Dobson Does Adoption

An adoptee friend of mine who lives in my home state of Colorado sent me a couple of articles recently. The first one I will write about later because it deserves it’s own post, as does this one clipped from the Colorado Springs Gazette last Sunday. It is a Q & A written by Dr. James (Focus on the Family) Dobson

It begins;


“Are adopted children more likely to be rebellious than children born to biological parents? If so, are there any steps I can take to prevent or ease the conflict? My husband and I are thinking about adopting a toddler and the question has me worried.”

Here is just a small portion of the gem of a response from Dr. Dobson;

” They may be driven to find their biological parents during or after adolescence to learn more about their heritage and families of origin. I must emphasize, however, that many adopted kids do not go through any of these personal crises. They take root where they are replanted and never give a thought to the questions that trouble some of their peers. As with so many other behavioral issues, the critical factors are the particular temperament of the child and how he or she is handled by the parents.”

You may be thinking that it couldn’t possibly get any worse but you would be wrong. Dobson goes on to say;

“I hope you won’t be reluctant to adopt that child because some special problems might—but probably won’t—develop.”

I am spitting so many nails I could build a house. Has Dr. Dobson (in all of his noble wisdom) managed to categorize the natural emotional evolution of an adoptee to know their heritage as a BEHAVIORAL ISSUE, a SPECIAL PROBLEM?!?!?! You know what I would really like to do is help to support Dr. Dobson’s theory by telling him to kiss my ass six ways to Sunday and signing it; Another Behaviorally Challenged Adoptee. But I can’t let it go at that, I just can’t because Dr. Dobson’s response is not only reprehensible, it is COMPLETELY IRRESPONSIBLE. There are actually tons of people out there who look to this ya ya for advice….and USE it as though it were gospel. I know, it’s hard to believe but there are. Poor misguided souls. In my eyes that makes Dobson’s response clear cut abuse by a person in a position of trust.

I actually feel kind of bad for the person who asked this question. They are obviously sincere about the fact that they aren’t sure they can handle raising an adoptee. Fair enough because an adoptee WILL face different issues than your run of the mill bio babe. How could we not? What blows me away is that society still refuses to acknowledge that these issues only BECOME behavioral if adopted children are made to feel bad and ungrateful for  feeling the way that they do!

Instead of nurturing the ability in our children to express their true and natural feelings about what it really means to be adopted we label this brave sincerity a “behavioral issue” and conveniently deem them a “special problem”?!?!

It’s sick. It’s just absolutely sick.

Dobson suggests here that we teach our children that it is NOT OK to be honest , that they are BAD or UNGRATEFUL if they have any feelings outside of the adoptive parents comfort zone. Which to me seems like just a PC way to say we really don’t want our kids to be a  pain in the ass. I actually find it a crying shame that someone who is willing to be somewhat honest about their concerns is provided such blathering nonsense for advice.

Sadly, I can’t see potential adoptive parents ever being educated properly about the “special needs” of an adoptee. The idea of being honest about what we, as adoptees, truly think and feel would just be bad for business. It’s sticky and messy and makes everyone really uncomfortable. After all any adoptee who has feelings outside of pure loyal gratitude simply does not fit into the “God’s Work” mold that has been swaddled so snugly around the world of adoption. And thanks to the likes of Dr. Dobson this misguided and irreparably dangerous mentality continues.

What would MY advice be to this person? Well, something my mom always used to say to me comes to mind;

If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. Why? Because asking a child to emotionally starve themselves just because you find the atmosphere uncomfortable is entirely inexcusable.



Filed under Adoption Schmoption

18 responses to “Dobson Does Adoption

  1. I cannot STAND Dobson on almost any subject, and his attitude toward adoption epitomizes everything that is wrong with adoption in the evangelical community.

    His son Ryan is adopted and I’ll be interested to see if Ryan searches for his parents after his parents pass. Or if he starts to embrace the biology that I’m sure he has been forced to deny.

  2. “I must emphasize, however, that many adopted kids do not go through any of these personal crises.”

    How the hell would he know that?

    Wait, lemme guess. He talked to his brother’s wife’s hairdresser’s second cousin-once-removed and she claims she is a Happy Adoptee and didn’t have ANY interest of her biological roots growing up!

  3. mia

    Really Erin? Oh. my. That just breaks my heart for poor Ryan. Well, I guess the world can take some solace in the thought that Jerry Falwell is most likely saving a couple of seats for Dobson and Robertson in the flaming pits of hell.

    LOL Mei-Ling. Although after reading Erin’s comment I would bet it was more likely from Dobson’s very OWN happy adoptee.

  4. mia

    And it breaks my heart some more to think that that poor kid is probably being raised to be the sacrificial lamb of Dobson’s completely nutty agenda.
    I cannot even imagine how difficult that must be for Ryan being raised in an environment where free thinking and self exploration are looked upon as bad behavior! Ugh…it makes the Jolie/Pitt clan look normal.

  5. I find it odd that wanting to know one’s parents and heritage is considered a personal crisis. What could be more normal than wanting to know who your parents are?

    I’d say that anybody who would change a person’s identity and lock up the original one is experiencing behavioral issues and is definfitely going through some sort of personal crisis.

  6. Jeff


    Thanks! I would hope that someone out there would be kindly enough to personaly deliver a copy of this to him!

    I’ll volunteer if no one else will!!!!!!!

    Can’t wait to hear what you say about the other article…..I also sent one to Marley and Marla….no response yet…probably still trying to pick themselves up off the floor!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks agian…..more to come I’m sure


  7. mia

    I agree completely Michelle and it’s a really good point that you bring up. It happens all the time, people shift the focus onto others so they don’t have to explore the uncomfortable truths that they are hiding from. I think that is EXACTLY why our records aren’t opened yet. It’s not really about US is it? It’s actually about other’s (those who oppose open records) fear….fear of loss, family, loyalty, money, exposure, control etc… You name it, it’s all fear and we (adoptees) pay for it with our blood. Literally.

    You’re welcome Jeff. Thanks for bringing them to my attention!

  8. Kippa

    I’m not surprised – after all, look who said it – but that doesn’t make me any less disgusted.
    He’s a patriarchal absolutist who only cares about power.

  9. mia

    It really didn’t surprise me either Kippa. I think there are a lot of people who recognize this about him, but sadly he also has a large following of kool aid drinking sheep (including many of my neighbors) who buy his rhetoric . Thats the really scary part.

  10. Kippa

    It is. Totally scary.
    After I read your post I was reminded of this:
    It, um, explains a lot about his “child rearing” theories.

  11. Ryan Dobson is at this point pretty scary himself. Yes I realize he’s been brainwashed, but until he stops passing the brainwashing on, I’m still angry at him. He’s in his late thirties now, someone PLEASE hand him the koolaid antidote!

  12. Also: Focus is behind a recent push to encourage more adoptions–specifically from foster care. While I can get behind giving foster children who’ve got no legal parents a home, this Q&A, in light of the type of adoption they’re specifically advocating right now, becomes even more irresponsible. If people think, after talking to Dobson, that a child adopted out of foster care is unlikely to have any issues, they are REALLY in for a rude awakening. Those kids went through the not only the separation of their biological families, but also abuse and neglect.

    This Q&A is just so irresponsible it hurts.

  13. mia

    Kippa after reading that I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry, so I just barked. Woof.

    Para- So totally irresponsible it hurts.

    THIS right here; “As with so many other behavioral issues, the critical factors are the particular temperament of the child and how he or she is handled by the parents.”

    This sets up a potential foster parent or adoptive parent for failure straight away. I don’t even want to begin thinking about the damage this concept does to the child. He basically says here that if you are a “good enough” parent you won’t have to deal with any issues that your child may (but probably won’t?!?!?) have. And apparently (based on his books) this brand of parenting would mean forcing an already fragile foster child into complete submission.

    I really wish he would FOCUS on gardening or underwater welding and leave the parenting advice to the relatively sane.

  14. Vicki

    What’s the big problem? I read the article and I think you guys are being way too sensitive and reading stuff into his writing that just wasn’t intended. You are deliberately misconstruing his words because you hate what he stands for.

    Doing whatever we feel like is NOT ok. It can be understandable but isn’t ALWAYS inexcusable. That’s just a weak excuse to blame your birth situation for how your life turns out or how you’re feeling. Get over it!!!!

  15. J.N.H. aka B.B.M.

    Vicki……well spoken for an uninformed person. When you can truley understand what it means to be “labeled” an adoptee…..get back to us with your findings.

  16. Jan

    One of my daughter’s friends was adopted and she was determined to find her birth mother. What she wasn’t expecting to find out is that her mother was 7 months along and planning to have a partial-birth abortion. Needless to say, this young woman was mortified and ended her desire to know any more right there.

  17. Dr. Dobson is a godly and loving man who wanted to share his love and the love of his wife and daughter with a child, so he and his wife adopted. How can you be so critical of someone so loving that you have to take his comment so far out of context? Obviously, Dr. Dobson is not commenting on the “behavior” of being an adoptee, but the “behavior” of rebellion in the potential adoptive mother’s question. Please don’t be so quick to criticize just because you don’t believe the same as someone else or don’t agree with someone else’s opinion. As for how Dr. Dobson knows that some adopted children may not show concern over their origin…the guy was a child & family psychologist for over 30 years. What are your credentials?

  18. J.N.H aka BBMagura

    Our credentials…………………we are ADOPTEE’S……..we’ve lived it and continue to live it. As far as Dr. Dobson’s credentials………he became a “child psychologist” in the days before the truth about Primal Wounds were even acknoweldged, not to mention the the mind sets of “Christian” charities and their greed during the baby grab era. And YES……his comments were NOT taken out of context!

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