Woman Terminates Adoption Because She Can't Bond With The Child

Filed under: Adoption, In The News



Of human bondage?

The "Today" show on NBC did a shocking segment on Anita Tedaldi, "a woman who adopted a child and then gave him up 18 months later." Tedaldi is a writer who originally told this story on The New York Times' Motherlode blog.

She and her husband have five biological children and decided that they wanted more. After going through the approval process, she was able to adopt a baby who was found by the side of a road. Despite her pre-adoption belief that she would "be able to parent this little boy the same way I had done with my biological daughters," she terminated the adoption after 18 months.

Because she couldn't bond with him, she said.

Asked by Matt Lauer what this means, Tedaldi was somewhat vague and did manage to blame the baby. "It went both ways," she said in the interview. "The child, D., wasn't connecting with us."

What on earth is she talking about? Without giving us particulars, we're left to wonder what went on in that house for a year-and-a-half? Was Baby D. not a hugger? Did he not smile? What does it mean exactly that an infant is not bonding with his mother?

Lauer really missed the boat by not pressing this question. And Tedaldi, by averting a direct explanation, only adds to the frustration and creates more questions.

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Writing about the story, "Today" correspondent Natalie Morales thinks that we shouldn't be too quick to judge the woman. Many commenters on the "Today" show Web site agree.

But what no one is saying is that ultimately this story is about the one thing that it shouldn't be about -- Anita Tedaldi. One of the not-discussed-enough aspects of the mommy blogosphere is how often it becomes All About Mom. This story is a classic case of that.

Not only did Tedaldi give back a baby she had decided to adopt, she actually says that the baby shares some of the responsibility for this lack of bonding. Is it possible that it's just damn hard to raise a baby when you already have a house full of children? And that Tedaldi didn't realize this until the child arrived?

Explain it to us, lady. What happened?

Ironically, Tedaldi used to feel the same way we did, and wrote a column for Military.com called "We Can't Trade In Our Children or Husbands" back in January 2008. (Military.com has pulled the piece, but the Adoption Talk blog has some of the text.) Now that she has had this experience, she feels differently.

Hey, no harm no foul, right?

But there is harm. There is a baby involved here.

In the original Times blog, Tedaldi wrote that she "wasn't connecting with [the baby] on the visceral level I experienced with my biological daughters."

Perhaps that was part of the problem? She wanted to duplicate her parenting experience with her older kids frame-for-frame. We have no way of knowing unless we hear details.

Many are praising this mom for her honesty. We can't help but wonder how much of the story she decided not to share with the world.

What do you think?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.