By | April 27, 2010 6 Comments

Respite for adopted Russian children and their parents

Many Russian children adopted by Americans suffer from the legacy of fetal alcohol syndrome, institutionalization, poverty and socially corrosive survival skills. A ranch in Montana gives them—and their parents—a break.

Read Russian adoptees get a respite on the range, on

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Ox Drover

I’d read about this ranch a few years ago when it was fairly new, but had completely forgotten about it until I saw this article. Thanks Donna.

The problems with so many of these kids and alcoholism in their mothers and drug addiction in the mothers, worldwide, and here in the US as well. I didn’t work in peds much, except for a short stent in an ICU part time and when I was in school, but even then I saw these babies born addicted to X, Y or Z drugs….even years ago, so can’t imagine what the frequence of it is NOW.

What amazes me is how many children these women have, and either the state or their relatives take them, and they go right back out and have another one. A friend of mine is raising 4 of 5 children had by her drug-addicted step daughter, and the last child born in prison, the father of the girl demanded that the girl’s mother take it. His wife also has the two badly abused children of his late son and his drug-addicted wife. So here in o ne family is one woman coping with 6 of 7 children born in that family, now ages 15 through 5. The mother of the five kids, refused to get her tubes tied after baby number 4 (she was not raising or caring for any of them) and she said “I might want another baby some day!” well baby number 5 was born in prison and she then got her tubes tied.

The father of her first two babies had 4 kids by 3 women by the time he was 21…see a pattern there?

So many of these kids are flawed from before birth by the drugs, born into a neglectful and abusive environment, then thown around “from pillar to post” and finally into the care of relatives or foster care system, back to “mommie dearest” then back again to “alternative care.”

Even if they are fortunate enough to be given up for adoption, there may be enough damage done to their brains and bodies that there is little likelyhood that they will have good outcomes! In the meantime it costs a fortune in social welfare costs and turns out another adult who will wind up in perpetual care of either the social services or the justice department, or the morgue, and probably another generation of damaged children as well.

This woman is a saint in my estimation…but the article mentioned that even she holds no hope that her program does a lot if any long term good, and she now has the second generation in her care. God bless her!


Well, in due time, the true Spaths, if any, will eventually stop riding the horses and will unfortunately begin torturing them!


What an uplifting article.

OxD, I agree – what a calling for this gal. It takes a certain type of person to take that kind of project on. I know that I don’t have the fortitude to do something like that, myself. I’m getting involved in teaching at a facility that houses “troubled” kids, and it’s very difficult for me to leave without taking some of that negative baggage with me.

BOUNDARIES, dammit! I have to maintain those boundaries!

Ox Drover

Buttons, boundaries have always been my thing too. I used to work in spinal cord and head injury rehabilitationn and I always told myself, when a patient dies or leaves, if I NEVER go into the bathroom and cry, I need to quit. OR if I spend all my time in the bathroom crying, I need to quit.

Getting “attached” to clients/students/patients in a healthy way is a good thing. If we are so detached that we no longer see them as people something is wrong with us. Or if we want to take EVERY patient/client/student home with us we don’t have good boundaries. It is difficult to do, to walk that fine line, but we can do it. 25+ years after I left that job a former patient’s mother is my best friend, I still keep in close contact with several nurses I worked there with, I still remember some patients and wonder what ever happened to them, I remember other patients and my eyes will tear up, but I KNOW I did some good in that job, I made people’s lives better, I comforted parents, spouses and the severely injured. I can look back and feel I did a good job. The best I could with the circumstances I had to work with.

You can do it Buttons, and remember, your compassion and caring is what makes you special. (((Hugs))))


Could there be an issue with expectations, too? A lot of people may adopt thinking that just because a child is young that they will be able to bond with their adoptive parents. These same parents might not be willing to adopt from the US foster care system, even though the issues are essentially the same. I think mental health issues in young children in general tend to be minimized.

Ox Drover

Dear Cynic,

I agreee with you, and many of these kids with both environmental and genetic issues (physical and mental) are available BECAUSE they are “less than perfect” in either age or appearance or behavior–but many of those European kids (especially from Russian and other areas with high alcoholism etec.) have the double whammy of bad genetics and bad environmental situations with prenatal drugs and alcohol.

I still don’t understand why people adopt from out of country older kids or “damaged” kids when there are so many kids here that are probably less damaged than what is coming out of Europe and Russia. I think the Chinese girl children that are being adopted and brought to the US seem to so far mostly turn out okay since they are only “abandoned” because of preference for male children. I wonder though what all that high percentage of males they are selecting for in the Chinese one-child families are going to marry?

Gosh, our world is a mess!

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