When good kids happen to bad parents

In case there’s any confusion, adopting a child from India is nothing like buying an end table from Target — you do not get to return the former if he or she does not work out in your home.

Shockingly enough, there are otherwise intelligent and reasonable adults who do not grasp this distinction. On a recent episode of “Dr. Phil,” the underlying point needed to be drilled home to Melissa and Bobby, a married couple that adopted a child from India named AJ:

When they brought AJ home, things were not what they expected. “He did not want to be held by us. He would cry and kick and scream whenever we tried to hold him,” Melissa explains. “We’re kind of like, ‘What happened? Where did things go wrong?’ I do not love AJ and I wonder if I ever will.”

Melissa and Bobby also learned that AJ has special needs. “I feel resentful. I didn’t bargain for that,” says Melissa. “I’ve told him, ‘I wish we never adopted you,’ and I call him stupid. I thought I would grow to love him, but I feel like I’m forcing myself to love him.”

There are two things in this world that you just don’t f–k with:
1. Wu-Tang Clan (obviously)
2. Dr. Phil

The imposing Texan laid the smackdown on Melissa, and made hapless Bobby watch, ’cause that’s how Dr. Phil rolls:

“Do you have the right to be frustrated, scared, worried, doubtful, wondering? Absolutely you do, and that’s what the two of you can talk about. But as to this child, he didn’t choose to be with you, he didn’t choose to have this disease, he didn’t choose to have a scowl on his face, he didn’t choose to be afraid and not be able to connect with you — he didn’t choose any of that. He just is here. He’s just trying to survive and make it through. So the first thing we have to do is eliminate the negatives. You’ve got to stop the criticism, stop the discipline, stop the expression of frustration because children are so sensitive they pick that up. What he needs to know is, ‘I’m accepted,’ ‘I’m loved,’ ‘I belong,’ whether he’s earning it or not. He needs to feel unconditional love.”

If AJ’s not giving them the feedback they want, then they need to give it to each other. “It’s not his job to love you, it’s your job to love him,” Dr. Phil points out. “I promise you if you will do this and keep doing it, it will be fine.” He also notes that AJ’s behavior is situation specific because he does bond with other people. “So he’s picking up something from you that’s causing him to say, ‘I’m not safe here.’ And if you stop the negatives and introduce these positives with the idea that you do it until, this young man will begin to receive and respond and love.”

Luckily for Melissa and Bobby, they took Dr. Phil’s advice to heart, thus preventing the large-footed mammal from inserting his hoof into their collective asses:

“Most of the things Dr. Phil told us were really hard to hear,” admits Melissa. “I was feeling pretty angry at Dr. Phil, but the truth of the matter is, he told it the way it was and we needed to hear the truth from him. Since the show, we have changed our parenting style … Recently AJ has told me that he loves me. He wants me to be happy. I never think about sending AJ back to India anymore.”

“The show was definitely a wake-up call,” says Bobby, who has seen a change in their son. “Now AJ has been initiating a lot of conversations. I’m very happy that AJ is my son.”

Despite the happy ending (for now), I feel this still underscores one absolutely fundamental truth — some jackasses just shouldn’t be allowed to raise children…or procreate…or drive on the 405 when it rains (sorry, that last one was totally personal).

9 thoughts on “When good kids happen to bad parents

  1. Amen!

    People don’t get the fact that when a kid is introduced into your life, everything revolves around the kid. All priorties take a backseat. This whiny attitude of “Oh he doesn’t let us do anything anymore, our lives have changed forever, they will never be the same” smacks of selfishness and the inability to comprehend a basic situation. Too many people lately come under the impression that raising a kid is like a pet. Couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Especially when you are adopting kids, its even more difficult.

    ““I feel resentful. I didn’t bargain for that,” says Melissa. “I’ve told him, ‘I wish we never adopted you,’ and I call him stupid. I thought I would grow to love him, but I feel like I’m forcing myself to love him.””

    Bargain? There are no bargains with kids. Its all about them and always will be.

    *Not just the 405 man, throw the 91, 5, 101, all of em in there. Its like playing space invaders, just nothing to shoot back at with.

  2. “Do you suppose telling him he’s stupid, he’s bad, ‘I’m sorry I adopted you,’ and punishing him by making him run when you know that he has hypotonia — do you think that might be contributing to it?”

    Hypotonia – decreased muscle tone

    That’s just SICK.


  3. Wow, I never cared for Dr. Phil before but his advice to the parents was absolutely spot-on – just beautiful

  4. i don’t remember the link, but i read the message boards immediately after this show originally aired– Dr. Phil’s disciples/groupies were having apopleptic fits over these assholes. several of them said they were weeping for the child by the end of the segment, many wished they could adopt him, to take him away from such monsters.

    i’d love to backhand some sense in to them, too. as deepa pointed out, they are beyond abusive. forced running? when he has a disease? are you kidding me?

  5. I feel strangely compelled to make a phone call to the Department of Children & Family Services. What kind of sick selfish demonic person tells a child “I wish I’d never adopted you” or forces the little boy to run when he has a muscular condition??

    Can we send these idiots to go work in an orphanage in India? Slapping them isn’t good enough, and I wouldn’t want my hand to touch them.

  6. I work out of India and have adpoted a baby boy from India who is 2 years and three months old. It is not me who has done a favor for the baby by adopting him, instead it is my baby who has given me and my husband all the pleasures in the world by coming in to our lives. Sure he throws tantrums but that does not hassle us as we love him and know that is a part of his growing up. It is frightening to know that people like Mellisa and Bobby are given the responsibility of taking care of an innocent child, Mellisa and Bobby should go down on their knees and thank God for the miracle they have been given in Baby AJ. They should be monitored closely and if Melissa’s selfishness, insensitivity and hostility towards the baby continues, the orphanage where she brought the baby from should be informed and the baby should be taken away from these parents so that other deserving parents can love and take care of baby AJ.