend her desire to adopt, was it really the best thing for this little boy? Will anyone ever know how much he understood, and how this will affect him? One part of me gives her kudos for being honest with the world, but another part is wondering what she really expected when she adopted, and if she was truly mentally prepared for it all.


November 20th, 2009
2:37 pm

mjg – it’s an interesting paradox that the more kids you have, the less disruptive it is to add another. It seems that going from 2 to 3 (or sometimes from 3 to 4) is the dividing line. Once you hit 4 kids, another isn’t going to add to the chaos of life that significantly.

I know some large families (5 or more kids) with several adopted children and the moms are not desperately seeking the ‘momma mode’. They just feel that they have room in their hearts and homes for kids who need the love and care. Everyone pitches in, older kids care for younger kids, and it all works. I have 3 kids and while I don’t currently have the urge to adopt but I can see the good in it and would consider it if a situation arose that needed our help.

Together for 15

November 20th, 2009
2:54 pm

Wow, tough crowd today.

This is a heart-wrenching story, and I think some folks fail to note that the child was not bonding with anyone in the family. Mom was trying, if she wasn’t succeeding, how could the other children succeed in bonding? There are plenty of women who get pregnant and give away their child because they can’t provide for him/her. This isn’t that much different in many ways.
How many times do we see/read stories about women who should clearly never have had children or who got in over their heads. We then judge and berate them for keeping the child/ren and abusing them, raising them in squalor, etc.? Horrific tales.. granted, this is not a story of abuse. HOWEVER, the premise is the same.

Anita was unable to properly care for D, who had special needs. She couldn’t bond with him and despite being educated about his needs, she was unable to meet them. She realized it and made the difficult decision to find a family who could give D what he needed to thrive in this world.

Claerly, D was better off being adopted than left in S. America. He’s better off now being raised by Samantha because Anita was willing to swallow her pride, admit her limitations, and not force D to stay in a family he couldn’t connect with.

In the end, D is getting the help and life he needs in a loving, caring family. Isn’t that what’s really important?


November 20th, 2009
3:02 pm

@Together for 15..Didn’t see where we are all being so tough..What I read is that most don’t know as we haven’t been there..All in all most of us think that hopefully she did do the right thing..


November 20th, 2009
3:07 pm

@penguinmom…I am sure you are correct about the dividing line with kids.

My sister knows someone who has 10 kids and she is totally laid back. Their house is chaotic and always unorganized but the Mom seems comfortable with it. I cannot IMAGINE having 10 kids, so for me two is just fine!

I invited my niece and nephew to visit us many summers ago ( for a long weekend) and had 4 kids at once…it drove me nuts. Nothing about the kids, I just felt I was constantly saying:
“please pick up your______, did you brush your teeth, have you had a shower, remember your towel and sunscreen, you need to eat your lunch now, wash your hands. close the door …”

Give me 100 Kindergarteners for 30 minutes and I am fine….hahaha!

Hats off to those with large families!


November 20th, 2009
3:19 pm

@MJG, I’m from a family of 10 and for the most part it was fun..As you said, our house was always chaotic, but we always knew that there was someone there for us when we needed them..


November 20th, 2009
3:32 pm

Interesting the differences in opinion here vs. the blog that is attached to the article. I read quite a number of them today (why I dunno) but it is interesting to note that the article mentions 5 kids, but she didn’t have 5 kids at the time of ‘D.’s adoption. She was pregnant when he joined her family (oops baby) and then she had two more after he joined the family. Apparently oops babies as well.


November 20th, 2009
3:45 pm

It is hard to judge someone if you have not walked a mile in their shoes…..All I can say is it took alot of guts to admit she could not handle the situation, the important thing is she gave the kid a chance, instead of killing it like so many people do! So anyone who has a problem with her giving up the kid needs to think before they critcize, the child is safe in a home where it will be loved and cared for. People like Photius are so judgemental, and it is that type af attitude that drives some people to dispose of children they do not want becasue of the stigma of giving up a child that people like Photius want to label you with. Mommy Syndrome , bad parent, these are all just labels the self rightous wantto stick on other people to make themselves feel better with no regard to the child in question. You forget this is about the child’s wellbeing, but there are always those wanting to bash someone toraise their own self esteem. Here we have a woman making a difficult decision to ensure she adn the child will be mentally healthy and you know her! I am amazed at anyone who does not simplty commend the woman for doing the right thing by the child! Should she have kept the child, not being able to connect with the child and have everyone miserable and possibly disfuncitional? Or deal with it, with the help of the social worker to fix a sad situation. I think any family who has had a crisis in this regard where the child has turned up dead, would look at this and say I wish “?” had just said she could not handle the child, we would have taken her/him, we would have helped! SO to all those that feel the need to critcise put on her shoes and start walking!!!! or Shut up!

new stepmom

November 20th, 2009
4:11 pm

Very interesting. I have 2 young cousins who were adopted from foreign countries at the ages of 2 1/2 and 19 months. They attached quickly, but had been in excellent orphanages from infancy and were loved an cared for their whole lives before my cousins adopted them. My cousins also went in with the understanding that attachment disorders can occur and it can be awful for everyone if those happen.

When I think of that child being given away, I have the picture of my little cousins in my head and it is heartbreaking, but having not walked in this mother’s shoes I have a hard time judging her as well.

My Aunt should have done this

November 20th, 2009
4:20 pm

I had an Aunt, who in the 1980’s adopted a son. A couple of years after the adoption her husband left her and they divorced. She should have given him up then, but she didn’t. She tried. But, well, lets just say, she couldn’t handle the situation, the boy got the bad end of the deal and Child protective services finally came in and took the boy away. I don’t know how badly abused he was and I hope he was placed with a much better family.

At least this women realized that he wasn’t bonding with the family and sought help and made the very hard decision to do what was right. How many of you would have been judging her even more harshly, if she had kept him and it turned out badly? If the boy wasn’t bonding, he was going to have a very hard life with that family. He’s bonding with his new parents and brother, she made a mistake and made the very, very hard decision to do what was best for the child.

And for those who ask about giving up children because they are a problem… Did you forget the headlines they had last year about that state that had the law that allowed parents to drop off their kids at the hospitals. Parents were driving from out of state to drop off their kids…ages from 1 to 15, most of them said that they couldn’t handle the kids. Anita recognized the problem and was able to fix it. Do you really think you could have done better with a child that is not responding to your love? Your lack of compassion for this situation tells me that you wouldn’t have…


November 20th, 2009
4:32 pm

@JMS…I am not judging MOMMA mode women, anymore that I am judging those who do not want to have any children at all. Not my business.

I believe I said I, “sometimes think that there are women are just “nesting” types of women who do not know what to do with themselves if they are not in MOMMA mode. Am I the only one who thinks this?…”

I was just making an observation. If this is what they want to do, then so be it.

One thing I feel pretty confident about, not everyone makes the best parent for every child.
Some folks are better in different situations. Some are willing to adapt, learn or seek help.

It looks like Anita did that. Just because you have children does not make you a good parent for all children.

RE: the lady in North Carolina whose 5 year old was given up for prostitution and found dead yesterday…that was heart breaking! What Mother does this with her own child?


November 20th, 2009
4:37 pm

Crackhead mothers do this with their own child….


November 20th, 2009
4:42 pm

There is another way to look at this… perhaps he’s with the family he is suppose to be with. And that wouldn’t of happened if Anita hadn’t played her role; adopted him first, struggled, talked with her therapist who looked for a new family and found Samantha.

new stepmom

November 20th, 2009
4:49 pm

MJG-I see your point. Women like the Dugger (sp?) woman in Arkansas fall into that category and it is a different mentality than what I have and what you have. I totally get where you are coming from.

I heard about the NC mother on Tuesday and that sickened me. That mom is currently pregnant as well….sickening.


November 20th, 2009
4:50 pm

@YUKI, sadly not all crackhead Mothers give their kids away..I have a sister that no amount of calling DEFACS or any other agency got her kids taken away from her..So now she has 2 of 3 boys in jail and one of them is only 23 and has already had 3 children taken away from him..


November 20th, 2009
4:53 pm

One accidental baby is an “oops” -THREE means you’re too stupid to understand adequate birth control, tubal ligations or vasectomies. And JMS -you’re so full of self-righteousness your whole point is mute. As I said, I’m glad this child FINALLY is in a loving and good home, and it’s great he’s off the side of the road in South America, but someone ELSE should have rescued him in the first place. I am very glad she gave him to someone else -that was the one right call in the whole mess. As far as walking in someone else’s shoes -lots of people are in “shoes” that they never wanted or could help getting into, but some are in the exact shoes they had custom-made for themselves, so I’m not so easy with the pity for those folks.


November 20th, 2009
4:53 pm

@KLH: I like that! A nice wrap-up, with a bow and everything!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 20th, 2009
6:36 pm

KLH — after reading it that was what I decided — that the first mothers role cosmically was to get him here and start adjusting — almost like a foster parent — I would have a very hard time giving up on a commitment like that — I do think he’s probably in a better home for him but …


November 21st, 2009
3:13 pm

Law and Order has done a couple of episodes somewhat along these lines.

People need to take committments seriously before they get in them. Be it marriage, adoption, or whatever.

May God bless that child.


November 21st, 2009
3:21 pm

I was hoping I would feel more positive toward and sympathetic to the mother after I read the story for a second time, but I do not.

Praise God He can take something selfish and messy and bring something good out of it (for the little boy, anyway). The former adopting family obviously needs help, however, and I hope they are getting it.


November 21st, 2009
9:51 pm

What the hell is anyone doing with 5 kids and a husband in the military? Why are you having any children if your husband is in the military? Why is your husband in the military? And what would possess you to take on a 6th child in those circumstances??

This woman needs real psychological counseling. Clearly she is a collector, not a responsible parent.

If you cannot be personnally responsible for your children, then you don’t have them. If you take on the responsiblity of an adopted child, then you take care of them. Period. Where did anyone get the idea that a child, or a pet is a disposable item that you can just throw away when you realize you can’t take care of it??

Does it occur to anyone else that this woman is just another symptom of our hopeless society of people who no longer take personal responsibility for their actions??

Tie her tubes and take away her children. If her husband comes home from the war and finally has enough sense to get out of the imperial army, then maybe he should get custody. Not sure though. He certainly hasn’t made too many intelligent decisions in his life either.


November 21st, 2009
11:06 pm

Warning bells went off for me when she said she discussed whether or not she should adopt with her therapist. Where I live, someone who already has a therapist (not to mention a deployed husband and a houseful of biological kids) probably doesn’t need to adopt, especially a special-needs child.

Matt the Brave

November 22nd, 2009
1:25 am

As a person who is going through the adoptive process, the agency that worked with this woman should have done their homework on her mental state. I’m not saying that anyone who goes to a therapist is crazy (I’ve been to one myself at different stages in my life), but something should have been noted if she was having doubts about adopting. She also should have talked with the adoption agency about her concerns before going ahead with the adoption.

I know that doubts can sometimes cloud the mind and the outcome of doing something that you have doubts about can have excellent outcomes, but doubts are also there sometimes as a checkpoint for you to walk away. With adoption, you are talking about a lifelong committment to rearing a child. It’s not a dog, it’s not a pet, it’s another human being that you are going to be teaching how to live. It’s even harder to be a parent to a special needs child, and it takes a special person to adopt those with these needs.

One other thing that is disturbing to me is that she states that she had trouble connecting with this child. One major step while going through the adoption process is that, even though you are not carrying the child or are the biological father of this child, you are their parent. This is more than just DNA, it has much more responsibility. This is YOUR child.

I hope that this woman continues to recieve help from a therapist and the social worker. It seems that her problems with her adopted son run very deep. I hope that she learns to cope with her decision, and that soon-to-be adoptive parents use this as their checkpoint to make sure they are ready to adopt.


November 22nd, 2009
7:02 am

Being the parent of a child with severe attachment disorder, it was drummed into my head before the placement that this is not unique to adoptive settings only. There can be failure to bond in the most intact, traditional, nuclear family, but it rarely gets diagnosed in those homes. If for whatever reason the primary caregiver, usually the mom, is unable to meet the immediate needs of the infant, the infant will withdraw from the bonding, in an effort to self support. An infant needs no more than four, and preferably two, caregivers for the first year. So someone who has a baby and then uses a wide variety of sitters, nannies, grandparents, whoever, is increasing the chances that the baby will have some attachment issues. They may be mild and easily overlooked, or the effects may be serious and require intervention. Kids are not pets or fashion accessories and require the adults make the difficult decisions to act appropriately.


November 22nd, 2009
7:20 am

I wouldn’t blame the baby for the attachment disorder. And look at the behavior of the other kids. This is a family with some serious problems (do I need to list them?) and they need help–dad, mom, and sibs. Not a happy family, not a good story, but I am hopeful the baby will come out okay in all this. He has been treated as disposable for too long.


November 22nd, 2009
7:22 am

Mr. Liberty: note it wasn’t a sixth child. It was a BOY.

Joyce Naumis

November 22nd, 2009
7:45 am

I really wanted to think about my response before firing off my immediate reaction to this story. I became a parent thanks to international adoption, and while we haven’t had any problems with attachment disorder, nothing’s perfect. That being said, I can’t imagine any scenario in which I would give my son away. HE’S MY SON!!!!

I too wonder how this woman and her family got all the way through the adoption process without anyone hitting the brakes. In our case the process took over a year, and that’s relatively quick for international adoption. It just looks like several people along the way dropped the ball in not counseling this woman and her family better so that this little boy didn’t have to go through 2 major rejections in his short life. I know he’s very young, but I can’t help but think that he’ll remember on some level that he was dumped twice. I hope his new family is truly the match he’s meant to have.


November 22nd, 2009
9:24 am

Beauchamp Fortenberry is wrong when he/she says the only time you should give away your child is when she is walking down the isle on her wedding day. I was given away by my biological mother. I do not know her motives but I do know she was single and was emotionally incapable of raising me. Instead, I was raised in a loving household by parents who were truly God-given. I do not judge my biological mother, nor do I judge this woman who was wise enough to do the right thing, no matter how difficult. I simply pray that D will mature as a full-fledged member of his new home.


November 23rd, 2009
2:20 am

Medically Complex Children are already losing Medicaid assistance in GA simply becuase it is cheaper to keep these children silent in institutions or out of state than to know a loving home – YOU CAN HELP BY LETTING GA GOVERNMENT KNOW THEY ARE WRONG! Just go to


November 23rd, 2009
9:32 am

I am not a parent and I pray that I am never faced with this decision. I do feel sorry for her but more so because of how we are passing judgment on her. I say “we” because I was one of the folks who thought something ugly when I first read the story.

I don’t know this woman but I do know that parents give their biological kids away when they cannot handle them. They turn them over to the state. They give them away to foster care. They give them up for adoption. They commit them. They put them in homes when the parents cannot give them the physical and mental care the child needs. It doesn’t matter that she adopted this little boy. He is her son by choice if not by blood so why is her situation any different than the parents who fit the descriptions above? To me it’s not. This lady could not meet the physical and mental care needs of her son and afforded him the opportunity to go to a family that CAN meet his needs. She didn’t just walk into a social worker’s office, sit him down in a chair, and walk out.


November 23rd, 2009
10:37 pm

I read an interesting comment on the other blog: how would things had been different if a birth child had failed to attach, due to autism or a similar disorder?
Obviously the most important thing in any situation is the well-being of the child in question, but there is no clear answer about when a child is simply “difficult” and when a child would truly be better off somewhere else.


November 23rd, 2009
11:55 pm

I wonder if the reason why the child wasn’t bonding with the family was due to how he was treated in the family. Kids are not morons. I just wonder if he truly didn’t feel the love. I also wonder if Anita is in denial that she was truly giving him the love and attention that she said she was. Anyone can say that they are reading books, playing games, etc.

While I think D is better off now, his adoptive mother should feel guilty (Yes, I realize that I am being the judgemental person that I am not proud of). She should have known that he might have special needs. I don’t think she thought that idea out (which is why I am being so judgemental). I wonder if her husband was on board with the idea in the first place. Such a shame. While it is harsh of me to say, I think she should feel bad. When you adopt a child, you are agreeing to love them and properly care for them no matter what. And if you can’t swallow that concept, don’t adopt.

While it may seem contradictory, I am not ragging on those women who give their newborns up for adoption. On the contrary. I have the utmost respect. The difference is that Anita should have known what she was getting into. Pregnant women who have unplanned pregnancies and decide to give their children up for adoption are looking for families who will provide a better life for the child. JMHO.


November 24th, 2009
10:25 am

100% agree with JATL AND PHOTIUS!!


August 19th, 2010
7:01 am

what a great work to adopt a child. this article have great information to include the people to adopt the child