A Lawyer Can’t Fix This (Alt. title: Stay in Your Lane and Have a Seat)

An advice column was shared in a group I belong to. A family was having a hard time with their teen he was, “[becoming] more and more difficult to live with — moody and disrespectful, mostly, and his grades have taken a nose dive.” Additionally, this teen wanted to do live with a different family member. The advice giver, who claims to be a psychologist and has claimed a domain titled “parent guru” suggests the parents response to this situation should be to immediately find an attorney. A lawyer can’t fix this.

He states that, “Some researchers estimate that today’s children, compared with 1960s kids, are 10 times more likely to experience a major emotional setback by age 16.” This knowledge combined with the complaints of the parent(s) seem to indicate this teen needs support. So why instead of recommending family therapy or even individual therapy for the teen does he recommend an attorney? Simple,

  • the child is an adoptee
  • the family member he wishes to move in with is his birth mother
  • the advice giver has, “been opposed to open adoptions from the beginning”

He provides no statistics or research that have led him to be against openness in adoption. He provides no reason for the readers to believe he has any knowledge of a expertise in open adoption. AND YET, he decides to proceed to give advice regarding open adoption.

Further the situation described by the parent(s) implies there was no direct contact between the child and the birth/first mother until he was an adolescent. This changes the dynamic from that of an open adoption to more like an adoption reunion. This further recommends that support/counseling is needed. A lawyer can’t fix this.

The advice giver complains that, “schools that no longer teach critical thinking skills” and yet as far too often happens he jumps directly to: get a lawyer. A lawyer can’t fix this. A birth parent isn’t an adversary, they’re a resource for a child, who in this case is admittedly struggling. I’m not saying pack up your child and ship them off to the birth parent. Far too often things are seen as either or without seeing the in between options. For instance one intermediate option might be every school break with the birth family giving both child and parents space, gives child and (birth) family time and access to each other, doesn’t disrupt education, also forces (for lack of a better word) cooperation between families showing the child it’s not going to be a free for all at the other persons house that all his parents are on the same page and have the same expectations of him. Because despite this advice giver stating that, “Of the players, only the [adoptive parents] truly know him and have his best interests in mind.” Birth parents also only want the best for their children.

As a birth mom living open adoption, if my son said he wanted to live with me. I’d want to really delve into the motivation(s) and what expectations he had. That being said if he wasn’t just trying to piss off/hurt his parents and if his parents were supportive (he is under 18 after all) of the move I’d welcome him in.

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