Adoption: Return to Sender: Jayne

Misled and Lied To?

See Jayne's home video about her struggles with her daughter.

 

Read Jayne's candid thoughts in her blog. 

 

Jayne explains she first noticed Mikhaela was different within days of meeting her in the Ukraine. She says she took her daughter to an audiologist in the Ukraine who told her Mikhaela was profoundly deaf and needed a hearing aid. Jayne eventually got her a cochlear implant but that didn't solve all of the girl's problems. She was told that Mikhaela's biological mother relinquished her at 1 ½ years old, but later learned it was at 4 days old, and Mikhaela spent her first year and a half in a tiny crib.

"Were you misled?" Dr. Phil asks Jayne.

"I was lied to," she says. "I was shown documents that were not true. She has Hepatitis. I was shown documents that she was inoculated and didn't have Hepatitis. I specifically, after spending three days with her, asked them if she had autism, because she was playing with her fingers, and she wasn't making eye contact. I took her to a hospital. The director of pediatrics at the hospital told me that she knew her and that she was definitely not autistic. And as a single mother, I knew I couldn't handle a child with autism."

"You said if you knew then what you know now, you would've left her there?" he asks.

"Definitely, although … I couldn't have left. I mean, she would've had no life," Jayne says.

"You say you need her out of your house?"

"Yes."

[AD]"As a mother, what do you go through in saying that? Because I know that's not easy for you to say," Dr. Phil says.

Jayne works with a behavioral assistant to help with her daughter's violent and uncontrollable behavior, like hitting her head against the wall and peeling off her toenails. "I have a behavior assistant in the house 20 hours when she's home. I need to pick her up from aftercare with a behavior assistant. I get behavior therapy for her, but it's just not working," she says. "I'm trying to get her into a behavior-intensive residential treatment center. They haven't given me an answer. Because she has Hepatitis, they're afraid to have her there."

Dr. Phil introduces Dr. Lisa Albers-Prock, a developmental behavioral pediatrician from the Children's Hospital of Boston. He asks her, "What are the options once you're in the situation? You have the child, she's in your home, what do you do?"

"Ideally, shortly after coming home from an international adoption, [options include] contacting their adoption agency for resources, trying to get help in the medical arena, the mental health arena," she says. "Home-based services are clearly key, but for the small percentage of children who are internationally adopted, who do have very significant neuro-developmental disabilities, like we saw in the video, there aren't a lot of great options. I mean, it is picking one thing at a time and trying to address medical issues first, developmental issues on top of that. Sometimes medications have a role, sometimes families do need respite. Parents need to take care of themselves so they can really take care of children."

Dr. Phil brings up Jayne's worry that her daughter is going to need care her entire life, and Jayne won't always be able to provide that for her.

[AD]"Physically, she weighs 102 pounds now, and she attacks me," Jayne says. "I've been running on empty for about five years now. I have nothing left to give." She says not being able to control her daughter when she hurts herself makes her feel like a failure as well. "When she comes out of the bedroom in the morning, and she's missing three toenails, yeah, I feel like a failure. I can't protect this kid from [herself]. I'm on empty. I'm totally on empty, and I don't know what to do."

"And right now, with her, it's containment. You don't feel like she's getting a lot better; you're just trying to keep her safe," Dr. Phil says.

"Yes," she says.

Dr. Phil says he noticed in the video that Mikhaela looks at her mom after she hits her head, an indication that she's wanting her mother's attention. "She is socially aware. She's trying to see if this is working or not," he says.

"That's one of the problems. She wants 100 percent of my attention all the time," Jayne says. "She's very happy if I'm holding her hand, but then attacks me if I can't cook fast enough because I'm doing it with one hand."

[AD]Tom DiFilipo is the president of the Joint Council on International Children's Services. He says he can see red flags in Jayne's adoption story. "I think this points out the need for services not only when the child is adopted, but also before the child is adopted," Tom says. "So, utilizing an accredited agency that does parent training, that utilizes an international adoption clinic. There are specific medical clinics, such as the one that Dr. Albers works at, that specialize in adoption medicine and can educate parents and also do evaluations on the medical records while the family is in country."