Anita Tedaldi has written much about her family of five biological daughters. Despite a gaggle of children, Tadaldi felt here was room in her and her husband’s lives to adopt an additional child. The South American boy, referred to as “Baby D”, had been found by the side of the road. If anyone needed a family, it was he.
But after a year and a half, Tedaldi returned him.
Okay, maybe that’s a little coarse, but you tell me. Tadaldi went on the “Today” show and cited the baby’s inability to bond with her as the issue.
On one hand, Tadaldi’s move is a brave one. If she truly didn’t feel like she could love the child, giving him back may offer him a chance at a family that will.
On the other hand, children aren’t sweaters. Tadaldi says the experience with this adopted child just wasn’t the same as the feeling she got with her biological daughters. Probably should have seen that one coming. Under any circumstances, an adopted child offers challenges biological kid don’t. Here Tadaldi may have made a monumental miscalculation of her own heart. Tadaldi knew going in this might be a difficult child. No one knew his true age, his head had been flattened and his legs and arms lacked strength due to being left neglected in a crib. The boy had perhaps never known positive human contact. In her New York Times piece, Tadaldi stated,
“We had expected his indifference toward my husband, who was deployed for most of this time, but our son should have been closer to his sisters and especially to me, his primary caretaker.”
Tadaldi set certain expectations for this child that the child failed to meet. There are many circumstances that could possibly flesh out the story, make Tadaldi’s actions clearer, perhaps more sympathetic. But Tadaldi won’t disclose specifics and she’s got a right to her privacy.
How do you spend a year and a half with a child and feel nothing? Well not nothing, just no bond. She never committed to this child. The proof? The fact she even considered giving him back in the first place. Many parents have biological children with problems far worse than this adopted boy. But they struggle through the difficulty and pain because that IS THEIR CHILD. You do these things in life because there aren’t easier options. However; Tadaldi had an easier option and she chose to exercise it. The fact she even considered this child “returnable” shows she was never suited to mother him.
Yet, while for some people Tadaldi’s actions make no sense, in the end she did what was right. Thankfully, there was another family eager to take Baby D.
While I’m a huge proponent of adoption, I know it’s not for everyone. Some people can’t bond with an adopted baby like a biological child, and if that’s the case, they probably shouldn’t adopt. Tadaldi somehow mislead or misunderstood herself because I refuse to believe any “blame” for the lack of bonding lies on the baby’s shoulders. We can reasonably assume Tadaldi wouldn’t attempt to “give back” one of her biological daughters if said daughter were, say, autistic. There is a solid message here: we all fail at parenting now and then. Sometimes you might shock yourself with how callous your thoughts can become in your darkest moments. Tadaldi’s case is unique because where most of us have no choice but to get over it and move on, the choice was always there for her to quit.
Instead of keeping this story quiet, Anita decided there was something beneficial to telling the story. Do you agree? Why would she open this very private and sad story? Do you think it’s a helpful or damaging message?